Process: The treatment, known as BKT for short, is a chemical treatment aimed to smooth curly frizzy hair. It includes the application of a liquid solution in the hair, allowing it to be absorbed, and then heating the hair up to 450 degrees to bond the keratin to hair. The process takes as little as 90 minutes while others take up to two hours depending on the length and condition of the hair. This hair treatment is geared toward damaged, frizzy, permed, colored hair. Unlike Japanese Hair Treatments, it is practically semi-permanent and may fade through repeated use of chloride-containing shampoos (so avoid those).
Back Story: The Brazilian Keratin Treatment has been offered in salons for $300 – $600, sometimes as high as $800. The treatment was said to have originated in rural Brazil 10 years ago where it is said that someone discovered a preservative that can bind keratin to hair to remove frizziness, and keep hair straight for months. The mythology (who knows if it’s true) goes that stylists in the city heard of the discovery and experimented and formulated their own treatment.
Carcinogenic Concerns: The solution uses formalin as a keratin binder for the hair. As the hair and mixture is heated, the chemical reaction produces formaldehyde – a documented carcinogenic. It is recommended for professionals and their customers to wear masks while going through this procedure, and also to make sure they operate in a well ventilated area to reduce the risks of inhalation of high doses of the harmful fumes. It is important to note that despite the keratin, it is the formalin that makes the solution work. Inform yourself about everything that is involved in the procedure before undergoing it, and remember, safety first! Make sure that the salon has proper ventilation, that they have a qualified staff, as well as a material safety data sheet on their product available for scrutiny. If you finally decide to get the treatment, try to relax and have fun.
Keep in mind, other straightening treatments exist.
Japanese straightening or Korean magic straight (Asian straightening) can be effective for months with proper care. Just ask your stylist for a consultation to determine what works best for you.
Anastasia is a salon hair stylist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Out of town appointments welcome.