If you’re after your sleekest, shiniest hair ever without much effort, then you might want to consider a hair botox treatment. Don't worry: The name itself is totally misleading. No needles will be flying at your scalp at all, and botulinum toxin isn’t an ingredient either. Instead, you’ll kick back in the salon chair and let this restorative process work its magic on your mane.
“Hair botox is a 100 percent vegan, deep conditioning treatment that will keep your hair’s texture intact while leaving it smoother and more hydrated than before,” says Kayla Ciambrone, a Florida-based pro stylist at Salon Gaudi, where she regularly performs hair botox treatments. “The name comes from the way the product works—as a filler for individual hair fibers, sealing split ends and giving hair a new sleekness and fullness to reduce frizz.”
When your locks are looking a little limp—or when you feel like heat and stress have caused some breakage or damage—hair botox can help you turn back the clock and reset. Like any other treatment though, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the process to decide if it’s right for you.
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What does a hair botox treatment do?
While no injectables are involved in hair botox, your stylist will likely start with a consultation prior to application of the product, which is essentially a non-chemical concentrate that can include ingredients like vitamin B5, vitamin E, collagen complex, antioxidants, and caviar oil, depending on the exact product. According to Ciambrone, these ingredients nurture your hair, fighting free radicals to combat the signs of aging locks, from brittle strands to broken fibers. Collagen helps to further repair your hair, while the oils in the treatment help to soften and seal the hair cuticle.
Every treatment will be a little different, depending on your level of damage.“We assess your hair,” says Ciambrone. “Depending on the texture of your hair and the desired result, the hair botox is left on your hair anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.”
Once it’s time to rinse out the product, your stylist will use a special pH balancing shampoo and conditioner. “Your hair is then blow-dried and flat ironed and cannot be washed or get wet for at least 48 hours,” she says. “I recommend 72 hours, if the client can wait.”
According to Ciambrone, pricing for hair botox starts at about $200 for shoulder-length hair and increases depending on hair density and length.
What are the benefits of a hair botox treatment?
Post-treatment, Ciambrone says you can expect to have sleeker, fuller hair and fewer split ends. You may notice less frizz as a result of the moisture the treatment adds back into your tresses as well. Results can last anywhere from two to four months.
Think of hair botox as a maintenance-like conditioning type of treatment. All hair can benefit from an addition of proteins and hydrating elements from time to time, which is essentially what this treatment delivers. That said, Ciambrone recommends that only a licensed cosmetologist or stylist apply the treatment for best results.
Which hair types or conditions does hair botox work best for?
Again, because no harsh chemicals are involved in hair botox, Ciambrone says it’s safe for any type of hair, whether natural, color-treated, or chemical-treated. She notes that it’s especially restorative for those with thinning, damaged, or dull hair.
How often can hair botox be done?
While you can expect your hair botox treatment to last around three months—give or take a few weeks—there are a few things you can do to prolong the benefits. Ciambrone suggests washing your hair with a gentle, sulfate- and paraben-free shampoo no more than two to three times a week. To take it a step further, you might consider sleeping on a silk pillowcase or sleeping with a bonnet on.
Hair botox isn’t considered particularly harsh for your hair at all, but Ciambrone says you can still have too much of a good thing when it comes to this treatment, particularly if you’re doing other things to your hair. “I would not recommend doing any form of smoothing and/or texture treatment services more than every two months to maintain the integrity of your hair,” she says.
What’s the difference between hair botox and keratin?
Some people confuse hair botox treatments with keratin because the end results can be similar. Many keratin treatments feature formaldehyde though, which reduces frizz and straightens strands chemically—versus hair botox working with your hair’s natural texture for a more subtle effect. “While keratin is often used to straighten and de-frizz hair, especially thick curly hair, hair rotox will not change the texture of your hair,” says Ciambrone.
One last thing to also keep in mind is that keratin and hair botox should never be done at the same time. “Which treatment is best for each client depends on their hair’s integrity, texture, and their desired goal,” says Ciambrone. “All of this is determined during the initial consultation when a client comes in.”
Danielle Blundell is a New York City-based lifestyle writer and editor who has written on topics ranging from home to health for a variety of publications including Rachael Ray Every Day, Redbook, Family Circle, This Old House, Elle Decor, Esquire, Domino, and Apartment Therapy. She's a graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism and has appeared as an on-air expert on Today, The Doctors, The Celebrity Page, and other local news programs. Website: https://danielleblundell.myportfolio.com/