The easiest, quickest hair I’ve ever had.

Which is what you want just before you bring a teeny human home from the hospital, isn’t it?


And that’s precisely why I did what I did.

What did I did?

I booked in for the  bhave™ smoothe™ keratin therapy (which is Aussie-made and entirely free of formaldehyde, because the days of keratin smoothing treatments with formaldehyde are OVER) (or really should be) and is a nourishing smoothing treatment for the hair that kicks frizz and tames curls for 2-4 months.

I have tried Another Brand of keratin smoothing previously, which was fine, but after doing an event with the lovely Nikki Parkinson from Styling You in February and hearing her rave about how much she loved bhave, (and she lives in Frizzbane, so she really gets the need for smooth, fast hair) I wanted a go.

Why I did what I did:

Keratin smoothing treatments are well-loved because they give those of us with tricky mops the famed ‘wash and go’ hair we read so much about in magazines and in Disney stories. I want this hair as I head into newborn territory. Very much. And, after two weeks, I can vouch that bhave has made my grooming/hair/appearance approximately 458% easier and swifter. I just wash hair. Dry it off with hair dryer. Use brush if can be bothered. Go. You know, the stuff of godamn dreams.

What’s the process?

I went to the wee little Reveur Cheveux salon in McKinnon where Neil Cleminson – Creative & Technical Director of bhave (a brand also boasting a lovely range of wash and care and styling products – all sulphate and sodium chloride free – as well as the keratin therapy) performed the miracle. It took around three hours all up. I have fine hair, coloured hair, damaged hair, and none of these things mattered. Any hair type can do it.

What happened to my hair?

For the first 48 hours your hair will be REAL flat. That’s cos it’s setting. And you’re not to touch it. It took me back to my days of getting permanent ionic hair straightening (“Japanese straightening”) back in the early 2000s. I was obsessed. Seven hours in a dingy Chinatown salon was nothing to a young squid back then. Hangovers, Snickers and magazines were my faithful companions. It allowed me to have a fringe and hair extensions and all manner of previously ‘straight-hair’ only joy. Was a real shit when it grew out though.. Pube scalp, we affectionately called it.


My hair during the ‘setting’ stage of bhave. Highlights suddenly SO light!

As soon as I washed my bhave hair, the flatness racked off. As a fine-haired babe you do wonder if you’ll be left with nothing, but in fact it’s just very silky and smooth. Feels healthy. Happy. Sure, it requires a bit of mousse and blow-drying if I want volume, but to be honest, the quick dry off with a barrel brush does the job for me. And I do mean quick – this is hair that dries in less than five minutes. I love the speed but I also love the obedience.

Also, rain? Whatever. It impacts my hair not one bit. This is a Big Deal for a life-long member of the Frizz Society.

I should mention that my curly hair did go straight with the treatment, (it still has some body, to be fair) but you can request maintaining your wave if you like. (It’s a keratin-infused smoothing treatment after all, not a straightening treatment.) I figure since as the treatment wears off my curls will return anyway, why not go straight, yeah? (Plus, straight, silky hair makes a high ponytail super swishy and cheerleady, a secret hairstyle love of mine.) And I can easily tong in some waves if I want them.

In terms of my colour, it really faded it. I was practically a blonde when I left Neil. That’s why you should wait til your hair needs colouring (and cutting) when you book in for your smoothing treatment. It will just nick all your colour so don’t waste your cash colouring beforehand. Neil recommends waiting at least a week (with two washes in there) before colouring and cutting.

Regarding colouring and cutting:

I was so bloody due for it. Even before I had bhave. So a week after my smoothe treatment, I waddled off to Elliott Steele in Ivanhoe to see Carly, who owns the salon and who is a top dog colourist for OriginalMineral, a company whose salon colour I have loved for a long time. Carly was one of those babes you instantly get along with, and I promise the fact she was also pregnant had nothing to do with it. It felt like I was in a sitcom salon, yknow? Where everyone is warm and having fun and are mates and I’m sure a bottle of wine sneaks out at 5pm each day.

