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Kendra Aarhus

Does it Really Work? CHI Enviro American Smoothing Treatment by Farouk Systems

By July 5, 2011

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You've likely heard or read about the Brazilian Blow Out treatment that received rave reviews for a while, and was later shunned across the globe for containing dangerous levels of formaldehyde. The products have been generally reformulated and re-released as "Keratin Smoothing Treatments" or some variation of that.

On the heels of this news, Farouk Systems has released the CHI Enviro American Smoothing Treatment that makes many of the same beautifully smooth hair promises of it's predecessors, without all the harmful chemicals. Not only does this new treatment promise to reduce 95% of your frizz, be safe for color treated and highlight hair, and make your curly hair manageable, but it's also made right here in the United States. Bonus.

Kris' hair before the CHI Enviro American Smoothing System application.
Photo Kendra Aarhus

I was always hesitant to try any of the previously released smoothing treatments, and after finding out about the chemical issues, I was glad I didn't jeopardize my health in the name of smooth hair. When Farouk first introduced the American Smoothing Treatment, I had my doubts.

Enter Google. After the American Smoothing Treatment was released I'd periodically see tidbits come up on my radar. You know, Facebook, Twitter, and the like. I started Googling the treatment and had a really hard time finding anything negative about it. Eventually my salon supply salesman introduced the product to me (and a really great introduction deal) and I figured I couldn't lose.

Kris' hair immediately after the CHI Enviro American Smoothing System application.
Photo Kendra Aarhus

Next, I'd need to find a guinea pig. Of course I called one of my friends that I knew could use a little help in the frizz department (I also knew Kris likely wouldn't press charges or sue me if the treatment somehow made her hair fall out of her head). Kris has really thick, curly hair, with a bit of unmanageable frizz. Her hair is colored and lightly highlighted.

I did my research, learned the tricks of the trade, and today we embarked on Kris' new smooth hair. The application process took about 90 minutes and will be completely finished tomorrow, after a 24 hour waiting period, wash, and flat iron. As of today, I have high hopes and I'll be sure to update the process and provide a full review over the coming weeks to see how Kris' hair responds.


July 5, 2011 at 11:46 pm
(1) Terri Hunter says:

Wow! Look at that! Her hair looks amazing!! I am eagarly going to follow this blog. I have the frizzy issues in the summer and if this helps maybe I can end the intimate relationship I have with my hair ties!!! Can’t wait to read more!!!

August 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm
(2) Penny says:

I was told pool and ocean water will reduce the effects of the treatment so I am hesitant for my 9 yr old to have this done until summer is over.
However, does anyone know if a home water softener that uses salt will cause the same effects? I hate to spend the money to go home and wash it all out!

August 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm
(3) Kendra says:

Regular chlorine exposure would be hard on any chemical hair treatment. Your home water softener should cause no issues.

September 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm
(4) Margaret says:

The treatment leaves you feeling like a million bucks! Yes, but have you used the shampoo and conditioner? YUCK! The treatment is said to last up to 4 months (provided you used their smoothing shampoo and smoothing conditioner, and serum). Well, I tried my hardest to stick with the shampoo and conditioner but the smell of rotten old dumpsters just got the best of me. It has only been about 4 1/2 weeks and my hair is just as “not smooth” as it was before. I used the products for about 3 weeks straight. Even my family could smell it when they walked by me. I am still using just the serum, but it just doesn’t do anything alone. I am disappointed.

October 15, 2011 at 11:17 am
(5) Deb says:

Had the treatment done a couple of weeks ago. My hair, especially in the back, is heavy & greasy. Can’t seem to wash it enough to get rid of the gummy feeling. My hair was shinier and had more movement prior to the treatment. I have been using the recommended shampoo(can’t seem to get any lather going!) and conditioner. Disappointed. Not sure if the hairdresser did something wrong or if I’m doing something wrong. Just wanna get rid of this stuff!!

