Keratin Hair Products: Do They Really Work?
Keratin seems to be everywhere these days: in magazines, all over the internet, on social media. Everyone you know has been talking about it; your hairstylist raves about its ability to improve the elasticity of your hair, and your best friend gushes about how soft and manageable it makes her hair. But, what exactly is keratin—and do keratin hair products really work?
You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers!
What is Keratin?
First things first, keratin is a major component of your hair, skin, and nails. It’s a vital protein that helps make up both the internal structure and the outer cuticle of your hair strands. When your hair experiences keratin loss, your strands are significantly more susceptible to breakage, fraying, and damage.
What Causes Keratin Loss?
Over time, exposure to heat styling, UV rays, and other natural elements like salt water and wind, can cause moderate to extreme keratin loss. Obviously, the more often you blow dry and heat style your hair without protecting or replenishing its keratin on a regular basis, the more severe the damage will be.
What Do Keratin Products Do For Hair?
When you infuse your hair with a fresh dose of keratin, you can expect your hair to be softer, smoother, and less prone to frizz.
If you have brittle, damaged hair, keratin products can replenish and protect your hair’s natural keratin protein, thereby reversing some of the damage and preventing future breakage.
On top of all of that, keratin products have the ability to dramatically improve your hair’s elasticity, giving your hair a healthier, more youthful bounce.
Keratin Products Vs. Keratin Straightening Treatments: What’s the Difference?
It should be noted that keratin products and keratin straightening treatments are not one and the same.
Keratin straightening treatments, the kind that promise semi-permanently straightened hair, can actually be incredibly damaging for your hair; whereas, keratin-infused products serve to strengthen hair and make it more manageable.
Keratin Products Are
To put it simply, keratin products are salon haircare products that are infused with keratin protein and other hair-nourishing ingredients.
They’re safe and easy to use at home, unlike keratin straightening treatments which must be applied at a salon.
In addition to being safe and easy to use, keratin products are also remarkably affordable. Keratin treatments, on the other hand, can cost hundreds of dollars per application.
Keratin Straightening Treatments Are
Almost entirely different from keratin products, keratin straightening treatments are performed only at salons. Typically, they’re semi-permanent hair smoothing treatments that smooth the cuticle of the hair by applying a liquid form of keratin with a chemical preservative and blow drying and flat ironing the hair.
The most notable—and the most notorious—is the Brazilian Blowout™. This kind of keratin straightening treatment is not only incredibly time-consuming (it can take hours in the salon), it is also wildly expensive.
On top of being costly and time-consuming, some keratin straightening treatments can be unsafe. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), salon treatments such as the Brazilian blowout can be a potential health hazard if they contain chemical preservatives, such as formaldehyde.
Do Keratin Products Really Work?
The short answer is yes.
With so many keratin-infused products on the market, it can be overwhelming to pick out the ones that really work and are safe.
So, how can you tell the difference between keratin products that work and those that don't?
To ensure that you’re purchasing the most effective, safest keratin products, make sure you buy all your hair products from a well-known salon versus an unknown vendor online.
You’ll also want to read the ingredients of your keratin products. They should not contain chemicals banned by the FDA, such as formaldehyde.
The FDA has formally warned against these potentially very harmful treatments—and luckily, the vast majority of keratin treatments and products on the market do not contain dangerous chemicals.
Naturally, the best keratin shampoos, keratin conditioners, and smoothing keratin treatments will be low in sulfates, as sulfates can damage hair and fade hair color over time. The best keratin products will also be full of hair-loving ingredients like soy protein, olive oil, and hydrolyzed keratin.
Along with treating your hair on the outside, it is important to nourish it from the inside with a balanced diet. A balanced diet that’s bound to make your hair glow with health includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a wide variety of lean protein such as poultry, eggs, and Greek yogurt.
Long story short: Yes, keratin hair products really do work wonders on your hair. If you have brittle or damaged hair, keratin products might just be the solution you’re looking for!
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