Key ingredients: A proprietary polymer system and Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex (which the company keeps secret)
Average cost: $350
Results last: 3 to 4 months
Post-care requirements: You can wash hair immediately and style as usual. Sulfate-free shampoos are recommended.
"The treatment is life-changing," says TotalBeauty.com reader Anna who has naturally thick, coarse hair that gets frizzy, especially in the back. "I have long hair too so my styling routine takes me a good hour and 15 minutes for blow dry and straightening. I was getting tired of my hair maintenance routine but I didn't want to do a treatment that would be harsh on my hair, adding more damage in the long run," she says. "I can wash and go without using a dryer OR straight iron!!!" The best part, "It's been about two months now and I haven't had to use a blow dryer or flat iron since. I highly recommend it for anyone with hair like me. You'll absolutely love it!"
Key ingredient: The company claims the hair treatment is "aldehyde-free" but won't release a full ingredient list. They do claim it contains keratin amino acids and ceramides.
Average cost: $350
Results last: 3 months
Post-care requirements: You can wash hair immediately and style as usual. Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are recommended.
"My hair was frizzy and wavy," says TotalBeauty.com reader Rachel who has color-treated hair and had the treatment done two months ago. "My hair dries completely straight, it is not frizzy at all. I love the results, it saves me so much time every day not having to straighten my hair," she says. The treatment didn't irritate her scalp or make her eyes water, and "the [results] haven't worn off yet, and I am hoping they won't for a very long time," she says.
Key ingredients: Depending on the version you choose (they have three options), ingredients range from methylene glycol to aldehyde free.
Average cost: $300
Results last: 8 to 12 weeks
Post-care requirements: You can wash hair the next day and style as usual. Sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners are highly recommended.
TotalBeauty.com reader Carly, who has color-treated hair, did this keratin treatment for the first time "three years ago" because her hair is "very curly and frizzy." The treatment took about an hour and a half and "there was NO smell at all," she says. In addition she had no scalp irritation. She saw a "huge change" in her hair. Claiming it looked "smooth, shiny" and was "easy." She "would never live without it" and does it "religiously." The treatment lasts "about three to four months for me." She does claim you may "have less volume for the first few weeks after the treatment" but "after that, volume completely returns."
Key ingredients: formaldehyde, nano-molecular particles of keratin Average cost: $350
Results last: 4 to 6 months
Post-care requirements: You must wait 72 hours to shampoo or style your hair. Sodium chloride-free shampoos and conditioners are highly recommended.
"My hair is frizzy/thick/wavy/curly and I wanted it to be easier and quicker to manage," Michelle says. She shares her experience: "The whole process took approximately five hours the first day and then two hours three days later. They applied [the treatment] in very small sections using a plastic comb and then sealed it with a flat iron ... I have thick below-the-shoulder hair and I would say this part took at least two to three hours." Despite the time-consuming adventure, "I would definitely do it again ... next time I will be better prepared with books and magazines," she says. Even after eight months, "the results are still evident" and the treatment seems to "not wear out, it just grows out," she says.
Key ingredients: One version contains formaldehyde, one does not. The one without contains glycerin, keratin and propylene glycol, which they claim is the ingredient that bonds the keratin and conditioners to the hair.
Average cost: $350
Results last: 6 to 8 weeks (formaldehyde-free version) 3 to 4 months (formaldehyde version)
Post-care requirements: You must wait 72 hours to shampoo or style hair and sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are recommended.
Lorraine, who has Keri Russell-like curls and performs these treatments, has experienced the formaldehyde-free version of this one (along with the Brazilian Blowout and Keratin Complex). "If I never had the Brazilian Blowout, I would have loved it," she says. The main reason it's not her fave, "I still saw some fluff," she says. She does recommend it for people who want to "dip their toe in the water since it's the most gentle."
Keratin treatments for straight, smooth hair has reached major popularity among our readers. According to Eric Rosado, Artistic Director at Ted Gibson Salon in New York City, keratin treatments are truly, "the best option for defrizzing and smoothing many textures of hair from curly to relaxed."
Mauricio Ribeiro, creator of the Brazilian Blowout, says that since their launch, keratin treatments have evolved so much — and customers no longer complain about a strong chemical smell. That said, the process won't work without chemicals.
"To get shiny, straight hair for months, formaldehyde or other aldehydes must be used," explains Chemist Doug Schoon, president of School Scientific in Dana Point, California. "I believe [clients] have no risk" of being harmed by the treatments, he added.
Bottom line, the choice is yours when it comes to deciding if a Brazilian keratin hair treatment is right for you. To make your decision easier, read on to get answers to commonly asked questions about keratin and feedback from readers on some of the big-name treatments.
There are so many keratin hair treatments available now, so if we missed one that you love or one that you had a bad experience with, please tell us about it by commenting on this story.