My Keratin Experience

I was about 15 when I first read about permanent straightening treatments in CosmoGirl. With big, fluffy, unmanageable hair, it seemed like my ultimate dream... and one I'd never achieve. As I got older, I looked more into these treatments and discovered keratin treatments, sometimes known as a Brazilian blow dry. They promise to leave hair straighter, shinier and simpler to control. It still felt like a distant dream, until I started making regular hair appointments for blow drys (and started using the phrase 'my hairdresser' when talking about a specific person). I realised it was a self-imposed block stopping me getting my dream treatment. I wasn't the sort of person who got my hair done, so I stuck to that narrative. As soon as I developed a good relationship with a hairdresser, I realised it wasn't actually a big step to book myself in for the keratin. Now, having just had my second treatment and being blown away by the results, it's time to share my experience.

Keratin Treatment Brazilian Blow Dry Before and After


The most important thing to note here is that, contrary to what CosmoGirl told me, keratin isn't actually permanent straightening. It's not going to keep your hair straight no matter what you do to it. It will still go curly after washing, it will just be quicker and easier to straighten after. At least, that's what I was told when I booked my appointment. In reality, it totally did stay straight after an entire day at a waterpark dunking my head under the water and washing it afterwards, and I nearly cried from disbelief. But more on that later.

I'm not a hairdresser, obviously, so I'm basing the following information on what I've read online. Don't blame me if I'm wrong. It seems that keratin is a protein found in hair, and the treatment involves adding keratin to the hair, then sealing it inside. This leaves the hair looking sleek and smooth, while protecting it from the likes of heat and water damage that, in my case, make me look like Hagrid. 


Back to the stuff I can actually talk confidently about- the treatment process. Be prepared to get a numb bum because it takes a long ol' time. I timed my second experience, and it was 4 hours 15 minutes. I do have ridiculously long hair but still, take a book (or find a hairdresser who you're happy to spend 4 hours with making guinea pig noises and slagging off your husband's clothes, as I did) I suppose there's a possibility that different salons have slightly different processes, but this is how it goes at mine:

Wash & dry

This is self-explanatory. First, my hair is washed and towel dried to leave it damp. 

Solution is applied

Once the hair is damp, the solution is applied to small sections at a time and worked through. This bit is really odd because as my hairdresser uses his fingers to pull the solution through my hair, it feels as though my skull is vibrating. I'm not sure why this is and it's not painful, it just feels really weird. It smells strong, but it's not unpleasant. I find it difficult to describe the scent, but it has that fresh, almost fruity fragrance that you find in salon shampoos. Although it smells quite nice, it does make my eyes spontaneously water, so I need to have a tissue on hand to mop up any rogue tears. 

Sit and wait

We're now about 90 minutes into the process. Once the solution has been applied to the whole head, my hairdresser piles it all up on top of my head, pops a plastic bag on and leaves me there for half an hour. This is the point where I say I'm going to get some reading in, but I actually mess about on social media and before I know it, the timer is going off to tell us the 30 minutes is up.

Waiting for the keratin to process

Blow dry

Now it's time for the blow dry element that gives it the alternative name. Small sections are blow dried straight and you get your first hint at what the end result will be. At this point, it gets weirdly dusty, with gritty dried-up bits of the solution flying around everywhere. They don't get caught up in your hair though, so it's fine. Just make sure you don't get any in your eye!


Finally, my hair was straightened with special straighteners designed for keratin treatments. This takes a little longer than a usual straightening because we need to be sure that it's properly straight before I'm sent back out into the world. But, eventually, the whole process is complete, and my hair is straighter and shinier than it has ever been. 


Initially, my hair looks beautifully shiny, but also very lank. As my hairdresser said, 'If anything, it's too straight'. It also feels horrible for a couple of days, with a heavy residue making the hair feel greasy and random bits of hair sticking straight up out of my crown. Don't let that put you off- it's all part of the process. For four days, you can't do anything with it. Don't get it wet, don't tie it up, don't tuck it behind your ears. Just don't do anything that might affect how straight it is. Let it hang there lank and greasy and heavy because the end result is worth it. After a couple of days, you'll notice that it feels sleek rather than sticky, and it looks smooth rather than lank. This is when the miraculous qualities of the keratin treatment start shining through. 

Keratin treatment brazilian blow dry after one month

As I said, there are no promises of hair remaining straight for weeks on end. My experience, however, was as close to that as you can get. Of course, it didn't as straight forever. After a couple of swims and washes, it went a little wavy around the ears and at the ends, but the frizz and fluff that is the bane of my existence was nowhere to be seen. I didn't have to straighten my hair for weeks. It might not have stayed pin-straight during that whole time, but it certainly remained completely frizz-free. The photo above was taken a whole month after the treatment: a fortnight in humid Florida, three days in water parks and multiple washes later. Not a single straightening device had touched my head! I'm telling you, my hairdresser is a literal miracle worker. Like Jesus, but in skinny jeans and wielding a hairdryer. 

After around three months, I noticed that my regular blow dries didn't last as long as they had done shortly after my treatment. I was starting to get fluffy flyaway hairs at my crown again, and needed to straighten my hair more regularly. My hairdresser also noticed that the texture of my hair started feeling different when he was straightening it, so it seemed that the treatment had finally worn off. 


This is one of those answers that varies wildly. I'd been looking into the cost of keratin treatments and had expected to pay £200- £250 for my ridiculously long hair. When I called to book and was told it was only £125, I was a bit worried I'd accidentally asked for the wrong treatment. I guess I just got lucky with a salon that charges less than others. Of course, a three-figure sum for a hair treatment is still a luxury, but it's absolutely worth it! I'll probably continue to have two or three treatments a year, mainly before a big holiday so I can go swimming without stressing about straightening my hair afterwards. I'm so glad I finally took the leap and started having my keratin treatments. My 15-year dream has come true at last!


  1. If I had really curly hair like yourself I'd consider this treatment, it seems really reasonable for the length of time it lasted for you

    Mel ★

  2. I always loved the sound of this when I was younger too, plagued by my fluffy curls!Glad you had such a good experience with it! x


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