How do Brazilian keratin treatments really work?

brazilian keratin treatment

What is the truth about Brazilian Keratin Treatments?

Brazilian keratin treatments are a really popular process right now, and are being discussed on the internet, television, and in popular beauty magazines. I must confess that my initial reaction was a negative one, as I found myself thinking "Oh, fantastic; they have found yet another way to reinforce the image of curly hair as the ugly stepchild of cosmetology." However, once I read some of the personal experiences of fellow curlies, such as that of Michelle Breyer, co-founder of, I became intrigued and began seeking information about this procedure — particularly information on a scientific and mechanistic level.

What I found was a baffling morass of spectacularly attractive claims, a lot of proprietary ingredients, a whole lot of nothing regarding the actual chemical mechanism by which these processes work, and a lot of controversy regarding the use of potentially harmful ingredients and very high temperatures. A variety of results have been reported, ranging from exceedingly satisfied and ecstatic customers, to those who were mildly disappointed, to a number of consumers reporting dramatic and significant hair loss.

I feel a little like Dorothy setting out on the road to find the Wizard of Oz. There seems to be a lot of smoke and mirrors in use, and I really, really want to know who (or what) is behind the curtain. This article will be my first attempt to penetrate the veil of mystery surrounding these hair treatments. I suspect that some follow-up research will be necessary, and at least one more article on this topic will be in my near future.

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Tonya McKay

Tonya McKay Becker is a curly-haired polymer scientist and cosmetic chemist whose academic and industrial research experience have provided her with expertise in the fundamentals and applications of polymer science and colloid chemistry. She has long had a fascination with the structure-property relationships of the complex solutions used in hair and skin care products, and how they interact with and impact these remarkable biological substrates. Ever curious, Tonya has dedicated herself for more than a decade to honing her expertise on the science of curly hair, how it differs from straight hair, and how product ingredients used on curly hair affect its health and beauty. Her passion for sharing this knowledge with others has led to her current career of educating people from all backgrounds who share an interest in this exciting field.