If you’ve had even a smidgeon of frizz, you’ve surely been advised by a couple of friends to try a keratin treatment of some kind. It’s been dubbed the “miracle” method for achieving softer, shinier hair in just one salon visit. However, before you schedule your keratin hair straightening appt, there is some essential information you ought to be aware of.
Keratin treatments are chemical procedures that smooth and shine frizzy hair. The effects last for up to six months. There are numerous versions of the treatment that go by different names (Brazilian Blowout, Cezanne, Goldwell Kerasilk), and your hairstylist can customise a formula for you. Keratin treatments penetrate the hair follicle and introduce keratin, an essential hair protein, into porous areas. Your hair will look healthy because it is. Keratin smoothes the cells that interact to form hair strands, making hair more manageable and less frizzy. This results in hair that is frizz-free and glossy, with a healthy appearance. Keratin can also help to conceal broken ends by temporarily binding the hair together.
It is more beneficial to certain hair types.
Because the keratin treatment is intended to relax hair, it is most effective on wavy hair. Keratin treatments, on the other hand, will not work on tightly kinked hair because, as the AAD explains, the natural hair bonds are too tight to be rearranged. The fact of the matter is that before you undertake treatment, you should consult with a hair professional who can walk you through all the best options for your particular hair type and texture.
The main adversary is formaldehyde.
One of the main issues with keratin treatments is the presence of formaldehyde, which is noticed in the majority of conventional salon formulas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies it as a colourless, pungent-smelling gas that is commonly used in the manufacture of building materials, household items such as glue and fiberboard, and as a preservative when mixed with water. It is in charge of locking the hair into that new straight and smooth position for months in keratin treatments.
However, because formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, these treatments do not contain it. Rather, they contain chemicals such as methylene glycol, formalin, methanal, and methanediol, which when dissolved in water during the treatment release the carcinogenic compound. So, while the formulation is theoretically formaldehyde-free, it is not after it is mixed with water. Sore throat, nose bleeds, and scratchy eyes are among the most common side effects of formaldehyde exposure, according to the CDC.
The FDA also warns about potential side effects for those who are subjected to it and adds that formulations and products that purport to be natural, organic, or formaldehyde-free may not be entirely true. The FDA advises consumers to always read the label, request an ingredient list from a hair professional, and report any and all adverse reactions.
Keratin-treated hair is extremely difficult to maintain.
Some people may find it more difficult to maintain if they wash their hair less frequently and avoid swimming. Swimming in chlorinated or saltwater (i.e., a pool or the ocean) can shorten the effectiveness of your keratin treatment. You should also purchase hair products that are free of sodium chloride and sulphates, as these can both remove the treatments. You’ll have to wait 3 to 4 days after the keratin treatment to get your hair wet, so if you don’t like skipping wash day, this treatment might not be for you, and some people report a musty odour even after washing. It is also not advised for pregnant women.
Additionally, if you have coloured hair, you may experience minor fading or lightening after the procedure.
With all of this in mind, here are a few less risky alternatives to Keratin treatment.
- Treatments with argan protein. Argan oil works in a similar way to a keratin treatment in that it strengthens your hair while also reducing frizz and increasing shine. However, it will have a moderate straightening effect.
- Keratin shampoos that are free of formaldehyde. There are some shampoos that contain keratin and will give your hair a boost of keratin. However, make sure to carefully read the ingredients.
- Straightening hair mask that moisturises. Consider applying agave nectar, olive oil, and coconut oil mask to your hair to moisturise, de-frizz, and gently straighten it.