What's the skinny on Keratin Treatments?

Here at the PuffCuff, we cultivate and embrace the versatility of curly hair. We know frequently you may want a change from wearing your natural curls. Maybe you desire a different look. Spice things up a little. Or you may even want to rock it straight for an extended period.

If the latter notion resonates with you, a Keratin Treatment could be a viable option. Are you curious as to what a Keratin Treatment is? Are you reluctant about altering your natural curls? Are you wondering if a Keratin Treatment is right for you? In this blog post, we will explore and dig a little deeper into the pros and cons of Keratin Treatments.

Keratin is a protein that protects epithelial cells from damage or stress. It is the key structural material making up the outer layer of human skin and the major component in hair and nails. It is depleted when hair is damaged chemically, physically and from environmental factors such as the sun. (Keratincomplex.com)

A keratin treatment is a temporary straightening process that is supposed to transform frizzy, curly, or unruly (Ooo how we hate that word “unruly”) hair into straight, shiny, healthier hair. In a keratin treatment process, a cream containing formaldehyde (or another chemical that releases formaldehyde) is brushed into the hair, which is then blown dry and flat-ironed. The combination of formaldehyde, heat, and compression all react with the natural keratin in the hair, making curly or wavy hair more relaxed. Though the treatment itself will not cause hair damage or breakage the extreme heat used to seal the protein may cause harm.

Check out this YouTube video for the Keratin Treatment process. 

Brazilian — The Brazilian Keratin Treatment is good for hair that is naturally curly or frizzy. It eliminates frizz and smooths the hair.

Soft Keratin Treatment — This particular keratin treatment is beneficial for those with fine and medium textured hair. It is for those who like their waves and curls, but have difficulty defining them with the product. The soft keratin treatment gently eliminates frizz while keeping your curls intact.

Japzilian Keratin Treatment — The “Japzilian Keratin Treatment is basically, “a straight perm that is layered with the keratin treatment. It gives fullness, body, and shine to any type of hair—curly, fine, or ethnic.” Says James Kendall, the son of Jack Kendall, owner of Joseph Martin, Hair and Beauty. (Gonzalez, 2011)

Keratin Express — This specific treatment is a short treatment, for those looking to wear their hair in a more manageable style. It takes at least 45 minutes to apply and can last anywhere between four-six weeks.

The cost of a Keratin Treatment can be a bit pricey and can run anywhere between $250-$450.

Keratin Treatments can last from one week, three weeks, thirty days, or six months. If you want to know how your hair responds to the treatment, go for the treatment that lasts only a week.

What does it do to your hair shaft?
Many curlies state, “After having the treatment applied to their hair, their natural curl pattern had been altered.” Many also said that when wanting to wear their natural curls again, their curls were not only dry but also frizzy.

Are there health risks?
Just as when a person uses a relaxer to alter their natural curl, there are a few side effects one should consider when contemplating getting keratin treatments. “When a stylist applies keratin to the hair, the keratin is a mixture of keratin and formaldehyde.” (MD, McMichael, Ann, 2014) Formaldehyde is a colorless pungent, irritating gas CH20 used chiefly in aqueous solution as a disinfectant and preservative in chemical synthesis. (Dictionary.com)

Short-term exposure to formaldehyde can cause asthma-like symptoms, while long-term exposure can cause permanent central nervous system damage and ongoing pulmonary problems, and there is a link between formaldehyde and leukemia. (MD., McMichael, Ann, 2014). If you sufferer of psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis you should consult a dermatologist before getting a keratin treatment.

Kate B, Columbus, OH— My hair was perfect for about three days. If I had wanted to flat iron my hair every day, I'm sure it would've been great, but who has time for that? For me, it removed enough of the curl that I couldn't just wash & go. I had to actually DO something with it, and I left it alone it was still wavy/frizzy. Not the perfectly straight hair I had expected. Since then I've decided I like my curls!

Tamara S, Atlanta, GA— I really wanted to wear my hair straight for my 30th birthday, but it was very hot, so I  knew it wouldn’t last. I went to a professional and got it done. My curls came back after about two months. I loved it!

Lisa L, Lithonia, GA— It worked great for about a week, and my hair was super straight. I did, however, need to flat iron every day to keep it straight. When I washed it, my curls were gone. Only half of my hair was straight, and the other part was wavy. I couldn't wear it wet and had to keep it in a ponytail. Plus, it took forever to wait for the product to finally wear off. I will, however, never get another Keratin treatment!

What is YOUR experience with Keratin Treatments as a naturally curly woman? Comment below.




  1. Photo credit: Shurlé Salon of Bolingbrook, IL
  2. K. (Director). (2014, June 1). The Process of a Keratin Treatment [Video file]. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqzt_ATtnL4
  3. Gonzalez, S. (2011, April 13). The New Japzilian Hair Treatment. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from https://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/retexturizing/the-new-japzilian-hair-treatment/
  4. Keratin Complex. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2017, from http://www.keratincomplex.com/about/the-science
  5. McMichael, MD, A. (n.d.). Keratin Hair Treatments Still Are Not Safe. Retrieved June 5, 2017, from http://bottomlineinc.com/life/hair/keratin-hair-treatments-still-are-not-safe
  6. O'Neil, C. (2015, July 3). Types of Keratin Treatments. Retrieved May 17, 2017, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/274427-types-of-keratin-treatments/

1 comment

  • Jovaughn

    Have been off and on with Keratin treatments for 8 years. When I started my stylist said Keratin was the route for me so she flat ironed me once a week and when I washed my hair it waved right back up. She used products to support the Keratin too! Years past and I kept the Keratin treatment due to the Florida humidity, but stopped flat ironing once a week and switched to once every 6 months when I would get my ends trimmed and repeat the treatment. I think if you lose curls/waves it’s largely due to the skill of the stylist, the original health of the hair, and the maintenance of the hair outside of going to a professional. I later read that Keratin treatments have been the secret to many celebs having silky shiny hair that was curly and later straight. All stylist can apply products but not all have the skills to pull it off long term or educate the client on what is best for their hair. Cost sometimes gets the better of their judgement and unfortunately it is a business where the client is solely relying on the stylist to act in their best interest.

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