#26- Is Semi-Permanent Straightening more toxic than Permanent? Why do you wear a respirator?

I started wearing a respirator, long before I started doing Keratin Treatments, at the recommendation of my E.N.T.. I had irritation in my throat and sinuses from breathing in the ammonia gas that comes off of Permanent Straightening. The following describes the toxicity of ammonia gas:

"What is ammonia’s mechanism of action?
Ammonia interacts immediately upon contact with available moisture in the skin, eyes, oral
cavity, respiratory tract, and particularly mucous surfaces to form the very caustic ammonium
hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide causes the necrosis of tissues through disruption of cell
membrane lipids (saponification) leading to cellular destruction. As cell proteins break down,
water is extracted, resulting in an inflammatory response that causes further damage.

What are the immediate health effects of ammonia exposure?
Inhalation: Ammonia is irritating and corrosive. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia
in air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause
bronchiolar and alveolar edema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress or
failure. Inhalation of lower concentrations can cause coughing, and nose and throat irritation.
Ammonia's odor provides adequate early warning of its presence, but ammonia also causes
olfactory fatigue or adaptation, reducing awareness of one's prolonged exposure at low

The doctor considered my irritation quite severe. At the time, I was doing @8-10 hours of permanent straightening per day, and breathing in ammonia gas the entire time. SO! In comparison to that, the Keratin Treatments don't feel toxic at all. :) There is formaldehyde gas that comes off during the flat ironing part, but unless it blows directly into the face, it is not detectable. Whereas, the Ammonia gas that comes off during a permanent straightening is very very noticeable and would affect everyone on our floor if we didn't ventilate. When a Keratin Treatment is done without ventilation, the fumes don't even make it into the hallway past our door.
The bottom line is that both are toxic to breath in. And, some people are going to be really sensitive to the fumes of both, and some people are not going to be sensitive to either. I happen to be a very sensitive person to fumes, so the only way I could continue to work with either method is with the use of a respirator. Many hairdressers quit the business because they can't tolerate the fumes or the handling of product. And, many clients avoid the straightening services because they don't want the exposure. Wearing a respirator solves that problem for both stylists and clients.
The unique thing about the Keratin Treatment is that it's new and there are no long term affects known to hairdressers, yet. Also, the unfortunate thing is that some companies are marketing the product as "all natural", insinuating that it's non-toxic, which is totally deceptive. Therefore, hairdressers and clients incorrectly assume that a stylist wearing a respirator must be dealing with a "bad, toxic, under the table" version of Keratin Treatment solution. This couldn't be further from the truth at our salon. I wear a respirator because I'm dealing with gasses of known toxicity, and unknown long term affect, on a daily basis. It would be just plain stupid to put myself in an environment with ANY potential exposure on a daily basis, and not protect myself. I've done a couple Keratin Treatments's without the respirator, and it doesn't affect me negatively like the permanent, but it would be foolish to think that means it's not going to ever affect me. If I had to choose which process was the most toxic, I would pick the permanent straightening since I can feel the negative affects immediately. Also, this might be too much info, but if I do a permanent straightening without gloves and respirator, I can smell ammonia the next morning in my urine. Very much like the asparagus phenomena. That tells me that the ammonia is getting in my system somehow, going through it, and then coming out. That is scary. I have never noticed that with the Keratin Treatments, but that certainly doesn't vouch for it's safety.
We wear gas masks with an attached particle filter,  during the Keratin Treatments because during the flat ironing, a smoke comes off that includes fine little particles of polymer amongst other things. This is very irritating to breath in. This particulate clogs up our fans, our window screens, and the backs of our blowdryers. We don't want it clogging up our lungs.
I new ventilation system is on its way that will "scrub" the air, and hopefully will make wearing a respirator a thing of the past. This new ventilation should be in place my 11/1/15.

#25-Does Keratin really straighten hair?

Keratin does not straighten the hair. Keratin is not a new found ingredient, and has been available, along with all the other types of proteins, for many years. There are plenty of excellent protein treatments out there(Noiraude Pro, Nigelle DS, PPT heat polymerizing protein treatments...) that build up the hair, but they've never had straightening abilities. And if you overuse some proteins, the hair gets crunchy and dry, and even cause breakage from the hair getting so brittle. A good protein treatment lasts @ a month or two,and over time can really protect the hair and keep it in optimal health. Now imagine taking that protein treatment and adding a catalyst that would give straightness..... now we're talking Keratin Treatments as we know them today.

When it comes to the actual purpose of keratin in current Keratin Treatment formulas, it might very well add a strengthening or fortifying component, just like a standard protein treatment. Removing keratin from a KT might take away the strengthening affect, and whatever improved texture it might give to the hair over time. However, no matter what, the keratin is not responsible for the actual straightening effect. A KT minus the K, would still go straight.

Pretend that all the KT formulas are like all of the various brownie recipes. You can add extra goodies to a basic brownie recipe(nuts, frosting, marshmellows....), but it's not required. With the KTs, the various companies add their "flavor" to the basic working formula, but they're all considered "KTs" because the chemical reaction is basically the same,despite the added "flavor". They might add things for shine, smell, weight, softness, etc. And some KTs really do feel better in the hair. Some do not interact with artificial color as much. Some are 4 day wait, some are 2....all based on the way they put the ingredients together. They all tweak the amount of the various working-ingredients(percentage​s of formalin, glycols....) to add longevity or stickability, or simply just to make it different than the next guy.
Below is a list of ingredients of a brand of KT we've tried:

water, keratin, propylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, cetrimonium chloride, formaldehyde, amodimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane & dimethicone, fragrance.

In general, the formalin and the Glycol-related-ingredient get together to create plastic/polymer which temporarily fixes the hair's bonds in place. Both the Formalin and Glycol have many chemical siblings that product plastics and polymers, such as Nylon, Teflon, Permanently Pressed Clothing, etc...Keratin is the 2nd ingredient from the top, but it is NOT what straightens the hair. Water is the first ingredient, and it does not straighten the hair either....Realize that hair itself is made of keratin, and it does not straighten itself....

The ingredient "formaldehyde" should be correctly listed as Formalin or whatever it's liquid state name would be. Formaldehyde is a gas and could not actually be in this bottle of solution. For those of you that think that there are laws enforcing the strict labeling of chemical ingredients, think again. For this reason, it's actually true for a company to say their formula is "formaldehyde free", even if it contains aldehydes. It's all very murky.

