Articles, Beauty

The Truth About Keratin

As the days get shorter in NYC we want to hit snooze a little longer in the morning. You have 15 minutes to get ready…yikes…what are you going to do with that frizzy mop on top of your head? Put it in a messy braid and call it boho chic or throw on a hat?! But you wouldn’t have this problem if you had a Keratin treatment performed on your pretty little bird nest…I mean head of hair!

The keratin process will not only eliminate your frizz leaving your hair silky, strong, and shiny, it will also cut your blow dry time in half! Time is money, and you will also save a ton on anti-humectant, shine products, and lavish conditioning treatments because you won’t be needing them anymore.

So what is Keratin? It is the all-natural strong protein that is the main component of hair and nails. Keratin protein combined with amino acids and melanin make up your hair strand. Keratin creates a beautiful lasting treatment when applied directly to hair.

Keratin treatment is a temporary straightening process that will tame unmanageable frizzy locks and turn them into super shiny, healthy hair. The keratin protein is bound to the hair when heat is applied. This process repairs any damage by filling in all the little nooks and crannies in your hair and then seals the cuticle over it. If your hair is very damaged, your hair strand is like a piece of swiss cheese or a loofah. Keratin protein is applied to the hair and fills in those holes. When heat is applied the cuticle is sealed down. This keeps the protein inside the hair strand leaving it strong and shiny.

Since keratin treatment is a temporary process, it is vital to use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner in order to receive longevity of the product. Regular shampoo will strip the keratin from the cuticle, therefore defeating the treatment. Try to wash your hair 2-3 times a week with cool water. Hot water opens the cuticle and releases the keratin little by little. Invest in a good Dry Shampoo if you feel your hair gets greasy in between shampoos.

Due to the fact that it is a chemical process, pregnant women should avoid these treatments. If you have highly sensitive skin or conditions such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis it is suggested you consult a dermatologist first and try a test strand to make sure there are no reactions. It is also NOT recommended for those with straight, fine, limp hair or hair that is over processed and damaged from highlights. Your stylist will help you determine if this process is right for you or not. This is also a lengthy process, so expect to be in the salon for a few hours.

There are so many different formulations between the various smoothing treatments on the market but the overall process is the same. The hair will be prepped by clarifying it with shampoo that will cleanse it of any buildup in the cuticle of the hair strand. This allows the Keratin protein to penetrate. After towel drying as much as possible, product is generously applied to the hair in 1 inch by 1 inch sections and blow dried. After the entire head of hair is dried, the hair is flat-ironed in 1 inch by 1 inch sections, making sure the hair is sleek.

The treatment you need depends on your hair type. You will most likely need a 3 day treatment if you have coarse, curly, frizzy, unmanageable hair. If your hair is manageable but you want to make it stronger, reduce frizz, and add shine, ask for a 24 hour treatment. This means you canNOT wash your hair, sweat, get your hair wet, be in excessive heat or humidity, or put it in a ponytail for 24 hours. If you get a 3 day treatment, you can not do any of this for 3 days. After your treatment time ends, you wash it out with a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, such as L’ORÉAL PARIS EVERPURE, and then you are free to resume those forbidden activities.

The way you treat your hair while the Keratin is in it is just as important as choosing an experienced stylist to apply the product to your hair. Your stylist may do everything right but if you put it in a ponytail you’re going to have a permanent crease. If you are in excessive heat or humidity and your hair frizzes with the treatment in it, that is how it will stay. So you play a huge role in the way your keratin treatment not only comes out but how it lasts. If my clients follow my advice they usually get 2 Keratin treatments from me per year. Each one lasting the full 5-6 months. The first two weeks you can expect your hair to be straighter than normal but after that you will get normal body back in it without the frizz.

There has been much controversy surrounding keratin treatments. Are they safe, are they not? Everything in moderation is my answer! You can’t get this treatment every month and think your hair will be healthy. In this case less is more. Too much protein and exposure to a hot iron will break your hair as well. You also need to go to a hairdresser who is experienced in this treatment, because the temperature your iron is placed at may be too hot for your condition of hair. It is a chemical treatment so I will only perform treatment when necessary. This is not a cure for the OCD client that sees one strand sticking up and wants a keratin every month. Use a lil’ hairspray doll. I have OCD too, don’t worry, it’s a blessing in disguise.

The amount of formaldehyde is also a concern for people. You need to have this performed in a ventilated area, and if you’re still worried, wear a mask. I always do. The FDA and OSHA regulate the amount of formaldehyde that is allowed in keratin treatments now, and it is trace amounts compared to what it used to be. I have tried “organic” companies but none that I can recommend at this time. So unfortunately, if you are a completely organic person, this may not be a process for you either.

If you have had previous chemical treatments such as relaxers, perms, or highlights that have left the cuticle of your hair in a state of shock, unfortunately this is not for you at this time either as this process could melt/break your hair off. I suggest asking your hairdresser to perform a hairline keratin treatment in the flyaways around your face to aid in your frizz problem while getting your hair healthy enough to eventually keratin your entire head. K-PAK’s Liquid Reconstructor is a great spray-in, leave-in conditioner with protein that can begin strengthening your hair.

If your frizzy hair is too unmanageable for you to tame you need to get your dose of keratin! As with anything in life, please do your research in finding a hairdresser that is licensed and has experience in this area of hairdressing to avoid any damage. Also remember that for a process such as this you play a heavy role in the turn out so please make sure you have the time in your schedule!