It wasn’t unlike Sisyphus, really. About a year-and-a-half ago (though it feels like it was overnight) my hair texture completely changed. It went from being straight, thick and extremely smooth—shiny even—to a halo of wiry frizz that springs out in every direction.
This unruly top layer, which I’ve seen referred to online as the “canopy,” was all different lengths—an inch, four inches, shoulder-length. I couldn’t figure out if it was new growth or breakage, but regardless, my mission each and every morning was to tamp it down using a complicated cocktail of products. A daily grind that produced middling results, which, depending on the humidity or wind, could disappear within the 45 minutes of my morning commute. POOF! Back to square one. Sisyphus.
After hearing my woes, resident beauty guru Kahlana suggested I get a keratin treatment and sent me off to the newly opened Eliut Salon on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. The space, chicly located on the 12th floor of a high-rise, feels modern and cozy all at once with its dark wood paneling and sleek black chairs. I’m introduced to Jorge Manni, my stylist for the day, who evaluates my hair and suggests we only do about an inch on either side of my part. As far as what’s causing the freakout, it’s really anyone’s guess—hair texture changes for mysterious reasons over time—but he says it looks like new growth as opposed to breakage, and recommends that I use products to weigh it down a bit at the roots, such as coconut oil.
After that, a nice woman washes my hair with a clarifying shampoo and then it’s back to Jorge’s station to apply the product after my strands are about 80 percent dry. It doesn’t smell awful like I thought it would, and Jorge tells me that he considers this particular treatment to be much safer in terms of fumes and chemicals than the ones he used back in the day. He then gives me the best blow dry of my life (no hyperbole, if you live in the area, you must go) and moves on to the flat iron. Since my strands are kinkier at the roots, he goes over those five times as opposed to the hair shafts, which only get two to three passes.
When all is said and done I have the sleekest, silkiest hair with no trace of frizz and incredible Breck girl bounce (a product worth mentioning: Neon & Co. Treatment Oil, which Jorge used pre-blow out—so good!). He tells me that I can wash my hair that night if I want to, but it’s recommended that clients wait 24 hours for the best results.
I hit the gym that evening and am pleasantly surprised to discover post-shower (though sans wash) that, after releasing my ponytail, the usual surprise explosion of frizz (POOF!) stands down. The real test comes three days later when I finally shampoo. Afterward, I forgo the usual product cocktail for a few drops of the Neon & Co. oil, which I promptly went out and bought, and let my hair air dry.
The outcome, while not miraculous, is pretty good. There are strands that still stick up and stand out but, and this is key, they are a million times easier to tame with a little styling cream (the results would have been more dramatic had Jorge been heavier-handed with the flat iron but I was worried about going too straight).
If I had any doubt that this was worth it, it disappears three months later when the treatment starts to wear off and I realize exactly how much of an assist the keratin was giving in terms of keeping my flyaways in check. POOF! Like Sisyphus again, though I will say this: rolling a boulder every 90 days sure beats having to do it every damn morning.
Eliut Salon is located at 30 East 60th street, 12th floor, New York, NY. Partial keratin treatments at start at $200; full treatments start at $300 and go up to $500.