A few years ago, keratin became a big buzzword in the hair industry. Women headed straight to the salon to get keratin treatments, while shampoos and other hair products started adding it in their formulations.
Still, keratin treatments and related services are prevalent at salons, and if you’re wondering if you should get one in time for holiday parties and gatherings, we asked celebrity hairstylist Jing Monis to set the record straight.
#1 A keratin treatment isn’t the same as a straightening treatment
“Keratin isn’t a straightening thing. What keratin does is it polishes the cuticle of your hair so it’s smooth,” says Jing. Keratin, the main substance your hair is made of, is meant to enforce the natural state of your mane. “A keratin treatment has a lot of uses. First, it makes your hair smooth and shiny. Second, it tames frizzy and damaged hair. If you have wavy or curly hair and you want to tame it just a little bit, I’d also recommend a keratin treatment,” explains Jing.
After the keratin is applied, you hair is dried and then ironed out. “We iron the hair not to straighten it but to make the keratin really bond with the hair. I think that’s why people think it’s equivalent to the straightening treatment,” he says.
#2 Keratin isn’t the enemy: formalin is
Jing then tells us that keratin solutions are constantly being developed into safer formulations. Keratin isn’t damaging to the hair, it’s the formalin contained in the treatment. “A lot of old formulations contained large amounts of formalin that was not only bad for the hair, but also harmful to the hairstylist.”
Formalin is a substance used in most disinfectants and cleaning agents and contains a trace amount of methanol, another harmful chemical. Though all treatments aren’t formalin-free just yet, Jing says he makes sure that the keratin used in his salon has the lowest formalin content in the market. He is also constantly updated on newer solutions that will eventually contain no formalin at all.
#3 Sometimes, the mistake is in the ironing
When your hair gets damaged due to a keratin treatment, most of the time it’s because of how it’s ironed. “You have to ask your stylist what type of hair iron he or she is using and how he or she will adjust the temperature,” says Jing. He warns us about some salons that don’t use flat irons that have multiple settings and just use one temperature for all types of hair. “Your hairstylist should use a temperature that’s best for your hair type. The drier your hair, the lower the temperature [should be].”
# 4 After-care is crucial
Jing finally tells us how after-care is an essential part of the entire process. “A keratin treatment should last at least three months. The people who complain that it doesn’t last haven’t been instructed on how to properly care for keratin-treated hair.” After your treatment, you’re not supposed to wash your hair for at least 24 hours so the keratin will bond with your hair.
When it comes to shampoos and conditioners, Jing tells us about two things we must look for: “They should contain keratin because every time you wash your hair, you strip it of keratin so regularly replenishing it is ideal. Also, your hair products should be sulfate-free. That’s the major reason why our hair is unhealthy.” Sulfates are what makes soap and shampoo bubble and lather but they also strip a lot of the natural oils in our hair. “Sulfates are found in laundry detergents, so they are really too stripping for our hair cuticles,” says Jing.
He also advises to use a sun protectant or a leave-in treatment against UVA and UVB rays. “Sun exposure dries out hair and causes a lot of problems,” he relates. Lastly, he says that swimming in the pool or the beach automatically strips your hair of keratin. “I’ve had clients who get a keratin treatment and then go to the beach right after and complain that the treatment doesn’t last. I tell them that no matter how much keratin they use, if they immediately go to the beach and expose their hair to saltwater, you’ve just effectively wasted all you money.”
The Jing Monis Salon. 3/F Greenbelt 1, Makati City. (02) 893 4098. Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For a complete list of branches and more information, visit their Facebook page.