Hair Botox--Fad or Fab?

The good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to keratin treatments, hair botox, and other hair products

Woman receiving Botox above head.

Courtesy of Town & Country.

  Hair Botox is a hair treatment that aims to improve the overall condition and appearance of the hair. Despite its name, Hair Botox does not contain botulinum toxin (the active ingredient in cosmetic Botox injections). The term "Hair Botox" is primarily used for marketing to describe the rejuvenating and conditioning effects of the treatment. Instead, it describes a specific type of deep conditioning treatment because it is similar to how actual botox works. Ingredients that are used within the "hair botox" are: 

  • vitamin E
  • vitamin B5
  • caviar oil
  • antioxidants
  • collagen complex
  • Bont-L Peptide
  • Intra Cylane 

The main ingredient that determines whether or not a product is used for "hair botox" is collagen complex. This is used to coat the hair fibers and condition them to make them seem fuller. A combination of conditioning agents, vitamins, proteins, amino acids, and the ingredients listed makes up the treatment. Hair Botox treatments typically involve the application of this specialized formula. These ingredients are designed to penetrate the hair shaft and provide intensive hydration, nourishment, and repair to the hair. 

How do these ingredients condition your hair? The moisturizing agent within this hair concoction would be caviar oil. In other products, it may use argan oil or macadamia oil. For the hair cuticle, antioxidants (Vitamins C and E) are used to restore the cuticle and help prevent hair shedding over time. Finally, the collagen we mentioned before determines whether a product is "hair botox" or not. It fills in damaged, frayed, and dry hair by binding the proteins within the conditioner. 

Wait, doesn't this involve needles?!

Luckily, No! Unlike the name sounds, no actual injections take place on the scalp. It is instead a conditioning agent to treat frayed hairs.  Hair Botox is a cosmetic treatment and does not have the same muscle-paralyzing effects as the botulinum toxin used in cosmetic injections. The term "Hair Botox" is primarily a marketing name used to describe the rejuvenating and conditioning effects of the treatment.

Various bottles of Hair Botox 
Not only can you get the treatment in the salon, but you can also find Hair botox in stores near you. Image courtesy of Daytroshop

What’s the process? 

First, the hair is washed with shampoo to open the cuticles to prepare for the conditioning agent. Then, the Hair Botox formula is applied to the hair, from the roots to the ends, and massaged thoroughly. The hair is usually covered with a plastic cap or wrapped in a towel to enhance the absorption of the product. This is left on the wet hair for 20-90 minutes to ensure the product works. 

The Hair Botox formula is then rinsed out of the hair, then blow-dried and styled as desired. Some hair salons may use additional heat, such as a flat iron or hair dryer, to seal in the treatment and provide a smoother finish.

Woman receiving a hair treatment at a salon.
If you're looking to replenish and re-condition your hair a hair botox treatment could be great.


So what can I expect after the treatment?

The effects of Hair Botox can vary depending on the individual's hair type and condition. However, the treatment is generally considered to provide several benefits. 

  • reduce frizz
  • repair damaged hair 
  • improve manageability
  • restore moisture
  • add shine 
  • make the hair healthier and vibrant

 It can also temporarily smooth out the hair cuticles, resulting in a straighter, more polished look.

If you're interested in getting a Hair Botox treatment, you should visit a professional hair salon or stylist who is experienced in the procedure. They can assess your hair's condition, provide personalized recommendations, and ensure the treatment is applied correctly and safely.

Side effects of hair botox

For a majority of the time, hair botox treatments are safe for any person that is looking to get their hair replenished. But communicate with your cosmetologist or look at the ingredients list on any products just in case you are sensitive to any of the ingredients or chemicals that are in the product. Always make sure that you try a dab on your skin before diving straight in and applying all of the product at once. Being safe is always better than having an itchy, burning scalp. 

So what about keratin gels?

Keratin gels are made from using high concentrations of keratin protein. These proteins are capable of repairing the internal shaft of the hair by replenishing lost proteins from over washing or too much hair product use, bleaching, or dying. Close to hair botox, keratin gels reduce frizziness and get hair to a soft and smooth texture. 

