Expert Advice

The Benefits of Keratin

Maggie Mulhern | July 11, 2011 | 12:21 AM
The Benefits of KeratinDoreen Guarneri, Master Keratin Artist and Simply Smooth Co-creator, discusses the benefits of keratin.(photo to the left)

How important is the consultation regarding a keratin treatment?

The consultation for a keratin treatment is imperative for a few reasons. For one, it is very important to understand the objective the client has in terms of the result. Do they want wash and wear straight hair? Are they looking to keep their curls and waves and just eliminate frizz? Do they want body in their hair or are they looking for it to be stick-straight? Also, it is highly important to evaluate the client's hair and their hair texture pattern. It is not uncommon for the same head of hair to have tight, wavy texture in one section and a looser, less tight wave in another section. This is why the ability to customize a keratin treatment is highly important. This customized process is what I refer to as "the art of keratin."

How do keratin products differ from one another?
Not all keratin is created equal. What I mean is, compare it for a minute to fruit in a fruit basket. Yes, it is all fruit but is an apple the same as an orange? I think not! Keratin can be comprised of human hair, or it can be synthetic. There are many quality grades that keratin can be comprised of. Keratin treatments also vary according to the amount of formaldehyde or the amount of cysteine that are in them. Formaldehyde is used as a preservative. Some keratin products work only with the cuticle or surface of the hair, while others go into the cortex and break bonds. It is important that you understand the type of keratin that you are working with and what it is intended to perform.

How can keratin be used on someone growing out a Japanese straightening treatment?
Clients who are growing out a Japanese straightening treatment need to be approached with a customized keratin treatment where different sections have different applications applied. For example, the re-growth may require a stronger keratin process such as Simply Smooth keratin (X-press). If this client has sections of the hair with uneven texture patterns, the use of Simply Smooth Designer Line pre-soft keratin primer may be inserted to even out the canvas.

How safe are keratin treatments for the stylist?
It is very important first that stylists understand the type of keratin they are working with and the formaldehyde level of the product. The CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) and HEALTH CANADA have set a safety standard for keratin treatments and have recommended a level of no higher than 0.20%. There are keratin treatments on the market that far exceed this safety level. My recommendation to stylists is to know the level of formaldehyde and check to be sure that the keratin product has been granted approval by the CIR and HEALTH CANADA within their country's laws or requirements.

What should clients' expectations be when receiving a keratin treatment?

This will depend mainly on the results they are looking to achieve. With the proper consultation and use of the correct keratin treatment, the client should expect to receive exactly what it is they desire. There are keratin treatments that fulfill the need for healthy, shiny hair with minimal texture reduction and there are keratin treatments that are going to provide the client with up to 100% texture reduction. There are keratin treatments that last up to 30 days such as Simply Smooth color lock and keratin treatments that create a line of demarcation such as Simply Smooth & Straight. It all depends on what the client is looking to achieve.

What are the do's and don'ts concerning keratin treatments?


Gain an understanding of your clients' needs and hair type through consultation. If a client is looking for wash and wear straight hair vs. texture and frizz reduction, this will predict what type of application is needed.

Examine the client's individual texture pattern. It is very possible that they require more than one keratin type of treatment during the same service on different areas of the hair.

Do your homework on the keratin treatment you are using to understand what it is designed to do. Not all keratin treatments are created equal and they are not all designed for the same results.

Make sure the product you are about to use meets the recommended safety levels by the CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) and HEALTH CANADA.


Don't assume one size fits all. There are many different types of keratins on the market that perform very different from one another. Customize to meet the needs of your clients and create client retention through your knowledge.

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