Close this search box.

What is Keratin Treatment?

Your Ticket to Smooth & Shiny Hair All Season Long

Since the invention of the ceramic flat iron, life has gotten much easier for those who battle their natural hair texture.  Now solutions like keratin treatment can make even flat irons obsolete by adding strength-inducing protein for your hair.

What is keratin?

Keratin is the naturally occurring protein in hair that makes it strong and lustrous. It tends to be weaker in thick, curly, frizzy and/or coarse hair.

What is the procedure for a keratin treatment?

You can get a keratin treatment at practically any salon. A stylist will apply a keratin product to your hair, and then use heat from a blow dryer and/or flat iron to seal it in. The whole process can take anywhere from 90 minutes to more than two hours depending on the length of your hair.

Illustration of woman with long hair

Does it really work (even for those with super tight, kinky curls)?

Keratin can smooth and straighten even the curliest curls and the frizziest locks.

Who isn’t a good candidate?

Those who have severely damaged hair due to bleaching, very fine hair, or very straight hair already will want to avoid it. Pregnant women should also steer clear to avoid exposure to chemicals.

How long will a keratin treatment last?

That will depend on the specific product used and how well you maintain your new hairstyle (see next question). Most treatments will last between two and three months.

How can I maximize the treatment’s lifespan?

woman holding blow dryer

Don’t do anything to your hair for about four days and avoid rain, sweat, and humidity. When it’s time to wash your hair, make sure to use shampoo that is sulfate and sodium-free so you won’t strip or dissolve the keratin.

Top Tip

In general, you’ll want to wash your hair less frequently after a keratin treatment to maintain the look longer.

How easy will it be to fix my hair after the treatment?

Styling your hair after a keratin treatment is as simple as washing it and following up with a quick blow dry. Often, it will take about half the time it did before the treatment, and you probably won’t need to use as many products in order for it to lie flat and straight.

Will a keratin treatment damage my hair?

While most stylists say keratin treatments won’t harm your hair, some argue that it can make hair brittle and breakage-prone. Before you decide to take the plunge into keratin, do some research and have a discussion with your stylist about the best product for you and possible risks for your individual hair type.

Are the chemicals in keratin treatments safe?

Some keratin-based hair smoothing products contain high levels of formaldehyde (a carcinogen that can cause health problems when inhaled) dissolved in water and/or other ingredients. That’s why it’s important you visit a reputable salon that has proper ventilation and uses good brands.

Check the Label

Before you get a keratin treatment, check the label. These are common alternate names for formaldehyde:

  • methylene glycol
  • formalin
  • methylene oxide
  • paraform
  • formic aldehyde
  • methanol
  • oxomethane
  • oxymethylene
  • CAS Number 50-00-0

Get access to the next issue before it hits the stands!