Choosing the Right Keratin
First of all what is keratin and what can it do for my hair? Keratin is one of nature’s most durable proteins and is the main ingredient of your hair’s outer layer. If you apply products containing keratin you’ll notice its smoothing, straightening and frizz reducing effects. Your hair type will be the one to determine the formula and concentration of keratin you need to reap the full benefits and obtain the results you desire. Usually anyone can benefit from products containing but specific keratin treatments are better designed for course and curly hair types.
A keratin treatment temporarily smoothes and straightens frizzy, disobedient hair, leaving it sleek, healthy and super shiny. You can complement the treatment using a flat iron, which helps fuse the keratin into the hair, seal the cuticle and replenish each strand, providing stronger smoother and more manageable locks.
Remember that this is a temporary process, but you can generally enjoy the results for a period of up to six weeks. What determines the duration of the treatment? Well, the more often you wash your hair, the quicker it gets back to normal. These treatments work best on thick, curly, coarse and frizzy hair, and will benefit these hair types much more. Why is this? Well keratin treatments can repair damaged and chemically treated hair, making more of a difference in the final results. So if you’ve had your hair colored, permed, relaxed, highlighted or bleach you can revitalize and nurse it back to health! Keratin treatments are not meant for fine, straight or thin hair (it’s like using acne cream on unblemished skin), but these hair types can benefit from keratin itself in other products instead of undergoing the treatment.
If this is the case and you want to benefit from this protein without having to go through the entire treatment, there are other ways you can enjoy keratin, in the form of shampoos, conditioners and other styling products to ensure your hair stays healthy and frizz-free every single day!
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So, what does a keratin treatment entail? Here’s a brief overview of the benefits, maintenance, and follow-up treatments:
- Benefits: smooth, shiny and frizz-free tresses that won’t be affected by humid conditions, deeply moisturized and healed strands with sealed in color and no growing out, just the gradual return of your hair to its pre-treatment state. Another plus is that your styling and drying time is radically cut in half.
- Maintenance: You don’t have to wash your hair that often in order to conserve the look for longer. For maximum duration, use a shampoo that doesn’t contain sodium chloride and includes UV protection, which is very important. Try to avoid chlorine, salt water or excess exposure to the sun which can cut your treatment short. If you want to cut your hair, you can do so immediately after the treatment, but if you wish to color it then you need to do it before undergoing the treatment or two weeks afterwards. Coloring hair before can seal in the color and prevent fading.
- Follow-up Treatments: All you need to do is repeat the keratin treatment the same way you did the first time, and that’s all there is!
The success of keratin treatments can depend on skill and the tools available, especially if applied at home, since the treatment requires the proper tools and precautions. You may find that your scalp and hair may not feel as clean as prior to the treatment but this is normal.
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Keratin Treatments on Chemically Treated Hair
Professionals say that keratin treatments can only improve color or chemically treated hair. This treatment can deeply moisturize and enhances the existing chemical treatments to help seal in color. The best time to get a keratin treatment is before color treating your hair or about ten days after a color treatment. If you hair has had thermal reconditioning or sodium hydroxide relaxers then you can really benefit from keratin treatments.
This is one of the most abundant organic substances in the whole universe, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, found in car exhaust, smoke and smog. Basically, formaldehyde is a common, potentially toxic and carcinogenic air pollutant that can have grave repercussions especially when exposure is frequent or high. Symptoms include watery eyes, headaches and trouble breathing. What does all this have to do with keratin treatments? Well many keratin treatments contain this substance or a similar compound that becomes formaldehyde when heated. There’s a standard as to how much formaldehyde a keratin product may contain but some have much more.
How does formaldehyde affect your hair? Well keratin treatments combine heat, formaldehyde and keratin to break the bonds in each strand to temporarily change their shape. The keratin then adheres to the hair’s rough edges, coating the cuticle creating smoothness, shine and straightness. This process doesn’t damage your hair in the least, it actually repairs hair and strengthens it. If you prefer a treatment that doesn’t include formaldehyde, check for products that don’t contain any ingredients ending in ‘hyde’.
Other Straightening Treatments
Keratin isn’t the only treatment around that straightens hair, here are a couple more and what their benefits are compared to keratin treatments:
- Japanese straightening: this process thermally and chemically restructures hair bonds and the change is permanent, unlike keratin treatments. With keratin, your hair is reconditioned. With the Japanese treatment your hair is left very straight and extremely flat, while keratin lets your hair’s natural texture emerge, especially as it gradually washes out. Japanese straightening grows out and requires upkeep, lasting longer than the keratin treatment which washes out. Both treatments require high heat flat irons to seal the product into the hair cuticle.
- Brazilian blowouts: these are lighter than keratin treatments, leaving hair frizz free without the use of formaldehyde, but less straight than with keratin treated hair. Brazilian blowouts can be washed immediately, while keratin treatments require a 3-day no washing period.
At Home Keratin Treatments
What do you need in order to apply this treatment in the comfort of your own home? Well first of all you need the keratin treatment itself, which is essential to the entire process, infusing itself into the cuticle leaving your hair smooth, straight and strengthened. A high temperature flat iron (one that can heat up to 400 degrees or more) is also required, to help with the proper application of the treatment and also great for maintaining the results. You’ll also need to use a fine tooth comb to distribute the treatment and to assist in the flat ironing process for more precision. Last but not least, some sodium chloride free shampoo to enjoy longer lasting straightness. As mentioned before, sodium chloride (salt) can fade your keratin treatment so avoid products containing this compound.
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