It is every woman’s dream to have silky-soft hair. But harsh salon procedures can take the life out of it and rarely do we have any control over the environmental damage that affects almost every hair type, resulting in dull and lacklustre hair. And undeniably some of us are just born with very frizzy and unmanageable hair. For this reason, more and more women are flocking to the salons for their dose of keratin treatment.
We’ve consulted top experts to help you understand everything that is there to know about keratin treatments and shampoos. Get all your questions answered and check out our top 4 favorites you might want to try!
What Is Keratin Treatment
Keratin is a protein already found in your hair. Keratin treatment is built of this natural protein, a mix of conditioners and, in the majority of cases, formaldehyde. It is one of the hottest and leading salon straightening procedures for semi-permanent silky smooth hair. This therapy has gained popularity due to its anti-frizz effect and conditioning benefits, the ability to turn dull and damaged hair into soft, supple and bouncy locks.
And all this without altering the structure of your hair, i.e. without breaking the natural hair bonds, which makes it a great alternative to relaxers. If for example, you have curly hair, professional keratin treatment will soften your natural curls into baby soft, extremely manageable twirlies so much that you could head out without even having to style it with any hair products!
At the same time, keratin treatments with a higher concentration of Formaldehyde can give smoother, straighter results. See the before and after pics below.
Difference Between Keratin Hair Smoothing and Japanese Straightening Treatment
Japanese straightening gives hair a permanent pin-straight and flat look. Keratin treatments gradually wash out, allowing the natural hair to emerge. While the keratin treatment washes out over time, Japanese straightening treatments demand a lot of upkeep to maintain the effect. Therefore, keratin doesn’t last as long as Japanese straightening, but it also doesn’t interfere with the grow-out phase. Both treatments use a very high heat flat iron to close the product in the hair fibers.
Anyway, it is always a good idea to get a pro consultation on the elasticity and porosity, texture, density and curl pattern of your hair. After that you will be recommended to use a keratin or Japanese straightener.
Is Keratin Treatment Good or Bad for Your Hair: Pros and Cons
Lately a lot of people have been raising concerns about this smoothing procedure, wondering if keratin treatment is safe or not, does keratin damage hair or, on the contrary, heal it. Moreover, is it worth its money or it is just one more trendy buzzword? We have taken a closer look at the pros and cons so you can better decide if it is a right choice for you.
- Hair is frizz-free, soft and manageable.
- It cuts down the styling time so much that you could even head out without having to style.
- The treatment can keep the hair texture intact and still give soft and smooth results.
- It does not interfere with the grow out phase. The natural hair emerges slowly as the treatment wears off.
- The treatment contains a chemical known as Formaldehyde. A higher concentration level of this chemical is considered unsafe by the FDA. Having said that, formaldehyde is present in most commercial products.
- Pregnant women are advised not to use this treatment as this may affect their own and their unborn baby’s health. And this goes with any chemical procedure in which the product is absorbed by the skin.
- The procedure involves high heat of 450 degrees which may be damaging for some hair types. This step cannot be skipped as it is a crucial step in sealing the product into the hair cuticle.
What Is the Difference Between a Keratin Treatment and a Keratin Shampoo?
The purpose of keratin treatment is to seal the cuticle gaps for longer periods of time, and retain the moisture of the hair in order to make it look healthier. The entire process of keratin treatment involves sealing the treatment into the hair. Whereas a keratin shampoo is only for hair cleaning like an ordinary shampoo, except that it contains keratin to temporarily improve the outer layer of the hair strand. It does not seal the keratin into the hair, it just adheres itself with the cuticles for a few days to improve its appearance.
Keratin Treatment Process
As with any complex hair procedure, it is advised not to do keratin treatment at home. It is important to visit a certified salon, as this treatment requires extreme care and meticulous application. Choose a real professional — a hair stylist with years of experience in keratin procedures (remember, keratin procedure has been in the market for over 10 years now).
The treatment involves such steps:
- Washing hair with a clarifying shampoo to help remove all the build-up.
- Blow-drying until the hair is completely dry.
- Applying the treatment in smaller sections throughout the hair.
- Letting it fully saturate for 20 minutes or so.
- After that hair is blow-dried for the second time.
- A flat iron at around 450 degrees C is used section by section to seal the product.
- The product is immediately washed out or after 24-72 hours after the procedure.