October 21, 2011 at 11:45 am
(6) Heidi says:

This product is a total waste of money!! After 10 minutes in humid weather my hair looks as frizzy as before. I also could not stand the smell of it either. Definitely not keeping its promise

November 4, 2011 at 9:05 am
(7) David says:

I’ve used a couple different safer protien blow out systems and have found the Ci Enviro to be the best. It lasts longer and actually does what it says it Will. I’m sorry that others didn’t have the same experience but not every stylist is going to understand how to properly apply and process the chi enviro. Stlist wanting to offer this to their clients need to take a class and then follow the DIRECTIONS!

November 15, 2011 at 8:42 am
(8) Jennifer says:

I had the system applied to my hair a week ago yesterday. I just washed it last night and it was still pretty fluffy, full of volume. Naturally my hair is ringlests underneath and waves/volume on the top. Of course it gets frizzy, full and fly aways without any product. I watched the video from the girl from naturallycurly.com who had pretty curly hair to start out with then her update video when she had no product except the smoothing serum in it and it looked great. No frizz and her curls were reduced to light waves. I was excited thinking thats what my hair would look like since her hair even more curly than mine. Well, not so much! It might be a little more tame but definetely still poofy and my ringlets underneath are nice soft curls.
On a positive note….I do like it. Im sure my hair will be soooooo much easier to blow dry and straighten. My hair is super soft and shiney(I cant stop running my fingers through it) and the smell of the treatment and after products are very light non perfumey. Yes, it has a smell but I would never consider it gross, bad, disgusting or anything negative. I like it! Perhaps just like perfumes differ on people maybe the smell of the product changes on people with their body chemistry. As far as the non-foaming in the shampoo…well thats a must. You cant use anything on your hair with a p.h. higher than 2. Shampoo’s that suds or foams are actually not so great for your hair anyway. Its hard to get used to, I admit that! But I dont mind knowing Im protecting my $150.00 investment in the treatment.
The only time my hair ever felt gummy or gross is the day the treatment went on. It looked fine, but felt gross. Like there was ALOT of conditioner left in my hair when it was straightend. But that was completely gone with the first wash.
I hope my review helps someone. :)

December 8, 2011 at 10:06 am
(9) Jalea says:

To the last poster? How long did it last? Do you still feel it’s worth the price?

I want to get it done but will not be happy if it’s gone in 2 weeks!

Thank you!!

December 9, 2011 at 11:30 am
(10) womenshair says:

I can not speak for the last poster, but as a stylist that has done the treatment on no less that 12 people. I’ve seen results last from 1 month to 4 months. it really depends on your maintenance, how often you wash your hair, the types of shampoo/conditioner you use, etc. It is my understanding that with each treatment, the results are longer lasting.

February 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm
(11) tIFFANY says:

this absolutely doesnt work!!!! I tried it twice! and my hair is still fizzy! Don’t waste your time or money. It pales to the Brazilian Blowout by far!!!Which I had done 6 times :)

February 13, 2012 at 10:06 am
(12) Jenna says:

I had this done 4 months ago and LOVED it! I am using the Loreal Everpure shampoo and conditioner for colored hair. It smells wonderful! I have very wavy hair on the back of my head and this smoothing treatment made the wave virtually non existent. You can’t expect poker straight hair just from blow drying. The wave is still in my hair after drying, but a quick zip through with flat iron gets rid of it very quickly. I am going back tomorrow for my second treatment. Well worth the money!! I highly recommend it.

February 24, 2012 at 7:59 am
(13) MeME says:

After thorough research and asking thousands of questions to my stylist about a straightening system for my twins girls’ naturally kinky hair, the Chi Enviro was highly recommended. Unlike some of the other systems, including the Brazilian Blowout, it didn’t include any harmful ingredients. Well, I was nervous but they got their hair done on yesterday and I’m absolutely amazed! It’s soft and full of body! They woke up this morning and the softness and body is still there. I do have to use the shampoo , conditioner, and serum today for the first day since it requires that you do these steps after 24hrs. I will give you an update on the turnout. But so far, so good!

