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Keratin Treatment: What You Need To Know


8 Min Read

By Nutrafol Team2019-05-07

If you’ve ever admired Meghan Markle’s sleek, glossy hair, you may want to consider a keratin treatment. The Duchess of Sussex has gotten keratin smoothing treatments in the past to straighten her naturally curly hair. We caught up with Edward Tricomi, master stylist and co-owner of Warren Tricomi salon, and Pancho Soekoro, a keratin expert, to learn all about the treatment.

What is a keratin treatment?

Keratin is actually a protein naturally found in your hair that gives it structure. The treatment involves infusing keratin and other ingredients into your strands with heat to create a silky smooth effect. “It’s an anti-frizz treatment that helps reduce frizz people may experience, and it makes blow drying the hair a lot easier,” master stylist Tricomi says. Something that decreases the amount of time we spend with our hairdryer? Sign us up!

So who is a keratin treatment good for? “This treatment is usually recommended for people who tend to have frizzier hair,” he continues. “It keeps it very tamed, reduces so much frizz and keeps it beautifully straight rather than puffy.” Good news: The treatment even works if you’ve colored your hair.

How does the process work?

First, the salon will wash your hair to remove any lingering product residue and ensure the keratin is as effective as possible. Unlike most treatments, the product dries into your hair and doesn’t get washed out. “When I’m doing a keratin treatment, instead of blowing out the hair with a round brush, I use a diffuser,” Soekoro explains. “I do this because the round brush ends up scraping a lot of the keratin treatment out of the hair. If you diffuse the hair you end up drying the hair faster and keep all the product in the hair.” Your stylist may also use a flat iron or straightener to press the product into your strands and seal it. The process typically takes at least an hour in the salon.

What happens after a keratin treatment?

Be sure to handle your hair with care after a keratin treatment: avoid getting it wet or heat styling for 48 hours. “After one of my clients gets this treatment, I tell them to treat their hair as a new pair of perfect blue jeans,” Soekoro says. “You wouldn’t get the perfect jeans and throw them into really hot water or be extremely rough with them. I tell them to turn the temperature down in the shower and be sure to use sulfate-free shampoos! Using soft products on your hair will keep the treatment lasting longer. I also suggest staying away from saltwater pools and beaches because it does strip the product from the hair.”

How long does a keratin treatment last?

It all depends on your lifestyle, but ideally, results can last up to a few months. “Some people wash their hair more than others. Again, I recommend sulfate-free shampoos because they are gentler on the hair,” Soekoro shares. “It also depends on the products you’re using. With the right regime, results can last about three months.”

How is a keratin treatment different from a Brazilian blowout?

While most keratin treatments are water-based, Brazilian blowouts are acid-based and not recommended for colored hair. “I usually only recommend a Brazilian blowout if someone has very curly hair and has not dyed it; then it works very well,” Soekoro explains. “If you have dyed your hair and it’s not that curly, what happens is it may ruin the color by lifting it a shade as well as making the hair dryer.”

Can a keratin smoothing treatment damage your hair?

Some people wonder if a keratin treatment is safe because most formulas contain formaldehyde, but the stylists assure us that it’s safe as long as it’s done correctly. “The only real risks are for the stylist,” Soekoro says. “You need to have the proper machinery when dealing with keratin treatments because of the formaldehyde. You must be in a well-ventilated room because when the treatment is exposed to heat it turns into toxic gases. At the Flatiron studio, I use fume extraction machines to remove all the smoke from the area.”

How many keratin treatments should I get a year?

Most stylists recommend getting keratin hair treatments no more than three times per year. “As long as it’s done correctly, you can get it three times a year,” Soekoro says. The cost of a keratin treatment can depend on the length of your hair and what salon you go to, but the average price is between $250 and $450.

With the humid summer weather coming, investing in a keratin treatment could be worth it. Do you plan to try one?

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