Lifestyle

Stylists swear by it, but what exactly does keratin treatment do?

If you have curly, frizzy hair, chances are that the first thing you hear from your stylist in the salon is that you must give keratin treatment a chance. Keratin is often hailed as a ‘miracle cure’ by hair experts for those in pursuit of frizz-free, silky, straight hair. The golden question, just like always, is if it’s safe. We got in touch with hair experts Jawed Habib, Ambika Pillai, and Rod Anker, who give us the low-down on keratin treatment.

What is keratin?

Present in our hair, it is a protein that helps in protection and keeps the structure of our hair together. However, over time, with exposure to sun, dust, pollution and chemicals, the keratin present in our hair gets damaged. And the result is dry, frizzy hair.

How does keratin treatment

The treatment involves adding the protein to hair to make it smoother and straighter, by smoothing the cuticle, the outer layer of hair. The effects of the treatment, which can be done almost for all hair types, lasts 4-5 months.

Expert speak

Experts suggest opting for keratin products that are formaldehyde-free. There’s a big question mark on the safety of formaldehyde-based products since they can cause all sorts of irritation and infection. “Some keratin products are formaldehyde-free, but one has to be diligent, especially if you are using chemical products,” says Ambika Pillai.

One needs to do their research before opting for it. “Keratin does help, but on certain hair types. It reduces the volume slightly along with the percentage of the curl and the frizz but not a hundred percent,” opines Rod Anker. “While keratin gets washed out in the process, it can cause damage if not done with care. It replaces the elasticity band of the internal structure of the hair gradually, washing out over time, leaving the hair as it was before,” he adds.

The treatment should be done only by an experienced professional. “The treatment is good for unhealthy and unmanageable hair, but for good results, the person who is doing it should be well-trained. One small mistake by the hair expert can cause permanent damage to hair. So, the most important part is the technique/technicians and not the brand,” says Jawed Habib.

And Ambika Pillai agrees. “Even if the stylist says that the product is formaldehyde-free, it’s not true in most cases,” she says.

Lastly, post-keratin treatment care is crucial. “With frequent hair washes, the effect of your keratin may last a few weeks. However, with a twice-a-week schedule, your natural texture gradually returns over a period of 4-5 months,” explains Pillai. She adds, “You’ll need to use a sulphate-free shampoo after keratin treatment. Sulphate-based shampoos counteract the treatment.”

“Also, the growing out phase after the keratin treatment is most difficult to deal with. The treated hair remains straight but not the root hair, they remain curly. So, one has to wait till the hair grows out and the treated hair is cut to be free of the dual hair texture,” adds Pillai.

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