One of the best things about natural hair is versatility; being able to wear so many styles and looks. Straight natural hair is just one of those looks but can also be damaging to hair and prevent natural hair from reverting back afterward.
These series will examine all the available options for straightening natural hair, pros and cons and the best options for straight natural hair.
Keratin is a fibrous protein that’s the essential component of hair, skin, and nails. It is created via a combination of amino acids and forms a protective barrier around the hair shaft helping it to remain strong and elastic. However, keratin can be lost due to over-processing, over-styling, and other damaging hair practices.
What is the Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT)?
The aim of a Brazilian keratin treatment is to restore the keratin lost from hair through bad hair care practices. They are also supposed to eliminate frizz and soften hair. Hair is infused with the treatment, dried and then flat ironed.
The straight results are semi-permanent and expected to last for three to six months before hair reverts back to its natural state. Keratin treatments can cost anything from $250 — $400 depending on location and hair stylist.
The crazy cost aside, when this treatment first came on the horizon several years ago, I considered trying it out back then because I wasn’t very good with styling my hair.
However, I looked it up and discovered it contains ingredients that release formaldehyde. That knowledge was more than enough to turn me off it but that’s not the only problem with this treatment.
Pros of Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT)
- Since the objective of the treatment is straight hair for a few months, this can be achieved with the Brazilian keratin treatment.
Cons of Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT)
Straight hair for an extended period of time is where the pros of this treatment ends though. The cons of Brazilian keratin treatment includes:
- BKT treatments contain formaldehyde, which is classified as a human carcinogen – a substance that can cause cancer.
- Formaldehyde causes sore throats, itchy eyes and nose bleeds, which is why the hairstylist wears a nose mask while applying it.
- Since formaldehyde isn’t banned everywhere yet, there are still Brazilian keratin treatments containing this harmful chemical available and there’s really no way to be sure the exact amount contained in the product.
- There has been feedback from several ladies that hair didn’t revert back properly afterward and ended up damaged although this is a risk of any hair straightening method.
- They can be quite expensive. Post-treatment care to keep the hair straight can also add to the overall expense.
- Not recommended for pregnant women.
Overall, the cons far outweigh the pros for the treatment and I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary hair straightening method.
The controversy has led to the creation of keratin straightening systems that are free of formaldehyde.
However, they cannot achieve the same results and will not last as long since they don’t contain ingredients that can break down the hair structure.
Since what you’re looking for is temporarily straight hair though, there’s no harm in trying these alternatives out. A few formaldehyde-free smoothing systems include:
3 Alternatives to Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT)
Point to note, the BKT treatment isn’t suitable for all hair types. If you have fine, straight hair, applying BKT can cause breakage and lead to severe hair loss. It’s more suitable for type 3 – 4 hair. Have you ever tried BKT treatments? What has been your experience with them?