With the release of at-home gel manicure kits, whitening teeth devices and do-it-yourself keratin treatments, it’s getting easier and easier to bring the salon home. And with more autonomy, cheaper long-term costs and, obviously, the ability to stay at home (always a plus), it seems like there’s few downsides to taking a turn as the technician.
That is, unless you’re looking for results equivalent to what the same process would get you at the salon. As appealing as the DIY lifestyle can be, there are some treatments that are best left to the professionals—not just for the results, but also for your health.
“If you try to do a keratin at home and you’re not trained, so many things could go wrong,” said Brittany Brudzinski, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “Too high heat or too many strokes could result in burned or damaged hair, too much product creates a greasy build up, leaving bad results, and well-ventilated areas are required to avoid eye irritation.”
What’s more, according to the professionals at The Drawing Room, a SoHo salon, over-the-counter keratin products can contain varying amounts of formaldehyde. And depending on that unspecified percentage, you may, or may not, get what you pay for.
“Some over the counter products may either contain very high percentages of formaldehyde, or little to none, depending on the brand,” said Stefanie, a Drawing Room technician. “It just might not give you any results as far as smoothing the hair and removing the frizz.”
Gel Nail Polish
So while our DIY skills may be questionable at best, the lack of results for at-home treatments might not be entirely our fault (we’re glad, but also, that’s not cool). Along the same lines, untrained people using gel nail kits probably shouldn’t expect to replicate the salon effect, said Jen Olson, owner of Spa Soak salon in Chicago.
“They do an extensive class for the nail girls so they know how to do things. There’s a trick to applying the nail polish because it has a tendency to shrink up, and there’s a process that they follow with the alcohol that’s better for the nails because they don’t want to cause any long-term damage,” said Olson. “It’s probably fine to use [at-home kits], the only thing I would say is it’s probably not going to last you the full two weeks. I don’t think you’ll get that professional-looking result you’re looking for.”
So what’s a DIYer to do? The jury’s still out on how well the new at-home gel nails will go down, but according to Patrick Prinzo, a senior colorist at Warren-Tricomi’s Flatiron salon, some more natural at-home hair treatments can help to scratch the DIY itch.
“I would go for a keratin that’s formaldehyde-free, something a little bit more natural. I always tell people at home, go with something that doesn’t have the chemical in it,” said Prinzo. Worst comes to worst, he suggests flat ironing an at-home conditioning treatment into hair for temporary relief.
“You could get a week or so out of that, as far as helping the condition and the frizziness of your hair,” said Prinzo. “It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive to take good care of your hair at home.”
Image via Veronique Beranger/Getty Images