While some of us swear by our bi-yearly keratin treatments, like everything else, they’re not for everyone. If you don’t think your hair is a fit for this popular process, there are keratin alternatives that may be better suited for you.
In case you’ve been living under a rock (no offense), a keratin treatment is a chemical service that semi-permanently smoothes hair and defines curls. Keratin is a protein found in our hair, skin, and nails.
Keep reading as we break down three keratin alternatives, along with their pros and cons. And, of course, you always want to consult with a professional before committing to any of these options because they affect everyone’s hair differently.
Japanese Hair Straightening
“This is an alternative to keratin treatment for some because it doesn’t contain formaldehyde, and it will permanently straighten hair,” Sabit Hantal, hairstylist and founder of SH Fifth Avenue Salon tells Mane Addicts. “It’s actually a relaxer and is permanent because it breaks hair bonds using ammonium thioglycolate and sodium hydroxide.”
Pros: It contains no formaldehyde and the process is permanent.
Cons: The process is permanent (which we list as both a pro and a con depending on how things turn out). The formulas can also contain even harsher chemicals than a keratin treatment. The growing out phase is very awkward because there’s a very obvious line of demarcation where your natural hair grows in and where the previously straightened hair is located.
This is another popular alternative to keratin treatments. It has a similar outcome as the Japanese Hair Straightening.
Pros: Straightens hair.
Cons: Tons of formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.
Tourmaline Hair Smoothing Treatment
This super new process is implied to be the closest thing to a keratin treatment, but uses glycolic acid instead of formaldehyde. The treatment we’re familiar with is NuMe’s, and it’s an easy-to-follow at-home system.
Pros: No professional experience is necessary to use it. It’s a super-hydrating formula pumped with tourmaline powder and vitamins to protect and moisturize. It leads to frizz-free and smooth hair. It’s at least two-thirds less than the cost of a salon treatment. Its formaldehyde-free formula is a huge draw.
Cons: This won’t be as powerful as an in-salon service, but it gets the job done.
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