What is keratin treatment? Review, side effects and hair care guide

What is keratin treatment? Review, side effects and hair care guide

Keratin treatment is the go-to hair treatment for people suffering from frizz issues. It promises to eliminate frizz while delivering smooth and shiny hair. And with the results lasting for several months, the benefits are too enticing to pass up.

keratin treatment
Keratin treatment for afro hair. Photo: @keratintreatmenthair
Source: Instagram

Before you schedule a hair appointment for a keratin treatment, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. What does the treatment involve? Is it safe? How do you care for your hair after the treatment? Here is everything you need to know about the keratin hair treatment.

What is a keratin treatment?

Keratin treatment is a hair treatment that uses keratin, a protein that occurs naturally in the hair and other body organs. In the scalp, the protein offers protective properties and helps to keep the hair strong and healthy. However, it is vulnerable to sunlight, air pollution, chemical exposure and lifestyle habits (diet, exercise, etc.) – which deplete it over time.

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A keratin treatment seeks to artificially add the protein to the hair to attain various benefits it offers. It is primarily used in hair that has frizz, breakage, or tangles. Keratin addition helps to build back the hair, which makes it firmer, smoother, and frizz-free.

There are several types of keratin treatments that are available. These include:

There are several other treatment options available. And while each is unique from the rest, they all use keratin to fix your hair issues. The only significant differences are usually in the time taken, the cost, and other factors such as the hair and desire results.

Is a keratin treatment good for your hair?

A keratin hair treatment can offer you several benefits such as:

  • It eliminates frizz making your hair appear smooth and shiny
  • It restores depleted natural keratin, which helps to repair damage to the hair
  • It protects your hair from damage due to sunlight, pollution and other airborne toxins
  • It minimizes the amount of time and effort required in maintaining and styling your hair.

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However, keratin treatment uses chemical products, with some of them being potentially hazardous such as formaldehyde. So, is the treatment safe, or can keratin damage your hair?

Getting a keratin treatment does come with a degree of risk, primarily due to the harsh chemicals used on some products. For example, formaldehyde is a carcinogenic compound.

On top of that, exposure to the chemical produces several health side effects such as nose bleeds, sore throat, and itchy eyes. But to make matters worse, these chemicals – while effective in the short term, can end up damaging your hair in the long run.

Another risk posed with keratin treatment is that it requires high heat to lock in the product in the hair. Over time, the heat can cause significant damage to your hair, especially if it is super fine or already suffering from existing damage.

Nonetheless, it is possible to reduce some of these risks with extra precautions. For example, you can opt for formaldehyde-free treatments such as the safer glyoxylic acid. It would also help if you also got your treatment from a reputable hairstylist who can advise you on the best option for your hair.

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How long does a keratin treatment last?

keratin treatment
Picture of hair before and after keratin treatment. Photo: @keratintreatmenthair
Source: Instagram

The longevity of keratin treatment is affected by several factors. The top ones are the type of treatment used and the level of aftercare.

Different keratin hair treatments have different lifetime periods due to the amount of protein used and the application procedure. For example, a keratin express will last one or two months, while a Brazilian blowout can last about three to four months. On the other hand, a full keratin treatment can last up to six months.

As for the aftercare, the better you care for your hair, the longer the treatment will last. For example, if you continuously expose your hair to toxins and chemicals (chlorinated water, etc.), the keratin in the hair will be depleted faster.

So, depending on the keratin treatment you get, and how well you take care of your hair, you can have several months in between salon visits.

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How to take care of your hair after a keratin treatment

Keratin treatments involve a lot of work, and they don't come cheap either. Therefore, it is a good idea to care for your hair afterwards to ensure that your money is well spent. Below are some tips on how to care for your hair after the treatment:

1. Don’t wash, wet, brush, tie up, or style your hair for about 24 up to 72 hours after the treatment

With some keratin treatments, the first few hours are critical, and it is recommended not to wet or disturb the hair. The waiting period is to allow for the product to set in and work.

2. Avoid wetting your hair too often and for too long

Washing or wetting your hair depletes the added keratin. To extend the lifetime of the treatment, you should not wash or wet your hair too often. For regular wash, two to three days a week is the best frequency.

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It would be best to avoid other activities that wet your hair, such as swimming, sauna, or intense exercise. If not, you should take precautions such as using a leave-in conditioner, coating the hair with keratin serum, or covering the hair in a cap. These precautions are also an excellent way of protecting your hair from other external factors such as UV rays, airborne toxins and chemicals, etc.

3. Don’t undergo other chemical treatments after keratin

Adding chemicals to your hair after a keratin treatment can deplete the protein. Therefore, get any necessary treatment before the keratin one, not after. If you must, wait a few weeks (about three to four) after the keratin hair treatment to allow the protein to set completely.

4. Use safe homecare products

Avoid using hair products with harsh chemicals such as sulphates and others. These can deplete the keratin and even damage your hair. If you are unsure about your products, consult with your hairstylist on the best ones to use.

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How much is a keratin treatment?

keratin treatment
A person applying keratin treatment on hair. Photo: @keratintreatmenthair
Source: Instagram

Keratin treatment cost varies depending on the type of treatment, the hairstylist/salon, and the volume of your hair. On average, treatments can range between $200 and $500.

Simple treatments such as keratin express and Brazilian blowout are on the lower end of the spectrum, while complex ones such as a full keratin treatment are on the higher side. On top of that, the more hair you have, the more your treatment will cost.

Can you do a keratin treatment at home?

Even the cheapest keratin hair treatments are quite costly, and you are likely to spend a few hundred dollars with each salon appointment. So, can you do the keratin treatment at home and avoid the high costs? The answer is yes. The treatment involves applying the keratin product to your hair then using heat to activate the protein and bond it to your hair.

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Below is a look at a step-by-step guide on how to do keratin treatment at home:

1. Wash your hair using a good clarifying shampoo only (don’t use a conditioner)

2. Dry your hair thoroughly – you can either air dry or use a blow dryer on medium. There should be no water in the hair afterwards.

3. Divide the hair into sections and apply the keratin mask. You can use your fingers or a hair colouring brush. Note: use gloves when applying the treatment.

4. Let the treatment set in – about 20 – 30 minutes or as per instructions on the packaging. Cover the hair with a shower cap during this period.

5. Rinse your hair, then blow-dry and use a flat iron to activate the keratin.

For many people, a keratin hair treatment is a miracle solution to frizz. It also comes with many other benefits, such as strong, healthier, and shinier hair. However, it is not without some risk, and you can experience some side effects, especially if using harsh chemicals. The treatment can also be quite expensive, going into several hundred dollars. However, it is possible to reduce the risks involved by using safer and gentler keratin masks.

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Yen.com.gh shared an article on the top 30 tried-and-true tips on how to strengthen hair. A lot of people have come up with suggestions that work. These range from home remedies to chemical solutions. All these methods cater to the needs of diverse people.

As you seek all potential hair strengthening techniques, your focus and approach should be wholesome. Avoid quick fixes. Even as you understand how to strengthen hair, keep in mind that patience is needed in it all.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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