Owing in equal parts to industry trend, general self-acceptance, and a healthy dose of laziness, I have come to embrace the naturally imperfect, "permanent bedhead" texture of my curls. So much, in fact, that when I was recently invited to try out a new plant-based keratin treatment, my first instinct was to decline. It's only natural, after all, to associate "keratin treatment" with ultra-sleek, pin-straight locks—and even though this new treatment billed itself as a way to enhance and soften the natural curl of your hair while eliminating any unsightly static, I remained skeptical. Removing frizz is one thing, but what if this treatment semi-permanently got rid of my beloved waves altogether?
Nonetheless, my curiosity ultimately won out, and I found myself at West Hollywood's Martinez-Samuel salon on a recent morning to experience Keratin Complex's new Personalized Blow Out treatment firsthand. On paper, the treatment is revolutionary for a few reasons; for starters, it forgoes the traditionally harsh chemicals found in most semipermanent smoothing treatments in favor of a proprietary "juice blend" of aloe vera, lemongrass, grapefruit, and açaí berry. But the coolest element might be its customizability: The client can choose different levels of the treatment based on personal preference for texture. For example, if I opted for a level one, I would potentially have slick-straight hair for the next several weeks.
After talking it over with Jesse, my stylist, I settled for a level four—the second-lowest concentration of the treatment, which would theoretically leave me with a frizz-less version of my own waves. All in all, the process would take about two hours and last up to three months—all with extremely minimal maintenance. So I ignored the cynical voice in my head that insisted it was all too good to be true, said a little prayer, and caught one last glimpse of my poofy curls in the mirror before getting whisked off to the shampoo station.
The next few hours were a blur of swapping time between the shampoo bowls and the salon chair. After Jesse coated my entire mane with the fruity-smelling treatment—a far cry from the chemical stink of the Brazilian blowouts of my youth—he blew it dry before running it all through a flatiron, which effectively sealed the treatment into the cuticle. The final texture, he told me, is determined by how many times the stylist goes over each lock of hair with the straightener—with mine, he went over each piece of hair three or four times. And though I knew I was in very capable hands, I still cringed with every pass of the flatiron.
With the most time-consuming part of the process behind us, it was time to shampoo it all out, throw on a hydrating mask, shampoo that out, and finally blow it dry—which also meant that I wouldn't get to see how well the treatment worked until several days later, when I washed my own hair and let it air-dry for the first time. The torture of this delayed gratification was only offset by the fact that as I left the salon, I couldn't stop touching my hair—my hopelessly coarse strands were buttery soft, glossy, and smoother than they'd ever been.
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And it turned out this was just a preview of what was to come. It's been about six weeks since I received that initial in-salon treatment, and my gloriously low-maintenance hair routine is even more gloriously low-maintenance. Now that I've lived with it for more than a month, I would say that the Keratin Complex treatment is more like a semipermanent moisturizing mask than anything else—while I typically need to replenish my straw-like strands with hydrating oils and treatments between shampoos, that step of my routine has all but been eliminated. Of course, hydrated hair translates to less frizz, and while I do think my curls were relaxed just a touch, the defined and glossy texture is well worth it.
Most importantly, my hair doesn't look "done" whatsoever—it's basically just a better, healthier-looking version of that same permanent bedhead. That aesthetically pleasing, cool-girl "effortlessness" without any of the actual effort—and healthier hair? Laziness has never looked so good on me.
Keratin Complex's Personalized Blow Out starts at $200 and is available at salons across the country.
If you're interested in getting some of the effects of the treatment without fully committing, try the brand's new Picture Perfect Mask ($35), or shop some of our go-to smoothing masks below.