I'll preface this article by admitting that I definitely didn't have unruly hair to begin with—more wavy hair that had a tendency to frizz when air-dried. But ever since I had my son (he's now 10 years old), more and more curls have started sprouting from underneath my hair, and I still have a ton of baby hairs that are so fine they usually result in pesky flyaways that cannot be tamed with any amount of frizz-free shampoo or style cremes. In fact, they often weigh my hair down and make it greasy.
As a result, I have been blowdrying my hair (and either straightening it or curling it with an iron) religiously every day (even in 90-degree summer heat) for at least 10 years. No word of a lie. So when I heard about the Cezanne straightening treatment, a natural formaldehyde-free treatment, from my colleague Victoria Hoff at Byrdie that tamed her thick wavy hair (2B S-curls, to be specific), I couldn't wait to give it a try and see the results for myself.
I sought out someone to do the treatment and found Tania Whittier, a hairdresser for over 20 years who has been working her hair magic at Meche Salon since it opened in 2015. She works closely with the owner and celebrity colorist Tracey Cunningham (she is responsible for Gwyneth Paltrow's blonde and Emma Stone's red among many others).
"Everyone asks about Tracey and honestly no one works harder," Whittier tells me. "Because of her schedule, everyone in the salon gets the opportunity to collaborate with celebrity clientele. I've been working with Julia Louis Dreyfus, Kristen Bell, and numerous others. I've also been able to travel with Tracey to Spain and Australia for work. It's a pretty great job."
After so many years of doing hair, the one thing that keeps Whittier inspired and motivated is "making people feel and look expensive," and I can honestly say (spoiler alert) that the Cezanne treatment has definitely made me feel and look exactly that.
What's different about this hair straightening treatment compared to others on the market? Well, I had the Cezanne treatment on August 3 and have documented my air-dried hair after two weeks, one month, and two months post-treatment so you can clearly see how incredible this treatment is. Honestly, my hair just gets better every time I wash it, but I'll let the results speak for themselves. Read on to find out more about this natural hair straightening treatment and why it's absolutely worth the $450.
What Is Cezanne Exactly?
Cezanne is the only OSHA-approved formaldehyde-free keratin treatment, but more than that, Whittier tells me, is that the technology is different. "With Cezanne, you use lemon and crab apple extracts to open the cuticle of the hair; this allows the keratin to enter the cortex of the hair," she says. "So it works from the inside out. With formaldehyde treatments, you are 'pushing' the keratin into the cuticle with the heat by blow-drying and flat ironing, which causes stress to the hair, not to mention the smell and watery eyes from the chemicals."
Why Is Cezanne Gentler Than Regular Keratin Treatments?
When I asked this question, Whittier explained that while there are some people who have strong hair that can handle chemicals (and also want stick-straight hair), she has found that’s definitely not the majority. "Over time, my clients complain that the formaldehyde treatments make their hair feel 'dead' and they want the body back," she says.
I couldn’t agree more. The last thing I wanted was stick-straight hair, I just wanted to get rid of the frizz; the body could stay. Cezanne is much gentler to the hair because it doesn't have formaldehyde. This toxic finishing ingredient was designed to give shine, and it is used in everything from nail polishes to woodwork. It's also found in a lot of traditional keratin treatments.
Cezanne’s first ingredient is aloe vera, and when I think of that, I think of healing. Cezanne also uses a combination of the keratin, glycolic acid, sericin (which is silk from a silkworm but don't worry no worms were hurt; I’ve asked this question too) and the lemon and crab apple extracts.
"That's the magic," Whittier adds "The extracts actually open the cuticle, the other ingredients go into the hair, and then we finish it by flat ironing the hair to fuse the sericin and keratin together. Then you are done."
How Can You Personalize the Cezanne Treatment?
As I mentioned earlier, the Cezanne hair-straightening treatment doesn't make your hair stick-straight. It simply smoothens the hair from the cuticle, relaxing it in the process and minimizing frizz, but you can choose what level of straightness or body you want.
Whittier explains: "One of my favorite things about Cezanne is that I can personalize it. If your hair is extra curly (or fragile) in some areas but not others, we can customize a treatment specifically for you."
You can also wash your hair, get it colored, put it in a ponytail, go to the gym, curl or straighten it as soon as you're done with the treatment. This is a game changer. In fact, I can honestly say that it enhanced my color and lightened it a little. No more waiting three days to do anything. When we’re done, you're done.
What I personally love about this treatment is how my hair still looks like my hair, just a smoother, cooler version.
How Long Does It Last and How Much Does It Cost?
The Cezanne treatment lasts approximately four months and the price starts at $450. So that's about $112.50 a month, and when I think about how much time I have saved in the morning, it's 100% worth it. I haven't touched an iron or blow dryer since I had it done two months ago. I just let it air dry straight out of the shower and it looks smooth, glossy, and blowout-worthy. I'm never going back.
Courtesy of Meche Salon
AFTER 2 WEEKS
I let my hair air-dry before a house party a few weeks after having the treatment. I'd normally blow dry it in the morning knowing we were having people over and then iron it quickly before guests arrive, but this natural look feels much cooler and very, dare I say it, French while still looking elevated thanks to the treatment. No frizz, just slick hair with natural body, which I love.
I had also just returned from a trip to Florida in this photo and even the 60% humidity didn't affect the treatment. No Monica from Friends here.
AFTER 1 MONTH
I took this photo straight after a long workday. I love how my color is enhanced and the natural texture is still intact without looking overly frizzy or wavy. I never used to wear my hair wet to work or air-dried it beforehand because I always wanted it to be sleek and professional. How things have changed.
AFTER 2 MONTHS
I can't believe this is my hair after washing it sometimes every second-day thanks to sweaty workouts. It's still smooth, frizz-free, and air-drying naturally like a blowout. I'm in awe and have been telling everyone about this treatment because it really does work.
Shop some of my favorite treatment-extending products below: