More Essential Keratin Questions

What will my hair look like?

For the first three days, before I could wash my hair, it looked limp and flat. At exactly the 72nd hour, I stepped into the shower, washed with my special shampoo and conditioner and for the first time in my life, my hair still felt smooth and silky. When I dried it, it was feathery soft like I'd been in the hands of a pro. And it didn't frizz out in humidity.

After about a month, I've become used to waking up with hair that's smooth rather than frizzy. I can even brush it. It reminds me of what everyone said after they got Lasik—they couldn't remember what life was like before it. I've almost forgotten the word "frizz" even exists.

 

 

How much will this mane miracle set me back?

The keratin solution is expensive, and the price varies according to how much hair you have. Translation: Thick or very long tresses will cost you, both because they use more solution and because it's a time-consuming process for the stylist, who revisits your hair several times and goes over each strand with a flatiron.

The range for the Coppola product is $300 to $500. At other places, I was told that short hair starts at $250. A shoulder-length bob would go for $350. Longer hair could be $400 to $500.

 

Can I do an at-home keratin treatment?

Yes, but with less dramatic results. Try a brand like Liquid Keratin 30 Day Straight Smooth Strong and Long Treatment ($49 at LiquidKeratin.com).

 

What's the difference between keratin and Brazilian keratin treatments?

As is the case with waxing and bikinis, the Brazilian version is more extreme. It will make hair straighter than a regular keratin treatment and the results will last longer.

 

How is a keratin treatment different from a chemical relaxer?

Keratin isn't a "relaxer." It's a conditioning treatment that just happens to straighten hair. "With keratin treatments, you're not breaking the inner, cysteine bonds of the hair like you do with the Japanese straightening or relaxing," says Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, NY. "This is going to make the hair fuller, appear thicker and richer, and make it heavier so it doesn't frizz. This is different because you are painting on liquid keratin to the outside of the follicle."

 

Will my hair dry quicker?

That's the marketing and stylist claim. My first blow-dry went well—and seemed faster than usual. When I let my hair dry naturally, it was hard to gauge total dryness. But no worries: According to Piet, the treatment is heat-activated, so drying and flat-ironing aren't as harmful as on untreated hair.

 

Will keratin affect my color?

Piet warned that his clients noticed a difference in hair hue (that it looked brighter). Mine did but it wasn't a bad thing, it wasn't the brassiness I associate with fading color.

 

Is there any way to tell how straight my hair will be?

It is impossible to gauge how a person's hair will react. Piet told me that I should expect to lose about 20 percent of the curl. Another stylist told me that the treatment wouldn't take away any curl, just the frizz.

My result: My hair was more like 80 percent less curly. When I let it air-dry, it had a loose, loopy wave—nothing like my usual corkscrews and kinks. "The first week, you might feel your hair is more flat," Piet says. However, as hair grows out, the curl may re-assert itself a bit at the root, giving you more lift on top.

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