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By Elizabeth Nichols


Summer comes with a raft of beauty benefits, including glowing, sun-kissed skin and shimmering natural highlights from the sun. But it can also come with challenges, particularly for those with long, thick, frizzy or wavy hair. For those whose hair looks best after it’s been tended to by a professional hairstylist, or at least some quality time with a blow dryer on their own, looking polished after an impromptu dip in the ocean or pool can prove difficult. 

But this is hardly a reason not to partake fully in summer activities, and luckily, there is a raft of treatments available to help everyone’s hair emerge from the water in tip-top shape. One of the foremost among these is a keratin treatment, which is performed by a professional in a salon.

“Keratin treatments help smooth frizz by replenishing protein,” says Lizzie Caplan, Senior Stylist at Soon Beauty Lab Fort Greene. “Think of a hair strand as a bumpy road. Keratin fills the “potholes” with protein for a smoother, shinier finish.” Keratin treatments can help people achieve a more polished look without a professional blow-dry, and can also make for a smoother air-dry for those post-beach, post-pool moments when a time with a blow dryer might not be on the agenda. 

But there are complications that come with keratin treatments too. ​​In the past, many keratin treatments contained formaldehyde, not to mention parabens and sulfates. “These products are not only extremely dangerous to inhale, but may cause damage and breakage,” Caplan says. It’s essential when looking for a keratin treatment provider to make sure that the formulas they are using are clean and nontoxic, i.e., formaldehyde-free. “Many states have banned harmful chemicals in beauty and wellness products,” Caplan says. “But drugstore brands are notorious for misleading labeling and faux wellness rhetoric. Keep it simple: see from a professional salon.” 

And for those looking for keratin-like treatments that have been built from the ground up specifically to avoid some of the problems that plagued traditional keratin treatments in the past, alternatives exist. At the Julien Farel salon in New York, Rudy Pena has developed a formula called the Zero Frizz Quickie that achieves many of the same results as keratin without any of the potential side effects. Another option is the Pura Luxe smoothing treatment, which is available at salons around the country. Pura Luxe works even on previously chemically straightened hair, and is based on natural proteins and essential oils. It leaves hair frizz-free and full of natural shine — all the better to facilitate impromptu jumps in the ocean and pool — without sacrificing a bit when it comes to health and wellness. 

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