What is Keratin Treatment

The benefits of a keratin treatment depend on the type of hair you have and the products you use. Read further.

What’s covered?

Do you struggle to manage the dry and frizzy hair on your head? Well, keratin treatment may be your solution.

A keratin treatment often called a Brazilian blowout is a chemical procedure usually performed in a salon to tackle the issues of frizzy, dull and unmanageable hair by adding an intense glossy shine. While a keratin hair treatment can make hair smoother and sleeker that may last for as long as six months, it’s always a wise idea to know exactly what to expect before giving it a try. Read on to make a well-informed decision about keratin hair treatment!


How does keratin treatment work?

Keratin, a family of fibrous structural proteins, is the key structural material that provides structure and strength to the skin, nails, and hair. However, in curly and textured hair, the protein tends to be weaker, which leads to its dryness and frizz. Salon professionals use this protein to coat hair strands and make them smooth and shiny in a chemical process known as keratin treatment. Various types of keratin treatments commonly involve diving into the hair follicle and injecting the porous areas with keratin to make hair healthier. Keratin does not tame frizz; formaldehyde in the formula does. The chemical works by locking keratin chains into a straight line to leave the hair straight. Once the product is applied to the hair, carefully avoiding the scalp, the hair is blow-dried and flat-ironed. The treatment can take around two to four hours to finish, depending on your hair length and thickness, hair texture, and the formula used. Professionals might customize formula blends to suit your hair type and needs. The results of a keratin hair treatment can last up to six months.

Different Types Of Keratin Hair Treatments

Keratin hair treatments have many versions; some may have more formaldehyde than others, while some may contain less harmful alternatives. Since formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, newer keratin treatments free of formaldehyde are now widely available; they use glyoxylic acid as a substitute. This might be a better option in terms of safety and efficiency in treating hair, but they are not as active so don’t provide lasting effects. In addition, some keratin treatments make your hair straight, while others only eliminate frizz. Your hair type will determine the proper treatment for you as guided by your stylist. Meanwhile, here are some types of keratin treatments:

  • Brazilian Blowout

    As the name suggests, this treatment originated in Brazil in 2005 and is among the earliest keratin treatments to be developed. It is more of an expensive option which aims to eliminates frizz and smoothen the hair cuticle by coating strands in a protective protein layer. The treatment effects last up to three months.

  • Cezanne

    It is considered a natural keratin hair treatment as it is formaldehyde-free. Cezanne is perfect for those with fine hair, eliminating frizz while nourishing damaged strands. Those with coloured hair might consider this treatment as it can mess with blonde hues.

  • Trisolla and Trisolla Plus

    This treatment is one of the quickest to apply. Those with thick hair and damaged or coloured tresses will most likely appreciate these. They soften curl texture, depending on the number of times each strand is flat-ironed. The treatment doesn’t lighten hair colour while making hair manageable and holding well through hot and humid weather.

  • Keratin Express

    This is a short treatment where keratin is applied to the hair in serum form before sealing it using a blow dryer and flat iron. It is ideal for women with wavy or curly hair who wish to make their hair more manageable. The effects last up to six weeks.

  • Japzilian keratin

    You guessed it right! It is a combination of the Japanese hair straightening system and Brazilian keratin treatment. Curls are first loosened using the Brazilian treatment, followed by the application of the Japanese treatment on top, which seals the cuticle and locks out frizz. Japanese straightening perm is combed through hair and coarse strands are coated twice. The hair is rinsed after an hour and blow-dried again for sleek hair that air-dries completely straight. Japzilian offers longer-lasting results than other keratin treatments; as a matter of fact, it lasts five months longer than the Brazilian blowout!

Benefits of Keratin treatment

At-home or professional keratin hair treatments have several benefits:

  • Prevents frizz

    A keratin hair treatment is great for those with frizzy hair and is a healthier option than other straightening treatments (such as relaxers). Keratin treatments fill in the porous gaps in your hair strands and completely smooths out your hair, thereby keeping it free from frizz.

  • Smooths out the hair cuticle

    A keratin treatment smooths out your curl pattern and makes your hair more manageable, saving you a lot of time if you’re straightening your hair regularly.

  • Adds a lustrous shine

    Naturally, curly hair reflects light less than straight hair. Many people find that the treatment results in naturally silky, smooth hair.

  • Keratin coats your hair strands

    Keratin-treated hair dries typically dries more quickly. This, in turn, can reduce heat exposure and offers protection from sun and environmental damage, resulting in improved hair health.

