Is Keratin Treatment Safe for Hair? A Deep Dive into the Pros and Cons

Ladies, let’s talk about hair! Specifically, let’s chat about keratin treatments – a hair treatment that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. Now, while many of us would do just about anything to tame our unruly tresses, the million-dollar question remains: is keratin treatment safe for hair?

Keratin treatments have been around for quite some time now and have become immensely popular with women who want to achieve that sleek, shiny, and manageable hair. However, with so many hair treatments on the market, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. With that said, the question of whether keratin treatments are safe for hair has been a topic of concern among many.

So, what exactly is a keratin treatment? Put simply, it’s a process of applying a keratin protein to the hair to fill in the gaps between your hair cuticles. This helps to promote shine and softness while also reducing frizz. Sounds like a dream come true for problem hair, doesn’t it? But, before you jump on the keratin wagon, let’s dig a bit deeper to see if this treatment is worth the hype.

What is Keratin Treatment for Hair?

Keratin treatment is a popular hairstyling technique that uses a protein called keratin to make hair smooth, frizz-free, and manageable. Keratin treatment can be used on most hair types, including curly, wavy, and straight. In this treatment, liquid keratin is applied to the hair strands, which then saturates the hair cuticles and forms a protective layer around them. The process involves applying keratin, heating it up with a flat iron, and then washing the hair to reveal smooth and straight locks.

The concept behind keratin treatment is pretty straightforward: hair is made up of a protein called keratin. So, by applying keratin to hair, you can replenish and fill in any gaps or damage to the hair shaft. Keratin treatment has become popular in recent years due to its various benefits, including its ability to reduce frizz, make hair shiny, and improve overall hair health.

Process of Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatment is a popular hair treatment that can give you smooth, glossy, and frizz-free locks. It is a great solution for those with unmanageable and unruly hair. The process involves coating your hair with a protein called keratin, which is naturally found in your hair.

  • Step 1: Preparation – Before the treatment, your hair is washed with a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup of products, oils, or dirt.
  • Step 2: Application – Your hair is then sectioned, and the keratin solution is applied to each section using a brush, starting from the roots and moving towards the ends.
  • Step 3: Processing – The keratin solution is left on your hair for some time, usually around 30 minutes, to allow it to penetrate your hair strands and bond with the hair cuticles.
  • Step 4: Heat Treatment – To activate the keratin, the hair is then blow-dried to around 70% dryness, and then flat ironed at a high temperature.
  • Step 5: Rinse – After the heat treatment, the hair is rinsed thoroughly with water, and you can already notice the difference in your hair texture.

After the treatment, there are a few things to keep in mind to maintain the results, such as avoiding washing or tying your hair for the first three days, using a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, and avoiding chlorine or salt water.

Keratin treatment is generally safe for most hair types. However, it is always recommended to consult with your hairstylist to determine if the treatment is suitable for your hair, especially if you have chemically treated or damaged hair.

Keratin Treatment: Pros and Cons

As with any hair treatment, there are pros and cons to keratin treatment. Below are some of them:

Pros: Cons:
Smooths hair and eliminates frizz Can be expensive
Gives hair shine and luster May contain formaldehyde, a potential carcinogen
Reduces hair drying and styling time Results may not last as long for some hair types
Can make hair more manageable and easier to style Can’t be done on previously chemically treated or damaged hair

Overall, keratin treatment can be a great solution for those with unmanageable hair, as it gives you smoother and shinier locks. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consult with a hairstylist who specializes in keratin treatments to determine if it’s right for you.

Benefits of Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatment is a type of hair treatment that uses keratin protein to smoothen and strengthen hair strands, which results in a sleek, shiny, and frizz-free hairdo.

  • Improved hair texture. Keratin treatment can improve the texture of hair by smoothing all cuticles and adding a lustrous shine. It can make hair look healthier and shinier, thereby giving the appearance of reduced hair damage and breakage.
  • Reduced hair frizz. Keratin treatment can also help reduce hair frizz and tame any unruly curls, making hair more manageable. It also reduces styling time, as it eliminates the need for heated tools that can cause further damage to hair.
  • Long-lasting results. Keratin treatment can last up to 3-4 months depending on the hair type and maintenance. The longer-lasting results of the treatment make it popular among people with busy schedules who don’t have time for frequent salon visits.

How Does Keratin Treatment Work?

Keratin treatment works by temporarily breaking down the hair’s natural bonds to straighten hair, remove frizz, and add shine. The process includes five major steps – washing, application, drying, flat-ironing, and shampooing – to achieve the desired result.

During the application process, a keratin solution is applied to the hair strands, which is then sealed using a flat iron. The heat from the flat iron helps to activate the solution, thereby forming a protective layer over the hair shaft. The protective layer helps to prevent further damage, making hair appear smoother and healthier.