A quick Wikipedia search sums up the overall concept :

Here is another interesting websight on plastics:

#24- What are the differences between Keratin, Brazilian straightening and Semi-Permanent straightening?

They're all the same, more or less. Some just call themselves "Brazilian" and some call themselves "Keratin". There are many brands of these products on the market.
All of the Keratin treatments, Brazilian Treatments, etc, follow the general format given below:
1.Treatment solution is applied to clarified and towel dried/or blown dry hair.
2.let to sit from 0-30 minutes to absorb
3.blown dry completely
4.flat ironed at @350-450 degrees, or blow out with a blow dryer and round brush for shorter lasting results.
5.not neutralized.
6.Smooth out frizz and curl to various degrees.
7.contains some source of precursor a polymer
8.cost @$250-360 wholesale for @32-33oz bottle of solution.
9. 0-4 day waiting period before 1st wash, after treatment.
10.Treatment takes @ 1.5-5 hours depending on thickness, length, dry timing, number of stylists working on a client.
11.Going price is @150-450, which completely depends on stylist mark up. The various solutions do NOT vary more than @$8-11 per oz. A treatment will use @1-4 oz/client depending on hair.
12.All companies we've seen so far say to only use products that are sodium chloride free.
13.These treatments do not break bonds within the hair, they over ride the bonds. The effects are usually not permanent and usually wear off in 1-4 months depending on which product is used. The coating adds shine in general.
14.These treatments can be done over all other chemical treatments including Sodium Hydroxide products, Thio products, and color services.
15.These products hit the market in @2007, in America.

If the product you're looking to use, generally follows the above guidelines, then we lump them into the Keratin category. The reason for the term "Brazilian" is because the technology of over riding bonds instead of breaking them, seems to have started in Brazil. Some of the products available here in America are shipped from Brazil. Some are made in America.

Most companies use different forms of formalin,ether or aldehyde, and some member of the metholyene glycol family, but they are ALL pretty much the same technology. When these products are flatironed, they all gas off to some degree. Companies can say they are "formaldehyde free" because the solution at room temperature does not contain formaldehyde gas. However, when the solution is heated, some form of formaldehyde gas, or other gas, is created and released.

#23- Tips for the waiting period

1.I have found that the Keratin Treatment is definitely NOT usually impressionable as long as the hair does not get wet. I've worn my hair up in clips the entire waiting period, without a problem. HOWEVER, this will not apply to everyone, and you run the risk of impressions if you do this. 

2.At night, I resort to using a large silky scarf, Beyonce style. I comb the hair down smooth and tie the scarf over the top. I find that if I use a cotton scarf, that helps wick some oil off the scalp. This keeps the hair smoother during sleep and it keeps it out of my face.

3.I also use blotting papers for wicking oil off the scalp and hairline. Since the hair is coated, the natural oil is not absorbed at all into the hair like it normally would be. Instead, it slides down the hairshaft.

4.As many times during the day as possible, I warm up my hair with the blowdryer and brush through it, detangling it and transferring some of the oil down the hair. This also helps to removed hair that has shedded out, but is still stuck in the hair.

5.I have not found any solution for the "sprouts". Even after wearing a scarf for hours, the sprouts come back. After the first couple of shampoos, they are sometimes still there! People usually think that these are evidence of breakage. They 99% of the time, are not. The reason "sprouts" happen is because the KT gives a nice strong coating to all the hairs on the head. Every time a hair sheds, one starts growing. There are little hairs, of all lengths, constantly growing out. The KT coating keeps the shorter hairs standing up because they are simply too lightweight to tip over. Once the hairs reach @ 2-3 inches long, they are usually heavy enough to tip over. So, all the hairs from 0-@2 inches are the only ones standing up. Not a problem at all.

#22- Should I do Semi-Permanent or Permanent straightening?

If you:
1.have relatively virgin hair and are NOT intending to ever do highlights or home color jobs
2.have thick course hair
3.can spend @$900/year
4.want to permanently kill the curl bonds, and never want the curl back in the hair that is treated
5.want your hair to airdry as straight as possible
6.plan to maintain your hair with high end products formulated for chemically treated hair
7.are not necessarily growing out your hair and are willing to get regular trims
8.are willing to deal with the curly new growth in between straightenings, which will be up to 4 inches, and you are okay with a definite line of curly hair vs. straight hair
9.don't mind getting split ends a little quicker, and having to use conditioning treatments to maintain as much shine and health as possible
10.can spend potentially 6-10 hours(the average is @7) in the salon.
.......then go for the Permanent Straightening(TR, Japanese Straightening).

If you:
1.have either virgin or damaged hair: highlights, overprocessed color, thermal styling damage, split ends
2.fine hair to thick course hair
3.can spend @$320-640/year
4.want to preserve your hair's full strength, and only want to override your curl
5.want the option of blowdrying for ultimate straightness, or airdrying for more body. Or, if you want to keep a blow out or curling set longer
6. do not want to be obligated to purchase high end products, and in general would like to have a budget friendly up keep program
7.are growing your hair out and want to trim as little as possible
8.want to deal with as little new growth as possible, and if you do not want a definite line of curly vs. straight hair
9.want the most shine and conditioning and preservation of the hair's health without having to use additional products daily
10.can only spend 2-4 hours in the salon
11.think that at some point you want all your curl back, and you like the idea of it being able to revert back to your natural hair
........then go for Semi-Permanent Straightening(Keratin Treatment)

#21-I was told that Coppola's Keratin Complex is the only truely semi-permanent straightening system

After attending the Oct.26th, 2009 Coppola Keratin Complex class at UnTangled Salon, we realized why stylists are telling potential clients that all other Keratin Treatment's are permanent, except the Coppola.(We attended the class only because we were told the new clear formula would be demonstrated...which it wasn't. Very disappointing.)
During the class, the instructor actually said that all other forms of keratin treatments and Brazilian-KTs go permanently straight, except the Coppola. I asked how she came up with that idea, and she said that's what she was taught. This same trainer said that she has trained everyone currently using the Coppola Keratin Complex here in Portland, Oregon, aside from a small window of time. This means that most stylists here will have incorrect information.
Here is the real trouble. Any stylist or client who has not done research might actually believe something like," all other KTs are permanent." Eventually, they will realize their error in thinking, but for stylists, it might be too late. Because of the internet, clients today are very savvy and will loose trust in a stylist who turns out to be uninformed. Unfortunately, we've gotten several clients who intended to go to other salons, but when they talked with the stylist performing the procedure, they realized the stylist knew less about the world of KTs than they did.
So, if you're a stylist that has ONLY had training or experience in the Coppola Keratin Complex, you're in need of more education. It is foolish to automatically believe everything that is told to you by a person selling you a product. Especially when that person has had no experience with other brands and knows nothing outside the training given to them by the company they work for. I have a hard time believing this is still possible in a world with so much access

#20-What is your true opinion on the Semi-Permanent technology?

