How to Grow Longer Stronger Hair with Keratin

By Parisa Rashidi

Want hair so silky smooth you can't keep your hands out of it? Healthy, nourished hair can seem like a distant dream; however, with proper care and attention, you can get the vibrant, luscious locks you've always dreamed of. Many women turn to the keratin treatment to revitalize their hair.

Clients hair is being reconditioned
credit: Zinkevych/iStock/GettyImages
How to Grow Longer Stronger Hair with Keratin

What is Keratin?

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard of keratin treatments. The original keratin hair products were developed in Brazil in 2005. By 2007, they started making an appearance in the U.S.

Keratin is the key component of our skin, hair and nails, but over time, we lose the protein due to age, sun exposure and chemical hair processing. This leaves our hair vulnerable to frizz, tangles and, worst of all, breakage. Keratin treatments put the protein back in your hair, resulting in more shine, less frizz and less total styling time (yay!). Best of all, the effects last for three to six months, depending on how often you wash your hair.

It's important to understand the difference between the two types of keratin treatments. One type is a smoothing treatment found under name brands like Cezanne, Peter Coppola, Goldwell Kerasilk, Lasio, Trissola Sola, Supersilk and Rusk. The other is a straightening treatment that's also known as the Brazilian blowout – and, unlike the smoothing treatment, it contains formaldehyde. Formaldehyde changes the texture of your hair, taking it from coarse and curly to pin-straight. Smoothing treatments won't straighten, but will still leave your hair with significantly less frizz and with more shine than you started with.

Do Your Due Diligence

Shiny, manageable and luscious locks sounds like magic, huh? Well, keratin is like magic – and it's expensive magic. Treatments range from $200 to $500, depending on the thickness and length of your hair. Since you're going to be cashing in, you want to make sure it's worth your while. Shop around and choose a reputable salon with stylists who are experienced in the treatments. Don't be afraid to request references from stylists. Ask how long you should expect your treatment to last and what brand of products she'll be using.

What to Expect

This is no ordinary hair appointment. That's right. Bring a book, your phone and maybe even some snacks, because you'll be sitting in the stylist's chair for two to four hours. First, your stylist will shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo, removing all debris and product. Then, she'll blow-dry your hair. Because she's not using conditioner, your hair will be poofy, knotty and a little frightening to the guests sitting next to you. Once fully dry, she'll apply the keratin solution. After that, you'll be put under the dryer for 20 minutes to really let it soak in. Next, she'll divide your hair up in clips and blow-dry and straighten in tiny pieces, making sure to go slow and apply heat to every square inch of hair.

Relax and Enjoy

That's right, relax and enjoy your makeover. You deserve it, and you can feel good knowing that you've made a good choice about what to put in your hair. Keratin products, which are made of keratin, essential ceramides and amino acids, are like fruits and vegetables for the hair. Some treatments, on the other hand, may do the trick and change the texture of your hair while actually damaging the hair shaft. Some of these include Japanese straightening treatments and chemical relaxers.

Post-Treatment Care

Make your time and money worth it by exercising proper aftercare. Because the keratin takes time to set in, you can't wash your hair for 72 hours post-treatment. You should also avoid exercise so you don't sweat or feel the need to put your hair up in a ponytail. Be sure to use sulfate-free shampoo. Your stylist may recommend their in-house brand, but really, any sulfate-free bottle will do.