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Brazilian Keratin Hair Treatments


Courtesy of Farouk Systems

Farouk Hair Care Systems All Rights Reserved.

There has been a building buzz about a new hair obsession known as Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT).

Whenever there is a new chemical hair treatment released, there tends to be a lot of questions and answers hair consumers need to know. As always, there's always consumer misinformation and conflicting information even from professionals.

Why? For years a popular chemical hair straightening treatment for naturally curly and wavy hair has been the Japanese straightening treatments which have a variety of marketing tags or labels, but basically all achieve the same results.

Note: For more information read: Chemical Hair Straightening Faqs

Brazilian Keratin Treatments (PKT), Brazilian or keratin based hair treatments is the name given to a range of products which utilize similar treatment methodology, chemicals and provide common results.

Coppola Keratin Smoothing Therapy™ and Brazilian Blowout™ are just two of the different specific brand names, often used inappropriately, to refer to the whole category of hair relaxing treatments under the Brazilian Keratin Treatment (BKT) umbrella.

As the Japanese straightening fad has declined over the years, there has been the rise of a variety of chemical based hair treatments known by a variety of names such as:

  • Coppola Keratin Smoothing Therapy

  • Brazilian Blowout™


  • Brazilian Smoothing Treatments

  • Brazilian Blowdry

  • Brazilian relaxing

  • Global Keratin Treatment™

  • Keratin smoothing

  • Marcia Texeira Brazilian Keratin Treatment

  • Related Keratin, Brazilian

Brazilian hair treatments may have different names and slightly different descriptions depending on the manufacturer of the product and how they market their Brazilian hair solution.

However, all of them infuse the hair with keratin and utilize a range of chemicals to open the cuticles and allow the keratin to be pushed onto the hair. Some of the treatments utilize formaldehyde and some use aldehyde or similar compositions.

Although there are some Brazilian Keratin Treatments which claim to be formaldehyde, aldehyde or toxic chemical free, be sure to read the list of ingredients for yourself.

How Is Brazilian Chemical Hair Treatments Different Than Japanese Straightening Treatments?

Courtesy of Farouk Systems

Farouk Hair Care Systems All Rights Reserved.

When applied and processed properly, Japanese hair straightening, also known as Yuko or as Thermal Reconditioning will chemically straighten naturally curly and wavy hair. Japanese or Yuko straightening is similar to chemical hair straightening techniques which originate during pre-World War I years.

A major difference between Brazilian chemical hair treatments and Japanese chemical treatments is the results. While Japanese straightening techniques leave the hair stick straight from roots to ends, Brazilian treatments do not completely straighten the hair.

In many respects Brazilian hair treatments are more like chemical hair relaxer than chemical hair straighteners. The difference between relaxing and straightening is that relaxing softens over time and does not leave a line of growth demarcation which chemical straightening does.

Chemically relaxed hair which can be worn straight can also still be easily worn naturally curly and wavy. Chemically straightened hair is usually worn straight since it's much harder to wear it curly or wavy after it has been straightened.

The Brazilian Blowout™

A popular version of Brazilian hair treatments is The Brazilian Blowout™ which celebrities like Nicole Richie have embraced. Another popular method is known as Brazilian or Keratin Smoothing.

After hair has been treated with a Brazilian smoothing, blowout or similar treatment, the hair can still be worn curly or wavy without frizz. Treated hair will still have volume, body and movement which does not happen after Japanese straightening which leave tresses stick straight.

Brazilian treated hair can be air dried to enhance natural texture or it can be blow dried with or without a brush to define natural curls and waves. Brazilian treated hair usually dries much faster than hair which has not been treated whether you air dry or blow dry.

Formaldehyde Or Carcinogenic Chemical Free?

Courtesy of TrimSafe

TrimSafe Razors Carmel International Corporation All Rights Reserved.

Over time, like most chemical relaxers, Brazilian Keratin treated hair will slowly return to its natural hair texture. Ultimately there will be no obvious difference between hair which has grown in and the hair which was treated.

Although there is a lot of buzz about formaldehyde free Brazilian treatments, most of the formulations either have formaldehyde or a similar chemical such as aldehyde. While aldehyde is not officially formaldehyde, it is in the same family and can cause the same toxic results.

Although Brazilian treatments are sometimes advertised as formaldehyde or carcinogenic free, keep in mind these Brazilian style hair treatments require chemicals to achieve the desired results.

Any type of chemical hair straightening, relaxing or smoothing requires chemicals to alter the texture of the hair. Don't believe otherwise and check the facts.

Training In The Technique

My own first training experience was with the Coppola Keratin Complex smoothing system (a type of Brazilian hair treatment system) which was an all day course which as a licensed stylist I took through one of the Dallas authorized providers. There were 20 hairdressers in the class along with several hair models. The models had a range of naturally curly, wavy and frizzy hair.

During the class all of the hairdressers had the opportunity to watch the entire process from beginning or actually participate in each of the steps of the treatments.

Courtesy of Nicole Ritchie All Rights Reserved.

After the Coppola Keratin Smoothing Therapy, I took additional classes in keratin related and Brazilian related systems. They are all similar in both the processing, composition of the chemicals used and the results produced.

While there are some differences including how long you have to keep newly treated hair bone dry and whether or not you can use clips or pony elastics during the post treatment period, the treatments are all based upon the same principles.

Celebrities Who Have Had A Brazilian Blowout™

Nicole Richie has blogged about her Brazilian Blowout™ treatments. Other celebrities who are known to have had the treatments include Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Tisdale and Halle Berry.

The Brazilian Blowout™ is considered by some to be the most popular keratin treatment on the market at the current time. Of course there is a wide range of celebrities who have had their hair chemically straightened including Geena Davis.

