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Keratin Treatments: The Expert's Guide To Trying One

photo of woman with sleek straight hair

As every woman with curly, frizzy, or unruly hair knows, loving your texture can sometimes feel more like work than a hobby. While ringlets are a true showstopper, that doesn’t mean they’re always worth the extra hours in front of the bathroom mirror.


If you’ve ever considered breaking up with your waves permanently, you’ve probably looked into keratin treatments or, as they’re sometimes called, Brazilian blowouts. Performed in the salon, these chemical treatments promise to semi-permanently calm texture, shine, and a life without frizz. To understand whether or not a keratin treatment is right for your hair, it’s important to understand the process and what it actually does to alter your hair structure.


Read on, curly queen.

What is a keratin treatment?

In the salon, what’s listed on the menu of one business isn’t always a direct equivalent to what’s offered in other places. Color correction varies by head, as does the application of techniques like balayage. While the term keratin treatment gets thrown around with some regularity on salon menus, it can refer to both chemical straightening services and less-intense smoothing treatments. If you’re not sure which the salon nearest you offers, your stylist or a representative of the business can explain exactly what will happen to your mane.


By the most basic definition, a keratin treatment is a chemical service in which a solution applied to your hair alters the bonds in each strand. As a result, you’ll be left with a much looser (or entirely straight) texture, as well as minimal frizz and maximal shine. The treatment should act as a barrier over each strand, making environmental stresses less of a big deal.

How long does a keratin treatment last?

Like chemical relaxers, keratin treatments change the structure of your mane—which is why your hair goes from tightly curled to straight in a matter of minutes. The only real way to get rid of the straightness is to cut off your hair, so expect to live with straight hair for a few months at a time. If your treatment starts to “fade” in a few months and your texture begins to return, you may need to go back to the salon for another appointment.


Because you’ve chemically altered the state of your hair, there may be a visible line of demarcation where your newly grown-out roots begin and your treated hair ends. To make sure you’re not walking around with wildly mismatched textures, plan a regular touch-up schedule with your stylist long before the growth period begins.

Who should try a keratin treatment?

Keratin treatments work for everyone—from the skilled home hair guru to the newbie who’s tired of dealing with her texture. Provided you see a licensed stylist, you should have no trouble adjusting to a life of smooth, straight hair.


Still, there are a few factors to consider before booking your appointment. If you have color treated hair that’s taken you many months to achieve, be sure you’ve cleared your keratin treatment with your stylist. You don’t want all those chemicals to wreak havoc on your precious blonde, now do you?


If you’re mainly focused on maintaining your hair’s health or are wary of chemicals in the salon setting, make sure you take the time to schedule a consultation appointment and understand what’s actually being applied to your hair.


For those worried about damaging their precious manes (we get it), incorporating salon quality products into your routine can provide some comfort along the way. From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, we recommend trying Shu Uemura’s Ultimate Reset Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hair Mask system in the weeks leading up to your keratin appointment.


Now you know all the ins and outs of keratin treatments, which means you’re equipped to decide if they’re right for you.


Interested in scheduling your own keratin treatment? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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