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Everything You Need to Know About Keratin Treatments for Hair (COPY)


If you’ve ever wanted sleek, smooth hair, you’ve probably dabbled in keratin treatments or at least stumbled across keratin products in your research. Keratin treatments for hair is a trend that ebbs and flows, just like flared jeans. Sometimes it’s in, and sometimes, you’ve had your fill of it. But if you’re interested and have never tried it out for yourself, could you be missing out on a lifesaving hack for your hair? 

To find out everything you need to know about keratin treatments, benefits for hair, and any risks keratin can have to your hair, we spoke with Wella Professionals North America Ambassador Briana Cisneros to learn it all. 

About the Expert:

Briana Cisneros is a Wella Professionals North American Ambassador and hair educator.

What Is Keratin, Exactly?

Essentially, keratin is a protein found in hair, skin, and nails. Adding to hair may help strengthen it and prevent breakage. Keratin is “found in many different variants and takes on different forms. For example, it’s found in wool and animal’s hooves, but obviously the keratin that makes up these coarse or hard textures is also found in our soft flexible skin,” says Cisneros. 

“However, it is the building block of what hair is made mostly of,” she says. Over time, heating and styling hair can break down the keratin found in the hair’s barrier, therefore causing damage, like breakage or split ends. By adding in keratin products or getting a keratin treatment, you can repair the keratin loss in your hair and prevent future damage at the same time.


Benefits of Keratin Treatment For You

When Keratin is used as a conditioning treatment, it can help smooth and fill in the damage on the hair’s surface layer. Even if you don’t routinely use heat or styling products on your hair and your locks still look dull and lifeless, chances are you can benefit from keratin. 

But since keratin treatments have become so popular, it’s important to understand the ingredients you’re actually putting on your hair, vs. something that could be labeled as a keratin treatment. “There are many different types of ‘keratin treatments’ on the market – some of the active ingredients in these said ‘treatments’ aren’t keratin at all, and it is definitely good to know which type is being used on your hair,” says Cisneros. “Some could potentially be more harmful, but yield incredible results closer to the results of a relaxer. These may contain formaldehyde as they evaporate, and I definitely do not recommend this type.”

Cisneros recommends to look out for glyoxylic acid on the label of your keratin treatments. Glyoxylic acid “is worked through the hair to gently break the bonds and reseal them in a straighter position,” says Cisneros. Or, make sure your keratin product contains less than 2% formaldehyde, or is labeled formaldehyde-free. If you want true keratin products, look for keratin as one of the top ingredients on the label.

Does Keratin Ever Damage Hair?

“Keratin itself does not damage hair,” explains Cisneros. “Keratin, being the structural building blocks of your hair is valuable and important.” But, she says, it is possible to overdo it. When hair is coated with too much protein, it won’t stretch as you run a brush through your hair. Instead, it snaps. 

The cause of that breakage is too much protein and not enough moisture. “It’s really important to keep a good balance of protein and moisture in your hair care system at home,” says Cisneros. How? “Alternate what you use in the shower and what treatments you are putting on your hair to give them the well-rounded nutrients it needs.”

Keratin Hair Products You’ll Love

One benefit of getting a keratin treatment at a salon is that you can trust their ingredients and skill, so you can just sit back and relax and wait for smoother hair. “The treatments in the salons that are advertised as a keratin treatment are much more than just that,” says Cisneros. “The beauty about these in salon treatments is that they can cut your blow dry time in half, eliminate frizz and add a ton of shine. But, you’re definitely getting a lot more than just keratin applied to your hair.” Pro treatments also contain a higher dose of keratin, and your stylist can tailor it to your exact needs. 

But it’s totally okay to dabble in keratin products at home, especially ones mixed into beauty steps you’re already completing anyway, like shampooing and conditioning. If you routinely use heating and styling tools, you can greatly benefit from keratin in your daily routine. If you just want to protect your hair before styling, we love KLORANE’S Keratin Strength Fortifying Spray. 

If you want a complete shampoo and conditioner set, try KERASTASE’S three-piece set that’s infused with Morpho-Keratine technology. CONTEXT also has great shampoos and conditioners. If you just want to use keratin in your conditioner, try CONTEXT’s Keratin Recovery Treatment.

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About the author
Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated May 13, 2021 12:00 AM