The Brazilian keratin treatment was originally discovered by a mortician in Brazil. He noticed that embalming fluid with formaldehyde was causing the hair of the corpses to straighten. A safe formula to be used on hair was eventually created and became known as the Brazilian keratin treatment. There have been some concerns about the safety of the formaldehyde version of the treatment, so a nonformaldehyde version was created; both formulas are still used. The FDA does not regulate cosmetic products and has not listed methylene glycol as an unsafe ingredient. This is the ingredient that produces the formaldehyde vapors.
Candidates for Treatment
The Brazilian keratin treatment can be used by people of different races with curly, kinky and wavy hair, who want to achieve shiny, sleek and straight hair. People with chemically processed hair including relaxed, highlighted and dyed hair can also use this treatment. African American women who already have chemically relaxed hair can still benefit from the process, which straightens the new growth while giving the relaxed hair extra sheen and smoothness. This is a great option for African American women transitioning from relaxed to natural hair; the hair can be straightened with the treatment while transitioning but will return back to its naturally curly or kinky state once the person is ready to go fully natural. You are not advised to get this treatment on black hair if you plan to get braids or extensions because they will not hold to the treated hair and will easily slip out.
Before beginning the Brazilian keratin treatment process, the hair is shampooed with deep cleansing or clarifying shampoo to open the cuticles of the hair. This ensures that the hair will take the keratin. The hair is then saturated with the Brazilian keratin treatment and blown dry. The hair is then flat ironed to achieve silky and straight tresses.
After the Brazilian keratin treatment has been finished, the naturally curly, kinky or wavy hair will be more loose. It will also be straight and silky if that was the desired look. The keratin treatment and heat let the ingredients penetrate the hair shaft and allow for the hair cuticles to become smooth. Frizz is eliminated. The results can last from eight weeks to four months depending on the type of treatment chosen.
With old formulas of the Brazilian keratin treatment, you were not allowed to shampoo for four to five days after the treatment process. Now with new formulas, you are allowed to get the hair wet as soon as the same day of the treatment process. Shampoos containing sulfates and sodium chloride should be avoided. These shampoos will strip the hair of its moisture as well as interfere with the keratin treatment placed on the hair. Many salons will offer to sell you specific shampoos that are made specifically for hair that has undergone the Brazilian keratin treatment.
The Brazilian keratin treatment process is very intensive. It should only be performed by a licensed professional who has had training in performing the treatment. Having the treatment done by someone who is inexperienced or who doesn't have training could lead to hair breakage and loss. Ensuring that the person doing the treatment process is a licensed cosmetologist and has taken a training class will guarantee that the treatment process is followed according to the guidelines for the optimal health of the hair.
- Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images