Straightening Systems vs. Keratin Treatments? How Do They Stack Up?

hair straightenersWithin the last few years, Keratin treatments have gained popularity as an option for women with curly, frizzy, coarse and unmanageable hair. They have been considered a solution for women seeking manageability and defrizzing of hair. Unfortunately, this solution comes with quite a few drawbacks, which many consumers are unaware of. So how do Keratin treatments stack up with Straightening Systems?

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Women who struggle with frizzy, unmanageable hair look for salon styles and treatments to make hair silkier, tight curls looser and lessen tangles. The Keratin treatments originating in Brazil seemed to offer the straightening and defrizzing effects customers sought. Keratin is a protein occurring naturally in the hair, so the treatments work by adding additional keratin to smooth gaps in the hair caused by damage. Unfortunately, the size of the keratin molecule is so large that it requires the hair’s cuticle to be opened in order for the keratin to penetrate. Ingredients such as urea and formaldehyde must be used as part of the treatment to open the hair cuticle and allow the keratin to penetrate. The use of formaldehyde in the Keratin treatments has been a cause for concern, with formaldehyde being a suspected carcinogen. Formaldehyde has a sharp, irritating odor which can cause health issues such as runny nose, irritated eyes and nose, headache, sore throat and lethargy. In fact, the FDA has been monitoring the manufacture and use of Keratin treatments containing high levels of formaldehyde. The more formaldehyde in the product, the stronger it is and the greater the fumes. Many stylists have taken to mixing their own formulations to increase the strength, resulting in greater risk to the consumer.

Keratin treatments also vary in their application process. The process is not permanent, but prices begin in the hundreds of dollars for the treatment, which lasts about 2 months. The treatment is heat activated, and requires no washing for up to 72 hours to allow the formula to continue processing, even after you’ve left the salon.