Depending on who you ask, Botox, the neurotoxin that rose to prominence in the ’00s for its wrincle-smoothing capabilities, wrincle-smoothing capabilities, could be an anti-aging marvel, a social pressure, a migraine miracle, or a scourge to gracefully aging women everywhere. Whatever you may feel about the muscle-paralyzing medication’s uses, there’s no denying that this vial’s staying power has proven it to be far more than just your average skincare fad, and yet it seems that every few years there is a new surge of interest as beauty fans discover fresh, must-try methods of using the injectable.
The latest craze? Botox treatments that claim to make your blowout last longer, aka “blotox.”
To get the scoop on this new trend, we talked with Dr. Francesca Fusco, a dermatologist and scalp health expert, about everything you need to know before going under the needle.
What Is Hair Botox, Exactly?
So-called “blotox” treatments focus on keeping hair fresh and bouncy by decreasing the amount of sweat that the scalp produces, in turn cutting back on dampness-induced frizz as well as stretching the amount of time you can go between shampoos. The effect is achieved by injecting botulinum toxin (Botox or other approved forms like Dysport of Xeomin) into the skin of the scalp, either all over the scalp or in focused areas like around the hairline.
“Individuals with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) benefit a great deal from this therapy,” says Fusco. “I have injected it in armpits, hands, feet, and hairlines to control excessive sweating.” Considering the treatment’s success, it seems only natural for the process to have gained popularity for its hair-refreshing properties.
How Does It Work?
“Botulinum toxin blocks acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is involved in signaling the stimulation of the sweat gland,” explains Fusco. Obviously this chemical stop sign is beneficial for those who experience intense sweating, but even those who only get moderately dewy during spin class will find the anti-perspirant bonus from injections. In fact, one study even reported that botulinum toxin could decrease hair-dirtying oil production at the injection site as well to help with extending your time between hair washings, though the findings suggest that sebum production in nearby skin could ramp up to make up the difference.
For many, “blotox” treatments are focused along the hairline at the forehead and sideburns where sweat and frizz tend to be the most noticeable, but the vital expression-changing muscles in that neighborhood mean that you should seek out an expert who’s familiar with the procedure-or risk the dreaded brown-droop. “The frontalis muscle is what keeps brows raised, and if too much botulinum toxin is injected or migrates downward, a heavy brow could result,” Fusco warns. She also notes that dandruff sufferers should consider carefully before opting for this wash-minimizing treatment, since putting off shampooing can promote the growth of yeast on the scalp and ultimately make flakes worse.
How Much Does It Cost?
The expense of a “blotox” treatment can vary widely depending on how much scalp acreage you want to cover-anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a hairline procedure to well over $1000 for more in-depth coverage. And just like botulinum toxin injections on your face, you can expect the effect to last anywhere from three to six months before you’ll need to repeat the process. Still, for those who yearn to add one more day of waking up with perfect, sleek tresses to their blowout routine, the investment of time and money could well be worth it. After all, can you really put a price on good hair?