Even if you used to have a manageable mop, that probably changed the minute you stepped off the plane here – into the relative humidity of 95 percent. No wonder Singapore’s top salons offer such a variety of effective hair-straightening and frizzy hair treatments like hair botox and keratin treatments.
Like degrees of psychosis, crazy hair exists on a spectrum. Milder cases will benefit from gentler, less invasive treatments. The thicker, wilder and woollier your hair diagnosis, the stronger the stuff required to do the job!
So, once again, we sent out our review gang – each with uniquely different hair – to try some top smoothing and anti-frizz treatments. And here they are.
The Expat Hair Studio keratin treatment
Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment (NKST)
I’ve always wanted to be a glossy-haired beauty strolling about Singapore, instead of a frizzy Sweaty Betty. But I have naturally wavy hair that is extremely hard to manage in this climate. What’s more, I love my early morning gym sessions before work, and I don’t have time to tame my mane.
I’ve been a client of The Expat Hair Studio for many years, and stylist Kat is a friend. I have tried many smoothing treatments, but when Kat and Andrew suggested NKST and explained how it worked, I knew I was in good hands
My appointment started with a cappuccino before graduating to wine, cheese and biscuits, a welcome treat. Kat worked wonders on my colour before Andrew started the treatment. His head-massage skills are genius!
The entire hair-straightening treatment took around two-and-a-half hours, and the results should last for three months. They recommend you avoid washing your hair or swimming for the first three days, and not have any chemical hair service such as colour for two weeks.
The result was phenomenal! My hair felt soft and looked smooth and glossy, while my highlights and colour still looked great.
Curious to see if I could maintain the results, I found over the next few weeks that the treatment had dramatically reduced blow-drying time and effort, while my hair still looked soft and smooth. The final judgment? NKST was a massive hit. My thanks to both Kat and Andrew at Expat Hair.
– Joanne Shaw
Cost: $250 to $350
The Expat Hair Studio
• 422 Joo Chiat Road | 6444 7929
• 40B Boat Quay | 6219 3117
Chez Vous Hair Salon (Main Outlet) anti-frizz treatments
Supreme Sugar Hair Lamination
Having such curly and unruly hair, I’m often asked how I manage it and whether I’ve thought about a hair-straightening treatment. Well, only every day since the age of 13! But I’d always been hesitant– until I heard about Chez Vous’ Supreme Sugar Lamination.
This anti-frizz treatment helps repair and restore your locks by adding a layer of defence against humidity, heat, harsh chemicals and over-washing. Ingredients include sugar-based actives, amino oil collagen and camu camu fruit extract, rich in natural amino acids and glycolic acids.
I’m told that it’s low-fade technology that makes it different from other hair smoothing treatments. What’s more, it can be done immediately after hair colour!
My experience at Chez Vouz was fantastic. The staff offered me refreshments and talked me through every step. This involved a pre-treatment, coating every strand of hair with the Supreme Sugar Hair Lamination product, blow-drying and straightening it to lock in the lamination, washing it with two repairing treatments, and finally styling it.
Because I have such a lot of long hair, my treatment took close to four hours. But for most people, it should take just two hours. Plus, it’s suitable for and won’t damage bleached hair like mine: my colour is just as vibrant as it was. Three washes later, it still feels healthy, glossy and soft with gentle curls. That’s something I never expected, let alone in Singapore’s humidity.
They say that once you try Supreme Sugar Lamination you’ll keep coming back – and I believe it. I think the salon can expect to see me again in three months’ time!
– Megan Hobson
Cost: from $255
Chez Vous Hair: Main Salon
#05-05 Ngee Ann City Podium, 391 Orchard Road
6732 9388 | chezvoushair.com
Chez Vous: HideAway hair-straightening treatment
Bespoke Keratin Treatment
My hair is very thick, and tends to be frizzy, rough and dull. I was hoping that the Bespoke Keratin Treatment at Chez Vous would make it healthier-looking and easier to style.
I arrived 15 minutes early to enjoy the relaxation lounge, unwinding in a massage chair while having a scalp treatment with the low-light laser therapy machine. You have the option of a Quiet Chair Service, where your stylist will not engage in unnecessary small talk.
