Give clients the texture they’ve always wanted.

What if there was a product that allowed you
to give clients exactly what they want? It
could be used to straighten, loosen or defrizz
waves and curls without damaging hair
or creating an awkward grow-out period. What if this product
could be used on any hair type to make the hair softer and
shinier? And what if it boosted profits for salons and stylists
by creating an entirely new market?

That product, say some stylists, now exists. Keratin
treatments have exploded onto the scene, generating buzz
among consumers and stylists alike.

A Cure for Frizz?

Three years ago, a handful of keratin companies existed—
pioneers like Brazilian Keratin Treatment by Marcia Teixeira,
Keratin Complex by Coppola and Global Keratin. At July’s
2010 Cosmoprof North America show in Las Vegas, there
were more than 40 companies offering keratin treatment
products, from large hair-care companies to small start ups.

“To have a product like a keratin straightener is a breakthrough,”
says Stephanie Kocielski, a John Paul Mitchell
Systems education director with A Robert Cromeans Salon
in San Diego.

Curl and Order: Keratin Treatments
Before her Global Keratin treament, this model had unmanageable waves and frizz. After, she wears a sleek mane. See the how to steps for this look >

Curl and Order: Keratin Treatments
The Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin treatment requires stylists to use a 450-degree flatiron to pass through small sections of the hair as a final step to seal treatment.

Not so long ago, the only option to remove texture in the
hair was to use a product containing sodium hydroxide—
lye. Next came relaxers containing ammonium thioglycolate
(nicknamed “thio relaxer”), a gentler service.
Most recently, those opting for a straighter look flocked
to Japanese thermal reconditioning, a chemical process that
permanently alters the internal structure of the hair shaft,
rendering it totally straight. Thermal reconditioning (TR)
was an all-or-nothing proposition, and many women with
texture weren’t willing to commit to it.

But keratin treatments have not been without their share
of controversy either. When they first came on the scene, the
formulas contained formaldehyde—sometimes in high concentrations.
Formaldehyde is listed as a carcinogen by a number
of health and safety agencies. Now many of the treatments
are lower or free of formaldehyde and aldehydes, a family of
compounds that straighten the hair. Many of the aldehydes
are naturally derived and less toxic than formaldehyde.
Additionally, some stylists and clients may wear masks
to protect themselves from any irritants.

A World of Options

Today’s new wave of relaxers, silkeners and smoothers give
clients and stylists more choices than ever.

“It’s all about making your texture—whatever it is—better,”
says Sasha Polit, marketing manager
for Global Keratin Smoothing System. “If
you want to change the texture, we offer
that option, but if you want to work with
your natural texture, we also offer that
Global Keratin offers Light Wave, for
those who want to keep their natural
texture; Curly, for those who want more
straightening capability; and Resistant,
for the straightest look.

Methods vary, but the most
commonly-used keratin treatment
involves the stylist washing
a client’s hair with a clarifying
shampoo, applying the
keratin treatment and then using
a flatiron to straighten the
hair and “seal” the treatment.

Curl and Order: Keratin Treatments
ISO’s Maintamer is a semipermanent retexturizer.

“In the past, there weren’t
a lot of options,” says Darby
Shields, associate artistic director
for ISO, which developed the Maintamer, a semipermanent
retexturizer that softens and smooths naturally
curly or previously permed hair. “You either had floppy hair,
curly hair or straw hair. There wasn’t a lot in between. It was
a big decision for people to do something so permanent with
their hair. Maintamer is reversible the next day.”

With the variety of new options comes an increased
need for communication between stylist and client.

“When they start asking about a treatment, you have to
dig deep into what they really want,” says Amanda Jenkins,
master stylist and education director at Arrojo Studio. “Can
they achieve it without a chemical treatment? I ask my
clients to bring in pictures so we’re both very clear about
what they’re expecting. It’s all about the consultation.”

Sleek Service

Some clients may want their hair completely straight. In
that case, Kocielski says she may suggest The Relaxer by
JPMS, a sodium hydroxide relaxer that eliminates curl.

“Some people think they’ll be able to wash their hair and
it will dry straight, but that’s probably not the case with a
keratin treatment,” she says. “Keratin treatments can condition
and soften the hair, but they don’t always straighten it.”

Curl and Order: Keratin Treatments
The PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer relaxes (like on this model) or texturizes all hair types with a non-chemical formula. It comes in two levels: one for fine, delicate hair and one for coarse, resistant hair. See the how to steps for this look >

Price is also an important consideration. Keratin treatments
and other types of chemical relaxers cost several
hundred dollars,
and may need to be
redone every three
to five months.
For the stylist,
keratin treatments
have provided a
way to make their
clients happy and
boost their profit
margin at the same
time. One 32-ounce bottle of the KeraFusion System from
De Fabulous can generate $4,000 for the stylist, says
Rebecca Letizia, marketing director of De Fabulous.

In addition to the in-salon treatments, companies like
Keratin Complex, Global Keratin and Marcia Teixeira Brazilian
Keratin Treatment offer maintenance products designed
to extend the life of the service and enhance the results.
These products can also boost retail sales for the salon.

“These clients will come back every three to five months,”
Polit says. “The more they use the product, the shinier, softer
and more manageable their hair will be. You’re building
a client for life.”

Smooth Operators
Here are a few of the keratin treatments available on the market today:

Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy by Coppola ( Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy was founded by stylist and salon owner Peter Coppola. The therapy eliminates up to 95 percent of frizz and curl and instantly adds shine and condition to the hair.

Marcia Teixeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment ( This treatment is for all kinds of hair to leave it soft, shiny and frizz-free for up to four months. It can be used safely on just about any type of hair—dry, frizzy, overprocessed, color treated, ethnic unprocessed virgin hair.

Pravana Kerafusion Keratin Treatment ( This salon service permanently transforms coarse, curly, unruly hair to smooth, straight and shiny. Or, it makes fine, limp hair voluminous. It contains no thio, no sodium hydroxide, no formaldehyde, no aldehydes. As part of the Keratin Fusion service, Pravana’s Thermal Insulator protects the hair during the texture control.

Brazilian Blowout ( Through the use of a Brazilian Super Nutrient Complex and a proprietary polymer system, the Brazilian Blowout improves the condition of the hair by creating a protective protein layer around the hair shaft to eliminate frizz and smooth the cuticle. Results last up to 12 weeks.

Global Keratin ( The Juvexin Hair Taming System incorporates a keratin formulation which protects the hair and prevents damage to hair surface. The system is an organic, active complex component, delivered to the hair in its raw, natural state. Amino acids and proteins remain whole to condition hair and protect it from damage caused by environmental factors.

ISO Maintamer ( ISO Maintamer Straightening System is a two-step straightening system that smoothes coarse hair, taming unruly curls and waves, un-perming ends and controlling frizzy hair. Maintamer uses a damage-free, thio-free, lye-free Isoamine technology that processes primarily within the cortex of the hair, to minimize damage to the cuticle while altering the pattern of naturally curly or previously permed hair to soften and smooth.

La Brasiliana ( Intense treatment that softens, smoothes and relaxes all hair types. Available in Original, Apple and Mocha varieties.

PhytoSpecific PhytoRelaxer ( This non-chemical relaxer relaxes or texturizes all hair types. Formulated with molecules from egg and soya, it is odorless and does not contain lye. It’s available in two levels: for fine, delicate hair and one for coarse, resistant hair.

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