Summer is hell on curly hair. You can get the world's best blowout in the evening, but come the following morn, tendrils are springing up around your face like telephone wires. Those who've ponied up the funds to professionally straighten their locks know it's a game changer: You can go swimming in a pool or the ocean, or get caught in a rain shower, and your hair will dry straight and frizz-free, no blowing required. As it turns out, the Upper East Side is a hotbed for salons offering smoothing treatments. We put our frizzy head to the test and found the following four to offer the best results for the money.
The mother of all straightening treatments is thermal reconditioning, and this high-end salon offers a cream version that is more precise than the Japanese classic. Unlike the liquid-based treatment, Crème Thermal doesn’t drip, so new growth can be specifically targeted. The strength of the cream is also customized to each client's root-lifting needs. The service is available at all three of New York's Paul Labrecque salons; treatments start at $750. Mention New York Magazine to receive a complimentary bag of hair products through Labor Day.
The salon that helped pioneer the Japanese “stick-straight’’ thermal reconditioning has come up with a tamer that is gentler on the hair. The “Smoothing Treatment’’ may not defy gravity on your next visit to the rain forest, but it will keep you from looking like you stuck your hand in an electrical socket. It takes between 90 minutes and three hours to work its magic, which is still about two hours less than thermal. Treatments start at $400. Mention New York Magazine to receive 20 percent off through Labor Day.
Wildly popular Keratin treatments, which remove frizz and reduce breakage, usually contain caustic formaldehyde — but not here. This salon version is formaldehyde-free, and the two- to three-hour process leaves hair silky-smooth. (Just FYI, hair must remain unwashed for up to 72 hours after the service.) Treatments start at $400. Mention New York Magazine to receive 15 percent off through Labor Day.
Can't wait that long? This version of the Keratin treatment requires only a 24-hour no-wash window, and contains just a smidgen (.02 percent) of formaldehyde. And unlike most straightening treatments, which mandate a week or two of rest before coloring, you can go from brown to blonde the same day you straighten. Treatments start at $375. Mention New York Magazine to receive 25 percent off through Labor Day.