In every beauty salon, Keratin seems to be the new buzzword and not just for curly-haired girls but even those with the slightest wave, looking to rid their hair of the frizz. Straight hair has been the way to go for a long time now and indulging in a Keratin treatment seems to be worth it as not only do you acquire that smooth and silky mane you have always desired, you also avoid hours of blow-drying and flat-ironing — even it’s just for a few months.
What is Keratin?
Essentially, Keratin is a protein which is found in hair naturally and adds strength to it. The treatments are usually made up of a chemical called Formaldehyde which creates the smoothing effect and some conditioner to keep the hair moisturized. This hair-straightening treatment is semi-permanent and softens one’s curls as opposed to flattening them out completely. The natural volume of the hair is maintained and the end result is much silkier, smoother and easier-to-manage than before. Not to mention, Keratin treatments shorten the time you will need to spend on your hair by almost 60%! Several cosmetic companies are jumping onto the Keratin bandwagon but in Pakistan, the brand used most commonly is L’Oreal.
How does it work?
In a Keratin treatment, the stylist simply applies the Keratin product to the hair and seals it in by running a heated flat-iron over it. The cream breaks down the bonds in the hair and the flat-iron sets the hair into the new, sleeker shape. After this, a neutralizer is applied to seal the hair bonds back into their new form. The hair may appear too flat at first but generally, it takes a couple of weeks and washes for it to settle down although one cannot wash their hair for at least 72 hours post-treatment.
How is Keratin Treatment different than the Japanese Straightening Treatment?
The Japanese hair-straightening treatment is permanent — it actually seeps into the hair and changes its structure from the core, removing all traces of curls and creating pin-straight hair. Not to mention, this treatment can prove to be very harmful for hair in the long run. Keratin, on the other hand, lasts just three to six months, depending on the growth of the hair, and relaxes the kinks and eliminates frizz, with the end result being a much more tamed crop.
Controversy about Keratin Treatment
The fact that Keratin treatment creams are based on Formaldehyde has been a cause of much controversy surrounding the products as much like any other chemicals, Formaldehyde poses grave threats to one’s health. For instance, research has shown that excessive exposure to the chemical can lead to some severe forms of cancer, including Leukaemia. While the client need not worry about this as they do not come in contact with Formaldehyde regularly, the stylist may be at risk and must ensure proper protection and ventilation during the treatment.
Pros and Cons of Keratin Treatment
After speaking with several people who have undergone Keratin Treatment, I have come to the conclusion that the only valid negative aspect to the procedure is that the effects are not permanent and one has to visit the salon at regular intervals of 3 to 6 months for ‘touch ups.’ Most of the clients had nothing but great things to say. The many benefits of Keratin treatments include:
1) Wash and Go: Hair is much easier to tame and style and if you don’t want to style, a quick shower will also do!
2) Easy styling: As mentioned earlier, blow dry time is reduced by up to 60% which is ideal for times when you are running late and need to fix your hair up.
3) All that glitters: The Keratin products contain essential conditioners that boost your hairs natural radiance and so, you can do away with all your shine sprays and mousses.
4) Frizz-ease: Having frizz-free hair was once impossible, thanks to the heat and humid weather but now, Keratin treatments can be used to eliminate frizz significantly, if not completely.
5) High volume: Keratin doesn’t just smoothen your hair, it also infuses it with volume and boost, making it all the more bouncier and healthy.
Who is the ideal candidate for this treatment?
• People who spend a ton of time blow drying and straightening ones hair
• People who want to loosen their curls or waves
• People who desire frizz-free hair
• People who want smoother, silkier and shinier hair
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, September 8th, 2013.