In a private room, Deon explained that this bespoke anti-frizz treatment would smoothen and straighten my hair, while keeping some natural wave and movement at the ends. He also suggested I have a haircut, as it had been a year since my last trim.
The process consisted of shampooing and drying, application of treatment, processing under heat for 30 minutes, blow-drying and ironing, washing, a-10 minute hydration mask and a final drying and styling. I enjoyed an Aromatic Candle Hand Massage from the add-on services, plus a cup of Mocha from the menu of complimentary drinks and snacks.
Deon explained that the keratin treatment is heat-activated, and gave me tips on blow-drying and maintenance for a longer-lasting effect.
I never thought it possible for my hair to look and feel this good – healthy, shiny and really smooth. A few washes later, and after blow-drying it as Deon showed me, it’s much easier to style and maintain. All it takes is a bit of serum to keep it moisturised.
– Shaamini G
Cost: from $298 (including cut)
Chez Vous Hair: Hideaway
#14-04 Ngee Ann City Tower B, 391B Orchard Road
6219 3558 | chezvoushair.com
Kelture Aveda Salon keratin treatment
The K-Gloss smoothing treatment at Kelture contains keratin plus a proprietary blend of non-toxic, waterbased ingredients to recondition frizzy hair and make it more manageable.
In my perpetual battle to find anti-frizz hair solutions for my fairly thick blonde mane, I’ve had several keratin treatments done over the years. Some resulted in ultra-smooth hair, while others had little to no effect. I guess part of this is due to the concentration of chemicals responsible for the straightening effect.
As my hair is coarse and bleached, I wasn’t prepared to compromise its condition with a formula that relies on chemical straighteners or formaldehyde. It was important for me to keep my hair’s natural body and structure, so I could continue to style it at home.
The K-Gloss process was similar to others I had tried before. First, the hair is washed with a clarifying shampoo. Then the solution is applied in sections. You spend 15 minutes under a heater while your hair is processing. The hair is rinsed, blow-dried, and then flat ironed strand by strand.
I loved that there was absolutely no sensitivity in my eyes during the flat-ironing. The product didn’t give off any fumes, which assured me that it’s free of chemical nasties.
The immediate result was rewarding. Lovely hair, smooth and silky, with no heaviness or unpleasant smell.
As it happens, later that afternoon I stepped out of a cab into a downpour. The experience didn’t result in a return of the dreaded frizz, however. Though the humidity affected the smoothness a bit, it would have been far worse had I not had this hair-straightening treatment. Results are expected to last up to three months – hurrah!
– Karin Galley
Cost: from $280
Plus, quote “Expat Living” when booking to get all of this!
- Travel-size Aveda Smooth Infusion Perfect Blow Dry, 50ml, worth $25
- Travel-size Aveda Botanical Repair Leave-in Conditioner, 50ml, worth $25
- Detangler brush, worth $39
Kelture Aveda Salon
#05-07 Paragon, 290 Orchard Road
6735 6468 | kelture.com.sg
TCL Beauty Studio frizzy hair treatment
TCL Beauty Studio occupies two levels of The Flow, with the hair salon on the lower level and the beauty salon on the upper level. Cubicles are spacious, with plenty of counter-top and surrounding space, yet made private by frosted glass dividers.
I have natural curls and frizzy hair, which is harder to manage now that it’s shoulder-length. After checking the condition of my hair, my hairstylist recommended the Advante Smooth for me, as it’s formulated for curly hair with a coarser texture.
Advante Smooth is a two-step anti-frizz hair treatment aimed at achieving five goals: smoothness, softness, strength, shine and style. The effects should last for about two months.
After washing, the first product application works to repair, seal up and protect the cuticle against heat. It’s left on for about 45 minutes. As this product has lightly acidic properties, I’m told, it will lighten my hair colour slightly.
My comfort level goes up a notch when I see the portable hair-washing basin. There’s nothing like having your hair washed in the privacy of your own cubicle! After washing off the first product, my stylist blow-dries my hair and then uses a flat-iron to straighten it.
Then comes the second step of the treatment, formulated to repair and moisturise while improving the hair’s strength and elasticity. This is left on for 30 minutes. After rinsing it off, my hair receives a final blow-dry.