Here's my schpeel,
Seriously, I LOVE it. I switched from Japanese straightening my hair at Shige Kosuda's salon in Manhattan, to Keratin Treatments in Spring of 2007. My hair is bra-strap length and NO split ends. The protection the KT gives is completely new in the world of hair. No other conditioner, treatment, protein pack, etc.....actually coats the hair and fortifies it like a KT. NOTHING. We've carried all the really nice at-home Japanese treatments, and have done the various in-salon treatments for clients over the years. And, we really loved them.....up until now ;). As far as I'm concerned, the KT process replaces and improves upon ANY other treatment that can be done on the hair to improve health. I have highlights, lowlights, and really long old thin pathetic hair, which is only healthy because of the KT. I took very very good care of my japanese straightened hair, and still would get split ends when my hair reached collar bone length, simply because Permanent straightening is a bond breaking procedure and weakens the hair, no matter how well it's done. Where as the KT is a coating procedure, not a bond breaking procedure. All the bonds are still strong and connected after the KT, they're just overridden by the KT treatment coating. Forget for a second that the KT also smooths down the fuzzies, this treatment is perfect for ANYONE who has trouble growing healthy hair. Now, no amount of KT coating will protect the hair from frequent flatironing damage. People, you need to stop the flatironing if you want healthy hair, period. But for those of you who don't flatiron and still get damage, like myself, it can be pretty frustrating because you know you're doing everything you can to pamper your hair. I'm telling you, give the KT a year(3-4 treatments) and you'll be seeing a definite, noticeable difference. You'll feel a difference after one treatment, but the reason I say give it year is because if your hair is already fried, it's fried. The coating will make it feel better, but ultimately the hair is fried. Putting the coating on it will keep them from getting worse off, but if the ends are already split, there's nothing worse than that, so you just need to trim off the splits. But all the hair following that, will be preserved so well, and multiple treatments really do accumulate up to @3, and fortify the hair amazingly well. In a year, 6 inches of new hair will have grown, and hopefully, 6 inches of old hair have been cut off potentially, so you will really feel like you have a new head of hair. I haven't had one client who didn't notice a difference in the health of their hair after the KT treatment. AND, they stopped using their expensive conditioners mainly because they contain Sodium Chloride, and the hair still felt so much better. There is definitely a place for really nice conditioners, but none of them really fortify or preserve the hair beyond several shampoos and they can cost ultimately way more money over a 4 month period than a KT treatment, depending on what you're buying. I'm currently using the Alba Coconut shampoo and conditioner from New Seasons(health food store) because I love the smell, and it does not contain Sodium Chloride. It's a decent product line, but not the world's best, but it really doesn't matter because I'm washing KT coated hair. It's not the shampoo and conditioner keeping my hair healthy, it's the KT.
What else can I say about it......I'm shocked that every single salon is not doing this process. It's such a benefit for the client's hair. Not to be overly dramatic, but with all the other toxic chemical services happening in salons(acrylic nails, bleach fumes, ammonia fumes, aerosol sprays in the air), it's ridiculous to avoid this one. One would react equally bad to a room full of bleach fumes as they would KT fumes, or Ammonia fumes.

#19-What ingredients should I avoid?

The manufacturers recommend avoiding salt. Salt can dissolve keratin off the hair. Salt can be listed in many ways.

2.Sodium Chloride
4.Sodium PCA(up for debate)
5.Oceanic Minerals
6.Sea Salt

Salt is in many conditioners as well as hand lotions, facial lotions and leave in treatments. You can easily transfer salt to your hair with lotioned up hands, or by applying facial lotion then allowing hair to fall into the face.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate and other Sodium-related ingredients are NOT a problem. Sulfate-free shampoos can still contain Sodium Chlorides, so check the label.

We used to keep a list of Salt-Free products, but companies reformulate so often, it was impossible to keep up.  

Before a KT, everyone's porosity and texture differ enough that they require particular products. After a KT, many of those differences are done away with because of the KT coating. After a KT, you're now washing the coating on the hair, not actual hair. Using a really expensive shampoo to wash the coating is usually not necessary. Most people have switched to some over-the-counter product, that's usually less expensive than what they were using before.  NOW, there are always exceptions. If a client's SCALP is uniquely sensitive to an ingredient, then they still need to use something particular. As the KT wears off, some clients gradually start using their more expensive products, if they need, as long as there is no salt.

Having said all the obligatory "stay away from salt" mantra, here's what we've seen over the years. Sometimes, people have realized that the products they've been using after their KT, contain salt. Most of the time, it does not seem to make a difference in longevity of the KT at all. Since we started doing KT's in 2007, we have seen that most people who inadvertently use salt have no problem at all, including going in the ocean or sweating. However, there are some who swear it makes an enormous difference. My opinion is that some people's hair holds onto the KT regardless of what they use and some people's hair will use any excuse to shed the KT coating. I never know who's hair will react in what way. At times, we've wondered if the manufacturers say to avoid salt in order to sell a "salt-free" product. But, since no one has really explained how salt really affects the KT, our sincere recommendation is that all the "rules" be followed after the first KT. Eliminate all the variables that would create unknowns. Then after a client gets the general feel for how their hair handles the KT, they can begin to introduce variables and note what happens.

#18-Why do you not advise to avoid ponytails, barrettes, ear tucks, etc...during the wait period?

