Keratin is one of the substances most commonly used by the cosmetic industry. Let’s get to know what it is, how to use Keratin on your hair, learn more about its benefits, and discover its uses daily.
We all hear that Keratin is good for the hair. People say that it recovers the hair shafts, helps to soften the split ends and eliminate the dryness. None of this is a lie, but that nutrient is much more than that. Its powers make a real hair treatment, recomposing the hair fiber damaged by the hair dryer, by the sun, by the excess of chemical, and others.
Capillary treatments aim to help protect and treat the hair of pollution, external aggression, and more aggressive chemical treatments. However, with the increasing amount of treatments and products available on the market, it is essential that you have sufficient knowledge about choosing the right products for the type of damage that your hair is experiencing.
What Is Keratin?
The Keratin is a fibrous protein composed by more than twenty amino acids. Do you want to know all of them? Here you are aspartic acid, glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, asparagine, cysteine, phenylalanine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, glutamine, leucine, lysine, methionine, proline, serine, tyrosine, threonine, tryptamine and valine.
The hair contains water, lipids, and proteins, which correspond to more than 90% of the hair. The Keratin is an important part of the composition of the hair. It is the keratin fibers present in the capillary cortex that are most responsible for the strength, elasticity, shape, and strength of the threads.
The hair fiber is quite sturdy. When the hair is healthy, it takes great pressure to break the natural fiber. However, when the strands suffer some damage, they can become brittle and weak.
The pH of the Keratin is between 4 and 8, making it vulnerable to alkaline products.
The cuticle gives shine to the hair, and when it is damaged, the hair loses its softness. The health of the hair depends on the moisture content and the integrity of the hair. Currently, the most indicated product and used for capillary reconstruction is hydrolyzed Keratin or liquid Keratin. Wet and healthy hair stretches about 40% to 50%, returning to normal without breaking.
Keratin: How Does It Work In the hair?
One of the main functions of Keratin is protection, because it involves the threads with a film, making it more resistant. Also, Keratin contributes to the luster and texture of the hair.
As it has low molecular weight, it penetrates quickly into the hair fiber, strengthening and rebuilding it.
Cysteine is the amino acid that provides elasticity to the hair. Due to its properties, Keratin has in recent years been widely used by the cosmetics industry, as part of beauty and hygiene products composition. Among them, there are shampoos, conditioners, hair creams, enamels, hair care products, among many others.
With the increase of external aggression, such as pollution, dust, solar rays, wind, chemical products, aggressive procedures such as dyes, we observe damages to the structure of the hair. This is due to the elimination of the natural Keratin of the hair, causing breakage and weakening.
When we apply the Keratin on the hair, we are giving back to it all the elasticity and resistance it lost after the chemical processes. It promotes the reconstruction of the fiber and, consequently, leaving the hair stronger, shinier, and softer.
Super suitable for women with curly hair, who suffer more from dryness and opaque and spiky appearance, Keratin is also able to eliminate frizz and control the volume. According to the specialist, it seals the cuticle and leaves the hair more moisturized.
Types Of Keratin
Keratin has high penetration in the hair, helping to increase the shine and the volume of the hair. It also improves the hydration and the appearance of the hair.
There are several types of Keratin: Liquid Keratin, Hydrolyzed Keratin, hydrogenated Keratin, vegetable keratin, and animal keratin. Here are some of the benefits of each type:
This type of Keratin is in a more concentrated form, and you can use it in smaller amounts. It is very potent, and you should use it when your hair is damaged and brittle.
It is present in the composition of shampoos, creams, masks, conditioners, and can be found purely in ampoules for home use.
Just sprinkle on hair, without exaggeration. You can use it pure or mixed with creams and hair masks.
Hydrolyzed Keratin For Your Hair
Hydrolyzed Keratin is industrially processed Keratin and dissolved in water. It easily penetrates in the hair and quickly recovers the damaged cuticle. It has low molecular weight and does not weigh the hair. We can find hydrogenated Keratin in the liquid, gel, and some reconstitution products. We recommend you to use it a couple of times a month, or every fifteen days.
Due to the moisturizing capacity, Keratin increases the water content of the hair, restoring the shine. Hydrolyzed Keratin is excellent to provide intensive strengthening of unstructured, brittle, and elastic hair. Some of the main characteristics of Hydrolyzed Keratin are:
- Strengthens and restructures hair shafts.
- It restores losses due to chemical aggression as well as natural agents (sun, dust, salt, etc.).
- The increased collagen favors the emollience of the hair.
Hydrogenated Keratin For Your Hair
This Keratin is the most common one. We can see it in a lot of cosmetics. Its use is suitable for maintenance of lighter hair treatments, so if your hair is severely damaged, this version may not be enough. We also do not advise daily use. The best is to use it only when you feel that the hair fiber requires special care.