Keratin vs. Hair botox

Keratin gels at home normally only utilize keratin proteins, vitamins, and some other polymers within the products, but keratin treatments in salons utilize formaldehyde to strengthen the hair. Formaldehyde is also linked to having cancer causing agents but unlike hair botox, it does not contain these harsh chemicals to sustain a long lasting, non-frizzy look. 

In salon keratin treatments utilize these chemicals for the longevity of the results. The presence of the chemicals and heat treatments locks the hair into a state of non-friziness. But over long periods of time the integrity of your hair will diminish and the presence of such substances is not good for you or your hair. 

At the salon, it is better for your hair to ask for a hair botox treatment. But for at home products, keratin gels do not contain these harsh chemicals and can be used daily. 

Rice water shampoos? 

After you treat your hair to some pampering with either some hair botox for conditioning or keratin gels to repair the shaft of the hair follicle, damaging your hair with sulfates, parabens, and other chemicals that are present in many kinds of shampoos and conditioners would be a terrible idea. You just put all the time, effort, and money into getting your hair to have a liquidy look to it. Why waste it? One great product to use would be rice water shampoos and conditioners. 

For hundreds of years (primarily in Asian companies), people have been using fermented rice water for hair care. Rice water contains vitamins, proteins, and minerals that will nourish and soften your hair. These shampoos promote 

  • Dexterity 
  • Relief for dry or irritated scalps
  • Shine and strength
  • Growth

So after you are done using hair botox or keratin gels to revitalize the hair, drop the sulfate-containing products and utilize a centuries old practice that is not only good for your hair but takes advantage of the natural properties of rice!

Costs of hair botox

The cost of an inhouse hair botox treatment can go anywhere between $150-$300. So if this seems a bit pricey for you there are at home hair botox treatments you could purchase from sites like Amazon or Walmart that cost between $35-$50. Just be sure to read all of the ingredients and do your research to ensure that these products would be of use to your hair type and yield results you seek. 

Salon Keratin treatments can ring you up to $400 depending on what is involved in the treatment or where exactly you are going to get the treatment done. For at home gels, they can cost between $5-$50 online, depending on whether you are using shampoo, gels, or various other keratin infused products. 

Finally rice water shampoos can cost anywhere between $5-$20 depending on the brand and the amount that you are purchasing. 

Image of Kim Kardashian with really smooth hair. 
Liquid Hair refers to the look of extremely glossy hair and is a hashtag that’s been trending on sites on instagram from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. Image courtesy of Glamour.


Rachel Lapidos from Bustle states this about Hair botox- 

 “After the treatment, I survived a whopping five days until my next wash. In that entire duration, I saw zero frizz and couldn’t stop running my fingers through my hair. But, as you might imagine, I was nervous to finally shampoo — according to Ohlmeyer, though, you can do your regular washing and styling routine without wrecking its results… Once my strands air-dried, I realized I had nothing to worry about. My hair still looked fabulous.”

Nora Huber from Naturally Curly said this about Keratin treatments-

In general, yes I had a positive experience and it mostly fulfilled its promises. My advice is that you should be prepared and  well-informed before you head into the salon for a chemical treatment, and find a stylist who is very knowledgeable. In my experience the “Five months only, semi-permanent” promise turned out to be false. I think this treatment is excellent for curlies who are looking for a considerable amount of frizz reduction, who want to spend less time and money styling the hair on a daily basis, and who have no problems with potentially altering their curl pattern permanently. 

Angie Zangs said this about a rice shampoo on Amazon

My husband has a very difficult time finding shampoo that doesn't make his scalp break out with irritating scabs (tried professional varieties and medicated varieties too). This is the only shampoo that has not done that! He has a nice head of hair and this helps to sustain that. The bar lasts a LONG time too, so don't let the price scare you off. He pairs it with a rice water conditioner (not a bar but a different product).

The Last Rinse

To close, just ensure you do your research for any of your hair replenishing needs. Depending upon your hair type and hair health, that can be the determining factor for deciding which of these products to use. Make sure to have a well trained and knowledgeable cosmetologist to decide what treatments are best for you. And if you are looking to do at home treatments, do a little test dab to make sure you are not sensitive to any of the ingredients in the products. Be safe and happy styling!

Christian Mitchell

Christian Mitchell is a Biology major at Slippery Rock University. He has strong aspirations for writing and is seeking to become a freelancer.
See All Posts >>

You Might Also Like...