Here's the deal. All of the keratin manufacturers say not to style the hair in any way before the first wash, after the salon treatment process. However, over the years, clients would confess that they had, in fact, worn ponytails, clips, headbands, etc, and no mark was left. So, a contest was started which would reward a client with a free year of straightening, if they could leave a mark in their hair by any means, other than chemistry(sweat, rain, product...) Clients, in great effort to leave marks, did corn rows, micro braids, ponytails, bobby pins, headbands..... everything they could think of. Even after a year or so of all this craziness, not a single mark was ever left. Most of the mark-making-attempts were photographed and emailed to Global Keratin as proof that marks were basically impossible to leave in the hair.  When asked, "why do you advise clients not to wear ponytails, tuck it behind the ear, etc...", they said that ultimately, we(the stylists) are the experts and could advise the clients however we saw fit. It's clear, however, that when a stylist says something contrary to what the manufacturer says, its the stylist that will look uninformed, not the manufacturer. This point was brought up to them, to which they replied, "Your client should trust that you are doing what's right for them..."
Humm.....   so basically, I've never seen a mark left, other than if someone got their hair wet, or put product in the hair during the wait period. I personally wear a head band, and ponytail the entire duration of the wait period. Most clients do as well.

#17-Do heat protectants really protect hair from damage caused by thermal styling tools?

Really, people ask this all the time. I'm frustrated with all the individuals promoting products that claim to actually prevent heat damage. These products include leave-in conditioners, serums, sprays and even flat irons themselves.
Heat from thermal tools is what straightens or curls hair. The hotter the thermal tool is, usually the faster it works. If a product stopped heat from reaching the hair(thermally protecting the hair), the hair would not straighten or curl, when heated. If you could straighten your hair without heat, you wouldn’t have to turn the thermal tool on..... Heat is what styles the hair and heat is what damages the hair. And all of the thermal “protectants” allow every bit of that heat to affect the hair. You get the point.
Most products marketed for the use with thermal tools contains ingredients that essentially melt a temporary plastic coating onto the hair's surface. If you look at the ingredients, you'll find acrylics, polymers, vinyls, nylons and other plastics.  The coating deflects humidity and helps keep the hair smoother longer. So the term, "thermal protectant" really translates to "thermally applied, humidity protectant". It absolutely does not mean "protects hair from thermal styling damage". EVER.

Hair on the head is nothing more than dead organic matter. It only accumulates damage. It is in a constant state of decay. It can not be healed, it does not heal itself, and it never returns to "virgin". Dead materials can be coated with various things such as oils, preservatives, plastics and many other chemicals in order to give them longevity. The KT service fortifies the hair, for example. These coating eventually disintegrate. As far as hair goes, it starts off with it's own natural coating, the cuticle....kind of like the bark on a tree. Eventually, given enough exposure, the cuticle flakes off. So, one of the things that causes damage, to dead fibers, is heat. Usually, the greater the heat exposure, the worse the damage. Companies sell you the tools that create the damage and then sell you the “protectants” to supposedly protect you from that damage. The products might give the hair a nice smooth feeling, or make it lay flatter, or protect it from humidity....but none of those products protect your hair from the damage that extreme heat causes. Most of you already realize that because maybe you’ve noticed how dried out your hair feels if you don’t apply any of those products one day, and let it airdry.....nice, nasty dryness.....you can’t wait to flatiron in more product to make it feel better....I'd like to challenge anyone who believes in such protective products to do a simple test:
Dip your finger into whatever product you believe protects hair from heat. Coat it fully. Let it sit on there a while. Then, when you're good and ready, flatiron your finger.
What happened? You just burned the crap out of your finger because the product did not protect your finger at all from the heat. In addition, you probably have some half baked layer of goo coating your finger. But, look on the bright side, your finger is alive and will heal itself. Your hair does not have that capability, and is only worse off each time it is flatironed. What confuses the matter is the existence of people who seem to have healthy hair regardless of how many times they flatiron. They may truly believe it's the "heat protection" they use. In reality, it's a fact that some hair is just naturally more resistant to outside influences because the cuticle is is more like a brick wall than T1-11. They might be able to flatiron for years before damage begins to show. Lucky them. Most people however, will have damaged hair only after several thermal stylings at 450 degrees, especially if their hair is not virgin. If you have split ends, you can know without a doubt that you have managed to completely degrade your cuticle and your hair's insides have exploded open. Lovely.
So about the actual flatirons....If you boiled water in a glass pan, or cast iron, or copper, or ceramic, the water always boils at the same temperature. It doesn’t matter what pan the heat traveled through to get to the water. Likewise, no matter what material you flatiron your hair with, heat is still heat! Extreme heat causes damage, no matter what. As far as some flatirons “sealing in moisture”....that is just wrong. If the flatiron is at/above 212 degrees, the water will turn to steam and leave the hair. Most people set their flatirons at 300-400 degrees, so you can count on the fact that there will be NO water left in the hair after a flatironing. If the flatiron is not hot enough, moisture will still be in the hair until it evaporates naturally. If there’s moisture in the hair, curly hair will frizz up. Or if the hair is straight, and there’s still moisture in it, it won’t hold a curl. I’m not even sure how it became trendy to "lock" moisture in hair to begin with. It’s not a lack of moisture that differentiates virgin hair from damaged hair, it’s a lack of intact cuticle and internal bonds. The Yuko websight has some interesting information on moisture in hair. Basically, keeping hair moist for too long puts cracks in the cuticle. Similar to chipped paint on an outdoor wood fence. If the underlying wood gets wet and swells, it will crack the paint coating. They recommend drying the hair as soon as possible to reduce the swelling of the hair, and the potential cracking of the cuticle.......So, you could say that they are not in favor of sealing in too much moisture.

#16-My hair is fried. Will a Semi-Permanent straightening help?

The protective coating the KT gives is effective for any kind of hair. If you are a person that piles on the leave-in treatments and serums in an attempt to improve the look of your hair, then you'll benefit from the KT. There is no product out there that does a longer lasting, more effective job at improving the look of hair. The KT doesn't fix split ends, but the coating prevents them from getting worse and prevents more from happening as long as you keep up with the coating. My personal recommendation is getting a KT every 1-2 months if the hair is severly split and you are wanting to grow the hair out. After 2 or 3, start coming in every 3-4 months for maintenance.
Having said that, if your hair is so far damaged that it can not take at least 400 degrees of heat, then you are probably out of luck.  It takes at least 380-400degrees to set a Semi-Permanent straightening.  Trying to process it at less heat would probably a waste of money.

