Express Blow Out: A Genius New Treatment For Keratin Newbies
When your (female) client starts playing with your hair in an attempt to fix it, it’s time to take action. In this case, it was my beloved Corinne, co-owner of Naples’s ultra-hot and haute Sails Restaurant. She was tucking my silvery fraying frizzies near-the-face pieces behind my hair to hide them.
Two weeks ago, I hit Miami with hubby - he had a consult and I partly saw it as an opportunity to squeeze in a few appointments of my own. After trying Paint Nail Bar’s new Avenutura location (it’s first-class), next on my list was my first ever keratin treatment at The Salon Project, a new concept of hair, beauty and medi-spa offerings created by hair legend Joel Warren.
If you’ve never lived in NYC, you might not be aware of Joel’s hairstory and legacy: as co-founder of Warren-Tricomi, he is considered among the tippy-top master colorists, having worked with every major magazine, designer, actress and model worth reading, wearing and watching. Seriously, the best hair pros in NYC are celebs in their own right and revered among ladies who know the best.
Loyal FBP readers may wonder, “why is she cheating on Paul Bordeau?”
Here’s the thing: after talking to Ty, I really wanted to try a keratin treatment, but six hours to Indian Harbour Island via my 12-year-old Subaru was pushing the limits of my driving ability and the car, as I discovered when road-tripping to Palm Beach for an FBP post and cousins visit.
While getting my hair cut last month, I asked Paul if he could keratin me and he said that it wasn’t his forté. I’m grateful for his honesty. With his blessing, he urged me to return after it was done so he could see the results on my product-adverse hair.
IMHO, whatever the issue - surgery, beauty, house repairs - always choose the pro who’s busiest and has to squeeze you in because he / she is in high demand. No matter the specialty, they’re usually the best choice because they do it so often.
Wouldn’t you travel to a surgeon who’s done thousands of the procedure you need versus someone local who does it every now and then?
And that’s how I decided where to lose my keratin virginity. The Salon Project's pros have decades of top-tier experience. As a previously self-proclaimed salon slut, I’ve been a client at nearly every NYC hair joint these gents once worked, though with other pros. We shared memories of great and — sadly now — several late (RIP) friends. The day I was there, three ex-Oribe vets (his Miami salon's now closed, but Oribe himself is killing it with his fantastic product line) were working their magic non-stop on clients who were in for color, cuts and keratin.
The gorgeous ambiance at the new-ish 1 Hotel in South Beach (where Dyson blowdryers are stocked in the gym and I just missed my Pasadena bestie Rod the swimsuit designer checking in) mixes raw-space vibes with ultra-luxe touches and super high-end product lines. Each pro was using something different on clients, depending on preferences and needs.
There was also a feature I’ve never seen: each comfy chair swivels to a conveniently located sink, so no walking (or dripping) anywhere. Btw, I dread most salon chairs as I never can relax with my neck - but these were perfectly pitched for the sink’s height. You just plop your butt down one time and your maestro takes control.
I was assigned Maurizio Gerbasi, whom I surprisingly had never met given that several NYC salons (La Coupe, Peter Coppola, Oribe) he’s worked in are those where I’ve been a past patron. Willy-nilly, I was in his expert hands. He too has given up northeast winters for Miami's weather, with occasional on-call work trips to NYC and Milan.
While the treatment described in an earlier post was stuck in my head, Express Blow Out is different. First, Maurizio washed my hair twice with sulfate-free Clarifying Shampoo, which removes sweat and product build-up from the scalp and hair shafts. After towel blotting it to a damp-ish stage, he detangled my locks, and similar to a highlighting/hair coloring process, he applied Express Blow Out, a lotiony-liquid masque (both products from Florida-based Keratin Complex) section-by-section over my whole head with a dye-brush.
While letting the solution sink in, during out chair chat, we talked keratin. Maurizio let me know - just as Ty did - that many women (me included) confuse our treatment terms. “Keratin is a conditioning and smoothing treatment, not a straightening treatment. Your waves will remain, but won’t be frizzy.”
Somewhere in my head, when Japanese straightening became a thing and harmed the heads of several friends, I had indeed mixed up which treatments do what, never really paying attention to details or needing them until my Naples move where humidity rules half the year.
I then asked what’s the diff between Express Blow Out and Smoothing Therapy? Maurizio said Express Blow Out requires less time - about an hour, and lasts approximately 5 to 6 weeks as opposed to 4 - 5 months for the pricier Smoothing Therapy.
Maurizio also warned, “For best ongoing results, your shampoo must be sulfate-free.” Given that Florida’s water is full of sulfates and chlorine, I pinky-promised to wash only twice weekly with one of the appropriate shampoos in my shower.
Heat activates the lotion, so Maurizio then blow dried my hair with the widest round brush I’ve ever seen, sharing that, for my hair type (mostly fine, but a lot of it, with odd post-chemo patches resembling pubic hair), shorter bristles work best. I’m adding that brush to my expanding collection.
He also used a technique I’ve not seen in five decades of getting my hair professionally done: pulling it in the opposite direction for added tension.
Next, multiple flat-iron passes through thin, two-inch wide sections to seal the keratin in. Even though Paul recently cut my hair, post-treatment locks mandated a trim so lengthier pieces wouldn’t ruin the look.
Just over an hour later, and for the first time since moving to Florida, my hair was shiny, silky-to-the-touch and looked so much healthier, reminiscent of its youthful glory days. Hubby thought I looked amazing.
I waited ten days to write this, wanting to see how my new tresses would play out in everyday life including an 8-hour staycation with my broads at the Marco Island Hilton and its saline (sulfate-full) pool. Before leaving, I saturated my hair with protective Organix Moroccan Argan Oil and clipped it up, but neck nape strays got soaked.
And it’s all still good!
Everything Maurizio shared was spot on: I still have waves when air drying, but more manageable, oh-so-soft and frizz-free. When blow-drying my hair, it seemingly takes less time and looks remarkably smooth despite sky-high humidity.
FYI, despite being given the go-ahead to shampoo in 48 hours, I waited four days, just to be sure.
Since I won't cross Alligator Alley solo, my strategy going forward now relies on husband's schedule. I’d love to repeat this treatment early-September to get me through October 15, the unofficial day (as calculated by my three years here) when Naples finally sees cooler, less humid weather. And come May 1, 2019, I am scheduling a full-on Smoothing Therapy with Maurizio to carry me through next summer.
Ladies, The Salon Project has two east coast Florida locations: in addition to Miami, there’s a Boca Raton outpost within Saks Fifth Avenue. Express Blow Out is $150. Call them for deets at 305.604.6794.
(BEAUTEOUS) MAIN-IMAGE PHOTO CREDIT: ELEMENT 5 DIGITAL