The K-word was big news. But what does the beauty buzzword actually mean?
Well, keratin is a structural protein found in our hair, nails and skin. It’s responsible for keeping our hair strong and smooth, and acts as a barrier to block out frizz-inducing humidity. When the strands of our hair have less keratin, they become weaker and more porous (read: more susceptible to going all ‘Monica in Barbados’), so keratin treatments provide a healthy boost of the protein to fill in the gaps.
Remember when keratin exploded onto the haircare scene over 10 years ago? It took the beauty industry by storm, with clients flocking to salons for the sought-after smoothing treatment that eliminated frizz and boosted shine on a semi-permanent basis.
However, there were potential drawbacks to those pro-strength treatments. Many were known to contain ingredients – such as methanal and methylene glycol – that, when mixed with water during the treatment, release formaldehyde, which is categorised as a carcinogen.
“Early keratin treatments contained formaldehyde or methylene glycol, but these were banned due to concerns over health and safety,” Jez Barnett, founder of KeraStraight, told GLAMOUR. “Modern formulations use ingredients like a glyoxylic acid-carbocysteine mix, which strengthens, repairs, smooths and straightens.”
But while professional keratin treatments have come a long way, they can still be time-consuming and costly. The good news is that, thanks to the demand for at-home keratin treatments, plenty of haircare products now incorporate keratin for frizz-free, sleek strands. So, you can show your hair some TLC and reap the benefits of this powerhouse protein at home.
There’s the Joico Revitaluxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment – available from Beauty Bay – a mask which you leave on for just three-five minutes. It’s wonderfully reparative and great for those in a rush. We also love the Frank Body Caffeinated Hair Mask which uses a combination of niacinamide with hydrolysed keratin to really up hair’s overall health, and for the best keratin shampoo, look towards Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Joia Strengthening Smoothing Shampoo which leaves your hair smelling incredible.
Whether it’s a keratin-infused heat protection spray or a deep-conditioning mask, these protein-packed treatments will leave you with sleek, super-smooth and stronger-than-ever strands. Here are our top picks…