It’s essential to note that Keratin treatment is not a permanent solution, and it doesn’t guarantee healthy hair. While it can provide temporary relief from frizz, it does not work for all hair types and can cause breakage if not done correctly.


While keratin treatment has many benefits, it’s essential to make an informed decision before you go for the treatment. Ensure that you choose a reputable stylist and do thorough research about the treatment’s possible side effects. With proper care and maintenance, keratin treatment can help you achieve the hair of your dreams.

Pros Cons
Improved hair texture Expensive
Reduced hair frizz Not suitable for all hair types
Long-lasting effects Chemicals can cause scalp irritation

Risks and Side Effects of Keratin Treatment

Keratin treatments have gained popularity because of their ability to leave the hair straight, smooth, and frizz-free without damaging the hair follicles. However, like all hair treatments, it comes with a few potential risks and side effects that are important to consider before getting the treatment.

  • Hair Breakage:There have been several reports of hair breakage after keratin treatment. If the product is applied incorrectly, it can damage the hair shaft leading to hair breakage.
  • Formaldehyde Exposure: Some traditional keratin treatments contain formaldehyde, a chemical that has been linked to cancer. Excessive exposure to formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and even increase the risk of cancer.
  • Irritation: Applying strong chemicals on the scalp can cause irritation, inflammation, and even allergic reactions.

It is essential to ensure that you choose a reputable salon to have your keratin treatment done and to discuss the ingredients used in the treatment to ensure that they are safe.

In addition to the risks listed above, there are also side effects that you may experience after the treatment. These include:

  • Flaky Scalp: Some people may experience a flaky scalp after the treatment due to the strong chemicals used.
  • Dry Hair: The treatment can dry out the hair and make it brittle if not maintained properly.
  • Loss of Natural Curl: Although keratin treatment is designed to make the hair straighter, it can cause permanent loss of natural curls in some cases.
  • Duration of the Treatment: Keratin treatment takes several hours to apply, and you cannot get your hair wet, wash it or style it for at least 48 hours after the treatment. This may be an inconvenience for some individuals.

It is crucial to understand the potential risks and side effects of a keratin treatment before getting it to ensure that you make an informed decision. Always choose a reputable salon and ensure that you communicate with your stylist regarding any concerns you may have.

Factors that can increase the risk of side effects:
Thin or fine hair
Damaged hair
History of allergies or allergic reactions
Underlying medical conditions

Individuals with thin or fine hair, damaged hair, a history of allergies or allergic reactions, and underlying medical conditions should be cautious about getting keratin treatment because they are more prone to side effects.

Alternatives to Keratin Treatment

While keratin treatment may be popular for achieving smooth and glossy locks, it is important to note that this treatment often involves the use of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. If you’re looking for alternatives to keratin treatment, here are some options:

  • Plant-based smoothing treatments: There are a variety of plant-based smoothing treatments available such as those that contain natural keratin, proteins, amino acids and oils to help strengthen and smooth hair. These treatments do not contain the harsh chemicals of keratin treatments, and can leave hair looking and feeling soft, shiny, and healthier.
  • Hair masks: Hair masks are enriching for your hair and offer deep conditioning. They are a great, affordable alternative to keratin treatments as hair masks coat and penetrate the hair shaft to leave strands smoother and silkier. Choose masks high in ingredients such as coconut, shea butter, avocados, yogurt, and other nourishing foods to strengthen and revitalize hair.
  • Blow dryers: Using a good blow dryer with a nozzle can be an excellent alternative to keratin treatment. By pointing the nozzle of your dryer downward in the same direction as your hair growth, you can create a smoother look without any harmful chemicals. High-quality blow dryers often come equipped with advanced technologies that help prevent frizz and promote healthy hair.
  • Deep conditioning: Regular deep conditioning treatment can do wonders for your hair. Treating your hair to a deep conditioning mask once a week or every other week will help nourish and strengthen your hair. To increase the benefits of your conditioning mask, you can add steam to help open your hair’s cuticles and enhance the absorption of the conditioning ingredients.
  • Nutrient-rich diets: For long-term effects, it is worthwhile to consider nourishing your body from the inside out. A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and fats can help improve hair health, leading to glossier and more manageable hair. Eating foods such as salmon, nuts, avocados, vegetables and fruits can support hair growth and boost your overall health.

If you are sensitive to harsh chemicals or looking for a more natural approach to hair care, try incorporating these alternatives to keratin treatment. You’ll be able to achieve hair with a similar texture and shine, minus the harmful chemicals that can cause permanent damage and health complications!

Cost and Maintenance of Keratin Treatment

Getting a keratin treatment can be a luxurious way to achieve smoother and shinier hair. However, it is important to consider the cost and maintenance of this treatment before committing to it.

The cost of a keratin treatment can vary depending on the salon, the type of treatment, and the length and thickness of your hair. On average, a treatment can cost anywhere from $150 to $600. It is important to note that some salons may charge additional fees for blow-drying and styling after the treatment.