Vegetable Keratin (Phytokeratin) For Your Hair
It is very similar to the natural Keratin present in our hair. There are also hydrolyzed or hydrogenated versions. Its composition is hydrolyzed proteins from rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, and algae.
Animal Keratin For Your Hair
Usually, this Keratin comes from sheep’s wool, bird feathers. It is broken down by small amino acids to penetrate the cuticle (outer part of the strands) and remain in the hair shaft. If you apply incorrectly or excessively, it can look bad on your hair.
When to use Keratin?
The hair already has Keratin, but because of daily aggressions (coloration, pollution, discoloration, chlorine, sun rays, etc.), it ends up losing that protein.
Whether it’s the sun, whether it’s drying and straightening hair or simply pollution, several aggressions cause the superficial scales of hair to open and leave the inner layer exposed, resulting in loss of water, nutrients and, of course, keratin.
Thus the amount of this protein that naturally exists in the hair is lost, leaving the hair more fragile.
If you are getting weak, damaged and elastic, then you need to start making keratin reconstruction to replace the Keratin in the hair and give it a beautiful, healthy look again. In comparison to other treatments, reconstruction is the most potent stage of the capillary schedule.
You can define the frequency of use from the needs and care, as well as the condition of the hair.
In general, for healthy hair, you should use Keratin once every 15 days. If your hair does not have as much need of care, you can apply Keratin every 20 days. If your hair is in a critical condition, very brittle and elastic, you should do a weekly keratin treatment.
How To Know If Your Hair Needs Keratin Reconstruction?
If you have excessively used hair dryer or did some chemical procedure on your hair, such as discoloration or straightening your hair needs keratin reconstruction. It is time for this procedure if you attend a lot of pool or beach, and it’s been three or more months since you last used Keratin.
If you want to know precisely if your hair needs reconstruction, a porosity test is the best. To do this, take your hair and put it in a transparent container with water.
The hair shaft reaction will tell you the results. If the hair floats, this means that the cuticles are healthy. If the hair does not sink but also doesn’t float, it needs nutrition to ensure the replacement of lipids. But if the hair sinks, it means that it is porous and needs rebuilding keratin reconstruction.
Another way to know if your hair needs Keratin is to analyze your hair. Take wet hair and stretch it. If your hair extends but decreases when you let it loose, it means that it has enough Keratin. If your hair stretches but does not diminish when loose, it needs Keratin. In case your hair doesn’t stretch, break, your hair needs hydration. In some cases, hair can stretch and break, which would indicate that it needs Keratin and moisturizing.
My hair does not need Keratin when it is silky, shiny, and full of life. Also, if my hair is hard, there is an excess of Keratin, so do not use Keratin at all
Professional Treatments With Keratin
There are several treatments with Keratin, which can be done at home or in the saloon. Many of the products that we use daily already contain Keratin in smaller portions such as shampoo, conditioner, masks, and creams.
Keratin treatments consist of using a more intense load of the substance, aiming at rebuilding and replenishing lost protein levels over time.
Some of the most accomplished keratin treatments in salons are:
In this treatment, a brush is attached to a device containing liquid Keratin. This brush releases the protein in the form of steam and penetrates the hair shafts. In the end, a flat iron seals the product for better absorption.
Cauterization (or Capillary Plastics)
Cauterization is done with a lot of Keratin and acts as a capillary plastic. This treatment involves several stages. In the salon, first, the hairdresser passes a special shampoo to open the scales. Then a generous layer of Keratin is applied, and the hair is brushed. After that, a very hot plate seals the Keratin in the hair shafts. It is not a straightening process, but leaves the hair softer, moisturized, and completely renewed. This treatment should be done in 3 to 4 sessions, with intervals of 20 days, on average.
The cauterization should be done only by professionals because if executed incorrectly, can burn the hair.
It is a replacement of proteins, Keratin, amino acids and minerals in the hair; indicated for hair with excess chemistry, opaque, brittle, rough, dry, and difficult to comb. As a result, hair gains shine, softness, and movement.
Ways To Use Keratin In The Hair
There are several ways to use it. The first step is to wash the hair with anti-residue shampoo, to eliminate any dirt and potentiate the absorption of the nutrients.
It is essential to follow some tips before using Keratin for the hair, because when used in excess, it can cause the opposite effect, hardening the hair fiber. Also, try to take a break of at least 15 days between each application and never apply directly to the scalp.
Here are some ways to use Keratin on your hair:
Pure liquid Keratin can be applied directly to the hair, dividing the hair into strands and applying from the half-length to the ends. Letting it act for about 15 min. After that dry around 60% with the dryer, rinse and apply conditioner cream or moisturizing mask.
In your hair mask
You can mix a few drops of Keratin in your hair masks to increase the potential of the product. Apply strand by strand and let it act as indicated on the label of your favorite mask.
Combined with the heat, you can apply the Keratin on small strands. Then dry your hair completely and shape the flat iron. Leave it to act for 15 min, then wash thoroughly removing the product and apply a conditioner of your choice.
