What Do Hairstylists Think About Trying Keratin Treatments at Home

March 5, 2023
What Do Hairstylists Think About Trying Keratin Treatments at Home

In the field of hair care, the terms “keratin” and “protein” have practically become interchangeable. When hair is fragile or weak, it’s natural to seek out products that contain keratin to strengthen our locks. Similar to how protein shakes can aid in muscle building, keratin serves as a reparative protein for the external layer of the hair shaft.

The concept of a keratin treatment may inspire feelings of comfort and assurance for some, while others may be apprehensive due to unfamiliarity or negative experiences with treatments. You may find yourself somewhere in the middle. Regardless of how you feel about the topic, we’re here to provide you with all the information, including whether or not at-home keratin treatments are a good idea.

Continue reading to discover the opinions of hair professionals regarding keratin treatments and their safety when done at home.

The Experts

  • Jackson Simmonds works as a hairstylist at the Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa.
  • Sirsa Ponciano is a hairstylist with editorial experience and background with Bumble & Bumble, currently located in New York City.
  • Olivia Casanova boasts nearly 15 years of experience in the industry and is currently the co-owner of IGK Salon located in SoHo, New York City.
Keratin Treatments at Home

What Are Keratin Treatments?

Editorial hairstylist Sirsa Ponciano, known professionally as Sirsa, explains that a keratin treatment is a semi-permanent procedure in which a protein solution is sealed into the hair strands. The purpose of this treatment is to replenish the hair’s necessary protein levels, which may be insufficient, to begin with. As hairstylist Jackson Simmonds puts it, “A keratin treatment helps to infuse keratinous fiber and protein back into the hair that is lacking these vital components.”

According to Sirsa, when comparing the keratin treatment process to a gel manicure, the proteins in the keratin solution are “cured” into the hair shaft by applying heat from a flat iron section by section, similar to how a UV light cures gel onto the nail. This resealing process creates the signature glass-like finish commonly associated with keratin treatments.

As we age, our hair, much like our skin, can lose elasticity, become frizzier, and more susceptible to everyday damage. By infusing the hair with a keratin treatment, these changes can be addressed, resulting in bouncier, stronger strands.

Benefits of Keratin Treatments

Keratin treatments are widely recognized for their ability to provide hair with a smoother appearance and a significant shine boost. According to Simmonds, a keratin treatment can deliver a range of benefits, including reduced frizz, quicker air drying, and heightened shine. Essentially, the treatment creates smoother cuticles, enabling these types of results.

According to Sirsa, keratin treatments can significantly reduce the need for frequent heat styling. As daily use of heat tools can lead to breakage and damage, opting for a keratin treatment can be a gentler option for your hair. Additionally, the glass-like finish achieved from a keratin treatment will simplify your daily styling routine.

Sirsa notes that those who reside in humid climates can particularly benefit from keratin treatments for frizz reduction. Furthermore, there are many new formulations specifically designed for curly hair that work exceptionally well. These keratin treatments are formulated to minimize frizz and create a smooth texture while retaining the hair’s natural body and texture. According to Simmonds, depending on the formula and duration of the treatment, you can use a keratin treatment to reduce the volume or straighten the hair. However, if that’s not your goal, it’s not necessarily required.

Side Effects of Keratin Treatments

According to Simmonds, it is advisable to adopt a “less is more” approach to keratin treatments, as the primary potential risk is over-processing. Similar to any chemical treatment, excessive treatment can cause damage. Simmonds states that he administers a keratin treatment to a client no more than four times per year, but ideally, twice a year is sufficient for most people. Additionally, treatments should be strategically timed throughout the year. If you exceed these recommendations, it could cause various changes over time, depending on your hair type. Sirsa notes that she has seen both incorrect application and excessive frequency of treatments lead to changes in curl patterns.

Applying keratin incorrectly is a significant concern, according to experts. “When too much heat is used, it can result in hair damage,” explains Sirsa. “Excessive protein can cause hair breakage, just like insufficient protein.” If the application process lacks precision, Simmonds warns of overlapping, which can be overwhelming for the hair, akin to a double-process color treatment. “Treatments may also cause your hair color to become extremely brassy,” cautions Olivia Casanova, co-owner of IGK Salon. She notes that this can be particularly difficult to remedy after keratin treatments due to the tightly sealed hair cuticle.

