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.