#15-What brands have you tried? Which do you prefer?

Currently, Global Resistant is the formula of choice.Any prospective brand is tested by applying it side by side to the current favorite brand, on the same head.  This is a "1/2 & 1/2" head experiment.  Typically, after the first wash, one side looks better than the other.  However, letting that client live with the two sides for a month or two, longevity of each brand can be compared.  Some brands look similar immediately after a treatment, but give them a month and one might out perform the other. 
Brands put to the test: 
Marcia Teixeira Brands- Advanced formula(24 hour wash), Chocolate Extreme defrizzing formula, Origional formula
Coppola- Keratin Complex
Global- 4% Chocolate, 4% Strawberry, Curly Formula, New non-food smelling formula
QOD- Gold
Inoar- Origional system
Zeran- Origional system(this was marketed as a better BKT. IT is more of a really bad Japanese style)
Agi Max- Chocolate treatment
Lasio-origional formula, spray on type
Brazilian Gloss
iStraight Keratin
Organix Brazilian Keratin Treatment(over the counter formula
Pravana Perfection
Pravana Keratin Fusion
Brazilian Silk

From 2007-2009- Marcia Teixeira was favorite.  Oct-Nov. 2009-current-Global is preferred.

#14-What is Brocato Curl Interupted?

To the client who wanted to know more about Brocato's straightening product=> Brocato's Curlinterrupted Smoothing System looks like an air-neutralized, probably cisteamine based(or some other similar ingredient), bond breaking chemical service. It is "Time" based which means that the treatment can damage hair if left on too long. This is NOT the same technology as current Keratin Treatments even though a keratin spray is used.(keratin has been used in straightening systems for years and years. Keratin does not straighten hair...) Current Keratin Treatments(BKTs, KTs) do not degrade the hair's natural state at all. Keratin Treatments are NOT time based because "time" has nothing to do with the treatments effectivness. They are Heat set only.
Because the Curl Interrupted is not chemically neutralized, the bonds that have been rearranged are very likely to revert, which the company says they will in fact do within 8-12 weeks. The only trouble is that multiple treatments with any type of product like this(time sensitive) WILL severely degrade the hair over time.

#13-What is a shared appointment?

The "Shared Appointment" is a new option on the services menu, but it's been going on for some time. Before 2010, if 2 or more people drove in together from out of town, they might have wanted to sit with each other during their appointments. One client would start and during any down time, the second client could be started. This saves about an hour over all, but each client ends up sitting and waiting @30-45 minutes longer than a normal appointment. If a client normally takes 3 hours, it might take 3.5 hours for a shared appointment. It saves each client $20.
It is a little more complicated to schedule a shared appointment, so here's how it goes:
1.A 5 hour gap in schedule needs to be available at the salon(This usually means the shared appointment will need to be booked a little further out)
2.Another client will need to be paired up. If this doesn't work out, the appointment will be billed at $160.
3.If two people are paired up, and one no-shows, the appointment will be billed at $160.
4.During the waiting time, a client is able to do what ever they'd like....walk around, pester the neighbors, nap....
5.If a shared appointment is booked, but one of the spots does not get filled at least 24 hours before the appointment, the appointment will become a regular appointment unless other arrangements are made.

For obvious reasons, it would be ideal to know the person you're being paired up with. But, if that is not the case, you are trusting that the person will show up and do "their share".

#10-Why is your Semi-Permanent straightening price lower than most?

As far as semi-permanent straightening(Keratin Treatments) goes, UnSprung was the first salon in Portland to offer this service, March of 2007. The same calculation used for pricing other services was used to determine the price of semi-permanent straightening. Fast forward to now, it's purely coincidence that the price is the cheapest(as of 2011). That was not the plan, nor does it reflect any intention to undercut other salons, since there were no local salons to undercut in 2007. Other local salons have simply priced themselves higher. It is a unique predicament. Clients of UnSprung can rest assured that prices will not be increased to better fit in with the current pricing trends for semi-permanent straightening.

In general, the going rate for any kind of straightening in Portland is around $100- $200 per hour. This price reflects overhead costs and personal stylist mark up. At UnSprung, the cost for Semi-permanent straightening breaks down to $53.33 per hour. The overhead costs are @$13.33 per hour for semi-permanent straightening, and the stylist mark up is @$40/hour.

As far as the cost of actual Keratin Treatment solutions goes, they range from $250-$380, per @32oz., which makes that @$8-$12 per ounce. The over all cost of solution has very little to do with the huge difference in cost between salons, no matter what brand is used.

#9-Why does your procedure differ than my previous stylist's?

Every stylist develops their own technique on most services in the salon. It doesn't necessarily mean different chemicals are used. Chemical services usually come with a "how-to" instructional, but those are basic guidelines that can usually be tweaked in order to customize the service. This goes for color, hair cutting, styling product application, perms, chemical straightening...and keratin treatments.
Below is a list of things that are NOT a part of any companies "how-to" instructions, and therefore confuse clients/stylists trying to assess what exact service is being done at UnSprung:

1.I wear a respirator. Not one company instructs a stylist to wear a respirator. I do that all on my own, for my own peace of mind. I wear the respirator during ANY chemical straightening service.

2.I let the product sit for about 20 minutes before blowdrying. This is not a standard step with any brand other than Coppola, which recommends up to 30 minutes.

3.I provide a respirator for the client. This is not recommended by any brand. It is done as a courtesy.

4.Clients with long hair are put under the dryer while I simotaniously blowdry the ends, in order to dry the hair faster. This might cut drying time in half, which saves time and keeps cost down. No company recommends putting the client under the dryer.

5.Ponytails, headbands, hats etc.... are typically forbidden by every company, before the first wash. However, we've found that absolutely none of those things has left an impression in the hair, with any brand we've tried. All we recommend is that the client smooth their before bed, and upon waking.

6.At UnSprung, the price for a Keratin Treatment is $160. That alone makes clients/stylists think we must be using an inferior brand, or are doing something other than what they're doing at their salon. All brands tried and used, are listed on this sight. Please see the full explanation for the cost breakdown, under Discussions.