  • Basic keratin treatments typically cost less than formaldehyde-free treatments.
  • Short hair may cost less than long hair.
  • Choosing a salon located in a high-end area may increase the cost of the treatment.

After getting a keratin treatment, it is essential to maintain it properly to prolong its effects. The following are some tips for maintaining your keratin-treated hair:

  • Use a sulfate-free shampoo specifically designed for keratin-treated hair.
  • Avoid washing your hair for at least 48 hours after the treatment to allow the treatment to settle in your hair.
  • Avoid tying your hair up with hair ties or clips for at least the first week after the treatment.
  • Avoid exposing your hair to high heat, such as blow-dryers, flat irons, and curling irons.

It is also important to note that the effects of a keratin treatment may not last as long if proper maintenance is not observed. The following table provides an estimate of how long a keratin treatment may last based on the type of treatment and hair texture:

Type of Treatment Hair Texture Duration of Treatment Effects
Basic Keratin Treatment Straight Hair 4-6 weeks
Basic Keratin Treatment Curly/Wavy Hair 2-3 months
Formaldehyde-Free Keratin Treatment Straight Hair 2-3 months
Formaldehyde-Free Keratin Treatment Curly/Wavy Hair 3-5 months

Ultimately, the cost and maintenance of a keratin treatment may vary depending on individual factors, and it is important to consult with a trusted hair specialist before getting the treatment to determine if it is suitable for your hair type and maintenance routine.

Who Should Opt for Keratin Treatment?

Keratin treatment has gained immense popularity in recent years as it provides a quick-fix solution to dull, frizzy, and unmanageable hair. However, not everyone can opt for this treatment, and it’s essential to understand who is suitable for keratin treatment.

  • People with unmanageable hair: If you struggle to tame your hair and spend hours styling it, you may benefit from keratin treatment. The treatment can make your hair smooth and manageable, reducing styling time.
  • People with frizzy hair: Keratin treatment can help reduce frizz, making your hair look more polished and sleek.
  • People with damaged hair: If your hair is damaged due to heat styling, coloring, or chemical treatments, keratin treatment can help in restoring its health and shine.
  • People with curly hair: Curly hair is prone to frizz, and keratin treatment can help in making it more manageable and defined.
  • People with straight hair: Even people with straight hair can benefit from keratin treatment as it can make their locks look more polished and shiny.
  • People with coarse hair: If you have thick, coarse hair, keratin treatment can help in making it smoother and more manageable.
  • People looking for a long-term solution: Keratin treatment can last for several months, making it an ideal choice for people looking for a long-term hair solution.

It’s essential to consult with a hair stylist before opting for keratin treatment, as they can assess your hair’s condition and suggest the best course of treatment. People with allergies to formaldehyde or other chemicals used in the treatment should avoid keratin treatment.

In conclusion, keratin treatment can be a game-changer for people struggling with unmanageable, frizzy, and damaged hair. However, it’s crucial to understand the treatment’s pros and cons, consult with a professional, and make an informed decision.

FAQs: Is Keratin Treatment Safe for Hair?

Q: What is a keratin treatment?
A: A keratin treatment is a hair straightening process that uses a protein called keratin to smooth and soften frizz and curls. The process involves applying a keratin solution onto the hair, which is then sealed in with a hot iron.

Q: Is a keratin treatment safe for chemically-treated hair?
A: Yes, a keratin treatment is safe for chemically-treated hair. However, it is important to wait at least two weeks after any chemical treatment before getting a keratin treatment done.

Q: Can a keratin treatment damage hair?
A: While a keratin treatment can potentially damage hair, this is usually only the case if the treatment is done improperly. It is important to have a licensed and trained professional perform the treatment to ensure the safety of the hair and scalp.

Q: How long does a keratin treatment last?
A: Generally, a keratin treatment can last anywhere from two to six months. The duration of the effects depends on the individual’s hair type, texture, and how well they take care of their hair afterwards.

Q: Can I color my hair after a keratin treatment?
A: It is recommended to wait at least two weeks after a keratin treatment before coloring your hair. Additionally, make sure to use a sulfate-free shampoo to help maintain the effects of the treatment.

Q: Is a keratin treatment safe for pregnant women?
A: While there is no scientific evidence that a keratin treatment is harmful to pregnant women, it is best to consult with a doctor before undergoing any chemical treatment during pregnancy.

Q: How can I maintain the effects of a keratin treatment?
A: To maintain the effects of a keratin treatment, it is important to use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Additionally, avoid using any styling products or hot tools that can damage or weaken the hair.

Closing Thoughts on Keratin Treatment Safety

We hope that this FAQ has answered all of your questions about the safety of keratin treatments for hair. Remember, while keratin treatments can provide a great solution to frizzy and curly hair, it is important to have a licensed and trained professional perform the treatment to ensure safety and effectiveness. As always, thank you for reading and make sure to check back for more informational articles in the future!