Advantages and disadvantages of keratin hair treatment

A keratin treatment, sometimes called a Brazilian blowout or Brazilian keratin treatment, is a chemical procedure usually done in a salon that can make hair look smoother for 6 months. It adds intense glossy shine to hair and can reduce frizz.

The process involves washing your hair and then having a stylist brush the treatment into wet hair where it will stay for about 30 minutes.

Some hairdressers prefer to dry the hair with a hair dryer first and apply the treatment to the dry hair. They will then iron the hair in small sections to seal in the treatment.

The whole process can take several hours – so bring a book or something quiet to do!

If you’re unsure if keratin treatment is right for you, weigh the pros and cons below.

The body naturally makes the protein keratin – this is what hair and nails are made of.

The keratin in these treatments can come from wool, feathers or horns. Some shampoos and conditioners contain keratin, but you’ll usually get the most benefit from a salon treatment performed by a professional.

The benefits of getting a professional keratin treatment or having one at home can include:

Smooth and shiny hair

Keratin smoothes overlapping cells to form hair strands, which means more manageable hair and less frizz. This results in hair that dries with little frizz and looks shiny and healthy.

Keratin can also reduce the appearance of split ends by temporarily sticking hair back together.

Lasting results

Provided you take care of a keratin treatment by not washing your hair too frequently (2-3 times a week is enough), then your keratin treatment can last up to 6 months.

Hair easier to comb

Keratin treatments make hair more manageable, especially if your hair is particularly frizzy or thick.

If you constantly heat your hair, you will notice that with a keratin treatment, your hair dries faster. Some people find that keratin cuts their drying time by more than half.

Your hair can also become healthier and stronger since you can air dry it more often, which protects it from heat damage.

hair growth

Keratin can strengthen and fortify hair so it won’t break easily. This can make the hair appear to grow faster because the ends don’t break off.


Many (but not all) keratin treatments contain formaldehyde, which can be harmful if inhaled.

Formaldehyde is what makes hair smoother.

According to a Environmental Working Group investigation, some companies will actually try to hide the fact that their keratin product contains the chemical.


Each treatment can range from $300 to $800, plus tip. There are cheaper at-home options, but the results won’t last as long.

Difficult to maintain

Washing your hair less and avoiding swimming can make maintenance more difficult for some people.

  • The type of water on your hair is important. Swimming in chlorinated or salt water (essentially a pool or ocean) can shorten the life of your keratin treatment. You will also need to invest in shampoo and conditioner that are free of sodium chloride and sulfates, as both can wash out treatments.
  • Wait to wash. You will have to wait 3-4 days after the keratin treatment to get your hair wet, so if you are not a person who likes to skip the wash day, then this treatment may not be right for you, and some people report a musty smell even after washing.
  • Not recommended for all. It is also not recommended for pregnant women.

Keratin treatments can make frizzy, thick hair more manageable.

The treatment works to smooth the hair cuticle, giving strands a shiny look. It can also reduce drying time.

However, treatments are expensive, and the formaldehyde in many formulas can be harmful if inhaled. So be sure to do the treatment in a well-ventilated area or choose a formaldehyde-free formula.

Melissa R. Brumfield