Should you go in for a Hair Relaxer or Keratin Treatment

If you are a woman with very curly hair, wanting to soften and straighten the hair professionally, then chemical relaxers and Keratin Straightening Treatments, also known as Brazilian treatments are two options you can try. Both are very popular among women with Afro-american or ethnic hair. We tell you here what the two treatments are about and whether you should go in for a hair relaxer or keratin treatment for best results.


relaxer vs keratin treatment

A relaxer is a chemical that is used to soften coarse and kinky curls. It does so by breaking the protein bonds that make up your hair shaft and alter the texture of the hair, making it softer. The treatment can take about half an hour to an hour, depending on the length of your  hair. Chemical hair relaxer kits are available for purchase for $20, while a visit to the salon can cost you up to $200 to get your hair relaxed.


The hair relaxer has permanent effect on the hair that is treated. However, whatever new growth occurs needs to be treated from the roots since that grows with your natural texture. This touch-up can be done at home or in the salon and costs a fraction of the original treatment.

Safety and other considerations

If you have colored your hair, then you cannot use hair relaxers until the color is washed off. Similarly, once the treatment is done, there are limitations to what dyes you can use on your hair. Remember that it is a permanent change to your existing hair texture, so do it with care and at a reputed salon. Since the treatment is about breaking the keratin bonds of the hair, it can cause quite a bit of damage to your hair health and can leave the hair dry and brittle. Be sure to take care of all the post treatment measures.


Keratin Hair Straightening or Brazilian Straightening as it is popularly known as, uses a formulation that contains Keratin and other conditioners. The formula is applied on the hair and allowed to work on it. Then your hair is ironed straight to get smooth hair. The whole process is done in less than 3 hours. It costs anywhere between $200 to $500 to get this treatment done.


This is not a permanent hair straightening method and the effect starts wearing off in three months. After this period, you would need to do a complete application of the keratin treatment on hair since keratin from the previous treatment would have worn off.

Safety and other considerations

It is absolutely alright to get a keratin treatment done on dyed or colored hair. However, after the treatment, coloring your hair could be an issue since the additional keratin may not allow the color to penetrate the hair shaft. Hence you may get streaky coloring.

Safety wise, however, keratin treatments have been in the news for the wrong reasons for emanating formaldehyde during the course of the treatment. There are many formaldehyde-free formulations that are now available after the awareness has been created. So be sure to ask your salon whether they use formaldehyde free straighteners.

Now that you have a gist of the two treatments, you can choose the one according to your requirement and budget. If you are looking for a more lasting solution, then relaxing is the way to go. However, the Brazilian Keratin Treatment will give you stronger hair that does not need too much taking care of.

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Aparna Anand

After a stint in an MNC in Bangalore, Aparna has now started doing what she loves the most- writing. Travelling and cooking come a close second and third. She lives in Mumbai with her husband.

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