In the ever-evolving realm of haircare, there's a buzz around a transformative treatment called hair botox that promises to offer the same smoothing effects for our hair, as botox does for wrinkles. But does this viral new procedure live up to its hype? In this article we dive into the benefits, science and application process behind hair botox. For beauty enthusiasts who lack time but still desire the luxe results hair botox produces, we review at-home alternatives that rival the glossy, softening and rejuvenating effects of hair botox - all at the comfort of your own home.

What is Hair Botox?

Despite its name, hair botox does not contain any actual botox, nor does it require any injections. Instead, the hair treatment received this snazzy name, because hair botox’s swift ability to soften damaged hair, is comparable to botox’s ability to soften  wrinkles. Celebrity hairtylist, Bernardo Vasconcelos, whose clientele includes Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio says hair botox helps “nourish the hair fibres and make them more hydrated and less brittle.” Whilst many deep conditioning treatments can weigh the hair down, hair botox helps “plump and fill each hair strand” so it looks fuller and more voluminous says Yann Beyrie, a French hair stylist who owns a salon in Singapore. Although this treatment can help tame unruly locks, it is not a straightening treatment — it is primarily a deep conditioning treatment that does not alter the hair structure.

What ingredients are in hair botox?

Hair Botox harnesses  the power of proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and plant-based oils to repair dehydrated and unruly locks.

  1. Hyaluronic Acid helps attract and bind water – it can hold more than 1000 times its weight in water. As a powerful humectant –  it helps intensely nourish and moisturise dry locks.
  2. Keratin is the protein our hair is made of – it is the essential building block for hair structure. Considered a protective protein that prevents hair breakage, it helps rebuild and fortify the hair and increase luminosity.
  3. Collagen is a protein that contributes to the elasticity and strength of our dermis (the middle layer of our skin where the hair root grows from). A lot of the time we focus on applying treatments to our hair strand, but the ‘root’ of our hair is vital in determining hair quality and the amount of hair we have. Hair botox has a small molecular weight, which enables the formula to penetrate into the dermis. Topical application of collagen boosts hair elasticity.
  4. Argan Oil is abundant in fatty acids (linoleic and oleic acids) that help lubricate the hair and enhance hydration levels. The oil forms a protective barrier that shields the hair from environmental damage. Although it is nourishing, it is considered one of the lightest oils, so will not weigh the hair down.
  5. Aloe Vera has strong anti-inflammatory benefits that help sooth itchy, scaly or irritated scalps. It is also rich in vitamins that play an essential role in maintaining hair health and quality such as vitamins A, B12, C and E. Beyond being nourishing, it also contains enzymes that help reduce excess hair greasiness and ensures the hair is balanced (e.g. neither dry nor oily).

What happens during a hair botox treatment?

  1. Hair Preparation: A clarifying or pre-treatment shampoo is first used to remove any build-up or residue. Hair is then gently towel-dried to remove excess moisture, leaving it damp but not dripping wet.
  2. Tailoring the treatment: The type of ingredients, concentration of each specific ingredient and amount of product applied will be tailored to your hair concerns. For example: if you have oily hair, more emollient ingredients may be diluted, and ingredients for balancing hair sebum levels may be included. The stylist will section your hair off into different layers and apply the customised hair botox treatment into each section, ensuring that all strands are thoroughly and evenly coated. A blue light laser may be directed at your hair to enhance the absorption of the ingredients.
  3. Processing Time: Once the hair botox treatment is applied, it is generally left to process for approximately 45 minutes. The duration may vary depending on your hair type. For very damaged hair, the hair dresser may not rinse the product out at all, and simply blow dry the hair with the treatment in tact.
  4. Rinse and Blow-Dry: After the processing time is complete, the stylist will generally rinse the hair thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove the excess product, and blow dry and style your hair.

How long does hair botox last?

Hair botox improves the actual quality of your hair, healing internal hair damage, as opposed to merely sitting on top of your locks and offering a temporary bandaid solution. The general result immediately after treatment is a glossy and silky-smooth finish. This effect will be most prominent in the first 3-4 months, with the striking luminosity gradually fading after that period. To maintain maximum shine and softness, a touch up every 6 months is recommended. This is because general exposure to pollution, sun, heat application, and chemical treatments etc can reduce the treatment’s effectiveness. However, because hair botox strengthen your underlying hair integrity and structure – even after the treatment fades your hair will be less prone to breakage.

At home alternatives to hair botox

If your schedule or wallet doesn’t permit a trip to the salon, there are still effective at-home products with a high concentration of ingredients, similar to the formula hair botox is supercharged with.

Best for Dryer Hair

The HH Simonsen Moisture Moisture shampoo  and conditioner are as close to the composition of Hair Botox’s ingredients as you can find across any hair care products. Hair botox contains a mixture of amino acids, keratin, botanical extracts and natural oils, and similarly the HH Simonsen duo harnesses the holistic power of keratin, algae, seaweed, wheat-based amino acids, jojoba and macadamia oil. The products have managed to resuscitate my dehydrated hair, and give it a renewed lease on life. Whenever I use the product, the texture of my hair immediately feels silky and nourished. My split ends are diminished, the brittleness is gone and most noticeably, there is a nice glass gleam it imparts on my hair.

The smoothing and softening effect reduces my styling time in the morning, because the hair just looks good naturally. I can also attest to its effectiveness in deeply conditioning dehydrated hair and repairing the damaged potions of your hair, so your both looks and feels healthier. Sometimes I just use the shampoo and it is nourishing enough on its own. I simply add a conditioner in two times a week for that extra dose of moisture. The shampoo and conditioner do not make my hair look oily or limp when used sparingly.

Best for oilier hair

The ZENZ Menthol No.10 shampoo and Menthol No.11 conditioner is perfect for people who want the effects of hair botox, but have fine or greasy hair that can’t tolerate any emollient ingredients. The product is abundant in one of hair botox’s more key ingredients – aloe vera. It also contains protein-rich ingredients such as coconut water and also cold pressed essential oils such as avocado oil. The shampoo and condition give me incredible volume — I liken it to a subtle root perm and overall hair tease. Although my hair feels deeply cleansed and bouncy – similar to the effect of clarifying shampoos, except the formula doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped or dry. The conditioner is lightly hydrating and after applying the product two times a week for a fortnight, my split ends are reduced, flyaways and any frizziness are tamed and it is easier to brush my hair.

I like to alternate between using the ZENZ and the HH Simonsen, because this  particular routine keeps my hair in the best condition. I suspect because the products balance each other out, with the HH Simonsen infusing more moisture and nourishment, whilst ZENZ provides my hair with a stronger clean and more body and bounce.

Story by Kristina Zhou. Holding shot by @romeestrijid

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