First, there was the age-old tactic of rinsing your hair with cold water after cleansing to lock in moisture and boost shine. Then came the "cool shot," a function on your blow dryer that blasts cold air through the nozzle to hold your style of choice in place. Today, a hairstylist from New Zealand takes the concept of cold conditioning to a new level with an innovative tool that uses sub-zero temperatures to seal the hair cuticle, delivering hydration and a glossy finish.
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As effective as traditional methods of cold conditioning are, each has its downside. No one enjoys the feeling of freezing water trickling down their back in the shower, and the last thing you want is to blow a hairstyle that's taken hours to perfect out of place with a wave of cold air from the cool shot.
Instead, the Inverse Hair Conditioning System is more precise. Modeled after a small, cordless flat iron, the tool clamps sections of your hair between two frozen plates to infuse your strands with moisture. "During scientific investigations, it was observed that subzero temperatures lock in moisture, which is the basis of healthy, more manageable hair," says David Roe, founder of Inverse. "Inverse helps balance the effects of external elements and locks in moisture to keep it strong and healthy. It will also make the hair less susceptible to damage and breakage."
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Here's how it works. Store the Conditioning System or just the Ice Cores (the system's plates), in the freezer for at least two hours before using it. Unlike a general flat iron, Roe recommends using the Conditioning System on wet hair. For best results, towel-dry hair after cleansing, and spritz it with Inverse Ice Mist, a leave-in conditioner that preps hair for the treatment. "Now, we can’t give away all our secrets!" said Roe when asked to divulge the key ingredients in the Ice Mist. "Essentially, it's a special formulation that has specific pH levels that will help close the cuticles of your hair, resulting in a softer, smoother finish." Next, pass your hair through the system's Ice Cores in sections from roots to tips. (The plates will stay cold for about 30 minutes.) Finish by styling as usual, but if possible, resist the urge to reach for your blow-dryer. "Try to stay away from heat," says Roe. "It causes the most damage."
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What if you've got curly hair? Roe proclaims that the tool was conceived with curly hair in mind. "My wife experimented with an ice rinse after being told that cold water was beneficial to hair. After one rinse, she experienced reduced frizz and increased shine. Her curls held together and clumped in a way I’d never noticed before. The result was stunning and prompted further investigation. It wasn't until we began developing the product that we found that all textures and lengths benefit from Inverse conditioning." Roe says Inverse will not disrupt the hair's curl pattern or hamper volume, and shares that his users find that their curls have better definition, bounce, and less frizz.
Inverse products can only be purchased in New Zealand and Australia at the moment, so here's hoping that they land Stateside, stat.
This article originally appeared on InStyle. For more stories like this, visit InStyle.com.