There are so many beauty terms that it can make your head spin. Confused as to what it all means? Our Glam Glossary will help you sort it all out. Follow Allison each week in her quest to decode popular beauty terms, from Alpha Hydroxy Acids to Zinc Oxide.
Where you see it: Shampoos, conditioners, hair mist, hair straightening treatments, hair moisturizing treatments.
What it is: An extremely strong protein found in hair, skin, nails, as well as teeth – and, in case you happen to have them, hooves and horns too.
What it does: Adding an extra dose of your hair’s natural protein is thought to give your hair extra protection, especially after chemical treatments or processing. Contrary to some marketing claims, keratin does not make your hair grow faster (as far as we know, nothing can). It does, however, promote your hair’s health by binding itself to your hair and acting as a protective layer. In this way, extra keratin can promote hair growth in that it fights against breakage.
Is it safe? Though there seem to be no safety concerns with the ingredient of keratin itself, as it’s naturally produced in our body, there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the additional chemical components involved in Brazilian Keratin Treatments, which are used to straighten or relax hair.
The Professional Beauty Association (PBA), a non-profit trade association that represents the interests of the professional beauty industry, issued an industry alert on Brazilian Keratin Treatments regarding the use of formaldehyde. Many salons and patrons alike are wary of the service for fear that inhalation of the chemical is detrimental. In the alert, the PBA urged industry members to educate themselves on products before they use them, as “some products currently on the market have been found to contain formaldehyde in excess of the CIR standard.”
While some salon professionals have taken to wearing masks while performing the service, most agree that it is because of their repeated exposure to formaldehyde and that patrons are at very little risk.
Photo collage containing products by Chi, Liquid Keratin, Real Lash