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How to Know If a Keratin Treatment Is NOT Right for You, According to an Expert

Keratin treatments have been all the rage for years now. Salon experts have managed to make the application process less time-consuming than ever, and the outcome can last for months. That said, this service, like every other one out there, isn’t for everyone. If you’re wondering perhaps why you shouldn’t get a keratin treatment, we’re here to break it down.

We reached out to Sabit Hantal, owner of NYC’s SH Fifth Avenue Salon. The hair expert explained exactly what a keratin treatment entails, its pros and cons, and whether or not it’s something you should consider.

Keep reading for what he told Mane Addicts!

Mane Addicts: For those who don’t know, what exactly is a keratin treatment?

Sabit Hantal: Generally, a keratin treatment is a chemical treatment done to semi-permanently smooth hair. Keratin is a protein found in our hair, skin, and nails. Most contain either formaldehyde or glyoxylic acid and are used to break the bonds of the hair and reseal them in a straighter position. Today there are many versions including some to smooth out frizz or even to define your curls.

MA: What are the pros of getting a keratin treatment?


  1. Shiny and more manageable hair.
  2. Smoother and straighter hair that dries quicker.
  3. Frizz-free hair, or more defined and manageable curls, depending on your treatment.
  4. Hair that’s easier to detangle.
  5. Sometimes keratin can even fortify and strengthen your hair as well.
  6. The chemicals do not damage your hair (but the heat can).

MA: What are the cons of getting a keratin treatment?


1. At the end of the day, it’s a chemical treatment. One of the chemicals associated with most keratin treatments is formaldehyde (a known carcinogen), which is what makes the hair look straighter but can be dangerous if inhaled. Formaldehyde is actually not an ingredient, but a gas that’s released when certain ingredients are combined. Some versions of treatments will claim “formaldehyde-free” but actually release formaldehyde when wet and heated.

Another much safer ingredient used instead of formaldehyde-releasing ingredients is glycolic acid. These types of treatments are the ones that are actually truly “formaldehyde-free.”

2. It’s usually quite expensive and can range anywhere from $300-$800, depending on your hair length and thickness.

3. It can cause a lot of damage to your hair over time because it requires a lot of high heat to lock your hair into place.

MA: Please list signs that a keratin treatment is NOT right for you.


  1. Anyone with superfine or damaged hair should avoid keratins

2. People with very straight hair should avoid, too, as it can make hair appear flat and bodiless.

Keratin treatments aren’t just for humans! Read all about CHI’s doggie keratin line HERE.

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