Keratin Treatment Pros and Cons

Keratin hair treatment pros and cons maintenance side

Are you considering getting a keratin treatment? While this semi-permanent chemical hair process can be tempting for its ability to straighten and smooth the hair, it's not for everyone!

In this post we'll discuss 2 things:

1. How stylists and clients can figure out during the consultation what service is a best match.

2. Who should consider getting a hair keratin treatment and why, including the side effects and pros and cons.

The Benefit of Consultations

If you're a hairstylist or makeup artist, you already know the importance of asking the right questions to find out exactly what your client does and does not want, to discuss whether their vision is realistic given their God-given attributes/budget/maintenance habits, and to make sure they're not allergic to anything you might be using.

If you're a client, you also benefit from a detailed consultation - mainly for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your needs have been thoroughly considered.

And you are entitled to one before every single service. If you find yourself in the chair of a professional who does not begin their service with a detailed consultation that ends with your feeling peace and anticipation for the final result, please reconsider moving forward with the appointment.

I strongly believe in the power of over-communicating especially when it comes to sharp blades, chemical changes, and anything touching the face.

Below is an example of how I conduct the consultation for a keratin treatment via email. Some of the exchange has been edited to protect the client's privacy.

Read on to find out whether we ultimately decide to move forward with the procedure and why!

All About Keratin Treatments

Client: Would you advise for or against having keratin and a cut at the same time?

Kiki: My first question is why do you want to get a keratin treatment? And what kind of cut do you want? It looks like you have a lot of hair!

Client: I'm considering keratin treatment because my hair is naturally curly/wavy and so tends to frizz quite easily when it's humid.

I do have a lot of hair and I'd be interested in something that is a little more adventurous while still being manageable and professional, and something that shows off my face. I'm getting a little tired of standard long layers but it's hard for me to make exciting changes as I don't colour my hair! I used to have jaw-length hair for a number of years so I don't think I'm ready to go short again just yet.

My hair type is 2B/C, but I've been straightening it for over ten years and find it much easier to manage when straight then when wavy. It's also quite dry hair, and I have to wash it way more often when it's natural as the curls lose shape after two days, and I prefer to wash it every 5-7 days. I love how my hair looks when I use a curling wand, but I almost never have time to do that because it takes an extra half an hour as I have so much hair!

Kiki: Based on what you've told me, I would recommend trying a weight-removing hair cut and some new products to address the dryness/manageability.

Keratin treatments can be great for people whose hair lacks keratin/protein, usually from chemical processing.

However it doesn't sound like your hair needs protein, it sounds like it needs moisture and weight removal. Adding protein to hair that is already balanced protein-wise can actually make it brittle and prone to breakage. You can tell if hair needs protein by taking a strand of it while it's wet and pulling on it - if it stretches significantly, it needs protein. It's rare that hair that isn't colored, permed, or severely damaged needs protein.

Also, keratin treatments are harsh and can create side effects. They can aggravate skin and respiratory issues - even the "formaldehyde free" and organic keratin treatments are risky, since producers have been routinely cited as straight up omitting formaldehyde and related chemicals from their ingredients list to avoid scrutiny.

As someone with eczema (and formerly unmanageable hair), I hesitate to offer it to someone with eczema when I can think of several other safer, cheaper, and likely more effective alternatives to try out first. Keratin treatments have a high cost, often starting at around $300. They also require the ongoing cost of maintenance treatments as your new hair grows in.

Would you be open to a new cut and product regimen first? I really love creating cuts for people who struggle with their natural hair texture, and it can make a huge difference!

My clients routinely tell me that their hair air dries beautifully and is much easier to handle. And then if you still feel interested in a keratin treatment, I'm happy to revisit that conversation.

So the TL;DR version: through asking detailed questions about her hair type, hair care practices, current health concerns, and ultimate hair goals, we determined that a potentially risky, permanent chemical treatment was not the next best step for this client.

Here's the beauty of an honest consultation: sometimes the less expensive, less invasive option is a better fit for your needs! Yes, the professional may lose out on some short term income, but the client will trust you more for it, come back, and refer you to their friends.

Let me know if you have any thoughts on beauty service consultations or if you've gotten a keratin treatment and how that went for you!

You can leave a note in the comments or send me an email at if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thanks for reading!



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