I used to get keratin treatments in the mid-2000s and, quite seriously, they changed my life. Imagine going from having kinky, frizz-prone locks, to having hair that dries naturally into effortless, beach-y waves; or transforms into silky strands that you can run your fingers through like a shampoo commercial heroine, with only a quick blast of a dryer. I had seemingly found hair’s holy grail, and it gave me hours of my life back, weekly. My hair transformation seemed too good to be true…and, alas, it was. Reports of toxic chemicals (namely formaldehyde) being involved with these so-called “permanent blow-dries” was a frightening revelation for this organic veggie-munching, natural product-proselytizing lady.
Years later, I still pined for those carefree hair days. As the mornings get colder and darker and cosy duvets challenge workout motivation, the last thing I want to do is factor-in tussling with my hair every day and making it to Pilates before the sun rises. Hot yoga has long been a no-no, because working up a sweat means jumping into the shower and washing and styling my hair post 6am session—not an easy feat when you have locks that require wrangling, detangling, ironing and taming before they’re ready to go public.
Which is why I was literally giddy to discover the bhave Smoothe treatment at Franck Provost. I visited the new location in Sydney’s Chatswood, an intimate salon tucked away up on the fifth floor of the Westfield centre, to experience the treatment, which uses raw natural keratin derived from sheep’s wool. Along with argan oil, collagen, and silk amino acids, the keratin works to relax and repair hair and add shine, making it more manageable and easy to style. Created right here in Australia, bhave is impressively free from parabens, sulphates, and sodium chlorides and contains certified organic ingredients. Most importantly, no sheep (or other animals for that matter) are harmed in its making. Like old-school keratin treatments before it, the treatment actually works best on dry, damaged or colour-treated hair, as it penetrates strands and strengthens them from within. I handed over my bleach-parched mane for redemption in a flash.
Following a detoxifying shampoo, the solution is applied, left to penetrate, then gently rinsed before being sealed in with heat.
After a couple of hours in the chair (which actually flew by thanks to my friendly stylist Sonya, a big stack of magazines, and copious cups of green tea), plus no washing, wetting, touching or tying up for 48 hours (laborious but worth it), my hair is the stuff of wash-and-go dreams. I’ve given it a quick go with the hair dryer, resulting in smooth and shiny locks in half the usual drying time. Then came the air-dry test, which, with my natural curl, gave me those coveted frizz-free French-girl waves. Perhaps the best part: after having my hair tied up for hours, I can simply shake it out and it falls back into place. Miracles, people! The results are said to last up to five months.
This natural keratin treatment does not come cheap (around $300-400 depending on hair length). For those who’s wallets don’t stretch quite that far, the bhave range of after-care products (that also contains raw keratin) go some way to achieving the results of the in-salon treatment. But for now, I’m going to find a way to budget it into my life, because it’s hard to put a price on an end to bad hair days.