Carly, using O&M’s splendid  CCT (Clean Color Technology, AKA free of ammonia and nasties) went over the top section of my hair with a lovely, cool, ashy dark blonde/light brown semi (I wanted to go a bit darker than usual) and then toned the lighter ends with a slightly lighter shade of the same ashy dark blonde.

ASHY and COOL, as always, are my key words when having my hair coloured. I bloody hate red tones. And if you do too, you’ll never utter the words CHOCOLATE, or WARM or RICH when explaining the kind of brunette you would like to be.

Then Carly  snipped off some ends (a good thing to do after bhave, since the straightness accentuates any splitsies) and quickly blow-dried it (impossible to slowly blow-dry hair that has had bhave) and I was off.

Here’s how it looked the day after. (Hair ALWAYS looks better the second day.)


I always look like I just woke up since being pregnant. Cute.


Would I recommend it?

Yes. I may only wash my hair twice a week, but the styling and setting of my curly, fine, frizzy, tricky hair that follows (I am a fan of the old-school mousse/blow-dry/tong procedure which then lasts 3-4 days) takes TIME and I have been told roughly 627 times a day that that is one commodity new mums do not have. (As long as we get to eat sashimi, I’m okay with that.)

It’s also great if you’re going off traveling or to a very humid climate (the last time I did keratin smoothing was before living in NYC for summer – a veritable frizz orgy.) Be aware though that if you have very fine hair – as I do – it can last longer than you may like, and your hair can, after a few months, still be lacking in volume.

 bhave™ smoothe™ keratin therapy starts at $199 – cost depends on the length and thickness (which will affect how long it takes.) Click here for some more info.  And click here for some hungover owls.


NB: There has been some conflict over whether keratin smoothing treatments (along with, oh, you know, everything) are safe for pregbots, however there is so far no evidence of any adverse effects. Safety came into question because the old formulas were BURSTING with atrocious chemicals and in truth were probably unsafe for any woman, pregnant or not. But formulas have changed. Despite Neil cautiously suggesting I wait until after I’d had the baby (most stylists will, to err on the side of caution/avoid litigation/play it safe, which is far better than them not ) I researched thoroughly, and decided that since bhave is completely free of formaldehyde (as well as any ingredients that break down into formaldehyde) I was fine with it going on my hair. Also, bhave doesn’t flat-iron in the product at a temp that causes fumes and steam – another reason these treatments were to be avoided. Bottom line: it’s completely a personal decision, just like choosing to highlight your hair or having gels on your nails or a glass of pinot once a week or having narcotics in the delivery room or watching far too much One Born Every Minute.


Responses to this drivel: 48 Comments
Responses to this drivel ( 48 )
  • Bec

    Hi Zoe
    Thanks for this post, as a fellow pregbot, I have also booked in for a similar treatment but it’s an agave treatment – have you heard much about this one at all? http://www.agaveoil.com
    I am a bit worried as I’ve read on the net that your hair can smell a bit funky after this, though my hairdresser assures me it won’t.
    ps. All the best with the impending arrival 🙂

  • Andie

    Dear Bec, funky smelling hair sounds like the go babe, Ill make a bee line for some funked up hair.

  • Anna

    How long is bhave meant to last? I have unfortunately been blessed with insanely thick, curly and horrendously frizzy hair and been contemplating a keratin treatment to help control this shiz

  • Nikki @ Styling You

    Oh hello you look fabulous! Blogged about it today too. I’m at the end of the three month mark and it’s only wearing out for me now – wash about twice a week. Very happy and will get done again soon.

  • Priscilla

    I am in the process of growing out my short hair, so it is still reasonably short but long enough that I have to snap the top with straighteners. Would this treatment be plausible for me?
    PS get that baby out already #australianroyalty

  • Kirsty

    So lovely!! Do you know of any salons in Sydney that offer this treatment? Want it!

