Did you know that there are about 10,000 different kinds of proteins that make up your body? Or that keratin — yes, the same keratin you see in hair repair products — is one of these thousands of proteins? Functional keratin genes in humans also come in many different kinds — over 50. Most of these are in the nails, skin, and hair, while others play a role in many cell functions. However, factors like pollution, age, and hair styling can remove keratin from the hair.

When keratin levels go down, the hair goes up in a frizz. A keratin treatment brings a dose of all that lost keratin back into each hair strand. With this hair treatment, you can restore your locks’ health and keep it straight and free of frizz. The big question now is, what exactly does the treatment entail? How long do the effects last and what can you do to manage and maintain your treated hair?

We’ll get to the bottom of all these questions in this guide, so make sure to keep reading!

What Is Keratin?

Keratin, as a type of protective protein, is less prone to damage like scratches and tears. It’s for this reason that keratin helps to protect your hair, nails, and skin. The protein makes the cells in these parts of your body stronger and more resilient.

What Then Is Keratin Treatment?

As you may have guessed, it’s a treatment that infuses the hair with keratin. However, most, if not all hair smoothing and straightening treatments, utilize this protein. That technically makes all of them a form of keratin treatment. A traditional keratin treatment is one that straightens — and not just smoothens — the hair though. This is the treatment that involves the use of a flat iron to straighten the hair. Before the flat iron touches the hair, you need to have your hair saturated with a solution first.

This solution not only coats but also injects each hair strand (and its follicle) with keratin. This helps to get rid of the frizz and porous areas of the hair. At the same it, it locks each strand into a straighter position. For this treatment to give the desired results, the solution needs to stay on the hair for about half an hour. After this, the stylist will blow-dry your hair and then iron it out. You will need to keep your hair dry and as is for a few days, usually 2 to 3 days.

Why Would You Need and Want This Treatment?

According to an industry report, the global keratin market in 2014 was over 3,500 tons. Experts forecast that between 2015 and 2022, this sector would see a further increase of 7%. One reason for this rise in the use of keratin products is climate change. In the US, for instance, climate change has already led to longer, hotter, or more humid summers. In some areas, winters have shortened, but the temperature itself has dropped lower. Both weather and climate conditions can affect the hair and make it more prone to frizz and breakage.

For example, during humid summer days, your hair attracts and captures water vapors in the air. The water vapors bind with the proteins within the strand, causing them to “stand” (AKA frizz up). In the winter, the colder outdoor weather can deplete your hair of its moisture. However, this doesn’t mean you should go out of the house with your hair still wet. This will only literally freeze the strands and make them more prone to breakage.

Let’s not forget about pollution, which not only damages keratin but can also lead to hair loss! Moreover, pollutants can irritate the scalp, which can then alter the hair structure. All these may make you want to keep cleaning your hair, but doing so can actually damage your locks. It’s because of all these that many opt to get a keratin treatment, even if the body contains this hair protein.

What’s So Special About It?

A keratin treatment from a salon will give you straightened hair for up to three months. Once the solution is all over and inside your hair strands, it will keep your crown frizz-free. It will also be easier to manage, and you won’t need to keep blow drying it to keep it in place. A keratin treatment may also reduce the risks of over blow-drying your hair.

Again, that’s because your hair “automatically” dries off straight. In addition, keratin-based straighteners make the hair feel softer and healthier. A study also found that keratin products may help boost the hair’s ability to resist damage. That depends on the type of keratin though — it should be “keratin hydrolysates”.

What’s Not to Like?

Many keratin treatment solutions utilize formaldehyde as a key ingredient. Formaldehyde is a mixture of formalin and methylene glycol. In this case, it’s the formaldehyde that locks in the keratin into the porous sections of the hair. Now, as bad as the “f” word sounds, the body also naturally creates this compound. The healthcare industry also uses it in creating vaccines, as it “inactivates” viruses. It also helps to preserve consumer products, as it can kill harmful microorganisms.

The problem with formaldehyde, however, is that it can get released to the air when exposed to heat. In a keratin treatment, this can occur when the solution gets exposed to the heat of a hairdryer or flat iron. In high doses, formaldehyde in the air can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. More modern keratin treatment bases now feature 100% formaldehyde-free solutions. That’s great, but they don’t last as long as the traditional treatments.

Alternatives to Keratin Straightening Treatments

Before you get a keratin smoothing complex treatment, consider your alternatives first. If you want to fix dry, damaged hair, goji berry hair care products may be a better solution. Science backs up the benefits of goji berries, which includes antioxidation and antiaging. Researchers say that these fruits may even have anti-cancer effects! Moreover, it has shown to help give the immune system a boost.

As a powerful antioxidant, goji berries can help correct hair damage caused by cell death. This is what happens when you get your hair dyed over and over again. It can also occur due to pollution, over-styling, and excess heat from a keratin treatment. If your dyed hair has gone brittle, consider at-home care first before a keratin treatment. A deep moisturizing hair mask can help you restore it to a hydrated condition. At the same time, it can tame down the frizz while smoothening out your entire crown.

Top Tips on How to Maintain Straightened Hair

If you still decide to get a keratin treatment, be sure to ask the stylist how long before you can wash it. Again, this may take anywhere from 48 to 72 hours, depending on the solution used. If you wash it too early, the solution may not be able to coat your entire hair properly.

Once you can wash your keratin straightened hair, be sure to keep in mind these tips too.

Use a Nourishing Shampoo

Use a shampoo that contains key scalp nutrients, like vitamins and minerals. You'd also want to wash your hair with an antioxidant-packed shampoo to keep its cells healthy. This will also help infuse the new hair cells with the nourishment they need to grow out kink-free.

Don't Tie It or Put It Up

During the first week, flat-ironed, keratin-treated hair is prone to denting. Even tucking the strands behind the ear can already cause them to bend out of position. So, as much as you can, keep your hair down and as straight as possible.

Use a Wide-Toothed Comb or Brush

Although keratin treatments make hair easier to manage, strands can still get tangled. You'd want to untangle those knots ASAP, as they can cause permanent denting too. Use a wide-toothed comb or brush to get rid of those knots while also avoiding creating too much friction.

Touch up With an Anti-Frizz Serum

The new (untreated) hair cells that push out of the scalp will not be as smooth as the treated ones. This is why the top-most part of the treated strands can show up as frizzy. You can combat this by applying a hydrating, nourishing anti-frizz serum.

Keep Your Keratin-Treated Hair As Smooth As Possible

There you have it, everything you need to know about keratin treatment. Now that you know how it works and what it takes to keep it good-looking, you can decide if it’s a good option for your hair. If you’ve already had your hair treated, then be sure to at least follow the tips to care for and maintain it.

Ready to give your locks some tender hair repair and care, pre- or post-keratin treatment? Then please feel free to check out the ProBerry Hair Care System products! From shampoos to serums, these products can help you restore your crown’s former glory!