March 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm
(14) Terrell Methvin says:

I own Total Changes Hair salon in Shreveport La. http://www.totalchanges.com we are experimenting with the Chi Smoothing Treatment on a manikin we did one side with out the serum, we just forgot. The results were tacky and gummy felling this was greatly reduced by shampooing still not comparable to Global Keratin Treatment.
Now we are doing the other side and using less of the treatment and added the chi serum before flat ironing much better results.
Less is more with the application of the smoothing treatment.
People need to realize this is polymer that cures at 400 degrees and 7 days of oxygen. Each 1/4 sections needs to be heated to 400 degrees 3 to 5 passes or until you feel the hair deflate (best way I can explain it). Once you get home flat iron your hair section by section meticulously over the first seven days, and shampoo with a non sulfate shampoo and a professional smoothing conditioner. I like the Global Keratin Shampoo and Moroccanoil shampoo and conditioners also.
Training is important for good results. Stylist need to take a class.

March 4, 2012 at 6:18 pm
(15) CMM says:

The product is great and I love it! I kept it on four days before washing it out and my hair has more mositure than it has had in years. Because of going to the change of live my hair became dry and everyday I had to oil my hair. Now after having the product on for a month I have not used any oil and my hair has been color treated.

This has been the wonderful thing for me!!:):) Great product!! I wake up with beautiful hair everyday!

April 5, 2012 at 12:28 am
(16) SJ says:

Hi Everyone,
The CHI Enviro American Smoothing Treatment Is NOTHING like a Keratin Treatment. It’s at a whole nother level!!!
It utilizes not chemicals, but CHI 44 Technology to temporarily(Not Permanently) reduce 95% Frizz, making your hair silkier and shinier!!
It’s meant to condition and reconstruct your hair making it EASIER TO STYLE.
For all of you who felt that your hair was gummy your stylist used too much of the treatment! Or your stylist failed to utilize the recommended CHI Dryer and Flat Iron!!
Make sure you get the CHI ENVIRO done only by a stylist who uses these tools and has attended a class!!
Don’t miss out on the benefits of this amazing service!

May 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm
(17) nawab says:

Ive got the chi treatment transformation.. I just took a bath today…but i wanted to ask i dint buy the chi shampoos thyere sucha.rip off i.bought cuppola keratin shampoo and.conditioner..chemical free salts free…chi says that theyre shampoo.and xonditioner are sulfur free.but honestly their conditioner contains sulfur..i used the keratin complex shampoo.nd.conditioner and hair are super smooth..and yes by all the research i found out chi.is based on.japenese straightening that is rebonding…its the same thing just a diff name…so.y go for expenaive shampoo

May 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm
(18) Kathy says:

Margaret, I thought it was only me.. I had to wash my hair 3 times this morning and it smelled like spoiled milk… I thought I was going crazy… when did the smell end for you???

June 4, 2012 at 10:50 am
(19) K Wilk says:

I did this service on myself last night and while I am absolutely thrilled with the way it turned out, the smell is just entirely overwhelming. It’s beyond the stench of milk that has been left out a week. It’s hard to describe. I absolutely do not want to be around anyone right now the smell is just that bad. It is now on my pillow and any towels I dry my hair with. I could only leave the product in my hair 12 hours before I had to rinse it this morning. I too am very curious as to how long the stench lasts. If more than a day or two, I would not use this again on myself and would steer clients away from it.

June 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm
(20) Amber Downs says:

I used this system on my 11-year-old daughter’s hair day before yesterday. Waited 24 hours shampooed and conditioned with the provided products. I then applied the serum as directed and blew the hair dry straight and flat ironed. Her hair was a nappy mess before with overly tight coiled curl and is now silky, soft and beautiful. I am a stylist who very carefully followed the directions. I will recommend it to anybody who is in need! I LOVE IT!!!

