After beauty and lifestyle blogger Aly Walansky tried her first Brazilian Blowout, she was hooked.

“It’s an instant difference!” she says. “My hair is naturally super curly—Jewish curls are no joke—and it’s really impossible to deal with on my own, so I have to call in the big guns. The Brazilian Blowout tames it immediately,” she explains.

Launched over five years ago, the Brazilian Blowout’s silky results come from the protective keratin protein layer it wraps around each strand to eliminate frizz and smooth out ragged ends.

While the company first went through legal troubles with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) about improper labeling of the active ingredient formaldehyde, the newer formulation comes with safety ventilation instructions along with a certification course option for stylists.

According to Brazilian Blowout expert Mario Mendoza at the Mèche Salon in Los Angeles, the controlled amount of chemicals in the service is comparable to formulas found in other beauty services like nail polish and hair color. “We offer an outdoor station where the blowout is performed in case clients are still concerned, but if they’re breathing in LA air every day, they can handle a Brazilian Blowout a few times a year,” he says.

For Walansky, the service has transformed her daily morning routine and made her feel more in control of those much-coveted good hair days.

“When my hair is untreated, I end up shelling out cash for cheap blowouts in the neighborhood, and it adds up,” she says. “With it, I can blow out my own hair and feel good about the results. I even had dinner with a hair stylist friend earlier this week, and he said my hair looks healthier than it has in ages—and I’d just had a fresh treatment the week before.”

A veteran of smoothing treatments, Walansky says she “cocktails” services by getting permanent Japanese straightening twice a year and a Brazilian Blowout every three to four months to zap frizz and dryness. “My curls are coarsest at the root and this type of customization works best as my hair grows out,” she explains. For others in search of straight-up frizz smoothing, the Brazilian Blowout alone would suffice, says Mendoza.

And with all that she invests in her hair, the New York City-based writer has some savvy tips for getting the most out of your treatment. “The best advice I can give is to simply wash your hair less often,” she says, since cleansing shortens the life of any smoothing service. It’s also true that using hair products free of sulfates and sodium chloride is a must, as both ingredients rapidly degrade the protective keratin finish.

Protecting hair from all kinds of H2O—whether rain or saltwater at the beach—will also help your Brazilian Blowout last longer. “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but Sally Beauty sells bulk packages of disposable shower caps for a few bucks, and I carry them with me for that surprising rain shower, dental visits, water rides—anything!” says Walansky.

But there’s no need to shun water forever. If you’re going swimming, the best strategy is to get your hair wet with the tap first. “Once your strands are saturated with clean water, it’ll absorb less of the bad stuff that breaks down the treatment,” explains Walansky.

While the cost of a Brazilian Blowout varies by region and salon, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $450 in the USA for one. Since many salons use the phrase “Brazilian Blowout” to sell other smoothing services that may not last as long, we suggest searching for a participating salon directly through the brand’s website here.

The popularity of BB set off a huge wave of competing smoothing treatments. Want to know what others are currently hot on the market? We’ve got both at-home and in-salon services featured below.