Blowouts, Perms and Keratin Treatments: A Man’s Guide to Hair Treatments

What if we told you a one-time treatment could mean no more styling for months?


Sure, slapping some gel on your head and smearing it around until you look presentable is one way to style your hair. But if you want a more exuberant hairstyle — or something more permanent that requires less maintenance than a daily dose of hair products — salon treatments might be worth looking into. Here are a couple popular options, as explained by several hairdressers.

One of the more basic treatments, a blowout involves having your hair blow dried and styled by a trained professional. Blowouts are especially convenient for people with long, disobedient hair, since styling can take hours and hours. People with wavy or curly hair who want a smoother look can also benefit from blowouts, since the heat from a blow dryer has the capacity to help straighten hair.

Hairdresser Linda Mariano says that men, many of whom tend to wear their hair short, seldom come in for blowouts, since they can easily style their hair at home. But she does explain that long-haired men — and those who wear more extravagant styles, like pompadours and mohawks — could certainly benefit from the occasional blowout before special occasions. Keep in mind, the average blowouts costs around $40. On the plus side, a blowout can hold its shape for a couple days, so you can at least save some styling time for a short while.

Unlike perms in the 1980s — curls on curls on curls — hairdresser Sara Willner explains that more modern perms tend to result in a still-permanent, but less intense, wavy texture. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which forms the structure of each individual hair, and that structure — straight, curly or otherwise — is fairly set in its ways. But with a perm, a combination of chemicals and curlers allows those keratin molecules to move around freely into curls, then even more chemicals lock them back into place, so from then on, your hair will be curly until it grows out.

Again, Mariano says, men rarely get perms these days, simply because that style was left behind in the 80s. Plus, she says, perms (and curly hair in general) tend to be a lot more maintenance than people who previously had straight hair expect. Still, if you want a little waviness and are tired of having to replicate that look with products every morning, a mild perm might be something worth asking your hairdresser about, although expect to spend anywhere between $30 and more than $150.

Keratin Treatments (and Relaxers)
Keratin treatments smooth and shine frizzy hair. Over time, sun exposure and heat or chemical styling can diminish the natural keratin in our hair — the same keratin we mentioned earlier that provides structure — causing damage and just general chaos on your head. So keratin treatments basically supply your hair with a bunch of new keratin that repairs any unsightly damage. “The best part about keratin treatments is that they wash out slowly over time and won’t leave a harsh grow-out line,” says Willner, adding that the average treatment should last between three and six months.

One thing to keep in mind is, you need a decent amount of hair to get a keratin treatment. “You have to have at least two inches of length to make it effective,” Mariano says. On the plus side, she adds that dudes who normally smooth their hair with a straightener or blow dryer can expect that styling process to be 40 percent shorter after having a keratin treatment. In that sense, this can be an especially helpful treatment for dudes with thick, unruly hair that requires a lot of taming. But expect to pay a couple hundred dollars to have it done.

Similar to keratin treatments are treatments involving products called relaxers, which Willner says are more popular among guys. “Most men do a relaxer, which changes the hair texture permanently, like a perm but into straight hair,” she says. “You can do different levels of relaxers (light, medium, strong) and the stylist can control how straight the client wants it.” Just another option for you hair fanatics.

In the end, if you find yourself frequently styling your hair in a way that it doesn’t fall naturally, one of these treatments could save you time in the long run.