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To keratin or straighten?

In a perfect world all of our curly haired friends would do just about anything to have super sleek locks. They have argued with straighteners of every brand, bought every humidity resistant product on the market and still they just can’t get it straight enough. Then comes the question, should I chemically straighten my hair?? Hey but now there is Keratin smoothing treatments, which is better? What do they all mean? Let me explain how each product works and if they are the appropriate service for you.

Permanent straightening is the big guns in chemical services that are performed in salon. At Reds Hair & Co. our product of choice is Matrix Opti Smooth and just like a perm this product is used to break down the bonds in the hair and reform and neutralise them to a new state, straight or in a perming situation, curly. These chemicals that are breaking down the bonds are serious business and the most in depth consultation with your stylist is needed to determine whether your hair is suitable for this service and it is important to share your desired outcome so your stylist is aware of what you expect from the straightening. Most stylists would not perform a permanent straightening on blonde or heavily coloured hair as the hair bonds have already been compromised from colour services and to go ahead could cause breakage and possibly irreversible damage to the hair. Straightening can be performed on some coloured hair types though it must be in optimum condition. This is something that also needs to be addressed after the service. A professional home hair care regime is definitely required to add moisture and strength back to the hair after the straightening service, at Reds Hair & Co. we strongly advise this to keep your hairs condition at its best. Straightening may also inhibit future colour options as lightening over straightening can cause excess stress on the hair so your stylist may advise against it. Then of course there is the regrowth. As your hair grows your natural curl or movement will noticeably come back to the new growth area. It needs to be about three inches at least to have the solution successfully reapplied, a smaller regrowth may cause overlapping in the application which could be detrimental to the hairs condition. So all of this sounds complicated and extremely damaging to your hair, which it can be if not done by a professional. Straightening can be very beneficial to certain hair types . If your hair is frizzy and unmanageable having the straightening done may help smooth away the frizz and make your hair easier and quicker to style, that is a win. Some styling may still be needed to get your hair poker straight, especially when humidity is involved, so it is important to be realistic with the desired outcome of the service. This is something you should discuss with your stylist when you have your consultation done before the service is performed. Chemical straightening can take anywhere from approximately 4 – 6 hours to compete and you can’t get your hair wet for 72 hours after the service so take this into consideration when making your booking.

Now what are Keratin smoothing treatments all about? Before we get started on that the first myth is it is not a treatment as we know a traditional treatment. It is still a chemical service and should always warrant a thorough consultation as there are some hair types like very overprocessed, blonde hair or coarse afro hair that this service might not be appropriate for and would not achieve the best results.

Keratin smoothing services are fairly new to the salon service menu after being around for about 9 years. In our Cairns salon we use the Brasil Cacau Eco Keratin treatment. Unlike their chemical straightening counterpart Keratin smoothing treatments give more of a temporary result and concentrate on smoothing the hair texture instead of changing the hair structure permanently. When our hair becomes damaged from sun exposure, over styling or chemical services we lose keratin causing the cuticle layer which is the outside layer of our hair shaft to become quite ruffled leaving the hair texture frizzy and unruly. Imagine our hair is a road and the missing keratin are potholes which leave the road, or in this case hair shaft, bumpy.  When we perform a keratin smoothing service the gaps get filled creating a smoother surface resulting in less frizzy, easier to manage hair. The service can take anywhere from 2-4 hours and does require a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner afterwards to help maintain the result. At Reds Hair & Co we recommend the Elements range from Wella Professional. Unlike chemical straightening hair can be washed before the 72 hour wait period though styling may still be required to get your hair super straight. Keratin smoothing services are more about creating manageable, easier to style hair as opposed to dead straight hair and still allows you the versatility of wearing your hair curly or more natural. During the keratin smoothing service your hair colour may be affected. Sometimes we see blondes and greys go slightly brassy and darker colours may notice some fading so your hair may require a toner or semi permanent colour when your service is complete, this is something to discuss with your stylist during your consultation. The keratin smoothing is a temporary service lasting approx 3-6 months and the longevity is dependent on your lifestyle, how often you’re colouring and washing and how well you maintain the service with the correct home hair care regime. Something else to be noted is that keratin Smoothing is not recommended whilst pregnant or breastfeeding.

When deciding whether to go the permanent straightening or keratin smoothing route the most important thing is having an extensive consultation so your stylist is aware of your expectations from the service and you fully understand your responsibility in maintaining the result. Both services can provide amazing results when performed on the correct hair type but both have their disadvantages as well so making an informed decision is paramount. Come and see us at our Edge Hill salon for a complimentary consultation and find out which service would be best for you and your hair.

By Kelli Jones, 2019.