The Keratin Perfect hair care system, exclusively sold at Sephora stores nationwide, is the latest in at-home straightening technology…or is it?
The Main Secret: Silicones
The main secret behind the Keratin Perfect straightening system is the high concentration of silicones. The silicones coat your hair, preventing the hair from curling up at the ends, according to the scientists behind one of my other favorite blogs, The Beauty Brains. There are a couple of downsides to the silicones, the first of which being the straightening effect only lasts until after your first shampoo (or time being caught in a terrential downpour). The second downside is that the silicones can make hair appear to get dirty faster, which means you want to wash it more often, and subsequently have to repeat the Keratin Perfect treatment again. Grumble.
The Second Secret: Keratin
Hair is made of at least four different types of keratin, which is organized as a soft core of keratin surrounded by a hard core of keratin. Everyone’s hair contains at least four different keratins that vary in composition, making different hair have different properties. Keratin also has three types of bond (hydrogen, salt linkages, and disulfide) that are extremely strong and can only be broken with permanent wave solutions, which have a very high pH.
Cross-linking of keratin within the hair is formed in such a fortunate way that the reactive sites of keratin are exposed, so keratin is more free to react with other chemicals in hair-care products. The use of keratin in hair care products is nothing new, as it has been used after a waving lotion but before neutralization during a perm for years (Modern Technology of Cosmetics, 2000). Keratin treatments have also been administered in salons for years under the guise of “shine treatments”. The addition of keratin to the hair makes it appear thicker, smoother, and more shiny.
The theory behind Keratin Perfect is that keratin will covalently bind to those exposed portions of keratin on the hair shaft, giving a more permanent smoothing and conditioning effect, lasting through a number of shampoos. One problem with this is the sites that bind to keratin are no longer free to bind with other potentially beneficial ingredients, but this is a necessary side effect to get the benefits of keratin.
This isn’t going to make me popular with the folks at Sephora (dang), but Keratin Perfect does not have the same silkening effect as keratin shine treatments in the salon. The reason is Keratin Perfect simply is not the same strength: lighter at-home treatment concentrations of keratin (as in Keratin Perfect) only remove frizz from the hair, whereas stronger in-salon treatments can significantly alter the hair wave texture and pattern (Eva Scrivo on Beauty, 2011).
Keratin Perfect may also leave your hair feeling dry and damaged, because you are technically moistening your hair with the Keratin Perfect Straightening Treatment before you apply heat, leaving you susceptible to “fried,” dry, brittle hair. (Same as using a curling iron on wet hair!) If you want to prevent this effect, you need to apply a product with one of the following heat-protective ingredients (TheBeautyBrains, 2o11):
- PVP/DMAPA acrylates copolymer
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Quaternium 70
Of course, salon treatments generally either contain toxic formaldehyde or create formaldehyde as methylene glycol reacts in water, so Keratin Perfect erases that potential problem from the picture. And if your major concern is frizz, Keratin Perfect will certainly help to eradicate that problem. I just don’t think I would pay $220 for Keratin Perfect – I personally would rather request a formaldehyde-free treatment at a salon, which include the salon-strength Brazilian Blowout, Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment, and Global Keratin.
Ingredients in the 30-Day Keratin Perfect System:
PerfectPrep Pre-Treatment Clarifying Shampoo: Water, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glyceryl Cocoate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Methicone, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Fragrance/Parfum, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba Gum (Guar Gum), Jojoba Oil, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate.
ThePerfector 30-Day Hair Smoothing Treatment: Water/Aqua/Eau, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba Gum (Guar Gum), Timonacic, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-7, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Methicone, Glycol Distearate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Fragrance/Parfum, Acetic Acid, Isopropyl Alcohol.
PerfectCleanse Keratin Enhanced Shampoo: Water, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycol Distearate, Rice Oil Glycereth-8 Esters, Acrylates/Aminoacrylates/C10-30 Alkyl PEG-20 Itaconate Copolymer, Amodimethicone, C11-15 Pareth-7, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Laureth-9, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Trideceth-12, Fragrance/Parfum.
PerfectSilk Keratin Enhanced Conditioner: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Behentrimonium Chloride, Amodimethicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Glycerin, Panthenol, Methylparaben, Poloxamer 184, Citric Acid, C11-15 Pareth-7, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Laureth-9, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trideceth-12, Fragrance/Parfum.
PerfectRenew Daily Keratin Replenishing Spray: Water/Aqua/Eau, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Acetic Acid, PEG-7, Timonacic, C177489 (Iron Oxide), Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Methicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance/Parfum.