15 June 2012
Thoughts on the Smooth 'N Shine Keratin Power Kit (PICTURE HEAVY)
DISCLOSURE: I am a participant in the BzzAgent marketing program. They provided me with a full-sized kit on behalf of Smooth 'N Shine in exchange for sharing my honest opinion of the product with others.
It has been a week since I applied the Smooth 'N Shine Polishing Keratin Power Semi-Permanent Hair Tamer kit. I purposely waited that long to write this post because I wanted to try a few different things with my hair before I shared my opinion of the product. Let's start with how my hair looked before the treatment. Fair warning -- the first few pics are of my hair in its freshly washed, unstyled, and scary glory:
My natural hair is a combination of three textures. Starting at the nape of my neck and going up for about 1.5 inches, my hair is soft and loosely curled. The kids and I call it my "white girl hair" because it feels rather similar to that of my Caucasian friends who have curly hair. The rest of my head is covered in hair that resembles unspun wool with a few curly bits stuck in. I wasn't expecting my curls to look like those of the model on the box, but I was hoping that I could get my hair closer to all being the same texture.
I enlisted the help of my 15-year-old daughter C1 in applying the treatment. Unlike with a traditional relaxer, there is no danger of burning your skin or your scalp so the process was much less stressful.
--Wash your hair thoroughly to remove any hair products.
--Part your hair into four sections.
--Apply the keratin gel to your hair. No mixing like with traditional relaxers. Yay!
--Let the gel sit in your hair for 25 minutes, then rinse.
--Apply the neutralizing milk, let it sit in your hair for 10 minutes, then rinse it out.
The process is so simple that I wish I was more pleased with the results. I took a picture right before I rinsed the keratin solution out that gave me hope:
See the curl pattern here? It is more uniform than the random patches of tight curls I had before the treatment and it was hanging down instead sticking straight out. This made me happy, but it was not to last. Once I completed the neutralizer step, my hair looked like this:
If you look closely at the bottom of the last photo, you can see the small section of almost silky curls that I have at the nape of my neck. That section became a little more silky with the keratin treatment but the rest of my hair didn't react quite as well. The last step of this process is to blow dry and flat iron the hair. Although I don't plan on wearing my hair straight, the instructions say that you need to do this to seal in the keratin. Two years ago, in an attempt to get a straight style for a special event, I applied heat in a variety of ways no less than five times in the space of a week to no avail. Because of this, I know that my natural hair doesn't straighten well and I didn't expect this Smooth 'N Shine kit to change that. While it was easier to comb and blow dry, the results of the flat ironing were not pretty. After I flat ironed it, I curled it with a curling iron, put sponge rollers in it, and slept on it overnight. This method works well when my hair is relaxed, but this time all I got was this:
The ends were a bit more curled than that when I left the house but by the time I got to work the curls were gone. It looked and felt like a giant cotton ball, so I went into the ladies's room with a handful of hairpins and did this:
This is my go-to "bad hair day" style, by the way. I get lots of compliments on it, but I use it sparingly because my husband hates it. Anyway, I wore it this way for a couple days because you aren't supposed to wash your hair or use headbands or hair stretchies for three days after a keratin treatment, whether done by the salon or at home. I was SO looking forward to washing and conditioning it so I could see how much curl I was left with. After washing it I did about eight large two-strand twists all over my head to see how a twist-out would look. Here are the results:
This looks better than my previous attempts at a twist-out on my natural hair, but the hair still felt stiff and dry despite a liberal application of hair pudding. I did a Bantu knot-out with a different moisturizing hair pudding and got similar results, so today I went back to this:
BOTTOM LINE: The Smooth 'N Shine Keratin Power Hair Tamer solved one problem for me but caused another. It loosened my hair just enough that it hangs down in a more feminine way, but only when it is wet. As soon as it dries, my hair feels more coarse than before and the hair products that worked prior to the treatment are not doing any good now. I'm thinking that I need to find a hair cream or pudding that has the same consistency of the keratin gel that came in the kit because my hair looked the best during that 25-minute waiting period between steps. This treatment is supposed to last through five shampoos, so I will most likely be writing another post later on to report whether my hair completely bounces back to normal.
Despite my experience, I'm still thinking about trying this product on my daughter C2's hair. Unlike mine, her head is covered in tightly-coiled, wiry hair all over -- no crazy combination of textures. I've also seen her natural hair flat ironed and it looks great. The Smooth 'N Shine Keratin Power Hair Tamer may be just the thing for her.