7.A selling point for all companies is that color can be done before a Keratin Treatment, on the same day. This is true. No damage will occur. However, we've seen, a sometimes dramatic, difference in how a color might change up, if it's done the same day as a Keratin Treatment. If a client waits a week between color and Keratin, that seems to keep some color from lifting or going too brassy. Sometimes the week wait makes no difference, but most of the time, it makes a noticeable difference.

8.All companies claim to be the best, and all companies only recommend their own at-home hair care products. We have tried most of the brand specific hair care products and have found that they don't really make a difference, or extend the life of a Keratin Treatment. Therefore, we don't sell them. This makes people think that we are using some off brand that does not have their own hair care products, which is incorrect.

There are probably more items of confusion. But, I'm sure you get the drift ;)

#8-Explain accumulation.

In general, each service smoothes out the hair a little more, up until about the 3rd-4th treatment.  At that point, the hair is probably as straight and long lasting as it will ever get. Some hair(mine, for example) goes really straight with one treatment. Other clients start really loving their hair only after 3-4 treatments. I've got clients who are mostly battling fuzz, who are now able to go every 6 months between treatments because they've had at least 3 treatments. That's why the Trio Package is available on the services menu.  This is for people who need quick accumulation.
In most cases, the first KT lasts the shortest amount of time, and doesn't go the straightest. My hair has had @12 KT treatments(as of 5/10) and the ends do not get curly any more before my next treatment. They do get broomy and fluffy looking, but not actually curly. My roots are obviously curly, and there is fuzz over the top of my head, but the ends are still smooth because of all the layers.
Clients can affect the amount of accumulation by the timing of their treatments. For more accumulation, KT appointments should be scheduled closer together. For less accumulation, a client needs to let most of the KT wear off between appointments. Some clients really don't want their hair too straight, so they might schedule their appointments 5-8 months, or more, apart.
The entire head is done with every KT treatment, so the root area will always ONLY have one layer. The ends could have many layers.
Let's say a client starts getting KTs. On their first appointment, the entire head is coated. So there is one layer on the hair. Then, after 4 months, the client comes in again. (There will be @2inches of curly new hair at the root with no KT layer and there will be the rest of the hair with a little KT still on the hair from the first appointment.) The entire head is KT'd again. That means that the first 2 inches at the scalp have one layer and the rest now has two layers. The double layered parts will most likely be smoother than the root area. So, the next time that client comes in, the entire head is done again. The first @2 inches of new hair will have one layer, the next 2 inches will have 2 layers, and the rest will have 3 layers......etc. If a person has shoulder length hair, they'll probably only have 4-5 layers at their ends, at most. People with mid back length hair(like mine) will have many many more layers of KT at the ends.
If a client does not want too much accumulation in their ends, they could choose to only do their roots, and not layer over the ends every time.
Clients come in sometimes with other brands of KT already on their hair and that is no problem for accumulation. All brands seem to pile on top of each other just fine.

#7-Can Semi-Permanent solution cause damage to hair?

and more NO. The only way damage could occur during a semi-permanent straightening is with the flat iron. Ideally, the semi-permanent straightening is set at 450degrees.  There are some heads of hair that are already damaged enough that processing the hair at 450 would cause enormous damage.  If this is the case, the iron has to be turned down which will also shorten the longevity and smoothing capabilities of the treatment. Iuse a 4% solution. Recently, 2 clients from Syria came in and had a KT solution of 15% used on their hair. One client is heavily highlighted mid back length, and one is virgin haired mid back length. They had the treatment 8 months ago. The treated hair is smooth when blown dry and curly when wet. They each had a good 4 inches of obvious grow out. They had ZERO breakage. I have 4 clients who are all from Brazil and they used an Italian brand that was so high they couldn't breath...not good, I know....but the point is that they had ZERO breakage as well. I tried Agi Maxx a couple years ago and it was 7% back then, and didn't notice any breakage on the models.  .
If a KT results in breakage, it's most likely the flatironing or some other reason.

#6- Why has the brand, Brazilian Blowout, come under scrutiny?

It started because a stylist found that Brazilian Blowout had marketed and sold them a product that was supposed to be formaldehyde free, and it wasn't. Many stylists chose to use Brazilian BlowOut because the company specifically states that they are formaldehyde free in all their literature and on their websight and in their classes. This is obviously bad because stylists used the product assuming it was non-toxic to them and their clients, and safety precautions were not taken. Stylists were performing Keratin Treatments using the Brazilian Blowout brand without proper ventilation.

So, clients are left to figure out what this means to them. Basically, if a Keratin Treatment works, it contains some chemical that is toxic on some level, to someone. Even if a product is truly "formaldehyde free", it doesn't mean it contains nothing toxic. It just means that there is some other chemical doing the work, in place of the formaldehyde. That replacement chemical could very well be worse than formaldehyde. I've tried the Brazilain Blowout brand and it works well, but decided to never switch simply because they wouldn't say what was replacing the formaldehyde, and therefore, it would be a huge risk to blindly use their product. Of course, any company could be lying about what their ingredients are, even if they are listed on the bottle, but no other company has outright insisted that their product is completely different and safer than all other products, like the Brazilian Blowout brand has. As a client, you need to realize that all chemical services come with risks to your health. Some people will be very sensitive to certain chemicals, just like some people are very sensitive to peanuts. You never know which chemical might set you off. Certainly, many clients have endured a great deal of pain in order to be made "beautiful". Just make sure your services are done in very well ventilated area, and that you have access to a respirator if needed. The main point of this news regarding Brazilian Blowout is to reiterate the fact that companies will say anything to sell a product. It is up to the stylist to be smart and choose wisely who they deal with. The point is not to stop doing Keratin Treatments. If that were the case, we'd have to stop doing all chemicals since all chemical services in the salon are toxic to someone.

