Keratin Hair Treatments is a catch-all term that is used to describe a whole range of hair straightening processes. Many of these do contain some type of Keratin in them, though a few don’t contain any Keratin at all!
In most cases the Keratin included is what is defined as Hydrolyzed Keratin. Hydrolyzed keratin is keratin that has been chemically fragmented into small units of what are their basic building blocks- called amino acids. These small molecules are great for getting into your hair and drawing water with them to keep your hair hydrated. However there are other types of Keratin and these have other greater benefits which will be described in the next article.
Salon keratin straightening treatments include products such as Peter Coppola Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola, Global Keratin Complex, the La-Brasiliana treatment, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, the Brazilian Blowout, and Brazilian Hair Straightening.
However, and lets be very clear about this: Keratin doesn’t straighten your hair. The Keratin is there in the formulation to help offset the damage that the straightening system does to you hair.
To be able to straighten your hair the formulation must include one of several types of straightening agents. Many straightening systems include formaldehyde as the actual straightening agent. This ingredient has had a great deal of media attention due to its negative health effects. See http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=771 for some comments about formaldehyde and information on regulatory responses to this ingredient.
Some straightening treatments listed as formaldehyde-free actually contain another form of aldehyde or an ingredient that breaks down to formaldehyde when heat is applied with the irons. Formaldehyde is a very effective straightening agent as it forms short permanent cross- links with multiple sites within the hair fibers to hold the shape of the fiber once it has been straightened. But it’s a very volatile chemical and if a salon doesn’t have adequate ventilation the fumes can be quite noxious and irritating.
There are other straightening agents that are used, and these fall into three general groups:
- Reducing agents such as ammonium thioglycolate or thiosulfite which open up the natural cross links in the hair. These crosslinks are then allowed to reform once the hair has been straightened.
- Crosslinking agents of which the main one is formaldehyde but there are others such as glutaraldhyde and more exotic agents such as the Cystine derivative developed by Croda: Cystine Bis-PG- Propyl Silanetriol which is a silicon-based cross linker.
- Relaxing agents which are highly alkaline solution that partially hydrolyse the hair keratins to weaken the curl.
All straightening treatments have a detrimental effect on hair, mostly because of the heat treatments that are used as part of the process, but the keratins contained within the formulation can do a great deal to help offset the damaged imparted by the irons, if the right sort of keratin is used in the formulation.
Here is some information about how keratin can be used to repair hair –
and here is some information about the right sort of keratin to look for –
So what about Hair Rescue treatments – these also contain Keratin don’t they? And do they do any good?
Next Article: Read about Hair Rescue treatments and what they can do for your hair.