Service Scout: Redken Smooth Lock Chemistry Shot Tuesday 31 July, 2012

Is your hair behaving badly? Redken’s Smooth Lock, a new two-step, in-salon smoothing service and collection of five support products, seeks to make your hair more manageable—and your life a hell of a lot easier. Redken brand ambassador Rodney Cutler explains…

On the day of Redken’s Smooth Lock launch, the weather couldn’t have been more tress-unfriendly; it was in the high 90s with 70% humidity in NYC, which means it’s muggy, miserable, smelly and a harbinger for frizz. “Right now there’s a massive desire for manageable hair,” Redken brand ambassador Rodney Cutler says to the gathered editors, who’s manes are coated in sweat and frizz (none probably more than mine since I was hustling hardcore to not be late). His audience is nodding, their own locks seemingly nodding their approval of this statement as well. He continues, “Smoothing treatments are about making life easier.”

Yes, indeed. The Smooth Lock smoothing line and semi-permanent in-salon treatment promise to fight frizz and whip tresses into covetable shape, making your life—at least in terms of hairstyling—a hell of a lot easier. First, there’s the two-step, in-salon treatment, which lasts up to 10 shampoos (and can be extended up to 13 shampoos if you dutifully use the Smooth Lock Stay Sleek leave-in cream); then, a five-product maintenance line, including Shampoo, Conditioner, Stay Sleek leave-in cream, Butter Silk rinse-out treatment and Heat Glide protective smoother. These at-home products, Rodney stresses, help magnify and lengthen the results of the smoothing service. All pieces of the Smooth Lock puzzle utilize heat-activated Heat Fuse Complex, which contains almond oil for shine and Thermo Active Polymer that forms a protective barrier around the cuticle, blocking-out humidity while sealing in moisture for a smooth, reflective surface. After the service, you’re urged not to wash your hair for 48 hours, but you can put it up in a ponytail if you like. I ask this…repeatedly. I’ve had smoothing treatments where this was a major no-no (which was, in turn, a major turn-off for me).

 Redken Smooth Lock At Home Maintenance

Though I wanted to experience this smoothing fix-all, Rodney admitted I’m not a good candidate. “If you bleach your hair,” he begins, eye-ing me through the circle of editors, “this service is not for you.” He then says, “Karie, that would be you.” Got it. Those who chemically relax their hair are also precluded from the service. But, all is not lost on us; Rodney lights up with his next suggestion. “You can do the in-salon Redken Smooth Lock Chemistry Shot, which lasts three shampoos!”

I’m whisked away by Cutler Salon stylist Elizabeth, who first washes my hair with the Smooth Lock Shampoo. Then, she administers the Chemistry Shot, and wraps a hot towel around my head. “This helps open up the cuticle so your hair can suck up all the goodness!” she claims. I sit for five minutes at the bowl, wondering just how much goodness is being sucked up. I need a lot of goodness these days.

When Elizabeth returns, she rinses my hair and then runs Smooth Lock Butter Silk through my lengths, telling me that it doesn’t over-condition…”unless you use an excessive amount, of course!” she laughs. When I’m back in her chair, she treats my tresses to Smooth Lock Stay Sleek, which will lengthen the smoothing benefits of my Chemistry Shot by up to three shampoos, giving me a grand tally of six shampoos I should be able to do while still reaping Smooth Lock’s benefits.

I focus on how Elizabeth is blow-drying my hair; she’s working exclusively at the roots first, then hitting the mid-shaft as a section and then the ends. But I’m most fascinated with what she’s doing at my roots. “I’m pre-drying,” she says. “I’m pulling the brush straight up as I blow-dry to direct the root in the opposite direction of how it lays (which is flat) so it will go where I want it to go when I want it to.” Interesting…

Halfway through, Rodney pops over to finish my blow-dry, a true treat as I’m the only editor in my grouping this happens to. We talk shop and Fashion Week; he tells me I have the most “responsive” hair he’s seen. It’s true; my hair retains curl, waves, anything really, with very little cajoling. He also tells me that the secret to the success of Smooth Lock, or any hair service for that matter, is “all about the conversation you have at the chair.” I concur.

After my Chemistry Shot, my hair felt silky and bouncy immediately (which doesn’t always happen with smoothing services; sometimes your hair will feel weighted down until that initial wash) and appeared fuzz-free as I dragged myself down the muggy streets of Manhattan; a week later, the effects of this frizz-lock-out were still being felt—and seen. Though I didn’t get to try out the true two-step Smooth Lock service, just getting a taste of it with this Chemistry Shot let me know that it’s got some great smoothing moves.

Visit to learn more about the Smooth Lock line and service.

Would you try out Smooth Lock in-salon service?

Karie L. Frost Signature



  • Ilona says:

    I recently went to a Bethlehem PA salon where they offered a Groupon combo deal on haircut, chem shot & color.

    I have a lot of hair, but it is very fine, dry and curly. The technician said she had to do a double process hair color (from dirty blonde to dark blonde) because my roots were grown out more than 2 inches.

    After coloring, she massaged the Redken Chem shot in, she then volunteered to blow my curls straight with a brush, and flat ironed it, instead of cutting it, because she said my hair had no split ends and I had told her I wanted to grow it as long as possible.

    While my hair “felt nice to the touch” and had very pretty color and shine, it became “big 80’s hair” for 3 weeks, and now on the 4th week, it is coming out in clumps when I comb it every morning.


    • admin says:

      Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry this happened to you!

      OK…it’s hard to know what exactly went wrong. Do you know what type of Chemistry Shot she gave you? There are several different kinds. My recommendation to you: If you don’t know what type of Chemistry Shot you were given, I suggest calling the salon you went to and asking them to pull up your file (they SHOULD have one). You need to know this information, because then you should contact Redken customer service – (choose “Contact Us” – and then “All Other”); tell them what you told me here. Hopefully they can get to the bottom of this because a Chemistry Shot shouldn’t harm hair, even processed hair. Though, I’m not 100% certain that it’s OK to get a double process and a smoothing Chemistry Shot (if that’s what you got) in the same day. So contact them and tell them as much as you can. Good luck!

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