  • Hair does not break as much

    Keratin is a structural protein; therefore, it can strengthen hair and reduce breakage. It helps hair rebond and strengthen hair, making hair strands resilient to breakage, which can also cause hair to grow faster, as the ends are not splitting or breaking.

  • Results can last for a while

    With proper care, products, and routine, such as not washing too frequently, the results of the treatment can last up to a few months.

Potential risks of keratin hair treatment

Many (but not all) keratin treatments contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colourless, pungent gas that has toxic properties. It may pose harmful health effects if a person inhales it or if it comes into contact with the eyes or skin. These harmful effects may include allergic reactions, chest pain, coughing, headaches, irritation, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Formaldehyde exposure also poses a risk of respiratory problems, while its long-term exposure is linked to cancer some types of cancer like leukaemia.

  • Increased formaldehyde exposure and over-straightening hair can damage hair by drying it out and weakening it. This causes breakage and hair fall, explaining why people should limit them three times a year and avoid repeated exposure to harsh chemicals and heating elements.

  • Keratin hair treatments are expensive, especially since they last only three to six months

  • The treatment might require a time commitment of several hours at the hair salon

  • The treatment may not be a viable option for those who prefer to wash their hair daily

  • The treatment is also not recommended for pregnant women

How to prepare for a keratin treatment

Like any other chemical process for the hair, a keratin hair treatment should be done by a professional, with whom you should discuss necessary preparations. It is best to lay off colouring your hair pre-treatment, as the chemical can strip out the colour and alter it. It would also be best to ensure that you’re not sensitive to formaldehyde since it can cause reactions such as nose and throat irritation, stinging, itching, burning eyes, and a runny nose in sensitive individuals.

What to expect during a keratin treatment

Your hair will be shampooed twice by a technician using a clarifying shampoo to ensure thoroughly cleansed hair that is free of any residue and ready to absorb all the product. The keratin solution is then applied to the wet hair and combed through. The duration of a keratin treatment process depends on the formula used and the hair’s texture and volume, typically taking around two to four hours. As the final step, heat is used to further shape, starting with a blow-dryer and finally with a flat iron to in the treatment and create a humidity-resistant finish and smooth, silky strands.

Care and maintenance

  • After a keratin hair treatment, a person is advised to avoid:

    • washing their hair for at least two days

    • putting their hair up in tight styles

    • using harsh shampoos and conditioners

    • exposing their hair to saltwater or chlorinated water

    • washing their hair too often to avoid stripping away the keratin treatment

    • colouring the hair within two weeks after getting a keratin treatment to allow the treatment time to set

  • Wash hair every three to four days using lukewarm, rather than hot, water.

  • Apply a leave-in conditioner to help protect the hair and keep it feeling moisturized.

Can keratin hair treatment be done at home?

You can attempt a DIY, but it won’t be as effective as a professional treatment. At-home treatments coat the hair, rather than penetrating the hair shaft, thus the results lasting about a week only.

  • Be sure to buy the right products, check the product ingredient list and the instructions–if the label mentions simple silicone and conditioning treatments or doesn’t list extensive instructions these may be products that are not keratin treatments.

  • Use only treatments intended for at-home use. Do not purchase professional-grade home-use products because they require an expert to apply them correctly, even when using a formaldehyde-free formula.

  • Carefully read and follow the directions and use the product in a well-ventilated area.

Are there alternatives for formaldehyde?

If you’re concerned about the risk of formaldehyde exposure, there are other ways to achieve similar effects to those you’d get from a keratin treatment.

  • Heat styling with a blow dryer or flat iron can temporarily smooth your hair.

  • You can also try to keep your health strong and healthy by moisturizing.

  • Try to wash your hair as little as possible, as shampoo can remove natural hair oils.

  • You can also apply products containing natural moisturizers, like:

    • aloe vera gel

    • argan oil

    • castor

    • coconut oil

    • olive oil

    • shea butter

    • sunflower oil

The takeaway

Keratin hair treatments deliver a level of personal satisfaction to those who dream of smooth, shiny, frizz-free hair. The hair becomes more manageable with such pricey treatments and results lasting up to a few months. However, despite their popularity, keratin hair treatments come with risks, as most treatments contain formaldehyde or other ingredients associated with formaldehyde. These chemicals can cause side effects, such as allergic reactions, coughing, and vomiting. It is advisable to weigh up the pros and cons of these services as well as the commitment it requires after getting keratin-treated hair.

Learn more on how to treat your hair properly by looking at our range of hair care products or read up on further information by clicking here.

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