Harpers Bazaar November 28, 2022

Harpers Bazaar


What Is Hair Botox?


All about the (needle-free) hair-smoothing treatment.

There is no shortage of hair products that can help smooth frizz, add shine, or make hair look fuller. But not many can say they do all three—especially long-term. A popular in-salon hair treatment, however, may be the key to all of the above, and then some: hair Botox. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve needles.

Similar to the way wrinkle reducers like Xeomin or Botox Cosmetic smooth fine lines on the skin for a few months, hair Botox acts as a semipermanent deep conditioner, smoothing hair for about the same length of time. Otherwise, the two treatments couldn’t be more different; in fact, hair Botox is actually much more related to another popular treatment. “It’s very similar to a keratin treatment, except it does not have harsh chemicals,” Cedric, master hairstylist and owner of Cedric Salon at the Lotte New York Palace hotel, explains.

To find out more about this trending treatment, we get the scoop from Cedric, as well as two more hair pros. Ahead, they break down what hair Botox is, who should get it, and how much it costs.

What Is Hair Botox, Exactly?

For starters, it’s way less invasive than it sounds. According to Cedric, hair Botox “provides deep conditioning and coats the hair with fillers like keratin, filling in broken spots.” This process helps achieve the appearance of fuller, thicker hair.

So that injectable-inspired name? Just effective marketing. “There are no needles,” Cedric says. That being said, if a syringe appears at your appointment, don’t panic. “Some brands do use a fake ‘needle’ to apply the product on the hair, but it’s just for show,” Cedric explains.

According to Jessica Page, a hairstylist, hair educator, and instructor based in Bountiful, Utah, the name may also reference the treatment’s hair anti-aging properties. “Unlike getting injected in the face, hair Botox is simply using a deep-conditioning treatment to repair damage and prolong hair health. The treatments can reduce the effects of aging hair,” Page says. It’s also important to note that there isn’t just one type of hair Botox; different formulas can be used for different hair types and textures. “Which treatment you use will determine the ingredients that will help your hair health,” Page says.

What Are the Benefits of Hair Botox?

Although hair Botox formulas differ, they’re all similar in that they infuse hair with loads of nourishing and strengthening ingredients. “The treatment contains vitamins like B5 that will bring oxygen to the scalp for healthy hair and natural fatty acids like omega-3 to give fullness to the hair,” Raven Hurtado, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, says.

Think of it as a high-octane deep conditioner that leaves hair looking fuller, healthier, and smoother. “Some benefits can include repairing internal and external damage, repelling humidity, improving color, and reducing the effects of aging hair,” Page says.

Although it may sound similar to a keratin treatment on paper, there are some key differences. Namely, hair Botox does not release formaldehyde—which the CDC defines as a known carcinogen—when applied. “The difference between hair Botox and a regular keratin treatment is that hair Botox is nonchemical and more of a conditioning treatment to revitalize and repair dry, damaged hair, and also plump up the hair to bring it back to life,” Hurtado says. “A keratin treatment contains more chemicals that are applied to make hair smoother, relaxed, and frizz free.”

Is Hair Botox Safe for All Hair Types?

Yes, and just about everyone can benefit from hair Botox. “This treatment can be done on all hair types and is best for anyone who would like more shine and less frizz,” Cedric says. “It’s particularly great for damaged hair, because it smooths and strengthens.”

Again, the main reason some stylists (and clients) may prefer hair Botox to a keratin treatment is the chemical makeup of the product itself. Hurtado says it’s also safe for pregnant clients and adds that “it’s nonchemical, so you’re not inhaling fumes.”

How Long Does Hair Botox Last?

Hair Botox is semipermanent. “The benefits can last up to two to four months depending how often you wash your hair,” Hurtado says. To help extend the life of your treatment, she also recommends using a hair mask once a week to maintain moisture and smoothness.

How Much Does Hair Botox Cost?

In addition to its other many benefits, hair Botox can also be somewhat less expensive than a keratin treatment (which can cost upward of $400). Depending on where you go, “it can range from $25 to $150 depending on which product is used,” Page says, adding that it may be offered as either an add-on or a primary service at salons.