When it comes to taming thick frizzy locks or crazy unruly curls, people swear by this treatment. If you also struggle with your unmanageable hair and are looking for a way to curb your at-home straightening time, the keratin treatment can turn out to be your savior. But before you treat your crowning glory with any chemical, it is essential to know its details, including the method, how it works, advantages, disadvantages, and side effects. So, here we are to help you out. Know everything about the keratin hair straightening treatment and determine whether it is worth a shot.
What Is Keratin?
Let’s start with a brief introduction to keratin. If you have no idea, keratin is naturally a protein found in our hair and works as its primary building block. Keratin is key to the proper maintenance of our locks, and lack of it can turn them dull, damaged, and uneven. Unfortunately, as we age, our hair loses its natural keratin. Besides, it also gets damaged when the hair is exposed to heat styling, chemical treatments, and synthetic hair care products.
What Is Keratin Hair Straightening Treatment?
The keratin treatment is a hair treatment in which the damaged parts of the hair are restored and rebuilt by treating the entire hair with ‘keratin’. A keratin treatment reintroduces protein into the hair strands by adding a layer of keratin, then strengthening and relaxing. This makes the hair super sleek and highly manageable while giving it a salon-like shine. It can even make your good hair stronger and more resilient as a restorative treatment. Different types of keratin treatment used in salons are Brazilian Blowout, Brazilian Hair Straightening, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola, Global Keratin Complex, the La-Brasiliana treatment, etc.
Though called a ‘straightening treatment’, the keratin treatment is, in reality, a ‘relaxing treatment’. It smoothes out frizzes and facilitates the at-home straightening of hair instead of making it permanently straight. Precisely, it makes the hair a lot more resilient so that it turns smoother, sleeker, and easily manageable.
Who Can Opt For It?
Everybody can try a keratin-based hair treatment to save hours for getting smoother, straighter hair each day. However, you should skip it if you have psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis (1).
Keratin Treatment Vs. Smoothing Treatment
Keratin treatments can be of different types, and smoothing treatment is just one. If you want to straighten out your hair texture to reduce the hassle of daily straightening, a keratin treatment is your answer. It will coat your hair cuticles like armor with a formaldehyde-releasing solution, thereby straightening the locks and cutting down frizz completely. But if you are happy with the texture of your hair and want to de-frizz it with added shine, choose a smoothing treatment. It uses a formaldehyde-free solution to deeply permeate your hair’s cortex, which smoothes the stresses without making them straighter (2).
How Does Keratin Treatment Work?
The keratin hair straightening treatment is a multi-phase process, which involves the following steps:
- The hair is cleansed and washed thoroughly with a cleanser, which is exclusively suitable for that specific type of hair.
- Then, a keratin hair straightening serum-containing dollops of keratin and conditioners is applied all over the hair after dividing it into small sections. It is ensured that each hair strand is covered nicely by the serum.
- Next, the hair is ironed out meticulously with a flat iron to activate the treatment and seal the keratin in the strands with the help of heat. Meanwhile, the hair gets straighter, sleeker, and smoother.
- After that, the hair is washed once more to rinse out the treatment.
- Finally, the hair is dried out and re-straightened.
How Long Does It Take?
The keratin hair straightening treatment is a time-consuming process. Depending on the hair’s length, thickness, and texture, it takes between 1 and 3.5 hours to complete the treatment.
Aftercare Rules To Follow
Proper aftercare is a significant part of keratin hair treatment. Once you are done with the procedure, follow these simple rules religiously to increase its longevity:
- Do not wash your keratin-treated hair for at least the next 48 hours. After that, even a single drop of water can ruin the results.
- Stay away from tying up your hair in any way for the next 2 days.
- Be careful with your sleeping positions.
- Avoid all sorts of hairstyling for at least a couple of days.
- Make sure that you use only sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners as long as the effects of your treatment are there.
How Long Does It Last?
The effects of one keratin treatment should last for around 3 months, provided you are following all aftercare rules strictly.
It takes about $200 on average to treat medium-length hair using this method. However, it will again vary based on the length and thickness of the hair and the salon’s reputation.
Advantages Of The Treatment
- You can bid good goodbye to frizzy hair, especially around the hairline, for a good 3 months.
- The additional coating of keratin will help you safeguard your hair from sun and environmental damage.
- As the serum’s keratin helps rebond and strengthen the hair, it becomes more resilient and less prone to breakage.
- The hair becomes much softer, smoother, sleeker, and shinier.
- It cuts down your blow-dry time by 40%-60% so that you can even go without it.
Disadvantages Of The Treatment
- As the hair gets straighter and sleeker, it looks and feels limp. In addition, you may miss the volume in your hair after the treatment.
- The hair can turn greasy quickly as the frizzes will not be there anymore.
- You cannot wash your hair for a couple of days after the treatment (dry shampoo can be used though).
- To avoid damage to the treated hair, you have to use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, preferably those that come with your hair straightening product.
- You need to ensure that your hair does not come in contact with water while swimming.
- The treatment can be pricey for a result that lasts only 3 months.
Potential Side Effects
It is always advised that you go to a reputed salon as there are also some side effects of the keratin treatment. The serum used in the keratin hair straightening treatment can contain formaldehyde. When inhaled, formaldehyde can cause throat and eye irritation, nausea, and skin sensitivity. Even the products labeled ‘formaldehyde-free’ can also contain methylene-glycol or formalin, which can cause the same side effects as formaldehyde. So, before getting your treatment done, ensure that all the safety precautions are followed correctly.
Formaldehyde solution is used to keep the hair in its straighter condition for months. But it has been found to have carcinogenic properties and hence, should be strictly avoided to prevent future health hazards.
The keratin hair treatment offers promising results for unruly and damaged hair by making it look straight, shiny, and fabulous. However, if you decide to go for one, make sure that you find a good professional who knows how to do the procedure with the utmost care to avoid any nasty side effects. That way, by spending three hours into the treatment, you can emerge with straight and lustrous locks.
Commonly Asked Questions
How To Choose The Right Keratin Treatment?
Unlike other chemical-laden hair treatments, all keratin treatments are not created equal. They can vary widely based on the type and texture of the tresses. Hence, it is advised that you consult a hairstylist before undergoing the treatment.
Does The Treatment Cause Hair Breakage?
The flat ironing part (used for drying and sealing in the product) of the keratin treatment can make your hair break off if the iron used by your stylist is way too hot. However, the treatment itself never causes hair breakage.
Will The Frizz Be back With Humidity?
After a keratin treatment, you can bid farewell to frizz as long as the effects are there. Your hair will not change even if it is a moist day or you go out in light rain.
How Frequently Can I Go For It?
No matter how frizzy your hair is, do not undergo an in-salon hair-straightening or smoothing treatment more than thrice a year. Otherwise, the use of chemicals and heat will make your locks brittle over time, and you will end up losing your precious hair at an alarming rate (3).
- “Keratin Hair Treatments: What to Expect“, WebMD.com
- “Should You Get a Keratin Treatment? A Definitive Answer“, MarieClaire.com
- “8 Things to Know About Hair-Smoothing Keratin Treatments“, Allure.com