The Truth about Straightening Treatments

by / Tuesday, 09 December 2014 / Published in Haircare, Media
The List_December 2014

The List #227, Dec 1 2014: The Truth about Straightening Treatments

Brazilian hair straightening treatments (also called blowout, keratin, thermal reconditioning, smoothening) are a method of temporarily straightening hair by sealing a liquid keratin and a preservative solution into the hair with a flat iron.

Why is ‘Keratin’ associated with these Treatments?

Keratin is a protein that is naturally present in the hair and which is lost over time and in the course of chemical processing. A ‘Keratin Treatment’ is therefore technically anything that restores strength, shine and elasticity.

Why do most of these Treatments produce smoke?

Because part of traditional processes requires that you flat-iron hair, and when most of its products comes into contact with heat, the heat converts the liquid chemicals into gaseous chemicals or smoke.

Is this smoke dangerous?

In the case of many products, the gas released is formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogenic and can be extremely harmful to health.

Is it only treatments with formaldehyde that straighten hair?

No, this is totally false. Formaldehyde is a preservative not a straightening agent. Formaldehyde simply coats and ”plasticizes” the hair strands, and then through the heat of the flat-iron the hair strands are sealed and fixed straight. Formaldehyde prevents hair from receiving nutrients for several months. That’s why many people who apply these treatments containing formaldehyde experience dryness, breakage and even hair loss.

Move over, Oprah; get outta here Gwyneth and GOOP—the only Christmas shopping inspiration you’ll need this year comes from us here at The List!

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