At the end of three hours, my hair looks smoother, feels lighter and exudes a nice yuzu smell. Thank you, TCL Beauty Studio!
– Chan Ying Ying
Cost: $260 to $350
TCL Beauty Salon
#05-04 The Flow, 66 East Coast Road | 8404 8159
The Runway Hair Salon
After a lovely, drizzly walk through the historic Tanjong Pagar precinct, I climbed the wooden stairs to the welcoming lofty-ceilinged space of The Runway Hair Salon. I may have been fully relaxed, but the same could not be said of my hair. I’d left it to dry naturally – which I never do – to show exactly how curly and frizzy it was. I’d also warned the salon in advance by email.
“Wow! That’s really frizzy!” exclaimed Alester. (I know. I told you so.)
He explained that the new, low-chemical Hair Botox treatment is not a straightener. It’s a smoothing treatment based on new eco-nanotechnology – your guess is as good as mine – and different from anything we’ve had before.
No, it has nothing to do with needles: Hair Botox is just a catchy name that evokes the smoothing, relaxing effect the treatment has on the hair.
Hearing what I was about to do, the other customer – a lovely Singaporean called Joy – raved about Hair Botox and how it had changed her life. (Well, her hair, but that can often feel like the same thing.) Some time ago, years of regular balayage had turned Joy’s mop into a “haystack”, she said, and Alester confirmed. However, six-monthly Hair Botox treatments were keeping it soft and manageable. It looked amazing.
Similar to other smoothing treatments I’ve tried over the years, this one started with a wash, after which Jolyn applied the product quite liberally while carefully combing it through. Damp hair absorbs the product better, apparently. And I was glad to hear there would be no further shampooing: in my experience, the smoothing effects last longer if you can wait for at least 24 hours before washing it out.
After blow-drying my hair straight, she meticulously flat-ironed it at 180 degrees Centigrade. That’s about as much as this candy-floss of mine can take before it frazzles; thicker, stronger hair may require more heat.
The verdict? I’m delighted with the Hair Botox outcome, plus Alester’s expert trim, not to mention his experienced tips on keeping my hair in good shape until my next visit. This is genuinely a gem of a place with a warm, friendly team and a great ambience.
Best of all, this is not a less-effective substitute for the now-banned Brazilian blowout treatments. Several washes later, my hair is still incredibly shiny, superbly soft and as smooth as I’ve ever seen it. No one would guess I’d ever been a curly-top!
– Verne Maree
Cost: $298 (shoulder length); $398 (longer)
The Runway Hair Salon
Level 2, 7A Craig Road
8040 7008 | therunwayhairsalon.com
The Sloane Salon keratin treatment
Silky shiny hair
I am coming to terms with my frizz as I get older, but when I’m shown the back of my head, it’s quite a shock. I have some straight hair on top, but underneath is almost crimped, and the constant colouring has made it dull and lifeless.
Jordan Kwan is London-born and worked at Elizabeth Arden and Selfridges before moving to Hong Kong. He is now in Singapore and has just opened The Sloane Salon at the DUO Galleria.
For my Keratin Treatment ($285), he first washes my hair with a clarifying shampoo to remove other product, and to allow the keratin to penetrate and coat the hair strands. The (Goldwell) Keratin is applied section by section; I sit for 25 minutes under a steamer and then it’s rinsed and done.
After blow-drying, he uses a flatiron to seal in the product. I don’t want it super flat and lank looking, so he only lightly treats the roots. He also gives an inward curl at the ends for some additional body and movement. Remember, because the keratin coats the hair strands, it’s better to get any colour or highlights done before doing the treatment as it penetrates the hair more easily.
I’ve had frizzy hair treatments before but never one that’s so shiny – my hair is super soft and really gleams in the light. No more bird’s nest at the back – at least for three to four months!
(Check out the The Sloane Salon on Instagram or Facebook for short reels of gorgeous silky hair after these treatments!)
– Danielle Rossetti
The Sloane Salon
#01-20 DUO Galleria Singapore, 7 Fraser Street
6909 8042 | email@example.com
This article first appeared in the May 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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