We’ve all been there; a frizz crisis that has us reaching for our best straighteners in an attempt to tame unruly strands. Needless to say, this is not always a good long-term solution. When even your best hair products can’t save seriously dry and brittle strands, treating locks with a much-needed moisture and nutrition boost can make all the difference. That’s why the latest conditioning treatment in salons, hair botox, has hair stylists turning heads with its impressive, transformative results.
Celebrity hairstylist, Michael Van Clarke (opens in new tab), is one of the many hairstylists who have introduced hair botox treatments to his salon’s menu. We spoke to him to find out everything you need to know.
What is Hair Botox?
Needle-phobes can rest assured that, unlike baby botox and other tweaks, nothing invasive is happening here. “Botox has a nice ring to it,” says Van Clarke, “But this tag just connects some of the key effects of botox and fillers—the plumping and smoothing and then applying that understanding to the hair.”
Van Clarke explains that the treatment “is not about neutralizing muscles as there is none in the hair. There are no needles or botulinum toxin involved [botox] in the ingredients. Instead, it’s about condition.” Think of it as a cross between a deep-conditioning treatment and a keratin blow-dry, and you’ll be right on the money. So if your goal is to strengthen and smooth, hair botox may be for you.
What is the process?
Hair botox is applied to wet hair as simply as you would your best hair mask. At the Michael Van Clarke salon, “a blend of nutrients is applied to the hair and sealed with a straightener before finishing with a bouncy blow-dry.” Van Clarke explains that the treatment is versatile and “can provide varying degrees of smoothness, hold body and volume where needed, or even just smooth out those pesky hairlines or fringes.”
Aside from the textural benefits, what is hair botox likely to do for your hair in the long term? Mostly it will improve damage, split ends and frizz. Van Clarke adds “hair botox is particularly useful in the summer or before a vacation, when climate or water activities can make it impossible to rely on a blow-dry alone.”
Is hair botox good for hair?
If you’re wondering what hair botox does to your locks, Van Clarke explains that “healthy hair is essentially 97% protein and 3% water. The goal [of hair botox] is to repair holes and cracks in the porous protein structure and encourage more moisture in the hair. The more complete the hair shaft is, the slower it breaks down, so the longer you get to keep your own healthy hair.”
And why is this a necessity in the first place? “Heat styling, coloring and aggressive products break down the hair shaft. The hollowed-out protein structure cannot hold as many water molecules, so it becomes brittle, unstable and breaks down faster,” says Van Clarke. “It loses shine and flexibility, becomes thinner and less responsive. You can tell this difference by feeling the ends of your hair compared to the roots.” Another reason to try heat-free dressing gown curlers or other non-dryer styling methods along with conditioning treatments.
Hair botox vs keratin treatments
If you’ve ever had a Brazilian blow dryer, you’re probably wondering how Hair Botox compares to the earlier, better-known salon treatment. Both promise to tame frizz, but at-home keratin treatments are designed to chemically alter the hair’s texture, and in-salon ones (aka a Brazilian blow-dry) traditionally use the ingredient formaldehyde to smooth. Van Clarke explains that Hair Botox “is a mixture of nutrients without formaldehyde.”
There are no harsh ingredients involved, as the purpose of the treatment is primarily to strengthen and condition the hair. On top of this, hair botox usually rings in from $150/£130 – $300/£250. It’s a bit more cost-effective than traditional keratin treatments, which tend to start at the top end of the scale.
How long does hair botox last?
It all depends on which specific hair botox treatment you have. Van Clarke explains that “some [hair botox treatments] are temporary and remain in the hair until the next wash; some last longer with ingredients ironed or blow-dried into the hair.” If you opt for the latter, Van Clarke assures us the treatment will last between 2-4 months.