People swear by this treatment when taming thick, curly locks or crazy, unruly curls. If you also struggle with your unmanageable hair and want to curb your at-home straightening time, the keratin treatment can 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 in our hair and works as its primary building block. Keratin is vital to properly maintaining our locks, and lack of it can make 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?
A keratin treatment works wonders for your hair by repairing and rejuvenating damaged sections. In this process, the entire hair is treated with a substance called ‘keratin.’ This treatment reintroduces protein into your hair strands, creating a protective layer that strengthens and relaxes the hair. The result? Incredibly smooth, easy-to-manage hair with a salon-worthy shine. Not only does it make your already good hair look even better, but it also adds resilience as part of its therapeutic benefits. Salons offer various keratin treatments, such as Brazilian Blowout, Brazilian Hair Straightening, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola, Global Keratin Complex, the La-Brasiliana treatment, and more.
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 different, 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, 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 exclusively suitable for that specific hair type.
- Then, a keratin hair straightening serum containing 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 for the next two days.
- Be careful with your sleeping positions.
- Avoid all sorts of hairstyling for at least a couple of days.
- Make sure 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 three months, provided you follow all aftercare rules strictly.
This method takes about $200 on average to treat medium-length hair. 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 goodbye to curly hair, especially around the hairline, for a good three months.
- The additional keratin coating will help you safeguard your hair from sun and environmental damage.
- The serum’s keratin helps rebond and strengthen the hair, making it more resilient and less prone to breakage.
- The hair becomes much softer, smoother, sleeker, and shinier.
- It reduces your blow-dry time by 40%-60%, so 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 few days after the treatment (dry shampoo can be used).
- To avoid damage to the treated hair, use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, preferably those with your hair straightening product.
- You must ensure your hair does not come in contact with water while swimming.
- The treatment can be pricey for a result that lasts only three months.
Potential Side Effects
Choosing a reputable salon is crucial due to the potential side effects when opting for a keratin treatment. The serum used in keratin hair straightening treatments may include formaldehyde, which, when inhaled, can lead to throat and eye irritation, nausea, and heightened skin sensitivity. Interestingly, even products labeled ‘formaldehyde-free’ may contain methylene-glycol or formalin, presenting similar side effects. Before your treatment, verifying that all safety precautions are meticulously followed is essential to ensure a safe experience.
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, you can emerge with straight and lustrous locks by spending three hours into the treatment.
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 braids. 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 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 if the effects exist. Your hair will not change even on a moist day, or you go out in light rain.
How Frequently Can I Go For It?
No matter how curly your hair is, do not undergo an in-salon hair-straightening or smoothing treatment more than thrice a year. Otherwise, using chemicals and heat will make your locks brittle over time, and you will lose 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