Keratin Treatment: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Every woman dreams of having the perfectly healthy, shiny and smooth hair that we see on magazine covers and TV commercials.

But we also want to dye our hair, use curlers, straighteners, blow dryers and other fun styling methods, which unfortunately cause damage to our locks, making them dull and frizzy.

You've probably heard about the popular Keratin therapy - a miraculous way to make your hair perfectly shiny for months.

But what actually is this treatment? Is it safe? How long does it last? Read further to find out all about the Keratin Therapy!

1. What is Keratin?

Keratin is a major protein which is naturally present in our hair. Not only does the hair contain keratin, it is also majorly composed of keratin-associated proteins. It acts as an external protective and internal structural protein to protect your hairs and keep them healthy.

Due to exposure to external factors like the sun, pollution, heat or chemicals, or changes in your lifestyle, the keratin present in the hair gets depleted. This loss is what leads to dry and damaged hair.

2. How does a Keratin treatment work?

A keratin treatment is a chemical process that smooths and shines frizzy hair. Results can last up to six months. There are many different versions of the treatment that go by different names (Brazilian Blowout, Cezanne, Goldwell Kerasilk) and your hairstylist can customize a blend of the formula to suit your needs.

On a basic level, keratin treatments dive into the hair follicle and inject porous areas with keratin, which makes the hair appear fuller and healthier.

So all in all - it mends the damage you have done to the hair and repairs the broken parts.

3. The procedure

"The length of time it takes to do a keratin treatment depends on the formula the stylist is using, as well as your hair texture, and how much hair you have," explains Manhattan hairstylist Arsen Gurgov.

“Expect your salon visit to last anywhere from two to four hours. When you arrive, your hairstylist will first wash your hair. Then, the hairstylist will either apply the keratin treatment to your wet hair and let the formula saturate each strand for about half an hour, or the hairstylist will blow-dry your hair first and then apply the treatment — again, it all depends on your hairstylist and your hair needs. Finally, I go over any coarse strands with a flat iron on low to medium heat depending where the treatment needs to be sealed in,” Gurgov says, and then you’re done!

Sounds good right? But is it really…

The Good

What are the pros of this therapy?

  • silky smooth hair
  • minimizes frizz
  • softens curls and waves
  • makes hair styling faster and easier
  • lasts for months


The Bad

  • It takes 2 - 4 hours, depending on your needs
  • Results vary from person to person - Someone with extremely curly hair might end up with less curly and mildly straight ringlets. On the other hand, a person with wavy hair would end up with straight and polished hair
    • It might be quite expensive (50 to 500 Euro depending on the salon)


    The Ugly

    • The famous “Brazilian blowout” and many other Keratin treatments release formaldehyde when heated
    • Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, and although the amount of formaldehyde released in a keratin treatment is small, you should avoid it. It’s much better to seek formaldehyde-free treatments. They are not as brilliantly effective and long-lasting as the formaldehyde formulas, but they are much safer. The most popular are Cezanne and Goldwell Kerasilk treatments, which contain ingredients like glycolic acid (an exfoliant that’s super popular in skincare products) and sericin (a component of silk).
    • Smoothing treatments can sometimes lighten color-treated hair, leaving it brassy
    • Keratin treatments can be damaging if the hair is over-heated with a blow-dryer or flat iron during the process, so it’s important to make sure you see an experienced stylist who is cautious

    4. Who should avoid it?

    • Keratin treatments are not recommended for women who are pregnant.
    • It's not recommended for sensitive scalp or if you suffer from any skin conditions 

    5. After the procedure

    After the treatment, it is recommended to invest in a good dry shampoo as you’re not allowed to wash your hair or tie it back with a rubber band for at least 48 hours.

    Stylists usually advise sulfate free formula for your shampoo. There are also Keratin shampoos, which make the effects last longer.

    Have a perfect hair day!