5 Things You Should Know About Keratin Straightening + DIY Tips - AMR Hair & Beauty

5 Things You Should Know About Keratin Straightening + DIY Tips

Dec 08, 2016Samantha Bun

All About Keratin Straightening

You may have heard of keratin straightening treatments but you're unsure of what it actually does or how it works. With so many keratin straightening solutions out there, we thought we'd deconstruct what keratin actually is and what the treatment does for your hair.

1. What is Keratin?

Keratin is a protein that is made up most of the skin, hair and nails. Hair especially is rich in keratin-associated proteins and acts as an external protective protein in the cuticle (the outer layers) and the internal structural protein in the cortex (the inner core of the hair which determines its strength).

Your hair has natural keratin but often when exposed to physical, environmental and chemical damage, the hair's keratin becomes depleted. Keratin loss exposes the hair's cortex which puts it at risk of even more damage. Replenishing keratin in the hair restores strength and elasticity, smoothing of the hair's surface and giving it a healthier appearance.

2. What is a Keratin Treatment?

Keratin treatment is a temporary hair smoothing process that transforms coarse, frizzy and unruly hair into shiny, healthy looking and smooth hair. It targets the hair cuticle or the outer layer of the hair and is activated with the heat of the straightener, fixing itself around the shaft and memorising the straightening action.

It creates an elastic, strengthening external sheath while allowing the hair to breathe.

3. How Does Keratin Straighten Hair?

Keratin doesn't actually straighten the hair. There are other chemical properties within the treatment that break down the bonds in curly hair and resettle them so the hair is straight and smooth. This is then set using a hair straightener heat to seal it. Chemicals allow the hair to remain straighter for longer.

Since your hair is damaged in the process of changing its bond structure, keratin steps in to the rescue. Keratin counteracts the damage being done to your hair by preventing it from further breakage. It restores keratin to delicate hairs and prevents humidity from penetrating it, which locks out the frizz.

4. What Does Formaldehyde Free Mean?

Original Brazilian Keratin treatments used Formaldehyde, which works as a fixative by making proteins adhere to the hair. It is a preservative used by embalmers and has been found to be linked to cancer. Formaldehyde has since been banned by the FDA and The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have run its own investigations, finding many products too high in Formaldehyde deemed safe for personal care.

Many Keratin treatments are now Formaldehyde free, using alternatives to produce a similar smoothing effect without the harshness of Formaldehyde.

5. How Long Does Keratin Smoothing Last?

This all depends on your hair and how often you wash it after your treatment. It can last anywhere between 6 - 10 weeks. Some treatments like Pure Brazilian Keratin Treatments can last between three to five months.

The traditional keratin hair treatment that comes from salons includes saturating hair in a creamy product, rich with the protein keratin and other ingredients and then using heat to straighten the hair until it creates a protective shell around the fibre. 

This protective layer prevents curls or frizz from forming for at least 4 to 6 weeks (some say that the effect can last as long as four months).

Product recommendations:

TREATMENT Fanola Liss Ker Straightening Anti-Frizz Cream

Liss Ker is a cream formula that guarantees easy, safe application and smooths hair delicately. The formula is enriched with Keratin and Macadamia Oil, adding protein and soothing substances to the hair for a maximum cosmetic result. The formula is Formaldehyde free but is instead highly concentrated with Glyoxylic Acid, a compound with all the benefits of Formaldehyde without the associated risks. It goes to work on the outside of the hair once applied for 20 minutes and is activated by the heat of a straightener at 220 degrees. The straightener is passed through the hair at least 7 times over each lock of hair to seal in the new structure. It creates an elastic, strengthening external sheath while also allowing the hair to breathe. It leaves hair feeling smooth, soft and easy to comb. The treatment can last 8-10 weeks.

AFTERCARE Fanola Keraterm Hair Ritual Enriched with Keratin, Shea Butter and Macadamia Oil

Anti-frizz disciplining shampoo for straightened and chemically straightened hair

The SLES and SLS-free formula cleanses delicately and eliminates frizz, leaving hair flowing, smooth and easy to comb. It gives your hair softness, shine and vitality without weighing down the hair. It is perfect for maintaining straight styles, obtained through chemical treatments and hot styling tools.

Anti-frizz disciplining mask for straightened and chemically treated hair

A mask is one of the most important treatments to close up the hair cuticles and maintain hair health. The rich and creamy formula enriched with Shea Butter detangles, nourishes and hydrates hair. It combats frizz, static electricity and humidity without weighing the hair down. Leave on for 3 to 5 minutes from lengths to ends for a soft, silky and smooth finish.

Progressive smoothing spray thermal-active action

The last thing you want is straight and dead hair. It is so crucial to protect hair from heat with thermal spray, especially after a keratin straightening treatment. The thermos-active properties of the spray help combat humidity while shortening the time it takes to dry and straighten hair. It leaves the hair soft and supple while protecting it from heat and mechanical stress.

How to Pamper Yourself with a Keratin Hair Treatment

If you have curly or wavy hair or struggle with a naughty amount of frizz, then you may have already considered keratin hair treatment. Keratin (Brazilian blowout) treatment smooths out unruly curls and is often used for hair straightening and for tackling frizz. However, unless you know plenty about what happens when you give your hair keratin treatment, it isn't easy to choose a quality one.

