Thursday, March 3, 2011

Straight Talk

What is the craze about Keratin? Is it worth the hassle or coughing up $300? 
I have personally taken the journey through two straightening treatment options and give you the 411 on each. 

I was very intrigued when I saw the commercial for the Garnier Fructis Blow Dry Perfector. It claimed to straighten your hair, and shorten your blow drying time. On the downside, it only lasts up to 7 shampoos.
So, I decided to finally give Garnier a try. It comes in two simple steps: the 20-minute Smooth-It serum and the heat activated Perfect-It cream.  
The Step By Step
First, I had to shampoo my hair, I used a clarifying formula. Now, my hair was ready for the first step. To apply the serum, I separated my hair into 9 sections. I ran the serum over each section as I gently rubbed it into my hair.
Then, I combed over each strand to make sure it was coated. I have fine hair, but a lot of it, so I wanted to make sure that the Smooth-It serum penetrated my hair, especially my roots. I also left it in for 30 minutes instead of 20. It smelled horrible…like
ammonium thioglycolate (the same chemical used in perms), it was strong!

Finally, I tipped my head over the side of the bath and rinsed out the Smooth-It serum. After I towel dried my hair, I applied a few pumps of the Perfect-It cream. It felt creamy and didn’t weight my hair down when it was dry. It took about 15 min to blow dry my hair instead of the normal 30. I also flat ironed it.
My hair felt a little more dry and porous than normal. It didn’t turn out as straight as I was hoping it would be, but it definitely is shiny and my bangs stayed straight for days!
Key Ingredients: Cysteine and Rice oil
Average cost: $10
Results:  up to 7 shampoos
Post requirements: none.

Also known as Brazilian hair treatments, keratin hair treatments are a semi-permanent, hair-smoothing, curl-softening professional chemical treatment. These treatments are the newest trend in defrizzing and smoothing many textures of hair from curly to relaxed.

 Keratin hair treatments only last three to six months they only soften curl, eliminate frizz and can make hair healthier over time.

But the buzz about the treatments isn't all positive, mostly because many of the brands on the market contain Formaldehyde. This is what creates the long-lasting smoothing effect.
Indeed, there is a need of chemicals to make the process work. Chemist Doug Schoon, president of School Scientific in California agrees; To get "shiny, straight hair for months, formaldehyde or other aldehydes (which turn back into Formaldehyde at 450 degrees) must be used," he says. 
Formaldehyde is on the Department of Health and Human Services' "Reasonably Anticipated to Be Human Carcinogens" list, and has been linked to certain cancers like leukemia. But it is believed that the levels of formaldehyde found in these treatments are safe according to OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) especially when proper protection and ventilation are used. It is believed that in the course of getting their hair done, (clients) will never exceed the “safe” limit of formaldehyde exposure.

The different types of Keratin treatments offer similar but slightly different results. I had wanted to try the Brazilian Blowout for months. A friend had it done and her hair came out fab! I chose this specifically because I couldn’t imagine going three days without moving my hair! 
I have very curly hair, and a lot of it! I also have bangs, which are a total pain. I spend a ton of time blow-drying it everyday and then if I want it relatively straight I have to use the flat iron. Living in Charleston, the summer humidity is miserable and no matter how long I spend making my hair (and bangs) perfect, it is ruined when I walk outside!

Brazilian Blow Out Step By Step.
First things first… my hair was washed with a clarifying shampoo to remove any residue and product build up and blow dried. Then the treatment is applied section by section, and combed through the hair. Next, I sat under a dryer for a bit with the treatment on my head, before the stylist blow dried my hair a second time, and sealed the treatment by using a flat iron. (Tip: Ask for cotton which will lessen the burning sensation of eyes)

Next, the treatment is rinsed out, hair is blow dried and in my case flat ironed again. I opted for this treatment because I knew i didn't have to wait any time to style or wash it.  Now if you receive a keratin treatment other than Brazilian Blowout you will be done and walk out the door knowing you can't wash your hair, put it in a ponytail, get it wet or put it behind your ears for 72 hours.
 The entire process took a little longer than two hours (because I wanted to try the new hair tinsel too)!

Even though it wasn’t required, I didn’t wash my hair for a few days. When I did wash it for the first time it felt much softer and smoother. I did still have to blow dry it for it to be straight, but it took way less time and when I didn’t do anything, it wasn’t curly- just a little wavy. My bangs however still curl up. Hmpf.

Key ingredients: A proprietary polymer system and Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex 

Average cost: $350
Results: 3 to 4 months of suave hair
Post requirements: You can wash hair immediately and style as usual. Sulfate-free shampoos are recommended, infused with Keratin.

So you ask;  which would I chose? 
Neither. I hated the way Garnier made my hair feel and although my bangs stayed straight, i feel like i'm damaging my hair more than helping it.  I loved the Brazilian Blowout, especially how it made my hair feel and look and how easy it was... but not for the price! I will probably continue to get the keratin on my bangs, which usually runs about $75. 
So there you have it folks, the decision is yours!

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