Although there’s no shame in wanting frizz-free hair (who doesn’t?), you should be cautious in your pursuit. Treatments containing formaldehyde, a.k.a. the “F word” of beauty, are among the styling industry’s most popular services, despite findings that the substance is highly toxic. Labeled as a potential carcinogen by the Center for Disease Control, formaldehyde is especially prevalent in frizzy hair treatments, including many keratin and Brazilian blow out offerings. If inhaling it—which often results in skin irritation, eye irritation and nausea—is a bit more than you’re willing to do in the name of sleek hair, these formaldehyde-free smoothing treatments should be on your radar.
Treatment: Pravana Perfection SmoothOut
Key Active Ingredients: Amino acids
How it’s done: The hair is washed twice with a clarifying shampoo to remove product build up and then dried 75 percent with a blow dryer. The treatment solution is sprayed on to small sections of the hair, dispersed with a brush, and left to set for 15 minutes. A thorough blow dry with a round or paddle brush is next, followed by the hair being flat ironed at 360 degrees. Each section of hair gets three to six passes of the flat iron depending on how coarse it is. Afterwards, the hair is shampooed to wash off residual treatment spray and styled as desired.
Results: Not pin straight, but visibly smoother and shinier, and more resistant to humidity. Results last between two and three months.
Worth noting: This is one of the lightest systems on the market, so hair maintains its volume post treatment.
Price: $350 at New York City’s Livian Salon
—Explained by Eric Arzur, director at Livian Salon
Treatment: Supersilk Smoothing System
Key Ingredient: Sericin, a silk amino acid
How it’s done: After the hair is washed, it’s divided into small sections and sprayed with the treatment solution. Next, it’s covered with a plastic bag for 30 minutes to allow the treatment to penetrate. Afterwards the hair is dried—either with a blow dryer or under a hair dryer—and again divided into small sections. Each section is flat ironed five to eight times with the iron set at 360 degrees. A post-treatment shampoo is optional but not necessary.
Results: In addition so sleek, frizz-free hair, the treatment cuts hair-drying time down by as much as 50 percent. Results last between two and three months.
Worth noting: This is a popular partial-hair treatment, with many often opting to get it just for the bangs or the hair that frames the face.
Price: $450 at New York City’s Sam Brocato Salon
—Explained by Sam Brocato, treatment developer and owner of Sam Brocato Salon
Treatment: Magic Sleek
Key Ingredients: Peptides
How it’s done: Hair is shampooed, conditioned, towel dried, and then spritzed all over with the treatment. The solution sets for up to 45 minutes depending on how coarse the hair texture is. The treatment is then rinsed off with water; lightly for those who want a super-straight result, and more thoroughly for those seeking a modest relaxation of their natural texture. Next, the hair is rough dried and then blown out with a brush. Sections are flat ironed up to 15 times at 400 degrees and then sprayed with a setting solution. Afterwards, the hair is rinsed, conditioned, and styled.
Results: Anywhere from stick-straight to slightly wavy depending on preference, and extremely smooth and manageable. Results last between four and six months.
Worth noting: Two things—Sarah Jessica Parker is a fan and you can get your hair colored immediately following the treatment.
Price: $350 and up at New York City’s Serge Normant at John Frieda
—Explained by Ty Holbrook, stylist and treatment specialist at Serge Normant at John Frieda
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