Not all keratin products are the same. Let's rule out some major concerns you may have before enjoying your next professional or at-home keratin hair enhancement.

Keratin Hair Treatment: Key Salon Takeaways

"Bathing" your hair in keratin creams is nothing new. Keratin is an essential building protein of human hair. It is therefore expected you to see numerous hair masks and intense treatments enriched with keratin. However, a professional keratin treatment is something different, and not all of them are the same.

Keratin Hair Treatment Side Effects

Conventional keratin products contain formaldehyde, an ingredient necessary to preserve flat hair. Certain amounts of formaldehyde are required if you want to maintain super-flat hair for long periods.

You have to chemically alter the hair texture to straighten it. This process is impossible without some chemicals. Then again, many other beauty products have chemicals included (nail polish, for example), and we don't want to stop using them. Therefore, restrictive use of keratin is not a significant risk.

If you limit your keratin treatment to quarterly salon visits, you are not risking considerable damage. Quite the opposite - you gain multiple benefits. 


Benefits of Keratin Treatment

Hair gets frizzy and rough because it lacks moisture. When the outside environment is humid and your hair dry, frizz is an inevitable outcome. And keratin is an excellent treatment for your frizz trouble!

The cells that wrap around your hair fibres, called hair cuticles, absorb the keratin applied with heat onto your hair, making it look:

  • Straighter
  • Glossier
  • Easier to style
  • Healthier in appearance
  • Without frizz

If you are health-conscious, there are plenty of gentle smoothing treatments that provide similar benefits in the short-term. However, you do have to be more diligent to apply them yourself. Alternatively, ask your hairdresser to use formaldehyde-free products more regularly.

Gentle Smoothing Treatments

You can choose from keratin hair masks, moisturising shampoos, smoothing conditioners, and even take keratin supplements. All products will instigate your hair to restore moisture to a certain level, which depends on your hair quality and the type of product. Eco-keratin products such as the Brasil Cacau 3-in-1 set are formaldehyde-free. They are super easy to apply and safe enough to use at home as a DIY keratin treatment.

DIY Keratin Treatment for Home Use

Yes, you can apply keratin treatments yourself. Here is how...

You will need:

  • gentle keratin formula
  • keratin mask/conditioner
  • sectioning clips
  • mixing bowl
  • plastic gloves
  • wide-toothed comb
  • a hairdryer with an ionising function and a nozzle
  • a flat iron
  • towels

Step-by-step chemical-free keratin treatments at home:

  1. Cleanse your hair thoroughly with an anti-residue shampoo. Apply twice.
  2. Dry out your hair by splitting it into sections and squeezing the extra fluid gently with your hands. Do not overdry porous hair. Leave it wet at about 80%
  3. Comb your hair into sections and secure it with sectioning clips. At least four sections are enough; more is better.
  4. Apply the keratin hair treatment from roots to ends. (Prepare a plastic bowl beforehand). Use 30 to 50 ml of the creamy product for medium-length hair.
  5. Leave the product in the hair for at least 10 minutes. A maximum of 30 minutes is sufficient for dry and messy hair.
  6. Take a hairdryer and completely dry your hair on medium heat, split the hair into sections to blow dry with a brush for a clean, neat result. Use a nozzle if you wish to focus heat.
  7. Split the hair into sections for the second time. Use a professional-level flat iron to straighten hair without damage. Adjust the temperature depending on hair texture. Do not pass each section more than 8-10 times. Use fewer moves on dehydrated, brittle hair.
  8. Wash the straightened hair with water to remove excess product and towel dry.
  9. Apply keratin conditioner and oil to emphasise the frizz-free silky finish.

If you have persistent curls, you may consider looking for a specialised keratin treatment for naturally wavy and curly hair.

Keratin Hair Treatment For Curly Hair

A common question for curly hair is: "Will keratin ruin my natural curls?"The short answer is no. If that were the case, then you would have applied the keratin treatment only once and got straight hair for life.

On the contrary, the application needs to be repeated several times a year if you want to maintain a straight look. Moreover, not all curls easily succumb to the treatment: some are quite stubborn and may still keep the wavy structure. But the overall result is a more relaxed, shinier look.

There are several variations of keratin treatment for curly hair and we will summarise those here:

  • Traditional "Brazilian Blowout": the conventional method for optimal results.
  • Chemical-free smoothing treatment, as mentioned above.
  • Express keratin treatment: lasts 1.5 to 2 hours instead of the usual 3 to 4 hours.
  • Japanese keratin treatment: get stick-straight locks that mimic natural Japanese hair.

The last option is an excellent choice if you want to kiss goodbye your curls for 5-6 months. The Brazilian blowout is also long-lasting. The express option is an anxiety-free timesaver. Finally, the softest keratin hair treatment of them all - the one without harsh chemicals will guarantee straight hair without frizz and guilt.


A Final Important Tip

Always start modestly with heat application and the number of repetitions with the flat iron. After you learn how much product and what can your hair endure, you can increase the temperature and personalise styling moves.

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