By Master Stylist Vicki Ogden-O’Fee
Keratin treatments every few months can be healthier for your hair than daily heat styling.
Keratin treatments need to be sealed into the hair; professional stylists use high end irons where the temperature is adjusted to meet the need of the hair type and condition. Having this treatment done with Flat irons is better than over heat styling your hair day in and day out. Over using a flatiron every day on unprotected hair is the worst thing you can do and creates porous damaged hair. If having a Keratin treatment allows you to set aside your iron or at the very least use it less, the single dose of high heat to infuse the Keratin treatment may be well worth it. Plus, a good stylist will be able to actually vary the temperature based on your hair type, for a client with powder lightened hair, the temperature is reduced.
Choose a salon that respects your health and your stylist’s health.
Many keratin treatments started out with formaldehyde content. If you ask your stylist about the formaldehyde content in the treatment you’re considering, they should be able to tell you the exact name and brand of the Keratin treatment being used, and ideally, they will be able to tell you that the Keratin treatment is formaldehyde free, if they are one of New Zealand’s leading salons this will be the case. Watch out for salons with Keratin treatments that contain formaldehyde
“Keratin treatment” is something of a misnomer. In countries overseas like China and India formaldehyde is still commonly used in Keratin services giving the effect of permanent straightening. The ingredients that actually matter in permanently breaking the hair’s bonds—ammonium thioglycolate and sodium hydroxide—are just harder to pronounce. Others, such as methylene glycol, formalin, methanol, and methane diol, release formaldehyde when heated or mixed with water. The high heat of a flatiron, used at the end of the process, accelerates the cross-linking of hair bonds. Some treatments dictate a waiting period before washing your hair—allowing cross-links to fully set—although the ones with the strongest concentrations of can allow immediate washing.
As research shows from 2008 formaldehyde, in low dosages, is found in household cleaners, synthetic fabrics, carpets, plywood, tobacco smoke, and smog. And while it can be corrosive, touching it isn’t the most hazardous factor. It’s inhaling it, day after day, year after year, that has been linked with nasal and brain cancers, birth defects and possibly leukaemia, according to the National Cancer Institute. So, if you are going to get a keratin treatment overseas with formaldehyde (or formaldehyde-releasing ingredients), do make sure the area is properly ventilated. Or better still get the treatment done at formaldehyde free safe salon in New Zealand like V for Hair and Beauty Merivale.
If your goal is to reduce all your hair’s curl and have completely straight hair, a formaldehyde-free version probably won’t do the trick.
Keratin treatments that are safe coat the hair in a film that smooths the hair and penetrates the cuticle layer, the effect lasts up to three months depending on the environment you are in (e.g. hot sunshine, swimming, daily blow waving), other chemical process you have done to your hair, products you use on your hair and how often you wash your hair and what with. To change the hair’s texture, you need a different chemical process called Chemical Straightening. The truth is whatever your goal is and whatever type of hair you have, there’s probably a formula out there for you. The ones promising straighter and longer-lasting results will no doubt have more formaldehyde. If you want to maintain more body and curl, a Keratin treatment that’s formaldehyde-free formula will work best. It’s all about a solid consultation with a knowledgeable well trained stylist.
If you want to prolong the treatment, watch out for sulphates and stay away from salt.
While sulphates are the bogeyman in many hair-care products today, if you want to keep your keratin treatment from washing out too quickly, sodium chloride (a.k.a. salt) should also be on your watch list and yes, unfortunately, that means dips in the ocean and pool (chlorine is also hard on a treatment’s longevity) should be kept to a minimum. It’s also probably a good idea to swap in a new prescribed Keratin Shampoo and finishing treatment to maintain your Keratin service.
Beware of bargain-basement keratin.
Just like anything else, you get what you pay for, and when you see a keratin treatment that’s dirt cheap, think twice.
“When you pay more, you’re usually paying for a very skilled stylist (and the best product available) that can feel your hair and know what’s on it and what formula should be picked for your needs and hair type. At V for hair and Beauty we have done much research and staff training into Keratin treatment services it is not a one stop shop where one treatment suits all. Our salon has three brands of Keratin on offer, to suit fine hair, frizzy hair rebellious hair and the new violet infused Keratin for blondes. It’s definitely also about the ironing,” says Vicki Ogden-O’Fee a master stylist “You can have someone who is very careful about how many times the iron is passed on the hair or someone who is not as diligent.” The difference in results can be dramatic.