Keratin for African American hair is primarily used as a treatment to straighten the coils in the hair, making it easier to comb, and to give the hair a healthy sheen. Keratin is also said to improve the condition of damaged hair.
Keratin is a protein, found in hair, nails, and skin. Keratin treatments have been marketed as an alternative means to make hair straighter, shinier, and bouncier without the use of chemical perms or relaxers (for hair with loose curls or frizzy hair). In fact, keratin treatments have been available in hair salons in several states in the United States for quite some time.
For years, African American women who have natural unprocessed hair have sought different ways to make their hair bone-straight. As more and more women began to learn that relaxers change the structure of the hair and can damage it, they began seeking more natural alternatives. Some women opt to straighten their hair using hot combs or flat irons instead of relaxers, however, results from these methods are short term, and it can take hours to hot comb or flat iron the hair, making this an often tedious task. Too much heat styling can also damage hair, making this a less desirable option.
Keratin for African American Hair and the Brazilian Treatment
The Brazilian Keratin Treatment is not only for African American hair, it has been marketed as a product for hair of any curly texture. The treatment was said to be a hot new service that could help anyone with curly or kinky hair achieve the look of having straightly flowing tresses.
Although flat ironing is involved in the process, the keratin treatment lasts longer than solely flat ironing the hair. It can be used on relaxed or color treated hair. In fact, it is okay to get a relaxer and receive the keratin treatment afterwards. However, some African American women would probably like to try the keratin treatment rather than using a relaxer.
African American ladies who have had the Brazilian Keratin Treatment or are considering using it need to know that this treatment may result in some health risks. The Brazilian Keratin Treatment contains formaldehyde, which can cause cancer. This chemical should not be inhaled. Keratin itself is not an active ingredient for straightening the hair - it is more likely the formaldehyde that actually straightens the hair. Some women are still getting this treatment, although some salons refuse to administer it. There are other keratin treatments that state that they do not have formaldehyde, but be sure to read the label and research the chemicals.
What's Involved in Giving a Keratin Treatment
Heat must be applied for the Brazilian Keratin Treatment to work. Although there are some at-home products available, if you opt to get this treatment, the keratin treatment should be applied by a professional. The stylist and the client should wear a safety masks, and a fan should be used to ventilate the area. The stylist should wear safety goggles when applying the treatment.
- Shampoo with a clarifying product.
- Blow dry.
- Section the hair in small and apply the Brazilian Keratin Treatment, very much the same way that a relaxer is applied. The product is not placed on the scalp.
- Dry the hair again with the treatment on it.
- Flat iron the hair with a flat iron that gets extremely hot. A professional flat iron should be used. The flat iron passes over each small section about ten times.
- The treatment is temporary, but it can last about three months.
It cannot be stressed enough that treatments with keratin for African American hair should be performed by a hair care provider. Although the treatment may not cause skin or scalp irritations, some of the Brazilian Keratin Treatments contain formaldehyde, which may cause cancer. There have been come copycat products that claim to be formaldehyde-free but be careful as these products may contain a chemical that is similar to formaldehyde. Before receiving the treatment research the ingredients, and ask yourself if a temporary beauty treatment is worth your health.