Her hair was destroyed.
It seemed like her hair had been trampled by a multi-ton truck.
Can you imagine what hair looks like after it has been trampled by a truck?
That’s what her hair looked like.
Why was her hair so frightfully damaged?
She told us she had had a keratin treatment.
When she said that, we didn’t need to know more.
It was clear why her hair was so damaged.
It was damaged because she had had a treatment with high concentrations of formaldehyde.
That’s why all her hair was burned and damaged.
There was no way to recover this woman’s hair.
It still saddens me when I remember it.
A few years ago, it was usual to hear these kinds of stories.
People who had ruined their hair or their scalps.
All this happened because they had used products with high concentrations of an ingredient called formaldehyde.
When formaldehyde that is present in hair treatments comes into contact with the heat of a flat iron it generates highly toxic and dangerous smoke.
Dangerous for the eyes.
For the airways.
For the skin.
And, of course, dangerous for the hair.
What’s the solution if you don’t want to end up with damaged hair?
The solution is to use formaldehyde-free keratin treatments.
But be careful.
Many brands, in their eagerness to sell, are capable of anything.
On the label of their products they state that keratin doesn’t have formaldehyde, but it turns out that it has other ingredients that are just as dangerous as formaldehyde – or even worse.
Why would they do such a thing?
Why would they endanger people’s health?
It’s all about money.
Saying that the product doesn’t have formaldehyde is an excellent advertising strategy that allows brands to sell a lot more.
Of course, some hairdressers aren’t left behind in this matter.
Despite knowing how terribly harmful these products can be to the health, they continue using them.
How can you choose a keratin treatment without formaldehyde that doesn’t damage your hair or endanger your health?
How can you choose a salon that ensures excellent results?
Where should you get the treatment? At home or in a salon?
In today’s article we are going to talk about all those topics and more.
Why are hair straightening treatments so dangerous to hair?
That day I woke up with watery eyes.
My head was pounding with pain.
My eyes burned so much I wanted to tear them off.
My mouth was dry.
I managed to get out of bed.
The whole room was spinning around me.
The windows looked smaller than they had been the day before.
The door seemed to squeeze out of its usual place.
I didn’t understand anything.
‘What’s happening to me?’ I thought.
I didn’t smoke.
I didn’t use any kinds of drugs.
I didn’t drink alcohol.
I dressed in the first clothes I found and left the room.
With much effort, I got to the kitchen.
I didn’t find my mom or my dad or anyone.
I went to the garage, where my mom had her hairdressing salon.
By that time of the day on Saturday there were already a lot of clients.
In the salon, there was a strong, penetrating smell and smoke so thick that I could barely recognize the faces of the people.
“Hello Carina, good morning,” said a lady whose hair was covered because she was getting a smoothing treatment.
I couldn’t respond to the woman’s greeting.
I had to run to the bathroom to vomit.
My mom thought I was sick from eating something bad, so she called a doctor who lived in the same neighborhood we did.
The doctor didn’t take long to discover the problem.
It was the heart-wrenching smell in my house. The problem was the toxic smoke we were so accustomed to breathing.
We lived with that smell. That’s why we hardly noticed it.
Where did this smell come from?
From the straightening treatments my mother did.
My mother was a hairdresser.
She had her salon in the garage next to our house.
Every Saturday at least 12 women came, ready to straighten their hair.
My mom’s clients cared about only one thing.
They wanted straight, silky, shiny hair.
And my mother gave them exactly that.
Thirty years ago, having hair that these treatments could provide was like driving a Mercedes Benz.
Straight and shiny hair was like a status symbol in the lower-middle-class neighborhood where we lived.
That’s why women loved this miraculous treatment.
Despite the incredible results these treatments gave, there was a problem.
A really big problem.
Many people had strong allergic reactions while receiving the treatment, or even later.
Reactions could range from dizziness to severe headaches to vomiting or stomachaches.
All that was what happened to me that day.
That perfect hair hid an abominable truth
To get straight and shiny hair, one used an ingredient called formaldehyde.
Obviously, my mother didn’t know anything about it at that time. Thirty years ago, nobody talked about hair treatment ingredients.
Nowadays, the use of formaldehyde is controlled by organizations like the FDA in the United States and equivalent organizations in other countries.
Even so, many brands or manufacturers say their keratin doesn’t contain formaldehyde but in reality they carry it hidden under another name.
At this point, it’s clear that if you’re looking for a keratin treatment, the best thing you can do for your hair and your health is to look for a formaldehyde-free keratin treatment.
But how can you avoid falling into the trap of keratins that say they come without formaldehyde but have it anyway?
Which formaldehyde-free keratin brands are reliable?
The two types of formaldehyde-free keratin: Which to choose and which to avoid
There are two types of products in terms of formaldehyde-free keratin:
1- Branded products
2- Unbranded products
Which of the two would you choose?
I’ll give you a few moments to think about your answer.
Why do I recommend using branded keratin?
That’s what we’re going to see now.
I will propose to you a business that will turn you into a millionaire overnight
Would you like to make a lot of money?
Would you like to become a successful businesswoman?
