Is a Keratin Treatment Good for Your Hair? Making Sense of the Myths

hair after a keratin treatment

Can keratin treatment damage hair? This question, along with “Can keratin straightening cause hair loss?” are just some of the concerns that pop up in an online search. Products at the store containing keratin and keratin treatments at a salon are super popular. But are they harmful? 

While many of us are willing to sacrifice a bit for beautiful hair, no one should ever endanger their health or the health of their tresses. Most keratin straightening treatments at home or at your favorite salon are safe—as long as they’re done correctly

We’ll unravel the mystery of what keratin is and what it can do, and bust some myths along the way.

Who Needs a Keratin Treatment?

Keratin is a protein that makes up the outer layer of our hair and nails. Harsh environmental factors, UV chemicals, heat, and aging can all damage and break down keratin cells on the hair shaft. This can affect the hair’s strength, shine, and elasticity, making hair look dull and frizzy. 

A keratin treatment uses both natural keratin and certain chemicals to replenish the hair’s keratin. Brazilian Blowout is the most well-known brand of keratin treatment. It put the process on the map. Regardless of the name of the product your stylist uses, the procedure is generally the same.

Applying the solution to the hair and adding the heat of a flat iron results in hair that is not only shiny and smooth but straighter too. In fact, the process can make some naturally curly locks end up completely straight and sleek. Those wishing to keep their curls can benefit from keratin too with the stylist using a slightly different technique and no flat iron. 

Keratin-treated hair will have a healthy, lustrous sheen. After the process, many enjoy a more manageable mane that needs minimal styling and dries in a fraction of the time it took before treatment. Those with thick, unruly hair will notice the greatest improvement, but almost all types of hair can get positive results with keratin. It can be a great way to reduce winter brittleness and flyaways

While keratin can do wonders for lackluster or slightly damaged hair, it is not a cure-all and is not recommended for every head of hair. The chemicals might be too harsh for hair that is already fragile, for example. It is important to consult with a stylist who can assess the hair’s condition and how it is likely to react to a keratin treatment. 

What to Expect During and After a Keratin Treatment

At Vakkar Salon, every service starts with a thorough consultation with the stylist. This should be the case no matter where you go and whether you are getting keratin, color, or a cut. You need to know exactly what to expect and an experienced and reputable stylist will be able to explain the process. They should also advise you if what you’re asking for is not going to work for your hair—or worse, has a chance of damaging it. 

Keratin treatments might vary a bit from salon to salon, but most follow some general steps.

  1. First, the hair is washed, usually twice, to remove any product residue left behind. 
  2. Next, the keratin formula is applied to the wet hair.
  3. Blow drying comes next, drying the product into the hair. 
  4. The stylist then uses a flat iron to create the chemical reaction that bonds the keratin to the hair.

The entire process can take several hours, but clients leave the salon with a fresh, sleek look. 

Keratin aftercare is important. No shampooing or swimming for a few days. Even sweating a lot can undo the treatment. Going forward, don’t shampoo more than a few times a week, and only use gentle products without sulfates and sodium chloride. Your stylist can recommend serums and styling products that will work well and extend the life of your treatment. With proper care, a keratin treatment will typically last from three to six months.

How well a keratin treatment works and how long it lasts varies a lot from person to person. If you have very kinky curls you might still have some waviness instead of hair that’s super straight. And if your hair grows fast and you can’t stand to go days between shampoos, your treatment might not last as long as you’d like.   

hairstylist applying keratin treatment for client
Image by microgen by

Common Questions About Keratin Treatment

With both chemicals and heat as part of the process, it’s natural to wonder if keratin treatments are really good for your hair. Like any hair or beauty product, not everything is right for every person. Let’s look at the most asked questions about keratin that we get asked at Vakkar Salon:

Does Keratin Treatment Damage Hair?

Keratin treatments usually make hair look healthier. The strands are shiny, smooth, and without the appearance of split ends. But the chemicals and heat can be hard on delicate hair that is super fine, damaged, or overprocessed. Not only can the hair sometimes become more dry and brittle, but the treatment will also even sometimes change the shade of color-treated hair. 

But if your hair is generally healthy to begin with, getting a keratin treatment can mean saying goodbye to the daily washing, blow drying, and product use that is often the main cause of dryness and damage. 

The best way to know if keratin treatment will help or hurt your hair is to talk to your stylist. A good stylist will never recommend something that will make matters worse!

Does Keratin Straightening Cause Hair Loss?

Keratin treatments have been known to cause hair loss in some people. Just like with other hair damage, this is due to the application of high heat and strong chemicals. These can shock and weaken the hair follicles, making strands more likely to fall out. 

Again, a stylist can help you decide if a keratin is right for you and your hair. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting your keratin treatment from a professional who knows what they’re doing. 

Are the Chemicals in Keratin Treatments Dangerous to Your Health?

Hair loss and damage are one thing, but can keratin treatments be dangerous to your health? We’ve talked about the fact that the process uses harsh chemicals. The main ingredient in most salon keratin treatments—and the one responsible for people’s concern—is formaldehyde. 

High levels of formaldehyde and its fumes can be toxic and long-time exposure can even cause serious health issues. But small amounts of formaldehyde are all around us. The substance is produced naturally by plants, animals, and humans, and is widely used in building materials and everyday household products. 

The amount of formaldehyde in keratin treatments should not be a concern for most people. The stylist should take certain precautions, including good ventilation in the salon, wearing gloves, and minimizing the amount of solution that comes in contact with the client’s skin. 

Formaldehyde can be problematic for people with sensitive skin, respiratory issues, and who are prone to allergic contact dermatitis. Depending on their level of sensitivity, they might want to skip keratin treatments or find a salon that offers formaldehyde-free products.

The only people who should never consider a keratin treatment are those who are pregnant. If there is any chance you are expecting, try an at-home keratin product instead, as they do not usually contain formaldehyde.

Can You Do Keratin Straightening At Home?

There is a tradeoff when it comes to products that promise keratin straightening at home. Because they are sold over-the-counter, they use milder chemicals. This might make them a bit safer, but also less effective. And still, if used incorrectly, they can cause skin irritation, damage hair, or come out not looking the way you expected. 

On the other hand, keratin products like shampoo, conditioner, masks, and styling products are a great way to boost your hair’s keratin levels a bit without the commitment of a salon treatment. Remember though, that results vary by product and by brand. And no matter what the marketing says about a product, only a salon treatment will give true salon results. 

How to Get a Safe Keratin Treatment

If you are looking for the true keratin treatment experience of smooth, glossy tresses, there is no better way to get them than at Vakkar Salon. Leave the chemicals to an experienced stylist who can first assess your hair’s health, then apply the product in the safest, most effective way.  

At Vakkar Salon, we care about you and your hair. Book your appointment today!

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