Keratin Hair Treatments are often called Brazilian Blow-Outs or Brazilian Keratin Treatments. Scour the internet and you will find many different brands of Keratin Hair Treatments, all designed to take curly hair smooth, without frizz- and without all the fuss -from thermal styling tools. It is the next huge thing that is everything Brazilian saturating the hair and fashion industry. Celebrities are running into A-List hair salons everywhere to have this keratin procedure performed. It seems like every popular magazine features some version of the blow-out, and this hair sensation is becoming big news for anyone wishing for more manageable hair, bringing changes in hair culture to the mainstream public. Brazilian style blow-outs are not necessarily news to hairdressing. Dominican hair stylists have been blowing out wavy, curly, and super curly hair forever -using setting lotion, rollers, some type of smoothing oil, a blow dryer, and hot Irons. Ask your stylist if they currently offer some kind of Keratin Blow-Out. Buyer beware, but before you commit to the treatment, ask yourself and your stylist, “What is all the hype about, is this process worth the price, and are there any potential health risks?”
The ingredients used in the Brazilian type keratin blow-outs are actually very different. Most manufacturers who claim this method use a liquid keratin (protein) based formula. The keratin claims to rebuild lost strength, depth, and structure of the hair shaft. The most surprising ingredients in the Keratin formulas contain an additional chemical like formaldehyde, or various composites of it. For me personally, this ingredient is disturbing. Let’s think about formaldehyde for a minute. The first thought that comes to my mind is embalming solution of the dead and the preservation of specimen for biology projects and the like. Formaldehyde is considered highly toxic, when in contact with the skin, or breathing it in, and highly combustible, giving one cause to take precaution, as it might cause considerable damage to human health. Technical names of formaldehyde are as follows: Methanal, methyl aldehyde, and methylene oxide, and formalin or aqueous extract of formalin.
Use as a Preservative
It is not a secret that formaldehyde is used as a preservative, as well as an antibacterial agent. Its components are used in cosmetics and hygiene products to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Formaldehyde is also used commercially in woodworking as a resin which is strong and pliable; largely found in faux wood furniture made of particle board. Formaldehyde can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic. This makes me pause for a moment, to think about the risks of using this product on a customer, as well as inhaling the products fumes into my own lungs. The concentrations of formaldehyde used in keratin treatments are anywhere from 0.02 percent upwards to 30 percent. There really are no safe concentrations of formaldehyde.
How to Use Keratin Treatments
The method that is used most in the blow out procedure is to first distribute the product throughout the hair, usually in sections, then, blow dry using high heat. Lastly use a flat iron that can heat up to 450 degrees (this is essential to lock the product in), go over the hair small sections at a time. This part of the process is also crucial because it bonds the treatment into the hair shaft. After the procedure you are discouraged to wash your hair, or get your hair wet for 72 hours to ensure the treatment has time to penetrate. This treatment can last up to 4 months before having to be redone. It can also be used on previously chemically treated hair of all types, and is suggested it works best when the hair is already damaged from chemical processes.
Are There Risks and What are the Costs?
While I am not quick to dismiss the effectiveness of this procedure, as a consumer and hair stylist- I want to be in-the-know. The cost of the service can start in the range of more than $150.00 an hour, depending on hair texture and length. I think as a consumer and a stylist you really should weigh all the costs and there is a double meaning here. As a hair stylist, even if you are charging $150.00 to $200.00 an hour, (most hair dressers are self- employed) typically this means NO catastrophic medical coverage. In the event that one might become ill from using risky products, you have to protect yourself. It is worth investigating the products you choose to use in your salon, on your customers. If you watch the informative videos splashed across the internet about how to use these types of products, you will see some stylists wear gloves, some a smock to protect their skin and clothing, and even some wear masks I assume to protect their breathing. Anyone can watch these videos, they are all over the internet.
Ask yourself and your stylist, “What is all the hype about Keratin Hair Treatments. Is this process worth the price, and are there any potential health risks?” As with using any hair care product, especially a chemical that changes the texture of your hair there are risks. Some of these might involve feeling burning or itching of your scalp, stinging of your eyes and you may run the risk of having an allergic reaction to any one of the ingredient in the products. There may or may not be an unpleasant smell from the product some products have a higher degree of chemicals than others. It is important to note that if you have pre-existing health conditions you should tell your hair stylist about it, and they can make better, more informed decisions about whether they want to risk exposing you to further chemicals. Are Keratin Hair Treatments worth the risk? Are there safe percentages of formaldehyde that can be used? Many products make a claim to be formaldehyde free, however, savvy consumers know that by changing the wording of a chemical only masks it, it doesn’t change the chemical. As a consumer, you have to be well informed of all and any risk when choosing a service.