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How I Did My Own Brazilian Keratin Straightening Treatment
Who can afford a Brazilian Keratin?
I have had wonderful curly hair my whole life. I like the curls, but it makes it very hard to look good on hot humid days. I also can never straighten my hair without the curl sneaking up at midday in a strange and unwelcome place like the ends of my hair. I end up looking like a demented Shirley Temple! So when I researched Brazilian keratin treatments it seemed like something that was worth my while. There was one fly in the ointment...formaldehyde. As a biology teacher I tend to panic less about chemicals than most, but formaldehyde is not such a good thing to have around the house. It is a known carcinogen and can really be terrible if there is a significant exposure. So I did my homework and found a straightening kit on Amazon and set off to work. After all, this stay at home mother and writer can not afford $200 + at a salon to have my hair straightened with a Brazilian Keratin Treatment that will only last 3 months. Adventurous as always, I set off to do it myself.
I found with some searching that Amazon and other beauty supply places had many options for Brazilian keratin treatments. It was also clear to me that no matter how much I dug into the ingredients I would never get a direct percentage of formaldehyde in the product unless it claimed to be "formaldehyde free". I chose a product solely for its ratings and its reputation. I read the directions and got started. Here's what I discovered about doing your own Brazilian keratin treatment at home.
It takes a long time!
You have to use special shampoo (shampoo twice). Then you have to dry your hair and apply a special keratin mixture that looks like conditioner in sections to your hair. You need to wear gloves which makes it pretty slippery. Then it all must be combed through your hair to ensure every strand has the keratin treatment on it. After fifteen minutes I had to flat iron my hair in sections (4-6 times for each little section). This took about an hour with my medium length hair. You must then wait one hour before washing that out and adding the neutralizer. This means it takes about 3 hours to do this. Wow, that takes a long time.
It is a little stinky.
The keratin treatment isn't pungent. You should do it in a well ventilated area to make sure you disperse any fumes when you flat iron your hair. There is definitely an odor in the room and on your hair. It is tolerable but noticeable. Again, you never really know how much formaldehyde may be in the product so do this where there is a lot of air!
It doesn't kill the curl.
This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It makes the hair shiny and it feels stronger. Getting your curly hair to go straight is significantly easier. It styles easily and keeps its straight look far longer than if you did not have the treatment. There is a difference but it is not as extreme as Japanese hair straightening. If you want super straight hair from very curly hair, this is not what you are looking for.
It is not permanent
The treatment will only last about three months, four if you are lucky. As a result you will have to repeat the process once your hair grow out. However, you are paying far less by doing it yourself.
It works but you still need to style
You will have WONDERFUL hair when it is done. However, you still have to blow dry your hair to style it or even use a flat iron to keep it really straight. The treatment makes it easier to do this and cuts down your style time, but you still need to do some styling!
In summary, the treatments that are salon quality are worth the money to do at home. You can easily follow the directions and get a great result at more than half the price of a salon. A typical salon charges $200-$250 for this treatment. You can purchase a kit to do this for $60. If you want to have no frizz and silky hair, a Brazilian keratin straightening kit is the way to go.
Note: I personally got wonderful results. I have very thin hair and this has really made it more manageable. However, it will not straighten out really curly hair.