Other Ways To Use Keratin
There are many shampoos and conditioners with Keratin in their formula, but for a more effective treatment, it is necessary to use concentrated products with Liquid Keratin.
Wash your hair with an anti-residue shampoo, and apply the liquid Keratin on the hair separated into strands. Leave on for 15 minutes, rinse and proceed with the usual conditioner application.
Wash your hair with an anti-residue shampoo, remove the excess water, and apply keratin strands by strands avoiding the root. Let it act for 15 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly and apply a moisturizing mask. After that rinse again and finish with a little conditioner at the ends. Rinse again and allow to dry naturally.
Keratin In Hydration
After the shampoo, dry the hair with a soft towel. Mix the Keratin in your moisturizing cream and apply on your hair to the length and ends. Massage gently into the most damaged parts, thus promoting better absorption of the product by the fiber. Leave in the hair for the indicated time on the product’s label. Afterward, wash it well and finish with the conditioner.
Keratin Does Not Replace Hydration.
The use of liquid Keratin is a complementary treatment, so it will not replace capillary hydration. Ideally, in case of aggression like straightening and discolorations is to create a schedule of treatments, alternating hydration, nutrition, and restoration with Keratin. In this case, the first two are more frequent, and the use of the protein is only 1 or 2 times a month.
Another tip of immense importance! Write down too! 😉
Knowing to use, Keratin is an excellent product in the treatment of the hair. However, it is important to observe the appearance of your hair before, during, and after the application. Suspend the use of Keratin if you notice any sign of a problem or unexpected results.
Does Excess Keratin Harden The Hair?
In the eagerness to display beautiful hair, we often exaggerate. An example of this is the excessive use of Keratin, which can kill your hair. The Keratin is a protein made up of 15 different amino acids.
Due to daily aggression, such as the sun, the flat iron, the dryer, the wind, among others, we constantly lose a small amount of Keratin. When hair goes through chemical processes (straightening, relaxing, various brushes, discoloration, and tinctures), the hair loses a higher amount of Keratin, which leaves the hair fragile, elastic, and brittle.
This is because chemical procedures change the structure of the hair, leaving the inner layer open and therefore vulnerable. The visible result, in addition to fragility and elasticity, is porosity, dryness, and opacity.
To reverse this picture, it is not enough to hydrate and nourish your hair. It is essential to restore the lost Keratin. We can do this by reconstructions and cauterizations processes. It turns out that in the agony of getting immediate results, we end up overdoing and using too much Keratin.
What Causes Excess Of Keratin?
It is very common to think that our hair needs weekly reconstruction, when in fact it needs, except in extreme cases, a monthly reconstruction or, at most, biweekly. I recommend following the capillary schedule for best results.
It takes a lot of care with the products that we use because hardly a hair will need shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, ampoule, and thousands of other treatments based on Keratin. Using this amount of product with Keratin will cause the reverse effect because the hair will become rigid, hard, and rough, and may even break. Excessive Keratin overloads the hair and can cause tremendous damage.
Remember that it is like a protective cover on the strands, pure protein and fibers, so their excess can be harmful.
Too much Keratin in the hair creates stiffness in the hair fiber. This causes dryness because it locks the hair from any moisture, and can also cause the hair to break as it becomes incredibly stiff.
My Hair Has Excess Keratin. What To Do?
If after applying Keratin your hair becomes hard, brittle and dull, it is certainly excess of Keratin. To solve this, nothing better than humidification with extra virgin olive oil. And stay away from Keratin for a long time.
Another tip: every time you use Keratin, first wash your hair with anti-residue shampoo to remove any traces of products that may interfere with the use of Keratin.
Remember, everything that is too much can have the opposite effect. Even a simple moisturizing, in excess, can make your hair dense and opaque! Nowadays, numerous products, like shampoo, conditioner, and masks, already have Keratin in their composition, and therefore, we already make frequent use of it.
Keratin Hardened My Hair, Now What?
As I said above, excess Keratin damages the hair. But what to do when the damage is already done? How to reverse the picture and return to show soft, hydrated, and loose bundles?
The solution is to wash the hair with a shampoo for oily hair because it “cleans” more than the ordinary shampoos. This solution is perfect for blonde or dyed hair. Another option is the anti-residue shampoo if you have no chemistry in the hair.
After washing the hair with shampoo, it is time to invest in products that contain high lipid load, as well as nourishing them to provide emollience that your hair needs.
My tip of emollient products is vegetable oils, such as avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter.
Of course, the hair will not return to normal in a day, but gradually the appearance will no longer be so rigid.
Yellow in The Hair?
The vast majority of keratins have yellowish pigmentation. Look for Keratin with clear pigmentation. I’m blonde and, I use Joico’s liquid Keratin, which has transparent, non-yellow pigmentation.