  • Melissa

    When you say you can’t touch it for 48 hours – no ponytail no nothing, right? The same busy-ness that makes me want wash and wear hear is having trouble comprehending a 48 hour period where I can’t pull my hair off my face.

    • Fruity

      No touchy touchy! Though I deffo cheated towards the end with tucking behind ears (subconsciously). But! It’s WORTH IT.

  • Loz

    Fan-tastic! Am 29 weeks so therefore about to lose the luxury or spending the required 2 hours to get my hair looking not half as great as this…ps loved the owls….thanks Zoe! Can’t wait to hear the news that you’ve had bub x

  • Naomi @ (Not) Just A Mummy

    Hmmm I wonder if it’s too late to add a ‘Keratin BHAVE’ to the ol’ Mothers Day list? Surely a worthwhile pressie for a heavily pregnant mama to 1 toddler who could do with having one less thing to do of a morning?! Thanks for the heads up fellow Pregbot!

  • Erin

    Your hair is so long these days! When did that happen? I wasn’t looking!

  • SK

    As a frizzy & fine haired lady (lucky me) – I love keratin. It does make your hair go very very flat (on top) but all the pros weigh out the cons.

    I always get it before I go travelling overseas as it saves a lot of time and I find I don’t even need my GHD, just a quick blow-dry.

    As for not being able to touch it for a day or so, I normally just use a very soft material-like headband or scarf to at least get my hair off my face.

  • Lauren Gledhill

    Fabulous. Everything about this excites me. Flashbacks to bubba # 1 and months of excessive dry shampooing. Now to create a spray tan that lasts as long!

  • Caroline

    I’m guessing you’re combining the one glass of Pinot a week with One Born Every Minute for a little Dutch courage…

  • Lannah

    I had a keratin treatment done before returning to work after maternity leave for the same reason – as I figured I would have zero time to get myself and child ready and out of the house each morning and it was FANTASTIC! I have long, very thick hair that tends to fluff out (especially here in Brisbane). I only wash my hair once a week and found the treatment lasted 4 months plus perfectly and even at 6 months the residual effect was that blow drying (to achieve the no-frizz) look took about a quarter of the time that it had previously.
    The only downside is that because I have so much hair the treatment was expensive (about $600) so isn’t something I can afford to get done ‘regularly’

    • Zoe

      I think it’s probably best left for ‘special/much-needed times anyway’… gives your hair a little “nappy free” time.

  • Alisha

    OH MY GOD – I was OBSESSED with One Born Every Minute when I was pregnant with my son (5 month old). CRAZY obsessed.

    It’s like sea sickness though – in that it stops as soon as you hit land…or in the case of pregnancy, as soon as your baby swooshes out!

  • Sinead

    Oh I use bhave! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!!

  • Sarah Jane

    Hi, what’s the long term effects of this? Will it damage my hair/ neutral/ lush like a conditioning treatment?

  • Robyn

    I had the bhave keratin treatment done a few weeks ago (at 38 weeks pregnant) and I bloody love it! My baby was born this week – I washed my hair this morning, dried and styled in less than 10 minutes, it’s perfect. I live in Sydney and had it done at LHD Organic at Chatswood – they are fabulous there 🙂

  • Pip

    Hey Zo, you mention that the treatment lightened your hair to a blonde colour.. Does this lightening fade I.e. Will your hair return to your normal darker colour soon, or only 2-4 months later when the treatment ears off?

  • Tahni

    Hey, I have always put off getting any sort of straightening treatment done for fear of the dreaded ‘pube scalp’ as you called it. Does this treatment look natural as it grows out?


  • AM

    Hey Zoe !

    This doesn’t have anything to do with this post sorry, I was just wondering if there’s a reason you’ve never mentioned the brand Kora Organics? I’m keen to try some masks (to use after your amazing swipeys as you mentioned) and the tinted moisturised and was looking to see if you had praised them before. What do you think of the products??

  • satin pillowcase for hair

    Your hair is so long these days! When did that happen?

