As French beauticians never fail to remind us, “Il faut souffrir pour etre belle,” (you must suffer to be beautiful) and as far as hair treatments go, this seems to ring true. Whether you are bleaching your hair a golden blond, blow drying your hair for a smoother result or scalding it into straightness, your hair suffers in your efforts to be beautiful.
But perhaps there is another way — rather than torturing your hair into submission, a little love and care may be the solution to the woes of frizz, radical curls and general unrulyness. At least this is what your hairdresser may be trying to convince you these days as a new “collagen treatment” has taken Cairo by storm.
While used mainly on skin — collagen creams have been on the market for years — collagen has been proven to have a revitalizing effect on hair and nails as well as teeth.
"Collagen is present most parts of the body but cosmetically, beauticians focus on collagen in the skin, hair and nails," explains dermatologist Ahmed Mohsen of Port Said. Mohsen explains that collagen found in the outer layer of the body is depleted through the aging process and damage from pollutants and lack of proper care.
"Although replenishing collagen levels will give the appearance of rejuvenation, the effect is not permanent," says Mohsen.
While collagen won’t straighten your hair or change it’s color, this treatment can calm frizz, smooth curls and bring out shine by infusing your hair with collagen, stylists explain.
“When hair is exposed to chemicals and heat styling on a regular basis, the outer layer of the hair, called the follicle, gets severely damaged,” explains Ashraf Khamis, a stylist at Butterfly in Maadi. Hair damage causes split ends — a break in hair follicle that travels up the end of the strand, keeping damaged hair from growing at a normal rate.
However, Khamis stresses that the treatment does not straighten hair or actually provide nutrients. “Collagen works only on the outside layer of the hair, so its effect lasts temporarily and does not give the straightening result of keratin.”
“Collagen treatment has a positive, rejuvenating effect which prevents frizzy hair, brings out a natural shine and provides a smoother touch,” says Karima of the Mohamed al-Sagheer beauty salon in Heliopolis.
According to her, what the collagen will do is help your hair absorb conditioner better. While particularly damaged hair may need richer conditioners to become soft, manageable and healthy, richer conditioners can also give your hair a greasy, heavy feel. A collagen treatment can help your hair help itself with lighter conditioners.
Sound convincing? Sara, 30 (who asked for her name to be changed in the spirit of beauty secrecy) stopped into the Kriss Salon last week to test out the collagen treatment. “I only felt the difference in softness after a couple of washes,” she admits, “but it keeps my curly hair more manageable and less frizzy.”
A frequent customer, Sara says that she’ll need to blow dry less now that her hair can dry naturally without becoming frizzy.
Aisha, 28, also tried it out, "The collagen is cream-like and after the second day, I was dying to wash it out — it kept me home most of the time." Aisha left it in, though, and claims her hair has been softer and more manageable since.
Considering it? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Cost: A collagen treatment will put you back anywhere from 600-1200 LE depending on your salon and the length of your hair. Will that save you salon money in the next three months? Do the math for yourself!
Pain in the neck: Are you ready to not wash your hair for three days just to keep the treatment in? You might want to go for a collagen treatment on a Thursday so you can wash your hair before work/class/life on Sunday.
What do you want from your hair: Are you looking to defrizz? Straighten? Color? Don’t go in for a collagen treatment expecting a complete hair transformation — according to our beauty girls Sara and Aisha, the effect is simply healthier looking hair. Will that be enough for you?