Keratin treatment: An overview
Keratin hair treatments, also known as Brazilian hair treatments, smooth out and straighten wavy or curly hair. Similar to beauty techniques like contouring, strobing or ombre highlighting, keratin treatment is a popular haircare technique that drives women in parts of the world bonkers after years from its first introduction into the beauty industry. If you are struggling with frizzy strands that always seem to go unruly whenever you are outside in the winds, chances are that you have already heard about keratin treatment. This article will further you to some of the most important aspects to navigate yourself through the world of keratin therapy in case you decide to have one, whether it is by yourself or a salon professional.
First, you will learn what keratin treatment is, how the at-home alternative works differently from the salon counterpart, how much they cost and what are their benefits and side effects. Such information will help you answer basic and important questions like is a keratin therapy necessary for you? Or whether a salon-based session or do-it-yourself version would be more desirable considering several different factors? In general, while you can benefit largely from a keratin treatment if your hair is very curly and frizzy, you may very well not need one if you already possess straight, fine strands. Second, I will discuss in great length several keratin treatment options for those who want to administer the therapy at the privacy of their home. Some final remarks in the end of this will hopefully give you some insight in selecting your own preferences. Lastly, there is a step-by-step instruction of how to apply keratin treatment at home and how to maintain it afterwards.
Best keratin treatments at home
Fortunately, there are more non-formaldehyde keratin products in the market than before. This second-generation version allows those who want to enjoy the private, timesaving and economical advantages of home-based keratin sessions without worrying about the side effects or technical problems that might occur. You can still consult a hair expert (many of them offer free consultation) prior to self-application because each product offers similar but slightly different results. Depending on your hair texture, desired result, your lifestyle and how you plan to maintain your hair after treatment, some keratin brands might be better than others.
There are several remarkable products that you can consider using at home.
1. Keratin Perfect
This at-home keratin package covers all you need: It comes with a pre-treatment shampoo and a post-treatment strengthening spray which helps your hair stay smooth, shiny and retains its result for up to one month. Having an impressive impact on reducing frizz and unruly curls, instead of formaldehyde, this product actually uses a gentler skin-conditioning agent to inject the keratin composition onto your hair. After being washed 48 hours later, you will discover smooth looking and revitalized straight strands that may amaze you, even without blow-drying. See Price at Amazon.com
2. Organic Brazilian Keratin Therapy
This brand does a good job in reducing frizz; up to 95% can be removed. Not to mention that they contain natural oils like avocado and coconut that work effectively with colored hair. The pre-shampoo included in the package also offers great nourishing and preparation for the whole process. It is not surprise that the product is ‘organic’ as its name implies, in the sense that it replaces the potential harmful chemical ‘formaldehyde’ with another kinder chemical that is a lot safer to use. See price at Amazon.com
3. Brazilian Keratin Treatment
The key ingredients include a proprietary polymer system and Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex kept secret by the company. The product is described as ‘life-changing’ for users who reported having naturally thick and kinky hair that consumes a lot of time for styling. It will leave the effect on your hair for up to two months, without you having to blow dry or flat iron every time and save you a lot of time getting your hair ready. The treatment allows you to rinse your hair right after and then style as usual. But with other keratin products, you should use sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners for a longer result.
4. Lasio Keratin Treatment
Ingredients vary from methylene glycol to aldehyde free, depending on the versions of your choice. There are three variations you can select from, all of which is non-formaldehyde. The result will generally last for 8 to 12 weeks and is suitable for both colored and normal hair. Users often review that they do not experience scalp irritation, bad smell during application or any side effect after that. For some, the impact can even last longer than four months. Another noticing advantage of this product is that it quickly returns your hair volume within only a few weeks. This means that you will have better hair texture and straightened look without having to compromise the thickness of your strands.
5. Keratin Brazilian Treatment Complete Bio by Keratin Cure
This keratin hair straightening solution is by far the gold standard of keratin treatments in the sense that it is safe to use and effective in the long run. The set comes in large bottles including the main treatment, a clarifying shampoo, as well as daily shampoo and conditioner for a more solidifying after treatment maintenance. The whole set allows you to do approximately 6-8 home sessions, depending on your hair thickness and length. Each of them will leave the effect for up to about 10 weeks. For such reasons, the product is not at all pricey as you may think when you first see it being placed among the top high-end products of its type. In addition, this is a non-formaldehyde keratin treatment, therefore you would not expect any harsh smell or side effects during and post usage. Many users have reported that the product is the gentlest keratin therapy they have ever tried.