If you would like to earn a lot of money, I have an incredible business to propose to you.
It’s a very easy business to run.
It doesn’t require an investment.
And it has no risks.
If it works out, you become a millionaire.
If it goes wrong, you don’t lose anything.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
What’s the deal that’s going to make you a millionaire overnight?
We’re going to manufacture keratin treatments.
Yes. The same keratin treatments used by hairdressers.
Keratin treatments are so in demand, you can’t imagine it.
Where I live, there is one hair salon per block. Imagine how many keratin treatments we could sell.
Maybe hundreds. Thousands.
There are lots of recipes on the internet for producing keratin. Let’s use one of those recipes. Then we pack it and we put a cute label on it.
Then we will sell it at a very attractive price on online sales sites like Amazon, eBay or wherever.
Still with me?
Remember that you don’t need to invest anything.
Our product will have amazing success.
We’ll sell it by the thousands.
Our product is going to have a secret ingredient called formaldehyde.
A lot of formaldehyde.
That way, our product will leave the hair so smooth, silky and shiny that women will love it.
Our keratin is going to be a vice. Women will come back to the hairdresser again and again to get the treatment with our product.
We’re going to sell so much keratin that we’re going to be millionaires.
What do you think about the business?
It looks interesting, doesn’t it?
Now comes the bad news.
The business has a little problem.
It’s illegal in most ordered countries of the world.
It’s illegal because a person can’t start making cosmetic products in the living room of her house.
Do you remember that we said before that formaldehyde is a substance controlled by organizations like the FDA?
There are many unscrupulous small manufacturers that are doing this same thing. They manufacture products with high concentrations of formaldehyde and then sell them as being without formaldehyde.
They pack it and sell it by the liter. They get a phenomenal gain.
To close the circuit, dishonest hairdressers offer these treatments at such an attractive price that it’s impossible to say no.
After all, who doesn’t want smooth, silky, youthful hair?
Who can deny that?
Surely no one.
The problem is that these products damage the hair.
They damage the hair by their high concentrations of formaldehyde and other chemicals that are very aggressive to the hair.
These products have no brand; they’re not guaranteed.
Can you imagine how dangerous they are?
All this is solved if we use keratin without formaldehyde, which is offered by well-known brands. I’ll explain why.
Now do you understand why it is dangerous to use unbranded products?
Using unbranded products is dangerous because we don’t know their origin. We don’t know what ingredients they contain. We don’t know if the people who make them are really trained to make these products. We don’t know anything.
I’m not a big fan of hair product brands.
They deceive people with their misleading advertisements. They play with the wishes of people, promising impossible results. Hair cosmetics brands, just like millionaires, are unscrupulous.
In spite of all that, branded products are still the best and only option.
But Carina, are you crazy?
First you say that brands are rubbish, then you say that they’re the only option.
No, I’m not crazy.
Using unbranded products, made in the living room of a house, is much riskier than using branded products.
Using unbranded products is almost suicidal. It’s like jumping off a plane without a parachute.
A clarification before continuing.
If I still haven’t convinced you that it’s better to use branded formaldehyde-free keratins, I recommend that you close the page.
If you prefer to use cheap, unbranded keratin that will endanger your hair, everything that follows won’t interest you.
What formaldehyde-free keratin should you choose?
The three best formaldehyde-free keratins
There are many brands that provide keratin without formaldehyde.
In this article, I will talk only about keratins I know because I used them myself or they were recommended by colleagues.
These are formaldehyde-free keratins that work and are not harmful to the hair.
There are two ways to get these keratins.
The first and more logical option is to get it in your trusted salon.
The alternative method would be through specialty hair product stores or online stores.
What’s the best place to do the treatment? A salon or at home?
A few years ago, only hairdressers had access to products for keratin treatments.
Today the situation is different.
Nowadays it’s relatively easy to get any of the keratin treatments we named before.
They can be obtained in pharmacies, specialized stores, online stores, etc.
This is very good news but it’s also a double-edged sword.
Many people think that keratin treatments are easy to do. They buy the product, go home, do the treatment and end up damaging their hair because make a mistake.
In many cases, these mistakes can’t be undone.
That’s why I said that the fact that keratin treatments are easy to obtain is a double-edged sword. Only people who have experience with this kind of procedure should do it.
Otherwise, it’s better to go to a skilled professional in the field.
Let’s suppose you’re encouraged to make the treatment yourself at home.
What things should you consider before doing so?
Two essential things you need to know to make a formaldehyde-free keratin treatment at home
Have you ever smoothed your hair with a flat iron?
If the answer to this question is NO, I strongly recommend that you don’t try this type of treatment at home.
One of the key steps in all keratin treatments is use of a flat iron.
The flat iron is used to seal the treatment.
Many times I am asked, “Carina, can I do the treatment but without the ironing?”
The answer is no.
Doing the treatment without passing the flat iron is like wanting to make bread without leavening it. For the treatment to be complete, a flat iron must be used.
Using a hair straightener is not complex at all. However, it requires practice; otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your hair.
I’ll say it again.
What else should you know to do a keratin treatment at home?
The flat iron we talked about above is the most important thing.
