I often get from potential clients – I’m afraid that my hair will be damaged and too straight with no life after the keratin treatment. Then I ask them where did you get this from? The internet? The one friend who had an extreme experience with their hairdresser? Or even worse, from their own hairstylist who doesn’t believe that a keratin treatment will improve their hair?

Unfortunately, Keratin Smoothing treatments have gotten a bad rap via the media and social media scandals because of a few companies who weren’t honest about the presence of very toxic ingredients back in 2010- specifically formaldehyde and any other form of it under a plethora of other names. And these ingredients are considered carcinogens. In Canada, cosmetics are restricted by Health Canada and in 2011, they removed all products on the market with any levels of formaldehyde. Despite all that, as there is no cosmetics restrictions in the United States (only recommendations by the FDA), the majority of hairstylists who apply keratin treatments, still use products with a form of formaldehyde, even at their own detriment.

We are now 2020 – almost one decade later. What I will tell you is that just like every other industry in our ever-changing world, the technology for Keratin Smoothing Treatments has changed in the last 8 years. So soon after the 2011 formaldehyde scandal with some very well known companies, these companies and many others came up with a formaldehyde-free solution to provide a non-toxic option to the salons. But, after having enjoyed the results of formaldehyde solution, clients and hairstylists were very disappointed by the results of the new healthy solutions. Mostly, frizz would be eliminated and some solutions provided relatively healthier looking hair but the curl was still there and results only lasted maybe a month or two, if they were lucky.

Over the last few years, the technology has changed quickly. The technology using acids and proteins to bond the keratin to the hair has improved in leaps and bounds. But the audience stayed skeptical and, converting them from formaldehyde to no formaldehyde has been a very difficult feat to accomplish. Why would a hairstylist want to perform a 3 hour process all to have a client who doesn’t get the full results? No one wants to waste time, money, and end up with a bad reputation. It just wasn’t worth it to change over.

Yet, no one wants to get cancer! So as chemists in the industry worked hard to find a solution, new formulas, containing ingredients such as glyoxylic acid, amino acids and proteins started to pop up. In the last five to six years, these formulas were improving exponentially, all to the point of getting results equal to, if not better than the old formaldehyde solutions. The main issue was that the hairstylists had to believe that it could happen and also, they would need to adjust the techniques in which they would apply the products.

So it’s 2020 and the industry trends are – health, organic, natural, green. The keratin industry is becoming more advanced in the goals of keeping it non-toxic as well as getting results. Today, there is a growing number of hairstylists in the United State and Canada who are now using the formaldehyde-free keratin smoothing treatments and are getting the results they and their clients can be proud of.