NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: A model has her hair done while playing a portable video game backstage at the Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2006 fashion show during Olympus Fashion Week at Exit Art September 13, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

You’ve read about it in magazines and seen celebrities and influencers brag about it-Keratin Treatments-more commonly referred to as a Brazilian Blowout. But have you ever wondered how safe it is?

It seems like the perfect solution for anyone with frizzy, unmanageable hair. Keratin Treatments provide the ability to have straight glossy hair for months, without the daily hassle of using product after product for sub par results.

So what exactly does the treatment do?

A 2020 Harper’s Bazaar article described it this way: “To make hair smoother and straighter, a solution containing a formaldehyde derivative or (the much safer) glyoxylic acid is worked through the hair to break the bonds and reseal them in a straighter position.” In short it relaxes the curl pattern and texture in your hair to give it a frizz-free look. After the treatment you are able to easily style your hair straight or curly in a fraction of the time. All of this in just one appointment has a lot of women calling it a “miracle” treatment.

How long does the process take? 

It is a relatively quick treatment. First your stylist will wash your hair and brush the treatment on to your wet hair (some may prefer to blow dry your hair first and apply it to dry hair). Afterwards it will need to sit for around 30 minutes and then a flat iron will be used to finalize the treatment.

How long will it last? 

Everyone’s hair will vary a little but most women can expect the treatment to last between 3 and 6 months.

Will it work on my hair? 

Keratin Treatments can benefit anyone with any hair type who desires a more manageable hair routine with added shine and reduced frizz.

How much will it cost? 

Cost is dependent on where you go but expect to pay anywhere between $300 to upwards of $700 for the treatment.

What about the negatives? 

You may have noticed the previous mention of formaldehyde as an ingredient. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and can be dangerous to inhale, which understandably makes it a concern for some people. There are treatments that use alternative ingredients but they are less effective as it is the formaldehyde is essentially what makes hair appear straighter and smoother. According to the CDC “exposure to formaldehyde can irritate the skin, throat, lungs, and eyes.” Your stylist however is at a higher risk than you due to repeated exposure and getting the treatment done only a couple times a year is relatively low risk, especially if your salon is well ventilated.

High heat from a flat iron is also used to lock the treatment in place which can damage hair over time although the benefit of the treatment may mean less daily exposure to these types of tools. It may not be recommended to someone with fine, damaged hair at risk for breakage.

In conclusion

As with anything there are risks and benefits that only you can weigh. It’s always a good idea to discuss with a stylist you trust to give you a full picture of the impacts on your hair. For most people, if done occasionally, it can be an effective way to reduce frizz, add shine, and have overall more manageable hair.

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