First of all – let me explain what it is and what happens. At your salon you will receive a 60-90 minute treatment consisting of a shampoo, a keratin conditioner which also contains special straightening ingredients, a blow out and flat ironing. This will make your hair smooth, sleek, and frizz free. You are instructed not to wash or apply anything to your hair for 3-5 days, and after that time even when you do your hair will stay straight and frizz free for 6-8 weeks, or maybe even longer.
This all sounds good, especially if you are prone to frizzy hair or have hair that is extremely difficult or time consuming to straighten yourself. It will stay straight and sleek even in strong weather such as humidity and rain! Sign me up you say – not so fast….
The special agents added to the straightening conditioner can damage your hair quite considerably – up to 20 times more than you could do yourself using heat styling. You will need to deep condition every time you wash your hair and you may still experience dryness and breakage – even after the straightening treatment wears off. It is recommended that you not color or perm your hair for at least a few months after this treatment as that will cause even more damage to your hair – so consider that you may have to live with color re-growth for a while. The cost is something else to consider – it can cost anywhere from $200-$500 per treatment. And last – but definitely not least – it contains a heavy duty amount of chemicals such as formaldehyde. These chemicals can be toxic and your eyes and nose may water and become itchy while you are having the treatment, and if you are exposed to these chemicals frequently they can lead to lung problems and even cancer.
Salons will swear that this treatment is completely safe, yet much research has shown that the chemicals can lead to problems. Pregnant women are not allowed to have this treatment due to harm to the fetus. If you are pregnant or extra sensitive to smells and chemicals this treatment is not recommended, and you should even make sure no treatment is going on in the salon at the same time you will be there for a regular service!
Unless you have extremely unruly hair, it is in fairly good condition, and you are willing to take the risks, it is probably best to just stay away from these treatments. Light keratin and protein treatments followed with a flatiron will provide straightness that will last for up to a week – and not load you up with chemicals!