Beauty & Style
The $100 Hair Product That Will Save You Time and Money (For real!)
Before I reveal the product in question, a bit of history:
I'm a curly girl by nature—born with curl after curl after curl of spiraling dark brown/black hair. Sounds lovely, except that the reality is rattier, frizzier and more unkempt than I like.
Left to grow on it's own, without intervention by way of chemicals or heat appliances my hair is a forlorn mash-up between the bouncy 'do of Elaine from Seinfeld, the kinks of Julianna Margulies (circa ER), with more than a touch of the goofy dishevelment of Eloise.
And naturally, I've always coveted straight hair. (That's how it always is--the grass always being greener on someone else's....head.)
Fast forward through the usual trials, tribulations, tangles and follicular follies....various salon treatments to relax my hair, subsequent trauma when hair fell out, many years of die-hard curl embracing, and of course, still more attempts to get straight.
And here we are at today: It's been two years since I had one of the now-ubiquitous, much-maligned "brazilian/keratin treatments" at a salon in New York. After the birth of my daughter I forked over about $250 to try it out, and I loved it. Seriously, I think it's the best thing ever.
Naturally, news broke soon after about it's potentially noxious ingredients. Rats!
Luckily, around that time products free of the chemical in question (um, formaldehyde) began coming to market—so that you could DIY a keratin at home, with no worries about fumes or other safety issues. (Some people have complained of eye, nose and lung irritation.)
As someone who's hoping to have another child soon, and with a toddler in my house, these DIY versions are awesome from a purely health perspective. The cherry on top is that the at-home versions are way, way cheaper than those done in a salon.
I tried one of them recently—called Keratin Earth—and it really was/is fabulous. It didn't eradicate the curl as severely as the more potent in-salon one I'd done, but it accomplished something that every busy woman covets: my previously scraggly, dull, frizzy, fuzzy hair became manageable, soft, swingy, free of frizz.
When I spoke with Keratin Earth's celebrity stylist Nathanial Hawkins about it, he explained that it works not by attacking hair with caustic fixative chemicals (again: formaldehyde!) but by adding special proteins and a botanically derived mushroom extract to the hair. Under a microscope, curly hair appears almost as a snakeskin. Those "ruffles" are part of what gives hair curl.
By filling in those gaps and making it smooth, the hair becomes softer and straighter and devoid of frizz. Eventually, of course, it wears off and the snakeskin hisses again...but you can do it again whenever you like! Many people can go from one month to three months between treatments.
For me, just waking up in the morning with more presentable hair means I can:
* Skip a shower if I've overslept or my daughter is pestering me too much to soap up
* Emerge from an exercise class without a ring of frazzled strands poking out every which way
* Pass a brush or comb through my hair without a snag
* Actually see the shine on my hair in the reflection of the subway window....it's a small thing, but I dig it
It's really easy to do at home. You just need an initial investment of about one hour and $100. (Oh, and a flat iron and a hair dryer, but you can always borrow one from a friend.) It goes on like a deep conditioner, then washed out. You dry your hair, then flat iron it thoroughly—and DONE!
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