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What is Keratin and How Does It Help My Hair?

What is Keratin and How Does It Help My Hair?

image credit: getty, Sofia Zhuravets

There's never a shortage of hot new products debuting in the hair care industry, and virtually all of them are advertised with lofty promises of helping you achieve your best hair ever. Whether you're already reasonably pleased with the health and appearance of your hair, or you want to make serious changes to your hair care routine, knowing which products you can trust can be a tough challenge.

One of the most talked-about hair care ingredients to hit the market in recent years is keratin, specifically in a variety of keratin-infused products and keratin treatments performed by professional stylists. But what exactly is keratin, and why are so many people raving about it? As it turns out, keratin may just be your new secret weapon for achieving the thick, healthy, shiny, and silky-soft hair you've always wanted.


What is Keratin?

Keratin is a naturally-occurring protein found in the human body, specifically in your hair, nails, and skin. It's part of a family of fibrous structural proteins called scleroproteins, and is categorized as a "protective protein." This means that keratin isn't just much stronger than many other types of cells in your body, but also that it plays a crucial role in protecting specific cells from damage and environmental stressors. Think of keratin as a building block of beautiful, healthy hair, skin, and nails, essential to both your hair's overall health and appearance.

When your hair's outermost layer of keratin is damaged, it can make the “cortex” beneath it more susceptible to damage from chemicals, hot tools, and environmental influences. The cortex is where your hair’s strength, elasticity, protein and moisture content are all supported. As a result of the damage, the top layer can't adequately protect the cortex, which then shows up as dry, dull, and brittle hair.

And while you might imagine that this "damage" only happens in the most dramatic of scenarios, it's actually likely that you're depleting your natural keratin daily. Heat styling, low-quality products, chemicals, inexperienced coloring or styling techniques, and even the pollution levels and weather can wreak havoc on your hair.

Luckily, there is a range of professionally-formulated options for keratin hair care and treatments, specifically designed to refresh and replenish your hair and restore its natural luster. Once you learn more about keratin's numerous benefits, as well as how to find the right keratin products for you, you'll never look back.


Why are Keratin Products So Good for Your Hair?

You may have seen keratin hair products for sale countless times, and yet have never understood what keratin actually is. Many people are surprised to learn that formulating products with keratin is so much more than just another haircare trend – in fact, and there's plenty of science behind the benefits of keratin treatments, shampoos, conditioners, and more.

Every strand of your hair is comprised of individual cells, which are situated in a unique overlapping pattern. Keratin can be used to smooth these cells down, helping to fill in the gaps that have cropped up in your hair's cuticle and cortex over time. Additionally, keratin can be an effective ingredient for protecting against future damage, improving your hair health in the long run.

If you're thinking about incorporating keratin into your hair care routine, here are just a few of the benefits you may want to know about:


Improved strength and elasticity

When keratin helps to repair the gaps in your hair that occur via damage, it's like arming your hair with an extra-strong shield against future breakage and brittleness. Because your hair will be stronger, it can better stand up to the everyday challenges of heat styling, environmental stressors, and more. Whereas you might have previously noticed your hair would typically break off fairly easily, the increased elasticity of your hair can help significantly cut down on breakage – which in turn, helps your hair look better than ever.


Smoother, often straighter hair texture

While the most dramatic changes in hair texture typically occur with in-salon keratin treatments, at-home keratin products can also make a difference. The improved texture of your hair will help reduce frustrating frizz and unwanted waves, making styling easier and changing both the look and feel of your hair.


Protection from the elements

One of the most vital roles of keratin proteins is guarding against the damaging rays of the sun, an often-overlooked factor in overall hair health. Particularly for individuals that spend considerable time outdoors, UV rays can be harmful to your hair.

And you aren't immune to weather damage during the fall and winter months, either. Going back and forth between the cold winter air and heated indoor spaces can take a toll on your locks, but keratin can help.


Better moisture retention and gorgeous shine

Among the many effects of a damaged exterior hair cuticle is decreased moisture retention. This means that even if you're using moisturizing hair products, your hair may not be able to absorb and retain that valuable moisture effectively.

But as keratin helps repair the exterior cuticle, it will be better able to hold onto moisture. As a result, your hair's shine factor will go up, and your split ends will occur far less frequently.


Keratin Products vs. Keratin Treatments: What's the Difference?

There are a few different options for harnessing the potential of keratin to restore your hair's natural beauty. Still, the first decision you'll have to make is whether a professional keratin treatment or at-home keratin regimen is right for you.

If you're hoping to significantly smooth, straighten, and transform your hair, an in-salon treatment may be your ideal choice. While it's true that these treatments are considered an investment by many, plenty of keratin treatment loyalists believe it's impossible to put a price on flawless hair.

Keep in mind that you'll need to follow aftercare instructions to maximize your results. Never try to do a DIY keratin treatment at home – not only do you run the risk of seriously damaging your hair, but you can also endanger yourself with potentially hazardous chemicals.

For many people, at-home keratin products are an excellent option for upgrading their hair care routine. Whether you're interested in only a shampoo and conditioner pairing or want to makeover your entire product collection, there are highly effective options crafted by a handful of reputable brands.

Are Keratin Treatments Safe?

The short answer is for the vast majority of people, YES! One of the common concerns about salon keratin treatments is that many formulations include formaldehyde, an ingredient known to be harmful to humans. When choosing a formaldehyde-based treatment though, the important thing to look for is a treatment that generates the least amount of fumes.

Most people can enjoy a formaldehyde-based treatment and the long-term benefits they promise with no problem. However, opting for formaldehyde-free keratin treatments can help you make sure you're making the right choice for you personally, while still taking full advantage of the latest haircare advancements.


Browse Top-Rated Keratin Products Loved by Stylists Across the Globe with Keratherapy!

To experience the full benefits of keratin, it's important to choose high-quality products like the ones formulated by the experts at Keratherapy.

Using our KERABOND™ Technology, we've created a diverse series of keratin products designed to satisfy the needs of virtually every hair type and concern. The first choice of professional stylists around the world, Keratherapy is the brand to trust for beautiful, healthy hair.

Explore our extensive selection of keratin-infused hair care products and discover the difference keratin can make for your hair – trust us, your hair will thank you!

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Zyn Chakrapong

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