This highlights the importance of seeking professional care for keratin treatments. If you frequently color your hair, it’s wise to consult with your colorist for guidance. If you choose to attempt a keratin treatment at home, it’s essential to carefully follow the instructions to preserve your hair’s health.

Related: Transform Your Hair at Home: Easy DIY Hair Masks to Try

At-Home vs. Salon Keratin Treatments

Given that chemical processes involve risks that may be irreversible, it’s reasonable why our experts suggest that the safest alternative is to have a professional keratin treatment at a salon. However, since upkeep is required somewhat frequently, it can become quite expensive. “In New York City, the typical cost of a keratin treatment is approximately two hundred dollars,” notes Sirsa, who suggests scheduling touch-ups every three months. Simmonds observes that pricing can differ considerably based on location and salon, ranging from $125 to $700.

Nonetheless, there are options for keratin treatments that can be done at home, and some of them offer advantages that are worth considering. “Several of these treatments do not contain chemicals like formaldehyde,” according to Sirsa. She recommends GK Hair kits ($126), which are cruelty-free and provides all the necessary components for a do-it-yourself treatment. Although not as potent as the salon version, at-home keratin treatments are a more affordable approach to obtaining the smooth and glossy finish that many people seek from keratin treatments. If your primary objective is to achieve a smooth finish or add shine and definition, these alternatives are excellent options. However, if you desire a more significant transformation, such as changing your hair texture from wavy or curly to entirely straight, you will need to consult a professional for higher-grade formulas.

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To prolong the longevity of your keratin treatment, Sirsa advises reducing the frequency of shampooing and avoiding any shampoo or conditioner that contains sulfates, sodium chloride, or parabens in its formula, as “these components can quickly strip the keratin out of your hair.” A suitable alternative is Maria Nila’s Structure Repair Shampoo ($32).

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How to Do At-Home Keratin Treatments

It’s essential to follow the instructions provided with any at-home kit you choose meticulously to obtain optimal results. Furthermore, before embarking on any solo attempts, it’s still recommended to seek a professional consultation to prevent inadvertently damaging your hair (remember that consultations are typically free, and they don’t have to be conducted in-person if you frequently visit the same stylist). Although all of our experts advised that keratin treatments should be left to professionals, if you’re taking matters into your own hands, the following is a general outline of what you’ll need to do.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Heat-resistant comb
  • Blow dryer
  • Application bowl and brush
  • Gloves
  • Flat iron
  1. Shampoo your hair: To begin the treatment, it’s crucial to start by thoroughly cleansing your hair. It’s recommended to use a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup and guarantee that you begin with a clean canvas.
  2. Apply the product: If this is your first time applying the treatment, follow the instructions to distribute the product from your roots to your ends. However, if you’re performing a touch-up, you only need to cover your roots.
  3. Let it sit: Allow the treatment to sit on your hair for the recommended time, either 30 minutes or the amount specified in the instructions or by your stylist.
  4. Rinse thoroughly: When rinsing your hair, ensure that you use room temperature water and continue rinsing for at least ten minutes to guarantee that the solution is entirely removed.
  5. Apply heat tools: Prior to using a flat iron, make sure to blow dry your hair entirely. Then, using a high setting, run your flat iron over each section of hair at least three times. It’s crucial to refer to the specific instructions provided with the product or consult with your stylist.
  6. Wait before washing your hair: After completing the treatment, wait for 48-72 hours, or the time specified in the product’s instructions, before resuming your regular shampooing routine.

Final Takeaway

Keratin treatments can offer many benefits, especially for those with unruly hair or who frequently use heat styling. While it’s recommended to have the initial application done professionally, there are safe at-home options for maintenance or with guidance from your stylist. Despite the potential risks, the benefits of keratin treatments are considerable. A consultation with a professional can help you determine a plan that suits your hair type and lifestyle.

Photo: Pexels/ Cottonbro studio

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Margaud Raynaud is a beauty expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and tips with others and has a particular interest in skincare and makeup. When she's not writing about health and beauty, Margaud enjoys trying out new products and experimenting with different looks. Follow her blog for expert advice and inspiration for living your best life.

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