July 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm
(21) KAREN says:

Ok Ladies, I have called Farouk Systems and asked numerous questions, particularly regarding the smell issue and the gummy feeling. Here’s what I found out….smell is caused by a chemical reaction between your body chemistry/hair oils and the product. They have done some reformulating on this and believe that they have worked out the issue. They suggested if the product is still having this reaction, you should call them and the product should be replaced. Also said the odor is most noticeable when the hair is wet. They also indicated that the gummy texture was due to being over saturated with the product. Stylist should be properly trained and follow directions exactly for best results. Finally, for those of us who have coarse thick curly hair with some frizz issues, this is a great option especially if we like to go curly or straight as it doesn’t change the molecular structuring of the hair. Length of time treatment lasts is based on your hair care regimen. If you sweat alot, or wash alot or whatever, it will probably not last quite as long. They say average of 2-4 months. I’m getting mine done next week. Wish me luck and hopefully this information will help someone else.

August 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm
(22) Nawab says:

I’ve got my chi done on the first of may and its almost been complete three months hair are still straight but they are obviously not as smooth but to tell you honestly they’re 80% smooth..just the ends are a little wavy which I love as it gives my hair body…I never used chi fariuk shampoo they’re a rip off use any sulphate free pH balance shampoo..I used cupola keratin treatment shampoo and conditioner its half the price and the conditioner leaves here supple soft and shiny if u apply lots of conditioner I still get super sleek look…try the conditioner I loveeeee it…as for the shampoo I use the cupola shampoo but if you doubt it get any sulphate free shampoo but to be honest I’m a doctor and I know chemistry v well a shampoo can’t be made without sulphate u won’t get any lather hair will be dirty messy clumped up

August 15, 2012 at 7:59 am
(23) lindazlee says:

I tried the Chi Blowout treatment 2 weeks ago. I have wavy hair that I can easily straighten with a flat iron and product but once I encounter any type of humidity I have a 1/4″ of frizz surrounding my entire head. No amount of product can stop it. This treatment has changed nothing:(. It’s a hot and humid summer here and my hair still frizzes the moment I walk outside:(. I have used all the correct products and waited 2 days to wash my hair after the treatment was applied. The only change is the awful smell when my hair is wet! I hope that goes away soon. I have tried Keratin treatment several times over the past couple of years and the results were the same-no change. The only thing that ever worked was Japanese Thermal Straightening. With that treatment I remember being caught in a rain shower in NYC during a work trip. My hair stayed pin straight with no frizz!

September 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm
(24) Brittany says:

I used the product an my hair fell out. They say its chemical free but since I had a head full of thick hair before I used this product an now I don’t I’m wondering is it really chemical free.

December 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm
(25) Maureen says:

My stylist assured me the Chi Enviro Hair Straightening System was safe on relaxed and color-treated hair, and this information she said she received from the company, so she applied it in August 2011. It is now December 2012 and my long, thick hair thinned out, fell out, and is still falling out. I am so disappointed and devasted by the results. I would not recommend this product to anyone at all. It is NOT worth the risk.

January 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm
(26) Johna DeRosier says:

I had the treatment done, I was told to leave it in for 48 hours (It was absolutely disgusting, it felt so grimy!!) But nice hair doesn’t come easy right? :)
I washed it this morning (I bought the special shampoo kit) and blow dried it (like they said) and it looks exactly like it did before!!! (but softer)
I think for the price paid o f$150.00 AND the price of the shampoo kit $70.00 and the $25.00 tip..I could of invested in some really good shampoo and would have got the same results. and i wouldn’t of had to sit in a chair for 3 1/2 hours!!!
Lesson learned, if it sounds too good to be true, it usally is!!

May 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm
(27) Brenda says:

Does it leave an odor?

June 12, 2013 at 10:35 am
(28) June says:

OMG Yes it leaves an odor. I had it done a week ago and have been trying to wash the smell out. It does leave my hair easier to manage but I can’t believe they expect you to walk around smelling like raw sewage. I’m embarassed to get too close to people.

