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Aveda's Smooth Infusion Styling Balm: A Therapy Session For Your Curly Hair

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Here’s the thing about Aveda’s new Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight styling balm: It’s not about eradicating curly hair the way keratin or keratin-like treatments often promise (partially because this one's not keratin-based at all). Nor is it here to mess with your curl pattern, infuse your strands with carcinogens, or separate you from $400 in one fell swoop. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I’ve been thinking about it the way I used to think about my therapist—as an intermediary between my best self and all the really mean things that flit through my mind, in this case, about my own hair. In my journey to rekindle the lost spark with my curls (which haven't seen the light of day in close to nine months because of a particularly obsessive love affair with my blowdryer), I've been using at least a quarter-sized dollop (OK, maybe 50¢) on my towel-dried hair, and after five consecutive washes, curls are more relaxed (though absolutely still present), easily transition into waves upon introduction of a brush, and blow dry smooth in roughly half the time. All of which I'm choosing to believe is just as effective as an hour on the couch discussing commitment expectations, mutual respect, and these “boundary' things.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.