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Hair's natural levels of protein decrease with age, causing a frizzy, dull texture. The treatment redeposits keratin, a type of protein, which fills in the ridges of curls to unwind them, offering the look of a fresh salon blowout every day. Conditioners like coconut oil add softness and shine.What's the time commitment?
About two hours. A specially trained stylist applies the formula, then seals it into the cuticle with heat, using a blow-dryer and a flatiron.But what if I don't want stick-straight strands?
It's up to you how sleek you get. Depending on your hair texture and goals, your stylist will instruct you to wash out the treatment after 24, 48, or 72 hours for the fullest effect. The longer you leave it on, the silkier and smoother your hair will be.Will it damage my hair?
Traditional chemical straighteners often contain lye, which breaks the natural curl bonds. That can mean dry strands and fuzzy roots when new hair grows in. This doesn't alter those bonds and gradually washes out, fading after three to four months.Can I shampoo as usual?
To max out the life of the keratin treatment, use a sodium chloride-free shampoo (check the ingredients list).How much does it cost -- and where can I get it?
The treatment starts at about $300, depending on your location. Find a salon near you at keratincomplex.com.What FITNESS Staffers Said
"My hair no longer frizzes up, even in the rain. And I love how much shinier and longer it looks."
-- Elaine Roake, photo director
"Humidity left me looking like a poodle. Now I'm straight 24/7. Plus, I can air-dry after a workout!"
-- Hillary Moloney, assistant fashion editor
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.