Keratin, we’ve all heard of it, it is constantly mentioned in the haircare industry. But do you know what it actually is? We’re going to look at how and why it’s used in the hair industry, where it is derived from, and the key difference between a keratin treatment and shampoo that contains keratin! Let’s demystify Keratin!

 

Human hair is mostly made up of a protein called Keratin

Fun fact!
The average human hair is 89% keratin. If you’re on Asian background, this can be as high as 94% keratin, while those of African descent can be at 84% Keratin. Generally, the more keratin hair has, the smoother it appears.

 

Damaged hair is due to keratin loss, this breakdown of keratin in the hair makes the hair brittle and frizzy. If you were to look at damaged hair under a microscope it would look like a corn cob with a few kernels missing...

If your hair is damaged, keratin products will be great to fill in those gaps and strengthen your hair to prevent further damage. 

Keratin sources are vast and where they are derived vary from brand to brand. Most hair care brands are cruelty-free and hence the keratin is derived from wool in animals which is harvested through the spring molting process. 

Not all keratin shampoos are made equally. The size of the keratin molecule and the quality of the keratin and the amount of keratin make a difference in the product's performance. The smaller the molecules, the deeper they can penetrate the hair and strengthen it from inside out. Unfortunately, they’re usually not labeled as such, and usually, the price of the product reflects the quality of the keratin. Keune, for example, uses  New Zealand Merino Sheep Wool <3

PSA: In salon keratin treatments are different from hair products that contain keratin. Although they both contain the keratin proteins, they are deposited differently. With the in-salon keratin treatments, the keratin is not really the star of the treatment, there are many other components that help break down certain bonds to aid in penetration of the keratin, and heat is then used to establish re-bonding of the hair and closing the cuticles to create shine and de-frizz. Products that contain keratin, do not have the other chemicals to aid in the penetration of the proteins, and hence results take a little longer to notice. They are milder and gentler on the hair than the in-salon treatments, however, using high-quality keratin products at home can yield similar results without the added chemicals.

Over keratinization? So.. this is a contested issue. Can too much keratin be bad for your hair? Yes.. and No. It goes back to what we were discussing with the quality of the keratin. High-quality keratin have smaller molecules and can penetrate the hair cuticles and travel deeper, lower quality keratin has larger molecules, and tend to build upon the surface of the hair, resulting in hair that feels dry and dull. In-salon keratin treatments should be spaced out at least 8 weeks apart as the high heat coupled with other chemicals can result in hair damage. In saying that, once you have had a keratin treatment, your hair will be significantly smoother and take a lot less heat to tame day today, so it may be better in the long run. In summary, when using high-quality keratin products, over keratinization does not pose an issue, if you have been using keratin products and feel as though your hair feels dryer, a clarifying shampoo coupled with a deeply hydrating masque will aid in revitalizing your hair.

Products that contain keratin must not be confused with products recommended for use post-in-salon keratin treatment. Post-in-salon keratin treatment products are usually sulfate/paraben/salt-free to ensure the longevity of the treatment, they do not necessarily contain keratin.