Having said all that, my question is, will all the stylists who stop using Brazilian Blowout because of discovered toxicity, also stop using every other chemical in the salon until it has been analyzed as well? Or will they choose to trust that all the other companies are selling something "wholesome"? Since we're now questioning the Brazilian Blowout brand, what about all the other brands....when was the last time a colorist asked for a list of ingredients of the color products they use? How about questioning whats in the gasses coming off of bleach hi-lites? How many stylists leave the industry every year because they can't handle the collective fumes anymore?.....This dialogue is way bigger than some stylist in Portland Oregon claiming to have been duped by a product company. Hopefully this current focus on Brazilian Blowout, will lead to the bigger and more alarming ACTUAL issue of stylist and client safety, and maybe stylists will start demanding to know the facts about the other chemicals that have plagued our health for years. Formaldehyde, by the way, is a "probable" carcinogen. After all these years, it still hasn't been labeled "known". The scary thing is that plenty of "known" carcinogens fill up our chemical bottles at the salon and no one bats an eye.

More on what's been plaguing us:
Hairdressers and barbers have had higher rates of certain cancers for most of the last century. This is NO NEW NEWS and this started way before keratin treatments came along. The chemicals in hair color, perms, nail products, hair styling products, electronic tools, makeup...have been implicated in everything from simple contact dermatitis to full on cancer. Hairdressers have been dealing with back pains, varicose veins, carpal tunnel, asthma, eczema, contact dermatitis, non-lethal allergic reactions, chemical sensitization, latex sensitivity, chronic lung infections, anaphylactic reactions, sinus trouble.....and yes, cancer. Below are several links for people who are surprised to find out that chemicals used in the salon contain known carcinogens:

1. http://mesothelioma.n0winn0fee​s.com/hairdressers-and-mesothe​lioma-cancer-2

2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com​/doi/10.1002/ijc.11040/abstrac​t

3. http://oem.bmj.com/content/67/​5/351.full

4. http://www.ei-resource.org/col​umns/multiple-chemical-sensiti​vity/hair-dressers-at-risk-of-​cancer:-safer-alternatives/

5. http://www.medicalnewstoday.co​m/articles/102088.php

6. http://www.asbestos.com/occupa​tions/hairdressers.php

Link to Formaldehyde: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F​ormaldehyde

Plenty of other people across the globe deal with toxic chemicals every day, in all kinds of workplaces. Until hair stylists are willing to get serious about the chemicals they use, their rates of cancer will continue to increase as new formulas hit the market that have side effects which won't be known for years. Hairdressers don't demand good ventilation, and they don't take personal precautions against exposure to fumes and chemical contact, for the most part. It's pretty absurd that hairdressers are not already wearing respirators during chemical services, and it's amazing how insufficient the ventilation is in most salons. There are industries in which employees are required to wear respirators while handling chemicals LESS toxic than those used in the everyday salon. The warning labels on color and perms read just like the ones on the keratin treatments. If the government has to step in to protect us from ourselves, salons will start looking more like clean rooms.

So, ultimately:
1.The government needs to crack down the the crack pot advertisers and products...
2.The stylists need to stop being so gullible and in denial of the seriousness of their workplace and their health.
3.All chemical services in the salon are potentially toxic.
4.In order to avoid ill health effects, stylists and clients have the choice to stop doing chemical services, or protect themselves from exposure.

#5-Article from WWD. New straightening by Bumble&Bumble and L'Oreal

The salon giants are looking to capitalize on the Brazilian Blowout hair-straightening controversy.

Bumble and bumble, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned brand, and L’Oréal Professionnel are both coming out with their own versions of hair-smoothing treatments that are formaldehyde free. The products are aimed at capturing a market that was severely shaken after the hugely popular Brazilian Blowout brand was targeted by government investigations in the fall over health concerns related to its products, which certain labs found can produce traces of formaldehyde. Brazilian Blowout’s probe pushed the market’s other entries into investigations, too.

A number of smaller, independently owned competitors, such as Brazilian Gloss Keratin Smoothing Gloss and Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, had previously developed hair-straightening formulas containing methylene glycol, which when heated at a certain temperature is said to produce traces of formaldehyde, like Brazilian Blowout, a brand that became so popular it is commonly used as a term for the service itself.

The Cosmetic Industry Review, an independent panel group, is studying these hair-straightening formulas, and a ruling is expected Sept. 26 or 27 on the question of whether the products are safe. The CIR’s decision was originally scheduled for June. But the submission of a 200-page document attesting to product safety by a Professional Keratin Smoothing Council, a group made up of manufacturers of smoothing treatments, caused CIR to postpone a ruling on the matter for 90 days.

Both Bumble’s and L’Oréal Professionnel’s services, while vastly technologically different from one another — and from the smoothing treatments under question on the market — are intended to offer salons straightening options. And despite the negative attention smoothing treatments have generated, sales of the segment remain “on fire,” according to Peter Lichtenthal, president of Bumble and bumble.

Kerry Bohm, manager, global marketing, said the number of straightening services hitting the market in 2010 was 19, up from three in 2009; overall salon industry services grew 4.5 percent, driven by straightening services, a figure that stands out in an industry that has been in decline.

While no data firm tracks how large the hair-straightening category is, it’s known that Brazilian Blowout, like its competitors, sells its formula by the liter, charging salons about $350 a liter, which ultimately represents about $9,000 in service sales for the salon. In a 12-month period, considering all the salons in the U.S. that offer hair-smoothing treatments, that is estimated to represent hundreds of millions of dollars, if not $1 billion, in service revenue.

In October, Bumble and bumble will launch Concen-straight Pro Treatment to 1,200 of Bumble’s network salons. The launch marks Bumble’s first-ever in-salon treatment, one that is designed to last up to 30 shampoos and can be customized to allow customers to adjust the straightness level of their hair. Since Bumble now sells to retailers as part of its distribution model, at-home straightening kits will also be a component of the rollout, as will a hair care line, Bumble and bumble Straight, consisting of a shampoo, conditioner and leave-in styler.
L’Oréal Professionnel, the largest salon brand globally, has launched a chemical straightening service, Xtenso Moisturist, albeit on a much smaller scale — to about 12 salons.

Bumble said it recognized the intense desire for straightening treatments and claims to have found room for improvement in the market. Concen-straight Pro’s technology, which is also in the hair care line, consists of a gemstone blend that is designed to vibrate and loosen hair’s inner S-bonds, which give it natural curve, said Fadi Mourad, executive director, product development. Polylysine, an amino acid, aims to refine and realign these S-bonds into smoother shapes. A silicone blend was added to seal and set shape straight for smoothness. A hydrolyzed wheat protein is used to condition hair (and is only in the professional treatment) and is used as a keratin replacement, since keratin is derived from animals. The formula, ultimately, opens the door to customize straightness, so a blow-dryer can build bend, a curling iron can rewind hair and a flatiron can render it straight, said Mourad. The service also aims for increased manageability and overall reduced frizz and flyaways. The hair care collection that was designed to support the service features Bumble’s first sulfate-free shampoo.

