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Playing It Straight at Home

These four suppliers have recognized the market demand for at-home smoothing treatments.

As consumers continue to flock to salons for pricy keratin treatments formulated to make locks look frizz-free and smooth, a smattering of suppliers have recognized the opportunity to create items for those willing to do the service at home. Even Sephora, seeing a need in the marketplace, went so far as to tap its own supplier to manufacture an exclusive brand, complete with customized packaging. Below, a list of several at-home smoothing treatments with a wide range of price points, length of lastability and skill required to get desired results.

Touch of Keratin
“It’s like a wonderful little secret that gives consumers the ability to get more life out of their keratin treatment,” or simply address their frizz in an instant. So said Doreen Guarneri, founder of professional manufacturer American Culture, maker of Simply Smooth products.

The 2-oz. spray helps make hair refined, keeps ends from splitting and won’t make hair lose body. The item uses “only the purest, highest quality keratin, as well as natural botanicals from plants, apple pulp and vanillin. It’s not a straightening treatment,” Guarneri said.

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To use, the spray should be applied directly after a shampoo (no conditioner) to towel dried hair. The user should then blow dry and flat iron her hair at about 400 degrees. Hair should be left untouched for 24 hours. “The faster you shampoo the faster it wears out,” said Guarneri.

Many users will get a month or more out the treatment, she said. The item sells for $49.95 at Guarneri’s Greenlawn, N.Y.-based salon, The Look, as well as salons across the country. She assured that Simply Smooth Touch of Keratin is made in the U.S. and certified to work within the safe levels established by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and Health Canada.


Keratin Earth
Heleyne Mishan, a former fashion executive and owner of the now-shuttered Cantaloup boutiques in New York, has turned her attention to beauty. She joined her family’s business Emson Inc. in 2009 and is now charged with building the “as seen on TV” product company’s beauty portfolio. The company’s biggest beauty push this year is Keratin Earth, billed as an all-natural, at-home Brazilian-style straightening treatment free of harsh chemicals. The formula relies on the active ingredient called trametes versicolor extract and the protein keratin.

The product is slated to launch with a two-minute informercial today, and a 30-minute informercial is expected to follow. Keratin Earth plans to distribute to key beauty retailers as well. Emson’s infomercial coupled with a retail sales approach helped the firm’s InStyler rotating hair iron sell more than two million units in less than two years.

Keratin Earth — a $79.95 at-home straightener designed to last up to three months — is a four-step system free of formaldehyde, said Mishan. It was developed with Kathleen Croddick, chief executive officer of contract cosmetics and personal care manufacturer Suite K.

The process begins with the provided Keratin Earth Shampoo and Protein Conditioner, followed by an application of the super-thick gel Straightening Therapy (which is left in hair for 20 minutes). The treatment is then washed out with shampoo and the Nourishing Masque is applied. Hair is then blow-dried straight and flat ironed. Users can wash their hair immediately afterward with the Keratin Earth Shampoo and Protein Conditioner, of course. The odorless treatment can be used once every month to straighten waves and loosen tight curls into loose waves. It also is designed to be safe on color-treated, chemically processed or relaxed hair.



Cocolada Keratin Treatment by Rio de Keratin
Cocolada Keratin Treatment aims to give women the same freedom that boxed hair dye has for decades with an at-home hair smoothing treatment.

“I created the professional Lasio line for salon use only,” said Nadine Ramos, chief executive officer of Lasio, who also operates the Lasio Studios salon located at 117 East 7th Street in Manhattan. But, she acknowledges the salon treatment is not for everyone: It is time-consuming and expensive, with prices starting at $250 and up for Keratin Tropic.

She does not expect the Cocolada Keratin Treatment to compete with Lasio’s professional service, as it reaches a different consumer. “You have the woman who isn’t going to the salon,” said Ramos.

Lasio has been testing the at-home treatment for more than a year, and the company maintains it’s formula is gentle enough for pregnant woman and children. It can also be used on colored, highlighted and chemically relaxed hair. The formula relies on the active ingredient Germaben 22, a liquid preservative commonly found in shampoo and conditioner, according to the company.

The process begins with Cocolada Shampoo (no conditioner), a blow-dry, an application of the spray treatment, another blow-dry with a paddle brush, followed by the flat iron. Some 24 hours later, users wash their hair using the shampoo and conditioner provided and hair is said to be free of frizz and full of shine for one month.

The $75 kit is available on and

— M.P.


Eager to play in the burgeoning at-home keratin market, Sephora took the category into its own hands this year and tapped a Delray Beach, Fla., salon manufacturer to make KeratinPerfect, the retailer’s exclusive at-home hair smoothing system, which Sephora designed inside and out.

What claims to make KeratinPerfect different from others, said Lisa Loria, national educational director for the brand, is that it is the first to contain salon-quality keratin.

“If you look at what is going on with do-it-yourself keratin treatments, they are much lower-end, like at-home color treatments, where it’s $9.99 a box,” she said. “We have taken salon-grade keratin and use the same content used in salons. Our formulas are primarily keratin-derived from sheep’s wool so they have hair health in mind first and foremost.” Loria added that wheat and soy proteins, provitamin B5 and argan oil are also ingredients in formulas.

KeratinPerfect uses ReBonding Technology, which the firm said “works to fill and repair weak keratin bonds” — to fill in rough, dry crevices that make hair appear frizzy and dull. The PerfectHair 30-Day Brazilian Hair Smoothing System does not break hair bonds, said the firm, but instead “smooths and nourishes” to make blow-drying and styling easier.

The process starts with the PerfectPrep Pre-Treatment Clarifying Shampoo, a towel-dry, and then the comb-in application of ThePerfector 30-Day Hair Smoothing Treatment. After waiting 10 minutes for the formula to penetrate the cuticle, the user blow-dries her hair, followed by a thorough flat ironing. Loria recommends users wait 48 hours before shampooing or getting hair wet or doing anything that will make an impression on the hair, such as wearing an elastic.

KeratinPerfect is getting its own end cap at Sephora beginning May 12. Three different kits will be sold, priced from $65 to $235, depending on the items in a kit (the most pricy includes a titanium flat iron, for example). Shampoos, conditioners and after products are also sold à la carte, such as KeratinPerfect PerfectShine Keratin Oil, KeratinPerfect PerfectRenew Daily Keratin Replenishing Spray and KeratinPerfect PerfectRescue Intense Keratin Repair Serum, which will sell for $35 and $40.

— A.N.