Sep 19, 2022

Hair Botox 101

The heck is "blotox" anyway?

Fun fact - there are two types of hair botox.

There's the type of hair botox that is literally botox. Referred to as "blotox", it's an injection of botox to the scalp that's used to prevent excess scalp sweat.

But then there's also the type of hair botox that's actually not botox at all. It's a keratin treatment that's applied directly to the hair, and resembles literal botox only in name and effect -- it makes hair appear younger, healthier and shinier.

TLDR: blotox = actual botox. Hair botox = hair treatment devoid of botox.

Hair "blotox" : actual botox, on your scalp and hairline

Needle-wary readers beware: we're now discussing the actual botox form of hair botox. So if sharp things make you woozy (or, for that matter, if talking about sweat grosses you out), you might want to jump ahead.

Botox injections do a lot more than just smooth out wrinkles. Botulinum toxin blocks acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is involved in signaling the stimulation of the sweat gland. So when your brain sends out the cue for sweat, the toxin puts up a big stop sign. Some sweating will still occur (it's a stop sign, not a brick wall), but it won't be as much as before.

Obviously this is good news for the unlucky individuals among us who experience intense sweating -- big shout out to everyone with hyperhidrosis -- but even if you're not quite sweaty enough to get a formal diagnosis, you might still find it helpful. Because, really, does anyone actually want to get their hair super sweaty during an intense hot yoga class? Excessive sweat can be embarrassing, so it's totally understandable that people might search out alternative ways of dealing with it -- even needle-y ways.

The sweat-preventing aspect of botox is also why it's come to be called "blotox" when applied to the scalp. Sweaty scalps can destroy a good blow out in a matter of minutes -- hellow frizzy baby hairs, bye bye smooth and shiny blow out. Add botox, and the blowout lasts longer, even during intense gym workouts -- you might even be able to go longer in between shampooing.

But don't think that one shot of botox will stop you from being sweaty, like, forever. For starters,it matters where, and how much, you inject. "Blotox" must be applied along the scalp -- injecting around your mouth might temporarily banish those laugh lines, but it won't change the mistiness in your tresses.

Also, a single shot won't do the whole job. You'll need multiple pricks along your hair line in order to start to see an effect. And remember -- the effects are temporary. Just like anyone else who uses botox, you'll eventually need a touch up. So if you decide to spring for the treatment, think of it as a recurring cost, one that'll need to be revisited every three to six months.

A final word of caution: don't, for the love of all that is good and holy, try this at home. We've all seen some botched plastic surgery on reality TV -- let's not let it happen to you. The experts know where and how deep the needle should go, as to prevent accidentally freezing up forehead muscles. Attempting it yourself, or even going to a provider who isn't well-versed in the subject, could lead to serious regrets.

"Hair botox": more like a conditioner than botox

So we call actual scalp botox "blotox." And we reserve the phrase "hair botox" for something that... contains no botox at all.

Yep, that's right. Products that are labeled as "hair botox" actually don't contain anything that even resembles botox. Confusing, no?

Hair botox is a service that you can get at the salon. It's pretty simple: first, your hair is washed with a clarifying shampoo to remove any impurities on the surface of the hair fiber. The "hair botox" is then applied for approximately half an hour. Your hair is rinsed, dried, and straightened, boom boom boom.

Hair Botox is actually a conditioning treatment that coats hair fibers with a filler, such as keratin. The treatment fills in any broken or thin areas on each hair strand.

So what does that actually mean? Recipients of the treatment report that it makes their hair shinier, stronger, less frizzy, easier to brush, and even easier to straighten. One person who we spoke to for this story reported that hair botox is her secret weapon. "Everyone thinks that I style my hair every day now! It looks like I spend way more time fixing it than I actually do. It just looks better, altogether, and doesn't mess up my curl pattern. Totally worth the price tag at the salon."

But not everyone was so quick to rave. Another person who'd undergone hair botox was less complimentary: "It reduced the frizz, but it made my hair lose its natural curl pattern. Big eh."

So. Like many other hair products, it might work for you, or it might not. If you've got curly hair and are nervous about changing your curl pattern, you may not want to take the risk. But if you've got mega frizzy, unruly hair, hair botox might be worth the risk (and the price.)

The effects of hair Botox generally are meant to last anywhere from 2-4 months, although the exact time frame will vary depending on your genetics, routine, lifestyle, et cetera. It's recommended that you use a low-sulfate or sulfate-free shampoo to preserve the results for the maximum amount of time. And be sure to ask your stylist exactly what's going on your hair -- loads of products are sold under the phrase "hair botox" now, so you'll want to be sure you know what's going on.

Wanna learn even more about haircare? Here's what you should check out next:

pH Balanced Shampoo: Everything You Need To Know

The heck does "pH balanced" even mean???

How To Grow High Porosity Hair

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How Long Should I Wait To Dye My Hair Again?

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What Is A Hair Cuticle?

Let's learn more about your hair's first line of defense against damage. ⚔️

Hair Texture Changes 101

The good, the bad, and the ugly ... when it comes to hair texture changes, we've got you covered.

Caroline Schmidt