Straight Beach Hair
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When it comes to my hair, I adhere to the saying “I’ll try anything once.” Balayage, relaxers, you name it—I’m quick to experiment but am rarely a repeat offender. The exception? Keratin treatments. Ever since I tried the first one on my wavy/curly/somewhere-in-between hair, I’ve been hooked. Still, not all treatments are created equal. Some keratin made my hair super limp and matted down, while others caused it to be so stick-straight that it couldn't hold a curl.

So when I booked a two-week trip to Thailand earlier this month, I knew I had to find a heavy-duty treatment that would stand up against the humidity without weighing down my baby-fine hair. After doing some thorough research, I decided to try out Fekkai Smoothing Keratin Treatment. The selling point: It uses the formula Cezanne, a formaldehyde-free solution with the active ingredient sericin, a protein created by silkworm. As opposed to other treatments that lay flat on the hair, sericin wraps around each strand, promising healthier and more manageable locks.

At Fekkai, my colorist talked me through the meticulous process and set expectations. He said that while I couldn’t bank on stick straight hair based on my hair type, it would be manageable and virtually frizz-free—and would last for the rest of the summer (around 3 months). To start, my hair was washed with a clarifying shampoo and blow-dried. He then combed the solution through my hair and left it to set for about 30 minutes. It was rinsed again, but not completely, leaving a little bit of the treatment on the stands. He then blow-dried my hair small sections at a time, and flat-ironed it precisely.

I left the salon feeling super satisfied with my smooth, straight locks, but the real results weren’t apparent until I washed my hair 24-hours later. I felt like a mermaid: Glossy and nearly straight, my hair still had a little bend at the ends—far from the overcooked-spaghetti texture that I had experienced from past treatments. But the real love affair with my hair didn’t begin until I was backpacking through northern Thailand in 100° heat (and 90% humidity), when my hair stayed smooth, frizz-free, and air-dried beautifully (see photo below, where I'm sitting on a boat in Bangkok and only pretending not to be sweating through my shirt). Since plugging in any sort of hairstyling appliances in our low-budget hostels was pretty much out of the question, this treatment was the best travel investment I could have made.

Leah's Instagram
Credit: leahroseabrahams/Instagram

Now that I’m back in the states, I simply rough dry my hair for five minutes when I get out of the shower. I'll maybe add some bend to the front pieces with my curling iron if I'm going out, but even with that step, my hair takes me 15 minutes to style, tops.

As most people who have had straightening treatments know, using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner is crucial, but I admit that I’ve skimped on this rule in the past. However, the Fekkai colorist drove the point home. “Washing your hair just three times with a regular shampoo could totally undo all of the effects of the treatment,” he told me. Needless to say, I’ve been diligent with my sulfate-free product commitment this time around, and it shows: already one month in, my hair feels just as smooth as the day I left the salon. I am now one of those girls I used to envy who can “shower and go”—even if just for the summer months!