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Everything to Know About Taming Frizz With Keratin Treatments

I’ve always envied girls with pin-straight hair. While I think curls can look absolutely beautiful, mine are wild and frizzy and stick out in every direction. They’re completely unmanageable without hoards of gel, and even then, I simply don’t like the way they look. 

I remember my middle school and high school years as the time I spent fighting my curly hair. I tried blow-drying my curls into submission, but my hair would stick out like I’d been electrocuted. I tried passing a flat iron through my hair over and over again, but the precious time I spent doing that would go to waste the moment I stepped outside and my hair began to curl again. I even tried embracing my natural curls, allowing them to be loose and springy (and frizzy), but I couldn’t bring myself to keep them that way for very long.

At a loss for what to do, I talked to my mom and discovered her secret for keeping her hair frizz-free and smooth (my mom’s natural hair is similar to mine). Enter keratin treatments, otherwise known as the holy grail of all frizzy hair care journeys. At last, I could leave my house and not have someone ask me if I’d “meant to do that” to my hair.

Here’s how keratin treatments helped me to (mostly) solve my hair care woes.

Keratin treatments have helped to eliminate the frizz in my hair.

Eliminate frizz, smooth the hair — keratin treatments do it all. During the keratin treatment process, keratin —a protein that makes up your hair — is added back into your hair, sealing it in with heat and seriously reducing unruliness. This process can take anywhere from one hour to several, as your stylist must apply the treatment, allow it to sit, rinse, dry, and flat iron your hair to lock in the treatment. This certainly takes a decent amount of time, and takes even longer if you have particularly long and thick hair, or if you also like getting a haircut during your appointment, like me.

I’ve never liked my messy curls, and getting keratin treatments for the past several years has reduced those curls to soft waves. While I do like to wear my hair straight, on days when I’m too lazy to dry my hair, my hair falls into waves that are much less static-y than my previous curls. And on the days I wear my hair straight, my dry time is cut in half and I am able to come out with perfectly smooth hair that doesn’t remind me of someone who just stuck a fork in an electrical socket. It wouldn’t be impossible for me to get back to my natural curls if I really wanted to, but after years of keratin treatments I’m happy that my hair does not dry the way it did when I was a teen.

While all types of keratin treatments will reduce frizz and smooth your hair, how your hair will end up looking day to day is contingent upon the type of treatment you get and your hair’s texture. The Brazilian Blowout treatment, for instance, is more customizable to your hair pattern than a typical keratin treatment, but also may be more expensive. In order to get the soft, smooth look of a Brazilian Blowout to last, the treatment contains formaldehyde, a gas that can pose health risks for you and your stylist. For this reason, as great as they are, you shouldn’t get Brazilian Blowouts more than a few times per year.

However, there are other treatments, like the Cezanne treatment or Keratin Complex, that also smooth your hair without using formaldehyde, or by using very little formaldehyde. While these treatments typically don’t last as long as a Brazilian Blowout, they still smooth your hair and help make it more manageable. 



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Keratin treatments are great for anyone (unless you already have perfectly stick-straight hair without an ounce of frizz — how does it feel to be the universe’s favorite?), but they are especially ideal for anyone who has coarse hair or does not like their natural hair texture. Of course, if you have extremely thick, curly hair, you shouldn’t expect a keratin treatment to completely unravel your natural curl pattern and turn your hair pin-straight, but you can expect a bit of a reduction in frizz. If you get the keratin treatment but still want to style your hair curly, you absolutely can!

It’s best to talk to a stylist who can help you decide which keratin treatment is best for you, as the right treatment largely depends on how you like to wear your hair everyday.

Also note that while heat styling your hair is damaging, you only really need to use heat on your hair for the initial treatment. As long as your stylist is experienced and careful, your hair will not be damaged during the treatment. However, you should definitely talk to your stylist beforehand to ensure the treatment is completely safe for your hair.  At home, you do not need to use as high of a heat setting as your stylist may use when you’re styling your hair day to day. In fact, you don’t need to use heat at all if you don’t want to. 

Keratin treatments cut down on the amount of time I spend on my hair.

I’ve always wished I could be like my friends and step out of the shower, run a comb through my locks, and be on my way. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple for me. 

I have to prep my wet hair with some sort of detangling treatment and heat protectant, then dry my head entirely, and then go over any unruly strands with my flat iron. I still do all of this with the keratin treatment, but now, my drying time is much shorter and I don’t have to pass over strands of hair with the flat iron five times. My hair never took an absurdly long time to blow dry — it probably used to take about twenty minutes — but now it takes around ten. And most of the time, I can get away with not going over any pieces with a flat iron, putting a final pump of serum on top of my freshly dried hair, and heading to class.

If I’m feeling pretty lazy and don’t feel like using heat on my hair at all, it still dries naturally nicely. 

For the end results and amount of time they last, keratin treatments are worth the splurge.

There is one caveat being that treatments can be quite pricey. Treatments can range anywhere from $150 to over $500, although you should be able to find a place that performs the treatment on the lower end of the spectrum if you do your research and are willing to venture away from urban salons. It also may be worthwhile to check Groupon for discounts on treatments, and call salons to inquire about pricing or student discounts. 

As expensive as keratin treatments can be, they’re a luxury you only need to indulge in every three to four months. As long as you use a sulfate-free shampoo (which you should be doing anyway — there’s no need to use harsh ingredients in your hair, keratin treatment or not) and avoid products with salt and dipping your head in chlorine as much as possible, your hair will maintain its smoothness. After more than four years getting keratin treatments, my hair can go about half a year before it starts to return to its natural curl pattern.

Keratin treatments haven’t made my hair completely perfect, but it's a far cry from the disaster it once was. Whether you struggle with frizz or would just like to soften your curls or waves, keratin treatments are a great option for you. While I still envy my friends and their naturally straight hair, it’s nice to be able to closely replicate their looks with the help of just a blow dryer and a brush.

Becca is a senior at Emory University studying English and Political Science. When she's not writing or stressing over homework, she can be found reading, rowing, or listening to Ed Sheeran on repeat.
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