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Frizz free, perfectly straight hair... if that is what you want then a keratin hair treatment may work great for you. In fact, salons all over America have increasingly taken to using this treatment in order to relax those unruly curls for you to have visibly straight hair. Not only do the keratin treatments leave your hair looking shiny and smooth, but they also make it easier for people with coarse curly hair to style them with ease. So, with all this buzz about this new "miracle" smoothing treatment, you may be wondering if you want one too, how does it work or what will happen when I go to my salon and sit in the chair? Well, for here are the answers for all your questions in respect to keratin treatment.

Q1. What is a Keratin Hair Treatment?

A1. Keratin is a substance found in our skin, hair, nails and teeth. Most of the time, while styling, heating or with application of chemicals, the keratin in our hair tends to get damaged. This causes the hair shaft to become spliced and uneven, and gain a dull, unmanageable appearance.

For hair treatment, the keratin is obtained from sources, like animal wool, and turned it into a mixture. Applying this product to your hair replenishes the keratin present in the hair shaft's cortex and fills it up. This hair straightening technique makes the hair shiny and straight and also makes it more resistant from elements like the sun, wind or extreme changes in temperature.

Q2. Which Keratin Hair Treatment should I opt for?

A2. There are many salons which offer keratin hair straightening treatment with Brazilian keratin hair treatments being the most popular. However, according to sources such as the Allure Magazine who claim that "some of the most popular Brazilian keratin treatment for hair contain at least ten times more formaldehyde than the 0.2 percent considered safe by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. The FDA doesn't currently regulate cosmetics, but they are investigating the safety of escova progressiva treatments." Therefore, before opting for any keratin treatment for hair it is vital that you check the formaldehyde content to make sure it is less than 0.2 percent.

Q3. What is the Process of the Keratin Treatment?

A3. The treatments should necessarily be done by a professional in a salon setting. The technician should tell you about what to expect, gauge the hair's condition and texture and inform you of the after treatment effect. Once your hair is washed and styled, the stylist begins the process by making the keratin concoction. The mixture is then applied to the hair and is left for the stipulated time period. The hair is washed and dried with a blow dryer. A hair iron measuring a temperature of 450 °F is then used to seal the outside layer of the cuticles, thus trapping moisture inside and hydrating the hair. The hair is then washed again with the help of post-treatment shampoo and conditioner. You may notice that once the product is rinsed off, the hair may seem too straight at first however they will relax to a natural, sleek look.

Q4. How to Maintain Keratin Treated Hair?

A4. Once the treatment is performed, you need to wait 72 hours before washing your hair. Remember to keep your hair free for the next three days, that means no ponytails, no bobby pins and no headbands. After 72 hours you need to wash your hair using specific hair care products like a sodium-chloride keratin care shampoo and a good conditioner to extend the results of the treatment.

Q5. What are the Benefits and Downsides of the Keratin Hair Treatment?

A5. Most permanent hair straightening products and treatments often contain harsh chemicals that can dry and damage the hair. However, the good news for people going in for a keratin hair treatment, is that there are no harmful chemicals involved in the process. Instead, this hair treatment relaxes and straightens hair with the help of the active ingredient keratin. The treatment works best on people who have had their hair colored, highlighted or chemically treated in the past because the keratin bonds more completely around brittle, dry hair.

The major downside of the keratin treatments for hair are the cost which can range from $300-$500 and that it only lasts for 3-5 months. Also, the keratin formula usually contains formaldehyde which is a type of carcinogen (a cancer producing substance) and can potentially irritate both the eyes and lungs. So if the treatment is done in a room that is not well ventilated, there is a small possibility of the person experiencing certain side effects, such as a burning sensation. The various other side effects of the hair treatment include fading of the hair color, damage to your hair, hair loss and dryness.

The best course of action is to look for the right stylist to conduct this treatment. Although curls do not really look bad, for people who want hair that is more manageable with less maintenance, or want to tame frizz and eliminate some of the curl from the hair, a keratin treatment works great.