Hair Details: long; thick; frizzy; wavy; color-treated
In April I booked an appointment at JCP to have the CHI Enviro American Smoothing Treatment, and until that date I had been loyal the Brazilian Blowout (treatment done every 6 months for 4 years). The number of salons in my area offering the BB has been reduced to just one and the sole survivor has recognized the monopoly by raising the price to nearly 3 times what it used to cost. So, CHI it was.
The process itself was simple yet time consuming; it took nearly 3 1/2 hours compared to the Brazilian Blowout's 2. At times it was even a bit painful as the hair tangles during the drying process but the final result was fantastic (at first). My hair was frizz-free and looked healthy. It was a win, win at half the cost of a BB. I waited the recommended 48 hours before I shampooed and conditioned and that is when problems arose.
My hair still looked great but it also emitted a noxious odor. Conjure the smell of a dirty litter box and that is the smell I lived with for 5 full weeks. It became more noticeable when my hair was wet so I began to wash/condition every 72 hours (prior it was every 48) but perhaps worst of all was that those around me could smell it too. As a healthcare professional it was downright embarassing knowing that I was the reason people were wrinklng their noses.
The smell finally dissipated two weeks ago.. and in its place my hair began falling out. When I wash my hair, handfuls come out. When I brush my hair, clumps come out. The hair closest to the nape of my neck has broken off and is half the length of what it used to be. I have breakage everywhere I look, from root to tip. It's horrible watching my once thick and healthy hair turning thin and brittle.
If you're thinking of this treatment I advise against it. If you still opt to have it done, please don't take this review with a grain of salt. I wish I had researched the treatment more thoroughly before I myself dove in head first.
I was wary of getting a formaldehyde treatment because, formaldehyde. Not a big fan of pickling my scalp! I know the results are pretty amazing, but I was very wary. I saw a video of the Chi founder tasting this product to show how confident he was in his safety and thought I'd give it a try (and I googled the ingredients). I opted to buy a bottle of just the treatment, not the whole kit, and it was crazy cheap, only about $15 with shipping.
First things first, this IS a serious hair treatment. It's not a deep conditioner or something. You need to use gloves. I didn't and I burned my hands. However, it did not cause itching or burning on my scalp at all. It smells really nice, kind of coconut-like, not noxious at all. I did it in a small bathroom with the door closed and it was not a problem.
I followed the instructions carefully, using a very hot flat iron and a good blow dryer. This was really hard to work with. My hair felt like it was coated in sand and would break off at any minute. It was really awful to do. Even though it only takes me about 20 minutes to blow dry and flat iron my hair normally, doing this took me an hour and a half. When I was done, my hair looked and felt DISGUSTING. Like I had been to the beach and hadn't washed my hair in weeks. It was horrible. I couldn't go out in public, it was that bad. Do this on a weekend.
I anxiously awaited my 24 hour mark and quickly jumped in the shower and did a serious deep conditioning. When I rinsed my hair was just amazing. The curl was exactly the same, no difference in straightness, but there was not a single bit of frizz or a flyaway hair in sight. My hair was glossy, easy to manage, and so so so soft. It was amazing. I am super happy with the results. There was a bit of damage, not worse than when I color my hair I don't think, and it looks so nice in the end.
Things I disliked though. 1, this strips every last bit of color in your hair. It does not seal in the color at all as they say. It strips it. All of it. It is more effective than hair oops at it. It's just gone. 2, it's hard to apply and do without causing breakage because it makes your hair so stiff and rough. So for those reasons I mark it at 4 stars instead of 5.