The entire application process takes about 2-4 hours.
In view of having no expert involved and to avoid issues such as over-processing and scalp burns, at-home treatment are formulated as less stronger than a salon treatment. The process is not risk-free though. Thus, if you want to go through the process at home, follow these dos and don’ts.
- Pick a formula that’s user-friendly and ensures a safe at-home application;
- Wash your hair thoroughly with a cleansing shampoo prior to the treatment to get rid of all kinds of impurities;
- Carefully comb through your hair after product application so as not to come in contact with the scalp;
- Make sure your flat iron is high-quality and doesn’t ruin the treatment.
- Do not apply the treatment on your scalp;
- Do not straighten your damp hair;
- Do not apply the treatment on unwashed hair;
- Do not do anything that isn’t mentioned in the product instructions.
Best Keratin Treatment According to Hair Types
Depending on your hair structure and type, your length, thickness, and overall health of your hair, some keratin treatments may be better than others. Following are the best 4 keratin treatments for different hair textures.
#1: Brazilian Keratin
Brazilian blowouts are the most preferred among all keratin treatments. This procedure smoothes hair, eliminates frizz and its super nutrient complex keeps the volume intact, whilst still making the hair ultra smooth and silky. This is a very strong and highly concentrated treatment perfect for someone who has very coarse, thick, dry hair and wants sleeker and more manageable hair. The procedure takes about 90 minutes, results last up to 3-4 months and hair can be washed right after the treatment.
#2: GK Hair Keratin Treatment
This treatment has 2 versions. One comes with Formaldehyde and the other without Formaldehyde. The popular one is without formaldehyde, it also contains conditioners, glycerine, and keratin. It is best suited for fine to medium textured hair. Perfect for someone who prefers to keep her curls or waves but still wants some form of softening. A 72-hour wait is required before washing. Results last up to 8 weeks.
#3: Liquid Keratin
This treatment contains keratin peptides and keratin molecules that help bond the hair perfectly with added nourishment. Liquid keratin is widely used and is considered one of the safest keratin treatments out there. It is perfect for fine to medium hair. It leaves hair naturally smooth and manageable and the results last up to 30-40 days.
#4: Replenishing Color-Lock Keratin
It contains superior keratin proteins and collagen that help build the hair fibers and lock in the color. It is perfect for someone with color-treated hair or hair that suffers from environmental damage. The treatment makes the color look natural and vibrant, and reduces styling time. The results last up to 4-8 weeks.
How to Care for Keratin Treated Hair
On average, keratin treatment lasts 3-4 months. It depends on the lifestyle and post-salon hair care. Each keratin treatment has its own set of instructions. If you wish to extend your results, you have to follow them. However, these recommendations will help you to maintain keratin treated hair in any case:
- If the 72-hour wait is needed, do not wet hair during this time, avoid any hair accessories, if hair accidentally got wet, blow-dry and slightly flat iron it on low heat;
- Use sulfate-free and sodium-free shampoos, ideally ones developed specially for keratin aftercare;
- Shampoo with lukewarm water, follow with a cool rinse;
- Add keratin-infused deep conditioner masks and leave-in conditioners in your hair care routine;
- Always use heat protectant oils or sprays when curling, flat ironing and blow-drying and apply products with UV protection during warm seasons;
- Do not expose your hair to chlorine/ pool water without a swimming cap;
- Avoid bleaching your hair and using coloring products at least three weeks after the treatment;
How Often Can You Repeat the Treatment Per Year?
A typical keratin treatment has a longevity of 6 months, depending on the hair care. Hence, a wise number should be twice per year (three times in case of super-damaged hair that loses keratin even before 6 months).
Can the Treatment Cause Protein Overload and How to Prevent It?
Protein overload can happen if your hair is already healthy, sound, and protein balanced, and you are already using hair products rich in protein and keratin. Healthy hair does not need a keratin treatment as its natural keratin is already intact. In that case, protein overload is likely to happen. Keratin treatment is ideal for the hair that’s damaged, dry, curly, or brittle.
As a final note, let us remind you that the key purpose of keratin treatment is to revitalize the hair, not to straighten it. Straightening is just a side perk that might (or might not) come with it. So, when you go for a keratin treatment, bear in mind that the straightening effects won’t be as good on curly hair as it will be on fine hair, and that’s totally okay as long as your hair feels healthy.