Florida's endless days of sunshine may have their perks, but healthy hair isn't one of them. That's why the sandy shores of St. Pete are home to a woman known as the hair doctor.
From weather-worn locks to hair that's been over treated with chemicals — dyeing, straightening and bleaching, oh, my! — Karen Hicks, owner of the Hair Hospital in St. Petersburg, is a certified hair-saver.
Hicks has 20-plus years' experience as a cosmetologist, but she's building buzz in Tampa Bay thanks to her battle against hair damaged by overexposure to the elements, color processing, harsh chemicals and overuse of styling tools. And in a state where sunshine is as plentiful as bleached blonds, business is booming.
That's why this 'do doctor prescribes nanokeratization, a process that calls upon a water-infused keratin protein that penetrates the hair and strengthens the hair shaft from the inside out. The treatment is popular at salons in London, San Diego and Montreal, but the Hair Hospital is the only local beauty destination I found that offers it.
Hicks helped import the treatment into the states after learning the technique from a South American company called Tanagra. (Unlike another popular hair-saving treatment called Brazilian keratin, nanokeratization does not include the use of formaldehyde.) The end result is soft, shiny hair that's the same, yet better.
To begin, Hicks washes the hair with an anti-residue shampoo. Next, keratin particles are applied using a diffusing brush. After the fine mist is applied, Hicks dries it in with a blow drier or flat iron. Once the hair is dry, she applies a sealer, containing silicone, to trap in the protein.
It's a quick and easy process. Hicks said most clients find the only challenge to be not washing their hair for two days "to seal in the results."
Anyone with damaged hair can be helped. "It's great for overly flat-ironed hair or overly chemically treated hair," Hicks said.
The cost, $75 to $150 per treatment, may be a small price to pay for the end of bad hair days.