While Bumble is blowing out its service to half of its salon base, Laurie Lam, director of marketing, L’Oréal Professionnel USA, said they have chosen to take a preview strategy with Xtenso Moisturist, like it did with ammonia-free INOA.

“We are the number-one salon brand in the world. We could very easily get the sales we [ultimately] want, but it’s really about making sure it is being used safely and efficiently,” Lam said of the preview launch, which is now sold in a number of select salons, including select Gene Juarez salons in Seattle and and Pr & Partners (CT). Lam expects Xtenso Moisturist to be sold in 30 salons by mid-2012, including New York’s Dop Dop and Anthony DiFranco.

Unlike Bumble’s service, Xtenso Moisturist “is much like a chemical straightening service. We don’t compare ourselves with keratin, because keratin is surface treatment, where you don’t chemically change the hair. Xtenso Moisturist is indeed a chemical service.”

Yet, said Lam, it is also customizable.

“You can go for loose waves or slick, straight chopstick hair. It wears out over time,” she said, adding that there are three different formulas available depending on the client’s hair and whether it is untreated virgin, resistant or sensitized hair. A service can take between two and four hours, and all stylists are taught to perform a 15-minute strand test to determine a client’s hair type. The service consists of a shampoo, a mask and then an application of the formula to four separate sections of the head. After a customized processing time, hair is rinsed, dried, flatironed and then neutralized for 10 minutes and rinsed and dried again.

“It is very specialized and technical,” said Lam, explaining its $250-plus cost and 48-hour wait time to wash hair after receiving the service.

Women receiving Bumble’s straightening service, which retails for about $385, are advised to wait 24 hours before washing their hair, so “the technology can penetrate.”

Bumble’s Concen-straight Pro Treatment takes about two hours in the salon: Hair is washed with a clarifying shampoo, the formula is applied from roots to tips, after 30 minutes the formula is washed out and a consultation begins on how straight, wavy or voluminous a client wants her hair. A customized blowout and flatiron (if applicable) follows. Clients are expected to see the treatment beginning to wear off at 30 shampoos.

To help support the hair care line, travel sizes of Bumble and bumble Straight, as well as sample packets, will be available at launch. A comprehensive education training program, which includes a video on how to best deliver the Concen-straight is being filmed, too. The at-home version, which will sell for $45, is designed to last for 30 washes and employs the same technology as the in-salon service, just at a lower level. It launches in stores and salons Jan. 1.

“Nothing takes the place of what happens at the salon,” said Lichtenthal.

#4-Global's switch to the New & Improved formula

  Global is planning to launch a new and improved formula this December 2010.  When ordering September's product, the sales lady said that not only are they putting out a better formula in December, but that the Strawberry formula from last year is still available. Something else that was news was, the "new & improved" formula they launched last January is formaldehyde free, as far as ingredients go. Even the resistant formula. (Strawberry, from last year, lists formaldehyde as an ingredient, but the current resistant formula does not.)  This doesn't mean that it doesn't gas off.  But, even still, gas or no gas, there is a very fine particulate that comes off during flatironing for all formulas so far.

#3-What is KeraPure?


Kerapure is a brand of keratin treatment that claims to be non-toxic.  A sample of the product has been sitting at the salon for @1month for testing.  The reason it has not been used is because of the following:
1.The fine print in the info packet sent along with the sample states that there is actual gassing off of formaldehyde, even though it's a small amount and under the amount that requires disclosure.  With the way they go on about the ills of formaldehyde on their websight, it's amazing that they actually include ingredients that gas off at all.
2.In the into packet, they compare formaldehyde levels in solution of other brands with the gassing off in theirs.  This type of comparison is irrelevant and uninformative. They claim "No Toxic levels of formaldehyde", which means the product does contains formaldehyde. If it didn't contain any formaldehyde, it would would say "formaldehyde free".  Global's current "2011" formulas are not on the list, only last years. 
3.No where do they claim the hair is straightened out, only smoothed
4.Results typically last 2-3 months, according to them.  That's 2-3 months less than the typical longevity of Global's current resistant formula. Some people come in every 2 months, but usually because of grow out issues, not reversion issues.

At this point, even if KeraPure was 100% non-toxic, it would not replace Global's current resistant formula in the salon based on KeraPure's own claims of longevity and expected straightening results. Only products with potential to replace the current favorite are tested due to the time/effort required in testing.

#2-Is there a good DIY Semi-Permanent brand?

Ion Keratin Smoothing


Many clients would benefit from a DIY keratin treatment, especially for the fuzzies around the face that tend to pop out well before the entire head needs a treatment.  Many requests have been made to the favorite in-salon brand to launch a take-home version, and hopefully someday that will be available.
In the mean time, Ion Keratin Smoothing Treatment is the best so far of the take-home versions.  3 1/2 & 1/2 heads have been done so far, comparing Ion to Global's current resistant formula.  Global goes flatter and reduces the volume more than the Ion treatment.  However, the Ion treatment does take the hair to about the same straightness as Global initially. Longevity has yet to be determined, but so far it's been about a month out and aside from the over all fluffiness of the Ion side, it's holding up well.
Currently, the Ion Keratin Smoothing Treatment is the favorite take-home keratin treatment available at Sally's Beauty Supply.

#1-Notification of class action lawsuit against Brazilian Blowout

The day after a mass email was sent by Brazilian Blowout, apologizing for the continued bad publicity of their product,(but in no way actually apologizing for their marketing tactics), papers outlining the class action lawsuit against Brazilian Blowout arrived to the salon.  Anyone who has ever purchased products from Brazilian Blowout is automatically included in the lawsuit, unless they take action to remove themselves from the lawsuit. The grounds for complaint are solely that the company misrepresented their product. 

New Blog address

For some unknown reason, access has been denied to the former blogspot, so a new one has been created. All posts will be transferred over to this location. All posts from the previous blog will be numbered.