Which keratin treatment is best for me: Some remarks
All being said, I would generally recommend product number 5 on this list for its gentleness and effectiveness. This product is very convenient for post treatment maintenance as well because it comes in a whole package with everything you need. They are all specifically produced in combination with the main effect of the treatment, thus you should expect the result to sustain time and weather much better than any other products. Besides, if you want to opt for other choices before finally ending up with your best favourite, then other options also worth a try. Chances are that you might discover something even better and share with the rest of us.
In general, according to my observation, keratin products’ side effects do not often occur. However, it is always best to take cautious steps when you apply chemicals of any kind onto your body.
How keratin treatment works?
The key principle of a keratin therapy is to supplement your hair with keratin, an important protein that makes up your hair and is often lost due to age, chemical and environmental factors. The stylists will apply a keratin product to your hair in careful manner to avoid getting it onto your scalp. This creamy keratin compound will remain in your hair while it goes through blow-dry and flat-ironing procedure. In some cases, the hair professionals will also wear a mask for themselves and they may also wear one for you as well. Alternatively, if you conduct a keratin therapy at home, you will have to make sure you follow the same procedure with similar meticulous manner. The whole treatment will take approximately 2 hours or longer depending on the length and thickness of your hair. You should not wash your hair for up to 3 to 4 days.
Keratin treatment will essentially rebuild damaged areas, thus you can expect to see a profound increase in shine, less frizz and easier styling process. Unlike other hair straightening treatment, keratin therapy can be applied on color-treated hair and work well on men and women with wavy or heavily curly hair. Keratin-treated hair can sustain well even in humid or rainy weather and free you from constant worry of those frizzy and unruly hair strands altogether.
Keratin treatment: A salon-based or home-based solution?
Keratin products are not created equally, slight variations produce crucial difference in final results, depending on what result you want, your hair texture and among other things. This brings about the major difference between a salon-based and home-based keratin therapy because individual consultation is the luxury you can only get if you have your hair treated in a salon. For example, you may want to have an expert’s advice if you have blonde or dyed hair because this type needs a specific keratin product that differs significantly from others. Besides a customized result, a keratin treatment at hair salons can also guarantee that you have the quality keratin products professionally selected by experts.
That being said, the differences between the two come down to quality and that hair professionals know what works best for your hair. However, let’s not jump to conclusion now because there are other important factors that help you decide where to have your hair a keratin treatment.
How to apply keratin treatment at home?
We would like to give you a thorough step-by-step instruction you might find useful when first applying keratin therapy on your own at home.
Step 1: Preparation
Get the necessary gadgets ready, including:
- A clarifying shampoo
- A keratin product carefully selected for your hair
- A quality iron
- A hair dryer
- Combs (including jumbo)
- A spray bottle (and fresh water)
- A bowl
Step 2: Wash your hair
Use the clarifying shampoo to wash your hair to carefully remove residue left on strands. Let the shampoo work for a while and then rinse off with clean water. You should wash slowly and vigorously, focusing only on the strands instead of the scalp. For better result, experts advice that people with straight hair do this step twice and those with heavily curls should do up to three times. The main idea is that any impurities left behind on your hair may very well compromise the whole process and spoil the desired effect. Please also remember that there is no conditioner at this stage.
Step 3: Dry your hair
You can either let your hair dry by itself or slightly drying it with a hair dryer to save time. Make sure to leave some moisture as it will boost keratin’s absorption into hair strands.
Step 4: Apply keratin
Make sure that you shake the keratin bottle before application. Now you can proceed to apply it on the hair, starting from the top and working your way to the bottom. Do not let it touch your scalp. It is also suggested that you use a spray bottle along with a bowl and brush while applying keratin to your hair. This is because the dampening water will allow keratin to absorb deeper. For even better and easier penetration of keratin, you can gently rub it several times as you are applying. To even enhance the effect, you can comb your hair gently and thoroughly. Leave your hair in straight position with keratin for about 30 minutes before moving to the next step.
Step 5: Blow-dry
After half an hour, keratin has enough time to seep into the hair strands. Now you can use a round brush (or jumbo comb) and blow-dry it until it is completely dry.
Step 6: Iron
One of the most important parts of the process is to iron your hair. This will keep the keratin content locked in seamlessly. Divide your hair into small sections and use a flat iron to seal the keratin in by precisely running the iron through your hair. You can do this step up to ten times if you have thick and wavy hair. For those with thinner hair, you can reduce the ironing times as you feel comfortable. Only make sure that you only do in small bunches of hair at once so that the ironing can possibly go through every single hair strand.
Ironing process can be done according to your preferred hairstyle as well. You can style it the way you want by running the flat iron differently each time you administer the therapy at home.