The second most important thing is PATIENCE.
What does patience have to do with a keratin treatment?
It has a lot to do with it and I’ll explain why.
Every week I get comments from people who have had treatments done at home and who aren’t happy with the results. For some reason, their hair doesn’t look like it should after a treatment.
Of course, they always blame the product they used, the time, the husband, the children, or whatever.
That’s why if you’re thinking about doing a keratin treatment at home, you need patience.
Some people simply can’t do these treatments at home because they don’t have the patience to follow the needed steps.
As I said before, a keratin treatment is not difficult but you have to follow a series of steps to perfection. If you skip any of these steps, the treatment will go wrong.
If you don’t have the necessary patience, there is no reason to be distressed. It’ll be better for you to go to a professional salon that will ensure good results.
Going to a salon is more expensive.
That’s for sure. But at least you won’t endanger the health of your hair.
I won’t explain the steps involved in making a keratin treatment. I’ve already explained them more than once in other articles. Also, most products come with very clear instructions.
If you have doubts about any of the steps, let me know.
Remember that it’s very important to respect each step to get the perfect hair we’re looking for.
Now suppose you don’t have the time, nor the desire, nor the patience to treat yourself at home.
What option is left?
Go to a professional salon.
Professional salons can be very dangerous places. And this is no joke.
How to choose a professional salon and not end up with damaged hair
Have you ever gone to a job interview?
They’ll ask you about your education, experience, etc.
Have you ever asked for any of this information about your hairdresser?
No one asks her hairdresser to show her degree.
The other day I was walking around with one of my sons.
We were shopping.
At one point, we passed a small hair salon with some of its prices written on the window.
They were offering keratin treatment at really low prices.
I know how much one of these treatments should cost. I know the prices of the products and the margins. And their prices were suspicious
‘Something must be wrong,’ I thought.
As I’m very curious, I had to find out what was happening there.
With my best poker face, I entered the salon and asked about the keratin treatment being offered in the window.
Of course, I didn’t tell them I was a hairdresser. I introduced myself as a client.
They explained to me that it was a new “formaldehyde-free keratin treatment with I-don’t-know-what technology and blah blah blah.”
To which I asked if the product they used was branded or generic. They didn’t like that question.
They looked at me as if they didn’t know what I was talking about. They didn’t answer me.
So I have to assume they were using a generic product.
Which left me thinking the following.
It doesn’t matter if they promise you the best, smoothest hair in the world; you should always avoid these kinds of hairdressers. Always.
Many hairdressers don’t want to talk about these things. They prefer that people don’t know about these issues.
Why do some hairdressers do this?
Why do they endanger people’s health?
Generic or unbranded products are much cheaper than branded products endorsed by control agencies.
By using these unbranded products, hairdressers can offer the treatments at a ridiculously low price, like the salon I entered the other day.
In this way they sell more treatments and earn more money.
As you can see, nobody is safe in this dark world of hair beauty. Not brands, not hairdressers, not anyone.
Many women accept being part of this dirty business.
Are you one of them?
This reminds me of when my dog ate a whole plate of hamburgers. Is it my dog’s fault or mine because I left the hamburgers within reach?
People already know that poor-quality treatments can damage their hair, but they choose these treatments anyway because they’re cheaper.
Who’s guilty here? The unscrupulous salons that offer this treatment or the people who go there?
Each person is responsible for doing what he wants with her head. And with her hair. But we have to be well-informed before going to a salon to get a treatment.
What can we do to avoid trouble and not end up with damaged hair?
The first thing we must do is look for a professional-quality salon.
Professional salons work with branded products like those we named before.
To find the best salons in your zone, you could use sites like Yelp or even Groupon. On these sites, you can read other people’s experiences and then decide for yourself.
The last security layer before doing the treatment must be this key question.
Which keratin brand do you use?
If the answer is an evasion, don’t get the treatment in that salon.
I don’t expect you to know all the keratin brands on the market.
If they respond with a brand name you don’t know, it’s as simple as Googling it.
If you consider all these things, you shouldn’t have any problems; you’ll leave the salon with the most incredible hair you ever had.
What are the results of using formaldehyde- free keratin treatment?
Susan had been using keratin treatments for eight years.
She had never bothered to think about the ingredients in the treatments. She simply got this treatment because it left her hair smooth and shiny.
A couple months ago, she had a keratin treatment that destroyed her hair.
We don’t know if something failed in the procedure or if the product they used had expired. The truth is, something failed. And her hair was horrible.
After several months of pampering her hair with sulfate-free shampoos and good-quality products, her hair started to look better.
The problem is that Susan’s hair is curly and she likes to have it straight.
She was determined to have a treatment again. But she didn’t want to harm her hair with bad-quality treatments.
That’s when she contacted me, asking which hair treatment was best for her situation. As you can imagine, I recommended a formaldehyde-free keratin treatment.
I asked our friend Susan if she could write a few words about her experience with this kind of keratin.
Thanks, Susan, for sharing your story with us.
Now I would like to know your story.
Tell me about yourself and your hair.
Have you ever had a keratin treatment?
Were you happy with the results?