Botox For Hair Might Just Make You Toss Your Dry Shampoo

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins.
Dry shampoo is a modern-day miracle: Its ability to make three-days-post-blowout hair look freshly-washed is nothing short of life-altering. But what if we told you that there was a way to trick your hair into holding up just as well on its own, without any styling products whatsoever? It's possible — though not without its caveats — through "Blotox."
The procedure is exactly what it sounds like: Botox injections applied to the scalp in order to cut down on sweating and extend blowouts by a couple more days. Dermatologic surgeon Dendy Engelman, M.D., is a pioneer of the treatment, and has offered it in her practice over the past three-and-a-half years.
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"Botox Cosmetic is a neuromodulator that temporarily weakens the underlying muscle and blocks communication between the nerve and the sweat gland,” Dr. Engelman says of how the procedure works. “This prohibits the glands from working properly and producing sweat. When injected into the scalp, it reduces perspiration and causes the hair to remain dry — even during a workout."
The treatment, the results of which can last for six to 12 months, can also minimize frizz. “When the scalp is wet from sweat, hair can frizz, but if you diminish scalp sweat, hair may appear less frizzy,” Dr. Engelman explains. What’s more, preliminary research shows these injections may help trigger additional hair growth in the scalp as well. “Initial studies show promise, with 50% of test subjects experiencing new hair growth [with Botulinum toxin injections],” Dr. Engelman says, though she does clarify, “These results aren't published yet, but my colleagues who only work in hair restoration substantiate these numbers.”
Less frequent washing and styling (and therefore less heat damage), minimized frizz, and potential new hair growth? With promise like this, it’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t be on board. But some people should abstain, including pregnant women, those who are breastfeeding, anyone with a muscular dystrophy or allergy to Botox, Dr. Engelman notes.
Photographed by Caroline Tompkins.
There are a few other sobering aspects to consider before booking an appointment: Budget-wise, these treatments are a huge financial departure from a $40 blowout here and there. Costs can range from $500 to $2,000 depending on the number of areas being treated and who is doing the injecting, according to Dr. Engelman. It’s not the kind of thing you want to bargain shop for, either: Injections done at the hand of an inexperienced provider can yield undesirable results, including the appearance of an uneven forehead or droopy brow.
Though it may sound tempting to eradicate scalp sweat altogether, Miami-based dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy, M.D., strongly advises against overdoing it. Unlike with Botox injections used to curb sweating on the hands, feet, and underarms, we need to retain some sweat function in our heads to help regulate our body temperature. “When the weather is hot, we cool down by sweating, particularly on the scalp and face. If this sweating is eliminated altogether, one may have trouble with overheating,” Dr. Jegasothy says. ”Although this concept has not been proven definitively in the medical literature, it is enough to keep me cautious for now.”
For this reason, Dr. Jegasothy and Dr. Engelman concentrate “Blotox” injections along the hairline, where sweating is most heavy and visible (and most likely to mess up a hairstyle). For those with the cash flow to make it possible, it may be the best way to never let them see you sweat — without totally losing your cool.
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