Are there times when you suffer from a little hair frizz? If the answer is a definite yes then I am sure that you will have been recommended hair smoothing treatments. To control the frizz and give you a head of sleek shinny hair.
But do you know what you are getting?
Will it be a traditional keratin treatment known more by the common name as a Brazilian blowout? One that will straighten out your natural hair texture.
Or one of the hair smoothing treatments. Which is far better if you wish to keep the natural movement you have in your hair. Because it will help to de frizz and add shine to your hair without changing its texture.
Now are hair smoothing treatments really formaldehyde free.
Since both the traditional keratin treatment/Brazilian blowout and hair smoothing treatments include protein keratin in their list of ingredients. They do unfortunately all get lumped together under the umbrella of keratin hair treatments.
What Is Keratin?
Keratin is fibrous protein that is an essential building block for your hair and nails.
Alpha-keratin which has a presence of an amino acid called cysteine is the type of keratin which is found in your hair and nails. In fact human hair is around 15% cysteine.
The Purpose Of Keratin Protein In Hair Smoothing Treatments.
Keratin protein also known as hydrolyzed keratin will not straighten your hair no matter what marketing people may say.
It is generally derived from sheep’s wool and you can now find it added to many hair care products such as shampoos.
Because keratin protein helps to smooth down and revitalize your hairs cuticle layer thus creating a protective barrier for your hair.
Which is a big help if you have a hair frizz problem due to the aspect that it will help to rebuild your hairs tensile strength. Therefore improving your hairs elasticity which will lead to less hair breakage.
And with a smother cuticle your hair will look shinier.
Do All Hair Smoothing Treatments Still Contain Formaldehyde?
When the traditional Keratin treatment/ Brazilian blowout came onto the market there was a lot of problems about the amount of formaldehyde produced by the product.
Formaldehyde can be an irritant and many people may find their eyes will tear, their noses run or even their throats burn a little. As formaldehyde is an allergen.
In fact quite a few countries such as Canada and the European Union banned the use of these early keratin products altogether.
As formaldehyde is not an ingredient but is a toxic gas that is emitted by certain chemicals when they exposed to a high heat.
And there lies the problem.
Because these smoothing products do not work without the use of high heat. Generally the use of hair irons at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Chemical Name Game That’s Used By Hair Smoothing Treatments.
It all comes down to playing on the fact that you the consumer will not understand the one chemical name switch to another ingredient. Which in fact works in a very similar way.
There are many so called formaldehyde free hair smoothing treatments now on the market and your hairstylist may have introduced one to you. Brazilian Blowout Zero, K Gloss, Cezanne Perfect Finish and Kerasilk Keratin Shape & Smooth just to name a few.
But it is important to check carefully as technically they do not contain formaldehyde in the list of ingredients. Although they may contain certain other ingredients that once heated will still release formaldehyde into the atmosphere.
2 Types Of Products That Are Commonly Seen In Formaldehyde Free Hair Smoothing Treatments.
Many companies that make formaldehyde free hair smoothing treatments including some that I have mentioned above. Often use a chemical called Methylene Glycol which really is chemically equivalent to formaldehyde.
These are types of chemicals to keep your eye out for. Because they will quite often be seen in the ingredients list.
First Type – Glyoxylic Acid, Methylene Glycol or Glyoxyloyl Carbocysteine.
Second Type – Are silicone’s like Dimethicone or Phenyl Trimethicone.
These ingredients do tend to emit formaldehyde when heated to the high temperature needed. Like the 450 degrees Fahrenheit heat of the straightening irons when they are used during the process.
Admittedly the formaldehyde emitted from the above chemicals is not as excessive as that emitted by the old Brazilian blowout.
But it is still formaldehyde.
It’s a good idea if you want to stay away from breathing in formaldehyde just to double check with your stylist. That the product they are using does not contain any of these types of ingredients.
Are Hair Smoothing Treatments Safer
After researching the ingredients in many hair smoothing treatments even ones that are claimed to be formaldehyde free by companies and popular magazines.
I have found that at least one of the above type of chemicals is commonly seen in the ingredients list.
To the question of are these hair smoothing treatments safer?
To a certain degree Yes. Both you the client and your hairstylist
The products are gentler than before.
The heat used on the straightening irons is generally lower.
They will not give you an artificially straight look which you tend to get from using the Japanese straightening.
Your natural hair structure will not change.
But you will find that the results will not last as long and they will not dramatically soften a tight curl.
If you smooth your hair or intend to in the future doing a little research can help you to decide which make of product to use.
Remember that keratin or silk proteins will not smooth out your hair.
If a hair smoothing treatment is going to de frizz and make your hair smooth for any length of time it will need to have an ingredient that will release formaldehyde.
Ingredients like glyoxylic acid are not as powerful as the ingredients in the more toxic Brazilian Blowout and earlier keratin treatments. But still a certain amount of formaldehyde will be released when introduced to high heat.
Just because they release less formaldehyde than before and that is certainly a lot better. They can hardly be called safe.
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