Posted by & filed under 365 Days of Hair Products, Beauty, Hair, Health Tips.

We have all heard the promises of smooth, straight, damage free treatments for a few years now, but most of us have also heard that it can be harmful.  Who do you believe?  The companies manufacturing and marketing the product or the FDA?

The culprits in concern here are formaldehyde and methylene glycol.  Both are highly toxic carcinogens, or become so when heat is added.  A Keratin Smoothing Treatment begins with extensive cleaning of the hair, a full blow dry, the product is then applied to the dry hair, left on for desired amount of time, then not rinsed out, but flat ironed in using a 450 degree flat iron.  

These treatments are usually labeled Keratin treatments which in itself is misleading, yet not untrue.  They do contain Keratin, which is the protein our hair is made up of, but it is not the Keratin that is doing the straightening.  Without the carcinogens formaldehyde and methylene glycol, these treatments would not be able to create the frizz free finish, which is its sole intention.  So if the product is considered formaldehyde free, it must contain methylene glycol and vise versa.  Even more concerning, the product could be labeled formaldehyde free and still have a percentage (up to 12% with the Brazilian Blowout – and that’s marked formaldehyde free!)

Keratin Treatment Facts
A few types of Treatments:

Keratin Complex Smoothing Treatment – This is what I have offered (not since pregnant of course), there are two types the treatment $350 lasting 4-6 months or the blow-out $125 lasting 4-6 weeks.  I have been told that it does not contain formaldehyde but from what I know, I know it is not completely safe. Both my clients and myself have experienced watery, burning eyes and even a throat tickle resulting in coughing. Even if it does not contain formaldehyde, it contains aldehydes, which are carcinogenic and unsafe, just not regulated at this time.

Brazilian Blowout – This is the most common and I believe the first on the market and the first offered in salons nationwide.  They have always had formaldehyde and even the formula claiming to be free of the toxin came back with a whopping 12%.  The Brazilian Blowout is the most misleading and has the worst health effects.  I have read numerous horror stories of women from nosebleeds to hospitalization (rare – but still..)

Suave Keratin Treatment (discontinued) – The worst out there, in fact I went to link it and found out there are lawsuits and that it has been discontinued (whew!)  I really wanted to touch on this one though because I experienced it first hand.  A few years ago a client called needing an emergency haircut and when she came in I noticed her hair was in pretty bad condition.  She said she had just done the Suave at home Keratin Treatment and it burned her hair off.  She had long hair past down her mid-back and when she was sitting in my chair it was singed up to her shoulders.  She was practically in tears explaining that the box said it was the same as a Keratin Treatment and had no formaldehyde so she felt it was safe.  She noticed immediately after applying that when she touched it, it burned her hand.  She IMMEDIATELY rinsed and still we ended up cutting her hair up to her chin.

keratin fail

*not my client

What you should know if considering a Keratin Treatment:

  • Keratin treatments do not completely make the hair straight.  If you have curly or kinky hair it will smooth it enough to make it more manageable and reduce the frizz, but know that it will not result in straight hair.
  • Pregnant women or women who are nursing should steer clear.
  • There are usually two types of treatments: Keratin Treatment and the Blow-out.  The Treatment lasts 4-6 months, while the Blow-out lasts 4-6 weeks.
  • They are expensive.  Our salon starts at $350 for the full Treatment and that price goes up for long/thick hair.
  • You cannot wash your hair for 3 days with the full Treatment.  8 hours with the Blow-out.


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