Beauty Test Drive: The Brazilian Keratin Treatment

I know I’m a little late to the party here, folks, but a few months ago, I finally got one of those keratin hair treatments that all the frizzy-haired ladies in the world are so obsessed with. Normally I shy away from messing with my hair. It’s long and I’d like it to stay that way, so I don’t bleach or dye it and I don’t think I’ve touched a blow dryer or flat iron since the earlier part of last decade. But something about the promise of having “perfect” or even better hair for three to five months—the amount of time this Brazilian keratin treatment is supposed to last—was seductive enough to get me into a very famous hair salon.

Stylist Jan-Marie Arteca was absolutely lovely, and I should know, as I spent about two and half hours hanging with her while I was getting this procedure done. I won’t bore you with every last single detail, but basically they wash and dry your hair, apply the keratin mixture (I opted for the formaldehyde-free option) with a brush, rinse it out, blow-dry again and then use a flat iron to seal in the product. If you like getting your hair played with—and I do, very much, thank you—it’s actually not a bad experience.

The hard part came after I left the salon. (Full disclosure: as a member of the press I was not billed for the treatment itself. But I have to buy Keratin After Treatment Shampoo, a sulfate-free shampoo safe for use once your hair has been Brazilianified). Here’s the deal: You cannot wash your hair for at least four days. Really, you can’t. I figured that was no biggie, since, like many of us here at The Frisky, I could take or leave a shower anyway, but, surprisingly, by the third day, my boyfriend was like, “Dude, you seriously need to wash your hair.” I looked in the mirror and sure enough, it was extremely greasy, even for me. The other setback? You can’t put your hair back with pins or an elastic (you could end up leaving a line of demarcation), so I constantly had the aforementioned oily locks in my face. Cry me a river, right?

In the end (and after an amazing bathing experience involving my fancy new shampoo), it was worth the heartache. The picture on the right is a few days after I got the actual Brazilian treatment, but I would say once I washed it, the results were somewhere in between my formerly frizzy look and the ultra sleek hair above. If you’re expecting that this Brazilian keratin treatment is the same as having a perma salon blowout, think again, and with a cost of about $150 per hour and depending on hair length, it’s worth considering that the results may be more subtle than you think. That said, it’s more like buying a few months of good hair days (perhaps priceless?), when you wake up and think, “Wow, I don’t have to do anything with this mane today.” Which is kind of where I was when I started anyway, but lately, it’s looking a lot better than my former hot mess.

I would really love to have an update on what you think about this a couple months from now – did your hair stay healthy? Did you get the number of better hair days you were hoping for? Fight with it less? Do you go to have it done again? I appreciated knowing some of the short term details, like the no showering and no pinning/pulling hair back for four days, but I’d want to see how things were going long term before I tried this.

I would like an update too. I’m not a fan of straightening my hair, because it falls too flat and no matter what, looks greasy. I have naturally awkward hair that is too wavy to be called straight, but not wavy enough to be that sought after wavy. It’s like straivy. Or awful. It’s why it’s always up.

This sounds pretty cool. It’s like a super relaxer that I would normally get. I’m black btw. I looked it up and it said this is good for all hair types, so that’s great! I wouldn’t get it though because I’m just not that into my hair enough to pay that amount for non frizzy days. My hair doesn’t frizz that much.

Be careful when considering these keratin treatments as I’ve read that many of them are extremely damaging (in that your hair will break off and fall out) for African American hair.I did the korean version called “Magic Straight”, and the maintenance and outcome is basically the same (though I think the Korean version, as well as the chinese version, is significantly cheaper).

First of all, Erin should absolutely not have her sunglasses in her hair a few days after keratin treatment, as that will leave a permanent bend as well. Avoid pinning/tying/sunglasses-ing your hair for about two weeks (one if you like taking chances). As for ‘a few months later’, I’ve done this four times now – My natural hair is super curly thick unmanageable Jewish hair, and I am so much happier with the straight: For the first month or two, it’s a roll out of bed/step out of the shower and go kind of look, where I barely even have to run a brush through it.

It gets awkward when it’s growing out, but takes only 20 minutes to flatiron the roots as opposed to the 2.5 hours it used to take me with curly hair. As for upkeep, I have it redone every 5-6 months, though my friends wait 7-10 months – it all depends on how curly your hair was before doing it, and how comfortable you are with the awkward period.

This is not like a wash-out hair dye: Your roots will be curly, and the rest stick straight. It’s weird and unsalvageable with gel/mousse/hairspray – you have to straighten the roots or wear a ponytail to look not crazy.

Unless that’s your thing, in which case, rock it out. In terms of health, know that even after the first time, my hair is definitely not healthier. The same is true of my friends who did it at the same place – our ends are all kind of ratty. If anything, my hair is more fragile and prone to breaking, but that’s true of any chemical treatment you put your hair through, since most of them are very harsh.

However, conditioner every single time I wash it plus frequent trims keep the ends looking fine.