This New Smoothing Treatment Is the Gentle, Non-Toxic Version of Old-School Keratin

It lasts just as long and doesn't sting your eyes in the process.

Person with long straight black hair staring at viewer
Photo: Unsplash

I've had a full head of difficult-to-control frizz since I can remember.

Growing up, I spent hours burning my hair to an inch of its life with a flat iron blazing at its highest setting, so when I discovered keratin hair treatments, I fell hard. They smoothed my hair and made my life easier. However, I didn't love the process of getting them done: burning eyes as formaldehyde filled the air, watching my stylist wear a face mask to protect themself from the toxic fumes, not being able to put my hair up or let it get wet for several days, etc. But, they made my life easier and, over time, made my hair healthier as I no longer had to use as many hot tools.

I continued to get keratin treatments until I eventually learned about the CROWN treatment, a non-toxic version that's completely void of formaldehyde. I was skeptical at first, and it wasn't until I left the salon with wet hair and saw my hair dry smoothly and completely free of frizz that I finally came around.

Since then, I've swum in the ocean and washed my hair countless times, and each time my hair dries in the same no-fuss way. Plus, my hair dries so much faster than it used to and it feels healthier than before as I've been able to put my hot tools away. To say I'm a fan of the CROWN treatment would be an understatement.

What sets the CROWN treatment apart from keratin smoothing treatments?

  1. Your eyes won't sting. When you get a traditional keratin treatment, your eyes will typically tear at some point during the process due to the formaldehyde causing sensitivity. Since this formula is void of it, stinging isn't a side effect.
  2. You can wash your hair the same day. With traditional smoothing treatments, you can't wash your hair for up to three days and are advised against styling it as the indents could alter the effects of the keratin. With the CROWN treatment, you can wash your hair the same day, heat style, or use any hair accessories you want.
  3. It uses proprietary technology. Traditional keratins coat each strand from root to tip in the same ingredient, but the CROWN treatment uses five high-tech "Acro-Core" molecules that are attracted to the places where they're needed. "It's because of this that there's no breakage or limp, lifeless hair as a result," says celebrity hairstylist Jason Backe. "This technology is a real game-changer."
  4. It lasts longer. A traditional keratin treatment will typically last three to five months, whereas the CROWN treatment lasts between five and seven months.
  5. You can customize your treatment. A really cool factor of the CROWN treatment is that you and your stylist can choose between four formulas to find one that works with your natural texture and desired results. If you want to maintain your curl pattern but cut down on the frizz, for example, you can do that.

What ingredients are used in the CROWN treatment?

The proprietary "Acro-Core" molecules consist of wheat germ, açai juice, mustard oil, keratin, and bio ceramide. Together they smooth hair, boost shine, promote elasticity, increase moisture levels, eliminate frizz, and eradicate free radicals. The formula uses more than 20% natural active ingredients, which is massive in comparison to others, especially considering this doesn't factor in water as an ingredient.

The activation part of the process happens after the hair has been washed, the formula has been applied and has set on your hair for an hour, the hair has been dried, and then washed again. I asked for my hair to be straightened, but your stylist can also style it differently if you prefer to maintain a wave or curl. Once the formula has been washed out, you're good to go.

How long does the CROWN treatment last?

With proper care, the smoothing effects can last up to seven months. "As you shampoo, your hair changes so using the proper home care is going to help extend that long-lasting power," says Backe. For the best results, make sure to use nourishing shampoos and conditioners free of sulfates and other harsh ingredients. Instead, look for gentle formulas that replenish ceramides in your hair.

How much does the CROWN treatment cost?

As with most professional treatments, whether it's Botox, a haircut, or something else, it depends on where you go and who does your service. However, Backe says you can expect treatments to cost anywhere between $300 and $1,200, depending on the density and length of your hair and where you get it done.

Where can you get the CROWN treatment?

While it's widely available in Canada, it's currently only available in the U.S. at select salons in California, Texas, and New York. Call your salon to double-check before booking your appointment.

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