The Truth About Keratin
If you’re researching alternative methods to straighten your hair, you might have come across keratin treatments. You might be researching how to smooth or straighten your hair naturally, or you may be wondering how to strengthen your tresses if you’ve noticed breakage.
Researching straightening methods can be complex, and keratin sounds like the perfect solution to avoid using relaxer chemicals, but what do the treatments involve?
In this post, you’ll take an in-depth look at keratin, so you can decide whether you want to use the treatments on your hair. If you’re thinking about using keratin and are curious about how it works, keep reading.
What is Keratin and Why Does It Matter for Hair?
Keratin is a strong protein that makes hair, nails, and the outermost layer of the skin. Keratinocytes are living cells that produce keratin, and as they are pushed outward, the cells die and harden.
As your body continues to drive the cells out, your hair and nails grow longer and longer. The dead, tough material is what gives hair, skin, and nails its strength and protection.
If you have healthy hair, your entire head of hair is most likely strong enough to withstand 12 tons of weight, thanks to keratin’s resilient strength.
By now, you’re probably wondering how you can get more keratin, so you can make stronger hair. You can increase how much keratin your body produces by consuming healthy portions of protein.
Protein and biotin-rich foods will give your body the amino acids it needs to produce keratin. These include lean meats, beans, eggs, nuts, and hemp.
You might be thinking about taking a keratin supplement instead. Approach keratin supplements with caution, as they may be dangerous. These pills can cause excess protein and keratin in the body, and lead to conditions known as proteinuria and hyperkeratosis. Both conditions will sabotage your efforts to have healthy skin and hair.
Applying the keratin directly, through use of shampoos, conditioners, and treatments, is another way to get keratin.
Where Does the Keratin in Hair Products Come From?
Hooves, feathers, animal hair, and horns are made of keratin. In fact, when you purchase products containing keratin, they are using ground animal parts to make the product. There is no synthetic keratin, and keratin can’t be sourced from vegetables. This can present a problem if you’re vegan or you want to use cruelty-free products.
If you’ve ever studied the labels of your favorite products, you might notice that some say that they’re cruelty-free. This term doesn’t only apply to companies who don’t perform animal testing; the cruelty-free label also applies to companies who don’t use animal keratin.
Besides being bad for animals, it’s unsustainable for the environment if you consider that each animal needs vast amounts of water and food to produce good keratin.
Are Keratin Treatments Bad?
The short answer is yes. Keratin treatments can be hazardous to both the hair and body. However, keratin itself is harmless to hair, and that is where the confusion comes in.
Keratin is fine to use topically if you can stomach putting animal parts on your hair. It’s the keratin treatments that are toxic.
A keratin treatment is a smoothing process that typically uses formaldehyde and extreme heat to cut the frizz and smooth the hair strand. These treatments can scorch your scalp and damage the hair follicles. Plus, the high temperatures can give your hair irreparable heat damage.
But the worst effect is on the body and the health. Formaldehyde can cause cancer, trigger allergic reactions, and lead to infertility and respiratory problems.
When the public discovered that the products contained formaldehyde, fears of cancer and other health problems slowed purchasing of the treatments. Unfortunately, manufacturers found a new, deceptive way to make their keratin treatments and now they use a formaldehyde-releasing agent instead.
What to Use Instead of Keratin to Smooth and Strengthen Hair
By now, you’re probably wondering what you can use as an alternative to keratin. If you want to opt out of using keratin and begin using a cruelty-free source, look for plant-based protein. Plant-based proteins use rice and wheat to strengthen the hair. These are cruelty-free, sustainable sources.
Nutress Hair is a cruelty-free company who has specifically chosen plant-based ingredients that are effective for strengthening hair. Nutress uses quaternized vegetable protein to provide your hair will resilient vitality and shine.
How does plant-based protein work? You may have heard of hydrolyzed protein. This is a common plant-based protein that contains molecules which are small enough to enter the hair shaft. Most manufacturers use hydrolyzed proteins, and it is certainly an upgrade from animal-derived keratin, but Nutress takes it one step further.
The vegetable proteins in Nutress products are significantly more effective than standard proteins because they’re quaternized.
Quaternized Protein doesn’t only enter the hair shaft. It penetrates and binds itself to the shaft, injecting the cortex with an intense dosage of strength. This deep bonding with the hair shaft also locks in moisture and conditions the hair. The result is stronger, shinier, and softer hair.
One of the reasons why manufacturers choose to use keratin and hydrolyzed ingredients instead of quaternized protein is because they’re inexpensive. You can find these cheap protein products marketed and sold to you as luxury items at jaw-dropping prices.
Avoiding keratin is key if you’re serious about choosing more sustainable, cruelty-free products for your hair. You might find that the alternatives perform much better, and give you a sense of peace knowing you’re getting long-lasting strength without harming our four-legged friends.
Now, it’s your turn to discuss. Have you tried keratin treatments before, and what has your experience been?