June 29, 2013 at 12:31 am
(29) Lexi says:

I just got it done and it lightened my color a lot. I was really unhappy with how light my color got

September 1, 2013 at 7:21 am
(30) Psapes says:

I have made the treatment 2,5 months ,It made my hair straight but with no life in it , the most awful thing that I lost a loooooot of hair and each time I wash it , I loose a lot I even spread falling hair everywhere I go … I actually hate it .. I don’t know would it come off If I washed it a lot ?????

September 4, 2013 at 4:58 pm
(31) Marianne says:

I do not like Chi Enviro. My hair is soft and it is straight. But every single time I wash my hair, it emits a horrific odor, like rotten eggs. I am afraid to go swimming. I don’t want anyone to smell this. It’s terrible.

About two weeks before I did the Chi Enviro, I had gotten color to hide my grays. That color is stripped now. The gray is back and whatever color did not get completely stripped off, is lighter than the rest of my hair.

Overall I am unsatisfied.

October 3, 2013 at 8:29 am
(32) lisa says:

Between the damage it caused my hair and the smell, I would not ever use this product. My hair was not overly saturated and the time on was ten minutes before blow drying and ironing. I left it on 25 hours. What a disaster. My highlights are orange and my lowlights are dark orange. I had to get 2 inches cut off because it was soooo fried. However, I can live with all of that. I can not live with the smell. In the shower when it gets wet, it is all I can do not to dry heave. Yes, it is that bad. Chemical reaction to the body? Hmm. I am healthy and take NO medications. It only takes a day or two for the color smell to leave. But this has been almost a week. I am seriously considering shaving my head to be free. This is so not worth the $150-$200!! I can not even get reimbursed for it or my haircolor that it totally ruined. Nor can I get reimbursed for the absolute horrible smell it causes.

February 12, 2014 at 4:58 am
(33) Curly too says:

Poor results on long Auburn Irish curls. First time my teen shampooed after treatment with recommended products hair was wiry with whacked out curls jutting ever which way instead of her very tight coils. After a week it settled into a fuzzed but calmer crimped look with curls on bottom 1/3. Ends especially fuzzy even thou stylist cut 3″ off length. A waste of money, time and it was somewhat damaging.

And yes, it smelled noxious. Cannot be good for hair, the stylist or the enviro! Try your luck with a leave-in styling product by Marc Anthony called STRETCH for temporary softening of curl pattern. No longer at my Walgreens, but online for under $8. And if you decide to embrace your curls try his Curl Envy.

February 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm
(34) Casey says:

For those of you who noticed a smell, when did it go away? Saturday makes 3 weeks since I had the treatment and I am thoroughly disgusted by the way my hair smells when it’s wet. It seriously smells like something died in there! Any suggestions??

February 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm
(35) April says:

Just found this thread and was discouraged after reading all of the comments about the terrible smell when wet. I just had a professional glycolic acid keratin smoothing treatment by Keratin Complex and when my hair is wet, it smells like a pile of moldy towels soaked with sewer water – no joke. My stylist washed my hair eight times in a row with clarifying shampoo because I wanted the smell gone, but it still reeks. The smoothing effects are now null and void thanks to the clarifying shampoos, but this smell doesn’t seem to be any better. I even poured apple cider vinegar in my hair and no change. If anyone knows how to get the smell out without shaving my head, please advise! I’m starting a new relationship and devastated by this effect and considering legal action against the company. I called them and they said it would be gone in a couple of weeks but it sounds like you ladies are experiencing the smell beyond that point. I’m at my wit’s end.

March 15, 2014 at 9:54 am
(36) shay says:

I had the treatment done a week ago by my stylist. The first couple of days was great. My hair was shiny, had body and was moisturized. By day 5, my hair had a terrible smell and it still has that smell. I hope it doesn’t last for months! I don’t think I won’t this done again especially after reading all the others that have had bad experiences.

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