Back in June, I had a hair treatment that I’m convinced totally saved my hair. I’ve complained about my curly, frizzy, damaged hair here before, but all you need to know is that I spent most of college destroying my hair with straightening treatments that left my hair feeling like straw. After finally acknowledging the damage had gotten out of hand and letting it grow back in curly (from the roots… with stick straight ends…) I vowed I’d never put my hair through the ringer like that again. For the past few years, I’ve left it natural on days where I don’t have plans and become addicted to blowouts (or touching up with a curling iron) on days when I had a shoot or an event.

design darling keratin treatment

{How my hair air dried a couple weeks after the keratin treatment. Hello, shine!}

But this summer I was heading to Nantucket for the two months leading up to our wedding and was desperate for a hair treatment that would let me swim in the ocean as often as possible (without fear of how my hair would dry on its own) and that would relieve me of my weekly blowout addiction (which would be that much more expensive on Nantucket). I’d heard friends rave about keratin treatments for curly/frizz-prone hair (and I’d even given it a go a few years ago in New York) but my desperation for beachy, frizz-free hair on our wedding day prompted me to give it another go. Maybe it’s because my hair had finally bounced back from all the hell I put it through in college, but this keratin treatment worked like a charm. I swear it completely changed my hair this summer!

{How my hair looked when I left the salon — ironed pin straight to seal in the treatment}

I went to Frederic Fekkai in Greenwich and can’t say enough good things about the experience. First of all, I sat in a massage chair during the initial shampoo (WHY doesn’t every salon have this); second, the entire thing took less than two hours; third, it cost less than half what my straightening treatments cost more than five years ago; and lastly, it completely changed the texture of my hair while actually adding nutrients instead of destroying them. If you’ve ever done a straightening treatment, you know the process takes forever, costs an arm and a leg, and you can only enjoy the results for a few weeks before your roots start growing in curly… Consider me a keratin convert.

frederic fekkai greenwich

{Frederic Fekkai in Greenwich — see their other locations here}

A few questions I’m anticipating…

  1. How much does it cost? $300+ plus tip (I’m sure this varies depending on hair length and your salon and location).
  2. How long does it last? I had my first treatment the last week of June and I’m planning to book my next appointment sometime in November — even 3+ months later, my hair is way more manageable than it is when left to its own devices. I was told it could last up to six months depending on the person.
  3. What does the treatment entail? An initial shampoo, a blow dry, treatment application then sitting for 30 minutes, shampoo out, blow dry, flat iron to seal in treatment. I was in and out in under two hours!
  4. Does it make your hair straight? For me, my hair went from curly and frizzy to wavy and shiny. It’s not straight on its own, but I can blow dry it straight in less than half the time it used to take me! I still use a flat iron or a curling iron from time to time, but my hair is exposed to the heat for so much less time than it used to be.
  5. Does it make your hair greasy? Having less curly hair definitely means my hair gets dirty faster, but I’ve just stocked up on dry shampoo (this and this are my favorites so far), plus I’m not as annoyed about having to wash my hair in the first place because it dries so much more manageably.
  6. Is it bad for your hair? This is the best part: the keratin treatment uses a formaldehyde-free solution packed with proteins that wrap around each individual strand, so it actually makes your hair healthier, hence the extra shine.
  7. Do you have to wait to shower after the treatment? Yes, my stylist (Russell if you’re in Greenwich/NYC!) recommended keeping my hair dry for 24 hours.
  8. Do you have to use a special shampoo? Yes, I bought this shampoo and this conditioner at the salon on the day of the treatment and have since gone back for seconds. Russell gave me this insight: if you think of a bowl of M&Ms that has been sitting out for a while, the outer shell of each candy is exactly as it was when they were initially set out. The second you pop one in your mouth, however, that shell dissolves quickly, and cannot be returned to its original state. Russell said that using a shampoo with sulfates can totally strip your hair of that protective keratin shell, and once the damage is done, there’s no getting that shell back without another treatment. I left my salon-approved shampoo and conditioner in our outdoor shower all summer so I wouldn’t accidentally use a different shampoo, and honestly I think that’s why this treatment worked so much better for me this time around — I didn’t appreciate the importance of sticking to sulfate-free products the first time around, so the treatment wore off faster and wasn’t as life-changing!

design darling keratin

{How my hair air dries 3+ months after the keratin treatment: more wavy than curly, with zero frizz!}

Have you ever done a keratin treatment? What other treatments have you tried for your hair? I’m so not an expert when it comes to hair and makeup so I love hearing from all of you!


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  1. Hi! How is your hair growing back in? That is my biggest concern when thinking about getting this! (Also the fear I will one day want to wear my hair curly but in reality I never do…)

    1. The keratin treatment just slowly comes out all over, compared to the straightening treatment where your ends stay pin straight and your roots grow in curly (trust me: nightmare!). So as my roots grow in curlier, the rest of my hair has gotten curlier too. And if you do want curly hair again, it will only be 5 or 6 months 🙂

  2. I just had a similar treatment done called Pravana Smoothout! Its pretty much the same thing, an all natural keratin treatment, and same cost too. Loving the results as well!

  3. I go to Fekkai Greenwich for my keratin too! It’s a great salon. After the treatment, my hair is less frizzy but not as straight as yours. Blow drying timing is noticeably shorter and easier, which is a God send.

  4. I have super curly and frizzy hair and started doing Keratin treatments. I quickly realized like you how they changed my hair. If you consistently get them done they tend to last longer than the expected time.

  5. I have curly hair too and I’ve been contemplating getting a treatment done to tame the frizz. Thank you for the helpful info! Your hair looks so good! 🙂