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Keratin misconceptions and hair straightening choices
Keratin straightening misconceptions and straightening choices
Newest to hit the books in salons are treatments commonly known as Keratin Straightening Systems or just Brazilian Keratin
Here are some common things you would like you to know about the Keratin Systems.
Commonly customers are told that the system will last for an extended period of time on the hair (approx 12 weeks) and straighten the hair. The truth is it depends on the consumer history of the hair. Porosity, texture and density play a huge role in how long and how well the system takes and lasts on the hair. The guest should also take into consideration how often they shampoo and the quality of the water they have.
Common things that can hurt the system are additional flat ironing, continual blow-drying, swimming pools and chlorine, sun, salt water, sulfate and sodium chloride shampoo’s and well water.
Ingredients to be cautious of, results we all care for.
Many systems say formaldehyde free. Here is the scoop, sugar is sugar and sucrose is sugar, a sister genetically engineered product, but still sugar. Most Keratin straightening systems have a derivative of formaldehyde commonly called “Aldehyde” or “Vanillin”, along with other names. The percentages of these ingredients are what determine if it is harmful to the human or not.
Should you panic? We’ll not technically, but all systems do contain formaldehyde (name changed) in small percentages around 1.8% to 2%, about the same amount found in perfumes and other products that need a shelf life preservative. Most of today's popular straighteners are keratin-based.
Keratin is a protein found naturally in your hair. It can fill in gaps in the hair cuticle that are cracked, dry, or damaged. It is mixed with varying levels of formaldehyde, and applied to the hair, and then sealed in with the heat of a flat iron (which can be released and inhaled if not properly ventilated). The formaldehyde helps hold the keratin molecules together, which smoothes the appearance of your hair and keeps it that way.
The results of keratin-based treatments last about two to 3 / 5 months. Keratin treatments take about 90 minutes or longer, based on the length of your hair. The price also rises and falls with your hair's length, but averages around $300.
Newer technology is the introduction of shampoo to shampoo treatments and “express” treatments that cost less and vary in length and time it will stay on the hair. Be sure to know what you are purchasing to avoid being overcharged for treatments being presented as the standard 3/5 month treatments.
Color -- whether highlights, low lights, or merely covering up the gray -- can be done on hair that has had keratin-based straightening treatments. In fact, some hair care experts recommend getting the treatment before and toner right after your color so that it seals the color in as well.
Keratin treatments cut down on your blow dry time by 50% to 60% and eliminate the frizz factor. You could walk out in moist or light rain and your hair won’t change. The best candidate for the keratin treatment is someone in a more humid climate that is tired of the frizz and can’t control their hair and wants predictability and shine. Fall hair trends predict end to end shine and control. Understand your options to achieve these looks in affordable budgets.
Why be cautious but appreciative?
If you are breastfeeding and/or pregnant, you should not come into contact via the air or skin with this product. Asthma patients should not either, as it could produce a severe reaction once inhaled. This product explains that it is a slow release product. This just means that the product is buffered, through conditioning agents, and released slowly into the air limiting direct inhalation.
Some formulas, once heated with a blow dryer or a flat iron, turn the “Vanillin” or “aldehyde” ingredient into what becomes a new ‘Inhalable” form of formaldehyde. The second challenge is the product performance expectation. The stylist should inform you keratin will NOT straighten the hair. It WILL de-frizz the hair but it will NOT straighten the hair.
There is some downtime with these treatments -- meaning not washing your hair for three or four days afterward, because the solution takes time to work. Keratin hair treatments, once understood, do live up to the hype and rage. When used properly you will love you hair again without all the fuss.
Why can it not permanently straighten the hair?
Here’s the science…it cannot straighten the curl. In science terms it lacks the proper ingredient to open the cuticle enough to penetrate the cortex (innermost layer) of the hair and rearrange the disulfide bonds (bonds needed to be broken to straighten the hair) in order for it to “straighten” the hair. It is a demi-permanent product, this means it lives on the outside or slightly under the cuticle being affected and slowly removed by environmental elements.
Depending on the guest hair, is how long it works; again the damage and the abovementioned elements play and important role (i.e. well-water, shampooing with a sulfate cleanser). Think of it like color refreshers we put on our hair, how often and quickly your color fades, is approximately how quickly this will last on your hair. Just like demi-permanent color, this too fades with environmental elements.
To extend the life of the Keratin System the proper Keratin shampoo, conditioner and styling products must be purchased. This is a must! Shampoos with Sodium or sulfates gradually remove the Keratin and lessen its long term effects on the hair.
Should you be concerned of formaldehyde ingredients?
In early September 2011, the FDA publicly warned hair care companies that hair-straightening products containing "dangerously high levels" of formaldehyde, ranging from 8.7% to 10.4%, would be pulled. The agency has ordered companies to reduce levels of formaldehyde lowering the dangers of treatments, earlier being introduced. If the company does not comply, the FDA can pull the products from the market.
Ask your stylist what percent of formaldehyde or derivative the product they carry may have.
Options and commitments
For those of you who are seeking options for a healthier, more manageable look, here is a list of budgeting options ranging from invasive to non-invasive:
Thermal straighteners (AKA “Japanese”)-Permanently straighten the hair. Large commitment as the straightened hair would stay straight until it is grown out. Can be invasive to the hair and its cortex. Not recommended on more than 50% highlighted hair. Optimal on coarse, curly and unruly hair.
Anti-curls- which remove about 60 to 70 % of the curl with minimal commitment and easy grow out process. Less invasive to the hair and its cortex. Optimum on curly, not unruly, hair. Will leave behind some of its natural curl that is easier to manage. Anti-wave- loosen the wave (not curls) in the hair. Little to no commitment. Good for fine and slightly curly or inconsistent hair patterns. Less invasive, great for frizzy patterns.
Keratin Straight Systems- We like to call it Botox for the hair... sometimes you just need that repair for the lifeless hair.
Deep conditioning repairs- for a more temporary fix .Low investment, no commitment, just feels good. Can be custom tailored to meet your needs. Cosmetic and repairing purposes.
Final word of caution
Many of the above systems are being sold at prices that are hard to upkeep and sometimes not worth the finance, if the desired end result is not being met. Be cautious, there are less expensive options with the same result depending on the client, length and density of the hair. Consult with your stylist regularly to be sure he/she is staying abreast of newer technology to protect and meet your health and beauty needs.
Love your hair