Overview, benefits, care and more

Keratin hair treatments are a popular way to achieve smooth, shiny hair. Often referred to as a Brazilian blowout, this treatment is a semi-permanent styling solution that can last up to 6 months. Although it can be expensive, many people feel that the results are worth the cost.

Proponents of keratin hair treatments say they make hair more manageable and frizz-free. However, these products can cause some potential side effects, such as scalp and eye irritation.

In this article, we take a closer look at keratin hair treatments, including their benefits and cost. We also discuss security issues related to their use.

A keratin hair treatment is a process that helps straighten and straighten frizzy or damaged hair.

Keratin is a protein that the body produces naturally. It helps give structure and strength to hair, skin and nails.

Hair fibers are made up of three main regions:

  • Bone marrow: This is located at the heart of the hair fiber and is only visible on larger or thicker hairs.
  • Cortex: It is the main component of hair. It contains proteins and provides mechanical support.
  • Cuticle: This thin protective outer layer is made up of keratinized cells that overlap like scales.

In the cortex, keratin forms a long helical chain with the help of chemical bonds, such as ionic bond, disulfide bond, and hydrogen bond.

Additionally, weaker attractive forces between molecules, which experts call van der Waals forces, can help maintain the ahelical structure of keratin. Groups of these helical strands form filaments, which make up most of the cortex. The chemicals in keratin hair treatments target keratin strands and change their shape.

During a keratin hair treatment, a stylist applies a keratin product to the hair and then uses a flat iron to seal it.

Depending on the thickness or length of the hair, as the chemicals diffuse through the hair, they alter the cross-linking of the keratin strands. The combination of chemicals, blow-drying and flat ironing accelerated cross-linking and straightens curly or wavy hair.

After a keratin hair treatment, a person should avoid washing their hair for at least 2 days. They should also avoid:

  • put their hair in tight styles
  • using harsh shampoos and conditioners
  • exposing their hair to salt water or chlorinated water

It’s also important to use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner to help prolong the treatment. These products are widely available in beauty supply stores, online, and in hair salons.

People should avoid washing their hair too often, as this can wash out the keratin treatment. Instead, try washing your hair every 3-4 days with lukewarm rather than hot water. Applying a leave-in conditioner can also help protect hair and keep it hydrated.

When blow-drying, use a lower heat setting to avoid hair damage and use a heat protectant product before using hot styling tools.

It is also advisable to refrain from coloring the hair for at least 2 weeks after receiving a keratin treatment. This allows treatment time to settle and helps prevent hair damage.

The effects of keratin hair treatments can last 12 weeks or more. However, the results will eventually fade and an individual will need to repeat the treatment to maintain smooth, smooth hair.

Home or professional keratin hair treatments have several advantages:

Hair looks shinier

Keratin hair treatments smooth the hair cuticle, making it less frizzy. In addition, many people find that the treatment given hair looks naturally smooth and shiny.

Results may last a while

If a person takes proper care of their hair, uses appropriate products, and does not wash it too frequently, treatment results can last up to a few months.

Hair becomes easier to comb

People with particularly frizzy or thick hair can choose a keratin hair treatment, as it can help reduce styling time and make their hair look more manageable.

Individuals may also find that after treatment, their hair dries faster. This in turn can reduce heat exposure, which can improve hair health.

Hair doesn’t break as much

Keratin is a structural protein and therefore it can strengthen hair and reduce breakage. Some people say the treatments help their hair grow faster because the ends don’t split or break.

Keratin hair treatments are quite expensive. A person can expect to pay up to $400 or more, depending on their hairstyle and the salon. They may also need to purchase potentially expensive specialty hair products.

Additionally, the treatment may require a commitment of several hours at the salon.

Also, if a person prefers to wash their hair every day, the treatment may not be suitable for them.

A huge advantage of keratin hair treatments is their long-lasting effects. They can significantly reduce the time spent styling hair on a daily basis, especially if the hair is frizzy or thick. The effect can last 12 weeks or more.

Also, some people no longer need to heat their hair. Indeed, after the treatment, the hair dries naturally straight and appears shiny and smooth.

There has been some controversy around keratin treatments because they use formaldehyde or other chemicals that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colorless, pungent gas that has toxic properties.

Formaldehyde can have harmful health effects if a person inhales it or comes into contact with the eyes or skin.

Harmful effects May include:

Experts also link repeated exposure to high levels of formaldehyde with certain types of cancer, including leukemia. However, more research is needed to determine the link between leukemia and exposure to formaldehyde.

Some products state that they are formaldehyde free. However, they instead use methylene glycol or other chemicals, which can release formaldehyde when heated. This means that even though formaldehyde is not on the ingredient list, people can still be exposed to the chemical.

The Expert Committee on Cosmetic Ingredients Review has set the maximum concentration of formaldehyde at less than 0.2%.

Yet, some Brazilian keratin treatments can contain much higher levels – in some cases more than five times higher – than the recommended level.

The Environmental Working Group lists Brazilian-style keratin treatments with formaldehyde and those using formaldehyde alternatives as unsafe.

Additionally, keratin hair treatments can damage the hair. This is why people should use them sparingly and avoid repeated exposure to harsh chemicals and heating elements.

It should also be noted that pregnant women should not use keratin hair treatments.

Keratin hair treatments smooth the hair, make it shiny and frizz-free. People report that it can make hair more manageable. Although these treatments are expensive, the results can last up to a few months.

However, despite their popularity, keratin hair treatments are not without risk. Most contain formaldehyde or other ingredients that can release formaldehyde. These chemicals can cause side effects, such as allergic reactions, coughing, and vomiting.

Melissa R. Brumfield