Your Ultimate Guide to Keratin Treatments for Curly Hair

The right keratin treatment for curly hair can change the way you approach straightening your curls.

Keratin treatment is a chemical process that works to smooth and relax hair, giving it a shiny and manageable finish by injecting Keratin protein in the hair follicle. This treatment became popular in South America, particularly Brazil, when a mortician noticed that the formaldehyde being used to embalm bodies was also straightening hair. Today, most stylists don’t use formaldehyde for the treatment, because they have found similar chemicals that relax hair and are safer to use.

Keratin treatment is so appealing because it makes hair more manageable and easy to style, plus it can last up to 3-5 months. Many people with curly hair choose to use Keratin treatments to loosen their hair and give it a different texture, but there is a lot to know about how it works before diving in and we’re going to tell you everything we know about the process.

Here’s everything you need to know about Keratin treatment: 

Is Keratin Good for Curly Hair?

Woman with long, thick curly hair touching it
Credit: Rupert Laycock

A keratin treatment is a great option for those with curly hair who want a more relaxed and shiny finish. Depending on your exact hair type and how curly your strands are, there is no promise of a completely straight finish, but it will be much more looser and shiny! It’s also a great way to tame frizz and flyaways, which can be very common for curly hair types. One concern for keratin treatments on curly hair is doing them incorrectly, if not done right, it can lead to irreversible heat damage and change your natural curl pattern.

How Does a Keratin Treatment Work?

Okay, let’s break it down: genetics takes centre stage when it comes to your curl pattern. But how? Genetics are responsible for determining the number of disulfide bonds that live within your hair proteins. Disulfide bonds occur when two sulfides (sulfur atoms) collide and create a spiral in your hair. Long story short, curly hair has TONS of these disulfide bonds— hence a head full of bouncy, sometimes frizzy, curls.

In order to disrupt the curl pattern to create straight hair, a process of breaking down the disulfide bonds must be used. Enter: keratin treatments.

When using keratin treatments, your hair will go through three stages: relaxing, neutralising and conditioning. The relaxing stage changes the way proteins merge through the use of alkalis which causes hair to break down enough to loosen the curl pattern without permanently damaging the actual strands. Next comes the neutralising stage, which restores the pH balance in order for hair to not be quite so delicate after going through controlled damage. Lastly, the hair is conditioned to add just the right amount of TLC to your smooth hair. Who knew hair could be so scientific?

Which Keratin Treatment for Curly Hair is Right for You?

Woman with curly hair at the salon getting it done
Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Brazilian Blowout

This is likely the keratin treatment for curly hair that you’re most familiar with. The Brazilian treatment is known for maintaining volume while eliminating frizz and smoothing hair. It’s a simple hour-long process where the treatment is blow-dried in and then sealed with a straightener. The best part? You’re looking at three to six months of gorgeous hair as a result of one hour with your stylist.

Japanese Keratin Treatment

Woman's before and after getting a Japanese Keratin treatment done on curly hair

Think: Brazilian plus Japanese hair straightening. This three to four-hour treatment is brought to life by first applying the traditional Brazilian treatment, followed by completely sealing the cuticle with the Japanese treatment. The pro of this treatment is that you can essentially kiss your heat styling tools goodbye because your hair will dry pin straight after every wash. Credit:  @hairbynoella

Keratin Express

This is the keratin treatment for curly hair that works with your waves. In as little as four to five minutes, your hair will be frizz-free and ready to take on the humidity without so much as a flyaway for four to six weeks.

Soft Keratin Treatment

For those of you who want to embrace your curly beauty, look no further than this two-month solution. Re-cap your curl spray and put away your styling creams because this keratin treatment for curly hair is known for keeping your curls intact while transforming them into frizz-free spirals without so much as a pump of mousse.

Our Favourite Keratin Hair Products

When it comes to maintaining a Keratin treatment, it’s important to use products that will help with longevity and mimic what the initial treatment achieved. These products are also great for those who aren’t ready for an actual Keratin treatment but want some of the benefits that using Keratin protein offers. Let us break down some of our faves:

Shampoo and Conditioner

Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo 400ML

If you’re looking for an in-shower Keratin-infused product, we highly recommend a cleansing duo like TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner. This duo will help you maintain your silky-smooth finish, and it provides hair with up to 72 hours of frizz control.

Hair Mask

tresemme keratin smooth mask

Now, if you really want to give your hair the VIP treatment it deserves, you’ll definitely want to include a keratin deep conditioner, like the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Maskinto your weekly hair care routine.

TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil

tresemme keration smooth shine oil

Create smooth frizz-free styles with the TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shine Oil. With up to 72 hours of frizz control, add this gem to your routine for gorgeous silky smooth hair.

Keratin Treatment Before and After

Keratin treatment before and after

Before and after a Keratin treatment won’t be the same for everyone, it depends on your level of curl and how much of the chemicals your stylist uses. You can work this out with your stylist before beginning! After your treatment, your hair will be smoother, shinier, and your curls will definitely be looser, potentially even very straight. Credit: @brazilianblowout

Can Keratin Treatments Be Done on Natural Hair?

Woman with natural hair touching it
Credit: Rex by Shutterstock

Yes, Keratin treatments are safe and can be done on natural hair! For all hair types, it’s important to know what chemicals your stylist is using. So, t’s also important to make sure you go to a professional to make sure the chemicals are applied to the hair properly and left on for an appropriate amount of time.

Do Keratin Treatments Work for Men With Curly Hair?

Yes! Keratin treatment works on men’s’ curly hair, too! Men’s hair is no different than women’s and the follicle can receive the same level of Keratin protein. It will also have the same effects and become smoother and less frizzy. Keratin treatment is perfect for anyone who is interested, and the same goes for Keratin-infused products, as well.

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