In the past week, I’ve developed the annoying habit of constantly running my fingers through my hair, which might not seem like that big of a deal—except when I’m in a meeting or on a call or looking at dinner menu and suddenly realize I’ve been petting my hair like it’s some sort of soft baby Bichon for the past 10 minutes. I can’t help it. My strands are so soft, so slippery-smooth, that all I want to do is touch them 24/7. If this newfound habit is annoying for anyone in my vicinity, they can blame hairstylist David Mallett. For those unschooled, Mallett is the Australian-French hairstylist responsible for the manes of Natalie Portman, Diane Kruger, and Marion Cotillard, to name just a few. His two namesake salons in Paris attract a discerning clientele who flock to him for his mastery of the French off-duty style—that swingy, low-key-yet-polished aesthetic we Americans will never stop trying to re-create.
The good news for anyone residing in New York is that Mallett just opened a brand-new salon in SoHo’s multi-brand boutique The Webster. The space is on the top level and instantly transports you to Paris with its airy, light-filled rooms and high ceilings (not to mention the French-speaking, well-dressed staff, all of whom Mallett brought over from his Parisian salons). The 1600-square-foot salon was designed by renowned French architect Charles Zana and feels at once luxe and homey. It was here that I experienced something Mallett calls the Tokyo Treatment, which is the reason for my newly developed habit of touching my hair 24/7. I was told Mallett’s mysteriously named treatment helped a friend who had recently gone platinum feel like her hair was actually healthy again, and so I went in with high expectations.
First, I was led to a shampoo bowl where Mallett’s charming lead colorist, Anthony, washed my hair and explained the treatment. He told me he would be infusing a medley of ingredients from Tokyo (ah, hence the name) into my strands—from eight keratins to hydrolyzed silk to something called ceramide 2, which supposedly makes up 80% of the fatty elements in your hair. Something about the way the ingredients are concocted allows them to penetrate deep into the hair shaft to fuse with its natural fibers and heal it from the inside instead of just sitting on top as a gloss would. Instead of just combing the mixture in, Anthony applied it to my hair using a slapping sort of motion—like my strands were naughty children he was chiding. He explained that this application method fully allows the ingredients to penetrate, which I was more than okay with.
After he had finished smacking the treatment into my hair, he left me for a few minutes and then came back and covered my strands with a balloon-looking hair wrap. The wrap expanded over the next few minutes, puffing out with warm steam. I snapped some selfies, obviously. Then, the treatment was finished. The whole thing took 30 minutes from start to finish. Mallett himself blow-dried my hair, and halfway through, I couldn’t help myself. I quickly ran my fingers through my hair, then did it again and again. Somehow, my dry, overdyed strands had transformed into baby hair. Well, not quite newborn hair, but maybe toddler or pre-teen hair.
Anthony promised me that the treatment would actually make my hair even softer in a few weeks. It’s been a week, and so far, it’s delivered on his promise. My hair swings now, instead of just falling limply across my shoulders like straw. It gleams in the light and feels thicker somehow, too. Plus, I’ve noticed that my roots are less oily than before, and I can go longer between shampooing (and dry-shampooing). Mallett recommends getting the treatment every four to six weeks to bring your hair back to full health, and I’m already gearing up for my next appointment. In the meantime, apologies for all the hair-touching (and tossing).
Click here for details on how to book an appointment at David Mallet’s New York salon, and keep scrolling to shop some of my favorite hair-softening products to use at home.
Mallett also has a line of minimalistic hair products. One of my favorite products is this scent-free mask, which leaves my strands feeling soft and airy.
Virtue Labs products are made with human keratin to help repair damage.
This conditioner replacement left my strands feeling cashmere-soft. You can read my full review here.
Click here for the best hair masks for damaged hair.