Sunday, February 19, 2012

Keratin Hair Treatments - Should You Get One?

If you have access to any type of social media, you know that keratin treatments are the new “buzz” in hair care. You may have heard keratin treatments referred to as “Brazilian Hair Treatment” or Brazilian Blowout,” but although the names imply a difference, they are one and the same. Let me walk you through the keratin treatment process.

First, the keratin (aka amino acid) based solution is “lightly” applied to hair that has been shampooed and rinsed. This solution also contains formaldehyde. In fact, it is the formaldehyde that is the source of much debate, resulting in keratin treatments coming with a warning for women who are pregnant or nursing not to use the product. This is due to the fumes that are released when the hair is flat-ironed at a temperature of 450 degrees, which is the next step of the treatment process. The heating portion of the treatment is key to achieving the straight hair.  After the flat-ironing, the hair is re-rinsed with water and styled as usual, which can mean blow drying and flat ironing the hair again. But here’s the real clincher, you cannot wash your hair. Nor can it be put up in hair pins, pony tails etc. because it has to remain straight for 72 hours (3 days).

Although the manufactures say the product is natural, formaldehyde is not natural and, in fact, you may recognize it by a more common name -- embalming fluid!  Even the formulations that tout “formaldehyde free” contain “Methylene Glycol” which is another term for formaldehyde. The FDA has issued warnings for the maximum levels of formaldehyde use in products, yet some manufactuers’ solutions far exceed these levels.
In my opinion, keratin treatments are just another example of the hair care industry’s eagerness to capitalize on another product that produces short-term results without consideration for the long-term health of our hair. 

For me, the short-lived appearance of keratin treatments does not out-weigh the potential side-effects such as deteriorating hair texture, balding and cancer risks from breathing in carcinogens. My rule of thumb is if my hairdresser has to wear a gas mask to apply a treatment to my hair, then it’s not for me.  Nor would I recommend it.

Check out this video experience from a hair care professional that came to me as a comment. I feel it's necessary to share with you.


  1. Thank you Cathy check out this video on YouTube it changed my life dramatically on this method.

  2. Goodness. That's scary. I want to wear hair straight without a weave while transitioning out of my relaxer and it seems like options are limited, if non-existent.

    Kathy, I'd love to know what daily hair management was like for you as you transitioned out of your relaxer.

  3. I will not be getting a Brazilian Blowout lol Thanks for your advice!!

  4. Keratin is a natural protein found in hair, teeth, nails, etc. It adds a silky smooth texture, shiny hair. If curly hair, natural keratin is not enough to soften the hair to add texture.

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  5. Hello there, I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by error, while I was researching on google something else , Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds. Keratin Treatment Sydney and Keratin Hair Treatment

  6. Keratin hair treatment is necessary to replace the keratin that our hair lost because of other methods of hair care we have used in the past.
    keratin hair treatment side effects

    1. Keratin is not the problem. It is the solution that keratin is mixed with.