Which is what you want just before you bring a teeny human home from the hospital, isn’t it?
And that’s precisely why I did what I did.
What did I did?
I booked in for the bhave™ smoothe™ keratin therapy (which is Aussie-made and entirely free of formaldehyde, because the days of keratin smoothing treatments with formaldehyde are OVER) (or really should be) and is a nourishing smoothing treatment for the hair that kicks frizz and tames curls for 2-4 months.
I have tried Another Brand of keratin smoothing previously, which was fine, but after doing an event with the lovely Nikki Parkinson from Styling You in February and hearing her rave about how much she loved bhave, (and she lives in Frizzbane, so she really gets the need for smooth, fast hair) I wanted a go.
Why I did what I did:
Keratin smoothing treatments are well-loved because they give those of us with tricky mops the famed ‘wash and go’ hair we read so much about in magazines and in Disney stories. I want this hair as I head into newborn territory. Very much. And, after two weeks, I can vouch that bhave has made my grooming/hair/appearance approximately 458% easier and swifter. I just wash hair. Dry it off with hair dryer. Use brush if can be bothered. Go. You know, the stuff of godamn dreams.
What’s the process?
I went to the wee little Reveur Cheveux salon in McKinnon where Neil Cleminson – Creative & Technical Director of bhave (a brand also boasting a lovely range of wash and care and styling products – all sulphate and sodium chloride free – as well as the keratin therapy) performed the miracle. It took around three hours all up. I have fine hair, coloured hair, damaged hair, and none of these things mattered. Any hair type can do it.
What happened to my hair?
For the first 48 hours your hair will be REAL flat. That’s cos it’s setting. And you’re not to touch it. It took me back to my days of getting permanent ionic hair straightening (“Japanese straightening”) back in the early 2000s. I was obsessed. Seven hours in a dingy Chinatown salon was nothing to a young squid back then. Hangovers, Snickers and magazines were my faithful companions. It allowed me to have a fringe and hair extensions and all manner of previously ‘straight-hair’ only joy. Was a real shit when it grew out though.. Pube scalp, we affectionately called it.
My hair during the ‘setting’ stage of bhave. Highlights suddenly SO light!
As soon as I washed my bhave hair, the flatness racked off. As a fine-haired babe you do wonder if you’ll be left with nothing, but in fact it’s just very silky and smooth. Feels healthy. Happy. Sure, it requires a bit of mousse and blow-drying if I want volume, but to be honest, the quick dry off with a barrel brush does the job for me. And I do mean quick – this is hair that dries in less than five minutes. I love the speed but I also love the obedience.
Also, rain? Whatever. It impacts my hair not one bit. This is a Big Deal for a life-long member of the Frizz Society.
I should mention that my curly hair did go straight with the treatment, (it still has some body, to be fair) but you can request maintaining your wave if you like. (It’s a keratin-infused smoothing treatment after all, not a straightening treatment.) I figure since as the treatment wears off my curls will return anyway, why not go straight, yeah? (Plus, straight, silky hair makes a high ponytail super swishy and cheerleady, a secret hairstyle love of mine.) And I can easily tong in some waves if I want them.
In terms of my colour, it really faded it. I was practically a blonde when I left Neil. That’s why you should wait til your hair needs colouring (and cutting) when you book in for your smoothing treatment. It will just nick all your colour so don’t waste your cash colouring beforehand. Neil recommends waiting at least a week (with two washes in there) before colouring and cutting.
Regarding colouring and cutting:
I was so bloody due for it. Even before I had bhave. So a week after my smoothe treatment, I waddled off to Elliott Steele in Ivanhoe to see Carly, who owns the salon and who is a top dog colourist for OriginalMineral, a company whose salon colour I have loved for a long time. Carly was one of those babes you instantly get along with, and I promise the fact she was also pregnant had nothing to do with it. It felt like I was in a sitcom salon, yknow? Where everyone is warm and having fun and are mates and I’m sure a bottle of wine sneaks out at 5pm each day.
Carly, using O&M’s splendid CCT (Clean Color Technology, AKA free of ammonia and nasties) went over the top section of my hair with a lovely, cool, ashy dark blonde/light brown semi (I wanted to go a bit darker than usual) and then toned the lighter ends with a slightly lighter shade of the same ashy dark blonde.
ASHY and COOL, as always, are my key words when having my hair coloured. I bloody hate red tones. And if you do too, you’ll never utter the words CHOCOLATE, or WARM or RICH when explaining the kind of brunette you would like to be.
Then Carly snipped off some ends (a good thing to do after bhave, since the straightness accentuates any splitsies) and quickly blow-dried it (impossible to slowly blow-dry hair that has had bhave) and I was off.
Here’s how it looked the day after. (Hair ALWAYS looks better the second day.)
I always look like I just woke up since being pregnant. Cute.
Would I recommend it?
Yes. I may only wash my hair twice a week, but the styling and setting of my curly, fine, frizzy, tricky hair that follows (I am a fan of the old-school mousse/blow-dry/tong procedure which then lasts 3-4 days) takes TIME and I have been told roughly 627 times a day that that is one commodity new mums do not have. (As long as we get to eat sashimi, I’m okay with that.)
It’s also great if you’re going off traveling or to a very humid climate (the last time I did keratin smoothing was before living in NYC for summer – a veritable frizz orgy.)
NB: There has been some conflict over whether keratin smoothing treatments (along with, oh, you know, everything) are safe for pregbots, however there is so far no evidence of any adverse effects. Safety came into question because the old formulas were BURSTING with atrocious chemicals and in truth were probably unsafe for any woman, pregnant or not. But formulas have changed. Despite Neil cautiously suggesting I wait until after I’d had the baby (most stylists will, to err on the side of caution/avoid litigation/play it safe, which is far better than them not ) I researched thoroughly, and decided that since bhave is completely free of formaldehyde (as well as any ingredients that break down into formaldehyde) I was fine with it going on my hair. Also, bhave doesn’t flat-iron in the product at a temp that causes fumes and steam – another reason these treatments were to be avoided. Bottom line: it’s completely a personal decision, just like choosing to highlight your hair or having gels on your nails or a glass of pinot once a week or having narcotics in the delivery room or watching far too much One Born Every Minute.