Oh, summer. It's a time when hemlines get shorter, happy hours get longer, and vacations are in order. In New York City, summer also means being drenched in sweat before you even arrive at the office. While I do love a good sundress, I could do without the 80 percent humidity and the havoc it wreaks on my hair.
During one particularly atrocious heat wave (with no AC), I sat in my bed with my damp hair plastered to my forehead thinking, “This is it. This is the end. I’m shaving my head.” Obviously, I was being overly dramatic, but it happens that timing was in my favor, as the next day Takamichi Hair informed me of their new Cezanne Keratin Express Treatment. The stomach-flip of relief was akin to being blasted in the face with a 15,000 BTU AC unit, set to 64 degrees—just divine.
I’m no stranger to the frizz-fighting treatment. I had one last November, and it was a total game changer. The treatment works by bonding liquid keratin to porous areas in the hair shaft—the main culprit of frizz and tangles—leaving hair smoother and silkier than before. The Keratin Express promises the same results as the original in half the time (and cost). The downside is that it only lasts half as long. However, with proper care, the results can last up to 2-3 months.
It can be used in a number of ways—either all over the hair or around the face and hairline to keep frazzled fringe in place. If you have fine or oily hair, this treatment is probably not right for you. It works best on medium to thicker hair types with coarseness and/or frizz.
At the salon, Cristina from Takamichi washed my hair three times with a clarifying shampoo, applied the Keratin Express treatment to my hair in sections, and left to process for 15 minutes, the key difference between the original and express. The treatment was slightly rinsed out and my hair was blown dry and meticulously flat-ironed with residual treatment left on my strands. The entire process took just under two hours. One major advantage of the treatment is that you don’t have to wait three days before washing or avoid tucking hair behind the ears. You can return to your normal routine with no consequences, although I like to leave it on overnight for maximum effectiveness.
I washed my hair the next morning and roughly blew it dry without a brush and using minimal styling products. Then, I let it air-dry the rest of the way. Not only did it take 25 minutes from start to finish, but it looked and felt silky smooth. I am so attached to my low-maintenance summer hair that I went an embarrassing number of days (*cough* five *cough*) without shampooing.
The upkeep of a Keratin Express treatment is more about avoidance of products than adding anything new, and you likely already have many of these products in your beauty arsenal. It’s just a matter of being selective and savvy about what you use. The treatment requires that you use a sulfate-free shampoo.
According to Cristina, the best way to prolong the time between washes is to use products that multi-task like lightweight leave-in sprays and sheer hair oil. I was told I could use a light texturizing spray, think Davines This is a Texture Spray, or cream after styling to give hair shape and definition, but to try to avoid anything with heavy silicones, polymers, or waxes, as they can build up on the hair. Dry shampoo is obviously a must, since you will be washing your hair a lot less.
When you’ve finally reached CDSS—critical dry shampoo saturation—my pro told me it’s best to “clarify” your hair weekly with a gentle, natural shampoo. In between washes, using a light cleansing cream will gently cleanse and refresh the hair, giving you that coveted second-day hair. Another thing to note is that keratin treatments can slightly fade colored hair, but a color-depositing deep conditioner could help replenish warm or cool tones.
As far as I see it, a small amount of maintenance is a fair tradeoff for hair that practically styles itself. I feel more confident, less stressed, and every article of clothing I put on just looks that much better. I’ve challenged myself to try morning exercise classes, and I even walked in the rain without an umbrella. Bold, I know.
Had I known that my perfect summer hair was just two hours and a bottle of dry shampoo away, I would have done this ages ago.
Cristina Boatman is a stylist at Takamichi Hair, takamichihair.com