  • Kat

    Hi Zoe,

    Firstly, thank you so much for your website – I have been tearing my hair out trying to find reliable, independent beauty advice on products available in Australia. As someone who also has fine, frizz-prone hair I was interested in this post, but was wondering if you knew of an at home treatment that I could try?

    Thanks again,

  • Leigh Van Der Horst

    Dearest Zoe,
    I REALLY hope you get a chance to read this.
    Firstly, CONGRATS on the arrival of Sonny! He is precious, as all baby boys are. xx
    My name is Leigh and I am a 38 year old mother to 4 (!!!) boys. (sixbythebay on twitter & Instagram, currently being a bit annoying and very sorry as not usually so annoying but really passionate about my book and SO hoping you might consider my request…..)
    I am almost finished with my book written for Motherless Mothers (as I sadly am one) and the final stage of my book is devoted to words of wisdom from Mothers. I believe that this section will encourage and support so many mums who don’t have anyone to guide them through.
    I am hoping that you might add to this section as you are a very inspiring woman and now a beautiful mother. Im sure now as a mum you understand how important it is to support one another, especially in those early days!
    This book I have written is in honour of my beautiful mum who passed away from Cancer in 2008. I lost my rock and my best friend but found my way out of grief and became a woman of strength and integrity and I hope to inspire others with my story.
    Please, please, please, a million times over, please if you have any time between nappy changing and burping your precious new little man I would be so honoured to include your words. All Im asking for is a couple of sentences…

    I thank you SO much for taking the time to read my message and I truly hope to hear from you at your convenience.
    Much love,
    Leigh Van Der Horst xxxxxxxx

  • Aims

    Hi Zoe,
    I just wanted to thank you so much for this recommendation. I saw how beautiful your hair looked on your instgram photo and thought this treatment might be the answer for my very annoying hair. I had the treatment done 2 weeks ago and it has made my life so much easier! I used to spend ages in the morning trying to create some sort of normal look only to come home to a frizzier/messy version of what i left with. Now my hair is so straight! And stays straight when I straighten it. Im using the shampoo and and conditioner by Bhave aswell and my hair is now able to be washed every 3 days instead of daily! Cant say enough good things about this and wanted to share so hopefully any girls reading this can have hope that something out there actually works!
    Thanks again and congrats on Sonny hope you are enjoying your new phase of life x

  • C

    Hi Zoe,

    I have just had this done. What kinds of shampoo and conditioner should I be using? Like a low sulphate one?
    Bhave is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Sara Janson

    Hi Zoe,

    It’s indeed a nice post, and your hair looks great. 😀 I myself is very obsessed about my hair! I do regular treatment? But one thing I was curious about have you tried the natural ways for the treatment? Well I usually do so, that’s why pretty interested to know, never mind. Cheers (Y)

  • jodie

    Can I ask when you do the treatment are you supposed to leave the product in your hair for say 60 minutes and wash it all out and then straighten? Or after 60 minutes do you just wash the excess product out and leave majority in your hair, then straighten and wash it all out 48 hrs lata? 

  • drawohyram

    Cocoa Keratin by Karmin makes the best in my opinion 🙂

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  • jacquelinemcpeak

    Best I have ever used is the Karmin Cocoa Keratin 😉

  • Carol L. Sauceda

    I really like my Karmin Cocoa Keratin  😉

  • lita

    great article dear.. thank you for it,i am using jamaican black castor oil from long and its really effective.

  • julia marie

    Thank you for such a wonderful article dear. i am using hair care products from long and my hair really looks like the pic given above.. i want to ask can i continue it?

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  • Rachel West

    I personally only like to use Keratin
    Complex. Yes, its a bit more than $199 a procedure but they also have a bunch of other smoothing treatments that can be a little less expensive, but you will get less months out of the procedure. Also, I recommend using a purple shampoo because after a couple of months of keratin protein product, you can get your hair to get a little brassy. Maintenance of your hair is critical in all the steps of this process, so you have to take all accepts of this process seriously. Great post.

  • Emily Campbell

    Nice! Thanks for sharing this amazing post.

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