Step 7: Waiting time
This is the last phase of a keratin therapy session. All you have to do now is to keep your hair in that condition for up to 48 hours or more. During this period, your hair will fully absorb keratin, which will work to provide your hair with desirable benefits. You should keep your hair from getting wet by any means; otherwise the keratin will be washed away. In addition, you should bear in mind to always remain your hair in straight condition. This means that you are strongly recommended not to pull or tuck it behind you ears, make ponytails or hold it using hair bands.
Step 8: Post-shampoo
The first hair wash is recommended by experts to be at least 3 days after treatment. Because some normal shampoos may react with the newly-injected keratin in your hair and eliminate the benefits it brings, it is advised that only certain types of shampoos and conditioners should be used after keratin therapy. The sulphate-free combos of shampoo and conditioner are often included in a keratin set, you can easily find this set offered by the brands we discussed above or any other quality brands in the market.
Keratin treatment: Benefits and side effects
Wavy and frizzy hair have been driven many women crazy for so long. Keratin treatment was invented not only as a straightening but a conditioning and nourishing solution for your hair. Those who applied keratin products later remarked that they could deeply feel their after-treated hair straight, shiny, soft, revitalized and manageable than before.
Of course, not everyone will have the same experience, but we can typically conclude the most common benefits of keratin treatment on hair as below.
The treatment usually lasts for 2 months or a bit longer.
Straight and frizz-free hair strands.
Tangles and frizzy strands are now gone. Even in rainy and humid days or at the beach, you can expose your hair outside with full confidence that the effect will remains.
With keratin treatment, women can free themselves and save quite a lot of time previously spent in keeping their hair in control and fine condition. While other treatments are ineffective, very short lived, greasy and involve a lot of time, keratin treatment is a temporary but last much longer and does not require as much maintenance as other types of treatment
Soft and shiny hair
Keratin provides your hair with nutrition and the right protein your hair needs that unfortunately are unable to generate more as you age. For this reason, apart from the straightening effect, keratin largely improves your hair condition and brings back its youth. As a result, your hair will be shinny, soft and looks healthily beautiful after a session of keratin therapy. While other straightening solutions can cause your hair to be brittle and easily break off, keratin products do a much better job in maintaining your hair’s overall strength.
Keratin keeps unruly hair in control and therefore you can style your hair more easily.
Keratin treatment works well on all types of curl hair conditions. For example, people with wavy, curly or kinky hair can still find a suitable product that works best for them. American and Caucasian women can reap off the benefits from keratin treatment the same way their Asian or African counterparts do. Keratin also equally benefits treated hair such as those damaged, dyed, permed or highlighted.
Although keratin treatment is popular among celebrities, professional beauticians and consumers alike, the treatment is actually considered a potential health hazard to both those receiving and those administering them, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. This concern is based on the keratin product’s formula that contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that causes health problems when inhaled. For instance, people breathing in formaldehyde can get throat and eye irritation, nausea and skin sensitivity.
Even though they may advertise that a keratin product is formaldehyde-free in their label, it does actually contain methylene-glycol or formalin which can cause similar side effects as formaldehyde. For such reasons, it is important that you consult a qualified hair expert about safety precautions before administering keratin treatment at home if you choose to do so. Otherwise, a hair expert at a certified salon can provide the therapy with meticulous manner to avoid unexpected side effects.
How much do keratin treatments cost?
In salon-based cases, besides main factors like length, thickness and textures of hair, cost of a keratin therapy depends on your location and the luxurious level of the salon (posher salons in cosmopolitan cities are more likely to charge higher), with a general range of $300-$800. The average cost of a keratin treatment is approximately $400, including after care shampoo and conditioner and tips, each of which amounts up to $50. Since one keratin treatment will maintain its effect on your hair for up to 2 to 3 months, you would not expect it to be as cheap as those of shorter longevity.
However, if you opt for the at-home alternatives, relative cost reduces significantly. With the same or even lower budget than above, you can have the comfort of not burning your pocket in just one single treatment by administering the treatment at the convenience of your home. Obviously, you should only do so with a good understanding of different keratin products as well as their benefits and side effects they may bring along. Price do also vary greatly subject to quality and brand names.
Ideally every 3-4 months, or three- times a year, you can apply keratin treatment to maintain your hair in a continuous result. Repeated application using quality keratin products will boost your hair texture, maintain its strength and resilience. However, you should consider your own hair condition in order to decide the level of frequency to apply keratin to get the best result without expecting any undesirable side effects.
That said, as compared to an in-salon service, a do-it-yourself alternative may save you a lot of money provided that you research carefully and conduct the keratin application with good precautions. If you are a beginner who is not confident to do it on your own, then you can either consult with a hair professional or have it done for you for the first time to get yourself familiar with the process before trying it at home.