Keratin- What is it?
Nearly everyone seems to have heard of it…..
Apparently it’s a good thing but what is it exactly, and what benefits can we get from using it on our hair?
Keratin is a fibrous protein which is naturally formed to create epithelial cells which structure our skin, hair and nails. It is a protector protein which means that it is not as easily damaged as other cells that our body produces (one of the tough guys basically). With age and chemical services, our hair loses keratin which leaves it dry and brittle.
You will find both cosmetic and hair products that contain Keratin. This is mainly sourced from animal feathers, wools, horns, hoofs, skin etc. Don’t panic, there are plenty of Vegan products available that synthesize Keratin from amino acids extracted from plants. Phew!
So what does it do?
If you have unruly, frizz prone or damaged hair, it’s a great additive to form a protective barrier around the hair which improves its elasticity (this means healthy looking hair). I highly recommend it for anyone who has over bleached hair.
Where will you find it?
Now, you’ve probably heard of ‘The Keratin Blow Dry’, this is a professional hair smoothing treatment which breaks down the bonds in the hair to soften your natural curl pattern and smooth frizz for up to 5 months. When it originally came to the salon, it was used to straighten the hair but it has progressed since then. Now used with softer chemicals, it can be used to create natural curls too. It takes a while in the chair and it isn’t exactly cheap but it can make life a lot easier when you have hair that’s manageable.
The Brazilian Blow Dry is pretty much the same as a keratin blow dry. The difference being that the Brazilian blow dry removes the frizz but keeps your natural curl and the keratin blow dry will calm and soften the natural curl at the same time. You generally get a better result with a keratin blow dry as the deep conditioning treatment contains less silicons and harsh chemicals than the Brazilian.
Be aware, both treatments contain Formaldehyde which can be a respiratory irritant causing chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and nose and throat irritation. It has also been linked to an increased risk of asthma so it’s best to avoid if you are asthmatic.
Cheaper, safer options are available
Keratin treatments are available for home use. If you chose to do your own keratin blow dry, make sure you do it in a well ventilated area.
If you’d rather not go down this road, there are products which
can be applied to the hair to create a temporary barrier meaning humidity stays out and frizz stays away. Look out for Keratin infused ingredients. I advise that you use these types of product with care, as most will contain silicons which when used with heated styling can cause damage.
Keratin infused shampoo and conditioning products are also available which will reduce breakage and leave you with smoother hair. If you have breakage from hot styling tools or bleaching, a keratin shampoo can be beneficial as the added protein helps rebuild the structure of your hair. However, you must follow this with a moisturizing conditioner or hair mask.
Remember, too much of a good thing can be bad for your hair. Over using Keratin products can result in a protein overload leaving your hair dry and brittle (this is why you need a good conditioner). Styling products you use may also contain proteins which will mean you are adding too much too often. Do check the ingredients on the packaging.
If ever in doubt- speak to your stylist who can give you professional guidance.
If you would like to know about other ingredients that benefit your hair, read my blog here.
I hope that this blog has given you some handy info.