Exactly a year ago today, I was immersed in a dilemma that involved my overly dry and unruly tresses. I had just released my hair from seven months of braiding after a disastrous affair with a texturizer that involved mismatched Paul Mitchell products and unrelenting breakage. It was time to face the music and dedicate myself to nursing my fragile strands back to health and so I immediately called up my trusted stylist who was back in New York. During my consultation, she announced that she had a remedy and as I took in the deets about the magic potion, I was beyond elated. It sounded like a dream come true! A protein treatment that enhances your texture without permanently altering it, and it is ALL NATURAL.
Despite the high price point, I gave in because I was desperate for a reprieve and I needed a solution to a problem that was infringing on my ability to function daily. The first time I received the keratin treatment, my hair felt like it had been substituted for someone else’s blessing. To illustrate, the process involves working in the treatment into your hair and then flat ironing it in order to for your hair strands to bond with the formula. Then you have to ensure that you keep your hair straight for at least 72 hours, and in that time you can’t get it wet or do anything to alter the structure. Once the time limit has passed you can do anything you want with your hair.
The miracle happened almost immediately for me. My hair was 100% softer and literally obeyed the wind when I stepped outside and it had a certain amount of luster that I hadn’t seen in years. As the weeks went by, things only got better, and I was mesmerized by how manageable my hair had become. I was able to rock a wash and go without worrying about frizz or shrinkage.
Fast-forward 12 months later and I am singing a very different tune. I got my last keratin treatment this past August and weeks later I noticed that my hair was literally disintegrating before my eyes. It was shedding profusely and my texture had become disturbingly brittle.
So I did my research and unearthed some disturbing facts. I found out that keratin treatments are not all natural, they actually do alter your texture and most importantly it contains a key ingredient – formaldehyde. I was absolutely horrified by this fact because formaldehyde is a chemical used to embalm the deceased and even the most limited exposure can increase your risk of cancer. I had this treatment done 3 times, and I did suffer the symptoms associated with exposure and they included, eye irritation, burning sensation in my throat and stuffy nostrils. For whatever reason it never occurred to me to ask why the product they were applying to my hair was so potent. I just assumed it was part of the procedure and I trusted they wouldn’t knowingly put me in a risky situation. But now that I have discovered that this key ingredient is absolutely essential in order to guarantee great results, I am astounded that hair stylists don’t feel any sense of duty to inform their clients beforehand of the risks they are taking by undergoing this treatment.
If I had known that formaldehyde was involved in this process, I never would have agreed to get a keratin treatment. And yes, some of the salons claim that they have a very small percentage of this deadly chemical but believe me even a drop of it is enough to increases your chances of getting cancer.
There are also salons that swear the keratin treatments they offer don’t contain any trace of formaldehyde, but the truth is that you will never know for sure and according to my research, formaldehyde is a vital and active ingredient, and without it, you don’t get the best results.
I was forced to undergo the big chop in order to rid myself of the dead hair and coincidently, I am meeting more and more women who have had similar experiences and they are also outraged that they were not privy to how dangerous the keratin treatment can be to your health. The stories start off great because it takes almost a year for your hair to fall apart and then it ends dramatically.
If you are considering this treatment please be mindful of the hazardous consequences and tread lightly. As for me, I plan on finding a way to get the word out so that salons are held accountable and forced to warn their clients of the dangers that lie ahead because nothing is worth sacrificing your wellbeing.