If you’ve ever dabbled in the wonderful world of injectables, you know how freshly settled Botox can make everything smoother, tighter, bouncier, and glowier. It makes you wonder: What else can a little spot of Botox improve? Sex lives? Bank accounts? So when we saw the dramatic “hair Botox” before-and-afters on TikTok, our first thoughts were: “What in the world?” and then, quickly, “Where do we sign up?”
Hair Botox is supposed to make your hair smoother and shinier than a new sports car, and — good news for the needle-averse — there are no needles involved. Actually, there’s no Botox involved, either. “Hair Botox” is simply a catchy term for a mega-boost of hair nutrients — a conditioning treatment that can repair and smooth damaged hair, named after the injectables that smooth skin. Only instead of neuromodulators, you’re getting an injection (not literally) of antioxidants, hydrating oils, and strengthening, bonding ingredients that will repair frizzy, tired hair and leave it looking and feeling its best (not totally unlike a little well-applied Botox).
The word Botox had us a little confused, so to answer our questions about this new deep conditioning trend, we turned to the experts. Below, the five most important things you need to know about hair Botox treatments.
Meet the Experts:
- Sheila Farhang, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in Tucson, AZ.
- Ginger King is a cosmetic chemist and product development expert.
What is hair Botox?
First off, there’s no real Botox (or needles) involved. Simply put, “hair Botox” is a misnomer. “It’s really a marketing tactic,” says cosmetic chemist Ginger King. The idea is that once your hair is looking refreshed and revived, you might get the same confidence boost you would get from your skin looking tighter and bouncier, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sheila Farhang.
This buzzy term is merely referring to a deep conditioning mask with one extra ingredient — more on that in a moment — which means you can purchase a “hair Botox” product and apply it in your own shower like you would with any other hair mask. No medical degree, needles, or numbing ice-packs required.
There’s one big difference between hair Botox and other deep conditioners: collagen.
Not all deep conditioners are created equal. Cosmetic chemist Ginger King points out that collagen seems to be the key ingredient differentiator between a “hair Botox” mask and a regular deep conditioning mask. “Collagen doesn’t penetrate the hair or scalp, but it can coat the hair to make it fuller and smoother.” But because the collagen isn’t doing any below–the-surface work you’ll need to repeat the process fairly often (King suspects every three days) to keep the results.
Hair Botox can smooth out your hair and give you a boost of shine.
Collagen proteins bind to your strands, and temporarily fill in damaged or frayed areas, says Dr. Farhang, which in turn will smooth frayed hair cuticles and add a little extra shine.