There are lots of Keratin treatments around at the moment – you’ll probably have heard that they come with formaldehyde scare stories. More of that in a mo. The latest to arrive in the UK is Global Keratin, with non-hydrolized Keratin (Keratin that is hydrolized has been treated with acid, sulphur and pressure and is generally considered not as effective as the chain of amino acids that allow it to bond to the hair is broken) sourced from sheep’s wool in New Zealand and brand named Juvexin. Because it is natural Keratin, its affinity with the human hair structure makes it significantly more effective as it bonds around the hair shaft and nourishes inside and out, apparantly cutting down on styling time and knocking frizz off the agenda for about 3 months. Because I haven’t had any other straightening treatments, I’ve nothing to compare it against, but can explain the (lengthy) process if this is something you are thinking of doing. I had my treatment at the Cobella salon in Selfridges. If you are a regular reader of BBB, you’ll know that I’d just about rather go to the dentist than go to a hair salon, but thanks to my trip to Aveda and now Cobella, I’m starting to get the message that it’s all about who cuts your hair rather than where you have it cut. I got Drew (who bizarrely got his job at Cobella via a TV reality show called The Boss Is Coming To Dinner) and he was fabulous. Really put me at ease and just got on with the somewhat tedious job of combing the Keratin through small sections of my hair (after it has been washed three times), and then running straighteners through the same small sections. This is a very slow process so you need to have someone doing it who is amiable enough to pass 3 hours with!
What I liked about Global Keratin is that it’s a no bull-shit deal. If you have very curly hair, you won’t end up with poker straight hair – it is more likely you will be left with loose waves – and they don’t make any bones about that. They also warned me up front that because my hair isn’t dyed it makes the process more difficult(cuticles are very firmly sealed and this treatment relies on open cuticles, disrupted by dye) and it may need to be repeated. Once your hair is washed it feels rough and tangled, so the comb through is quite uncomfortable, once dried although it looks a damn sight better, it still feels as though you have product in your hair (which of course, you do). I’d liken it to drying your hair with your conditioner still in. You can’t wash your hair for two days – or get it wet in any way – so imagine my horror as I left the windowless salon to discover torrential rain outside.
Okay, so now to the thorny issue of Formaldehyde. I’ve been over this and over this with the Global Keratin PR and my understanding now is:
The Global Keratin treatment contains Metholyn Glycol (preservative) that when heated releases miniscule amounts of Formaldehyde at 0.2% which is compliant with EU safety standards which are the strictest in the world. Some brands use actual Formaldehyde or Aldehydes (from the Formaldehyde family) and state they are Formaldehyde free. Global Keratin say that it is impossible to semi-permanently straighten the hair without using a miniscule amount of Formaldehyde to rearrange the hair bonds allowing the straightening to occur. This process should not be confused with hair relaxers which is a whole other thing! If you head for a ‘Formaldehye-free’ semi permanent straightening treatment’ you’re probably not getting what you expect.
The cost for this treatment is approximately £250. I’ll report back if styling is quicker and easier and if it really did tame my frizz once I’ve washed and restyled later in the week.