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What Is A Keratin Treatment & Will It Really Fix All Your Hair Problems?


Despite sounding like a delicious dessert (chocolate keratin with raspberry coulis has a ring to it), keratin is not something you can consume unless it’s in the form of supplements. Even then, you will need your medical practitioner to prescribe them.

But let’s not get carried away.

Keratin is a protein found in our bodies that helps form hair, nails and the skin’s epidermis. It has multiple functions, mainly the support and protection of your skin, healing wounds and keeping your hair and nails healthy.

Our hair specifically is made of 95% keratin, which is why many shampoos and hair treatments contain keratin. An external addition of keratin to a person’s hair can make your hair shiny and silky, while reducing frizz. After a keratin treatment, you can expect your hair to be easier to manage and style. Some studies have also shown that shampoos and conditioners that contain keratin hydrolysates have a positive effect on hair health.

So, What Is A Keratin Treatment?

If you choose to do a keratin treatment at a salon, it will involve a chemical protein treatment process to smoothen out your hair and reduce frizz. It is a time-intensive process, so plan your day accordingly.

First, a stylist will wash your hair with a shampoo specific to the treatment and then apply liquid keratin solution to your hair. The solution is left in your hair for a short period of time. Then, your hair will be blown dry and a flat iron will be used to straighten your hair and seal the solution in.

For best results, you will be advised to avoid washing your hair for the next few days.

Benefits of Keratin Treatment

1. Smooth, Healthy Hair

Keratin functions by smoothening the cells that overlap to form hair, which in turn reduces frizz and makes hair more manageable. This gives it a glossy, healthy look. It also helps in making the hair easier to style.

2. Long-lasting results

If you maintain your hair post keratin treatment well, by not washing it too frequently, it can last up to 6 months.

3. Reduced Hair Breakage and Heat Damage

As Keratin is a structural protein where the main function is to support hair growth, it can strengthen hair so that it does not break off easily.

Furthermore, keratin treatment can also help repair previous damage caused to the hair due to heat styling (straighteners, curlers etc).

4. Minimal Upkeep

For as long as your keratin treatment lasts, there is very little you will need to do in terms of styling. Your hair will look smooth and glossy and can be wrangled into any hairstyle you desire.

Cons Of Keratin Treatments

Considering that it does involve chemicals, keratin treatments come with their own set of cons as well.

1. Effects of Formaldehyde

Most, if not all keratin treatments use formaldehyde, which is a colourless, odourless gas. Formaldehyde can be toxic if inhaled and can cause respiratory issues, nausea, eye irritation and dizziness to name a few side-effects. Long term inhalation of formaldehyde has also been linked to cancer.  

2. Not a Permanent Solution

The keratin treatment can last for four to six months if maintained well. However, it is not a long-term or permanent solution and you will have to repeat the treatment if you are happy with its effect on your hair.  

3. Cost

Keratin treatments are expensive and can be a major factor in deciding whether the treatment is worth it or not. 

Should I Get A Keratin Treatment Done?

That question is entirely based on personal choice. If you are having trouble with frizzy hair or believe that your hair is not as healthy as it can be, keratin is one of the treatments you can opt for. People who have done the keratin treatment before have reported that their hair is smoother and looks healthier as compared to before.

If you are wary of a chemical treatment or don’t want straightening to be a part of your hair health process, you can choose to use a keratin serum or shampoo and conditioner. They may not be as effective as the salon treatment, but they can help repair hair damaged by dye or heat. Look for any products with the ‘keratin hydrolysates’ as a part of their ingredients when looking for a hair product with keratin.

If you’re still confused, head on over to your favourite parlour and ask to speak to a stylist. They might try to push the treatment on you, but make sure to do your own research before giving it a go!

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