Brazilian Blowout™ Differences

Brazilian Blowout™ is formulated with a light cream base and is scented with an açaí aroma. It has the distinction of being one of the more recent Brazilian Keratin treatment options.

Like many relaxers and similar brands, the Brazilian Blowout™ is semi-permanent which means your tresses, over time, slowly revert back to your natural hair texture. Also, as your new hair grows in from the roots, there is no line of demarcation. The treatment slowly wears off the hair at approximately the same rate as your hair grows back in which is an average of 1/2 to 1".

Unlike several of the Keratin and Brazilian treatments available on the market, the Brazilian Blowout™ product allows you to wash your hair the same night you have the treatment. This is not true of other similar products. Most keratin or related Brazilian treatments generally require a 24-96 hour waiting period while the keratin settles down into the hair.

There is also no restrictions with the Brazilian Blowout™ about putting hair in a ponytail or using bobby pins or clips which exist with other methods. Many of the Brazilian Keratin treatments requireyou adhere to strict precautions to ensure success of the keratin treatment.

Making Informed Choices For You And Your Hair

One of the biggest concerns hair consumers have with any type of hair relaxer, hair straightener or Brazilian treatment is the type of chemicals used to alter the hair's texture. There is no such thing as a 100% all natural hair texture changing treatment.

Always do your homework. Research all the pros and cons of any chemical hair relaxing or straightening or Brazilian treatment on the web. Don't agree to a treatment on a whim while sitting in your hairdresser's chair.

Always seek out a certified expert in Brazilian treatments. When approriate, ask for a brochure which explains the treatment and provides a list of the ingredients. If treatment information is not available, ask to watch an actual treatment being performed and ask for a list of ingredients.

Be sure to understand your own hair type, texture, condition and length before you decide whether chemical straightening or relaxing or smoothing is appropriate. Regardless of what the experts say, anytime you apply any type of chemical treatment to your hair, there will be a change. Whether the change is good or not is relative to your hair.

Chemical straightening, relaxing or any similar type of re-texturizing is not appropriate for women who are pregnant or still nursing.

Safety Of Brazilian Treatments

Most Keratin Brazilian treatments including The Brazilian Blowout™ are generally considered to be safe for chemically colored or highlighted hair. Most Brazilian experts, the treatment can also be applied to bleached tresses.

Studies have shown the porosity which results from prior chemical treatments will extend the life of any keratin treatments applied on top of pre-treated strands.

Hair color should be applied before a keratin treatment since color can not be applied for a minimum of two weeks after the keratin treatment. The treatment is known to cause accelerated color fade. Ask your colorist to adjust appropriately.

Expected Results

Super-curly hair will relax to a much softer texture and looser curl. Blowing her long, thick hair straight used to take 90 minutes, but now takes only 20 and has incredible shine!

Most curly hair will relax into a flatter wave when air-dried. If blow dried, hair will dry sleek and silky smooth more quickly and easily then before the treatment.

Naturally wavy hair or hair that is frizzy or puffy will generally come through the treatment with much straighter strands with natural bend. When air dried, waves will be more compressed but softer and without frizz or puff.

As a general rule Brazilian treatments will not leave the hair stick straight and flat like other chemical straightening or thermal reconditioning treatments. Like more relaxers, it does leave the hair with body while reducing bulk. The natural curly, wavy texture will be less puffy and will lay flatter. Unlike chemical straightening, the hair will not be limp, flat or stiff.

Life Of Brazilian Keratin Treatments

The life of a Brazilian Keratin Treatments depends on a variety of factors including the following:

  • Natural texture (curls, waves, kinks, combo)

  • Curl, kink or wave pattern

  • Current condition (normal, damaged)

  • Length of hair

  • Prior chemical treatments

  • Type of treatment performed

  • Brazilian aftercare regime

  • Speed of hair regrowth from roots

  • Frequency of hair cleansing, conditioning and heat styling treatments

Keratin based Brazilian treatments can last anywhere from 6-16 weeks. For some the time will be less or more depending on a wide range of factors.

If Keratin treatments are re-applied before the prior treatment has completely faced, the keratin will build up on the hair and will actually last longer.

Post-Op Care

Most Brazilian keratin style treatments contain a recommended post-op care treatment program.

Aftercare regimens are highly recommended. Usually the after care includes a special shampoo preferably free of sulfates and sodium chloride, which can strip the Brazilian keratin treatments off faster.

The Brazilian Blowout™ acai post-treatment products contain the same hydrolyzed keratin and botanical extracts included in the original treatment. Each time you use them you will be protecting the original treatment while refreshing and enhancing the results.

Regardless of the Brazilian treatment you have applied to your hair, it's important to saturate Brazilian treated hair with tap water before swimming in pool, lake or ocean water. Rinse well after leaving the water. Shampoo and condition as soon as possible afterward.

Aside from the Brazilian aftercare program, you can use any styling products you like. I would caution against ‘sea spray’ type styling products; make sure you read the label to see if it contains sodium chloride before using.

Frequency of Brazilian Touch-ups

One of the advantages of a Brazilian treatment is that instead of experiencing root re-growth the treatment effects fade away in approximately the same amount of time as hair grows in from the roots. Your hair will eventually return to its natural texture.

Another advantage of the Brazilian treatments are that they can be re-applied to all of the hair and not just the new growth. You will not have the agony of dealing with growing out a chemical straightener that combines curly roots with stick straight strands.

Hair Damage Factors

On most people a Brazilian style treatment is non-damaging if applied and processed correctly. However, some hair consumers have experienced a range of challenging reactions ranging from minor to major hair loss, scalp irritation or damaged strands.

If you experience a challenging reaction from any type of Brazilian keratin treatments its a given you should not have them reapplied in the future. While it's possible different brands will create unique results, there's no guarantee switching product manufacturers will change the outcome.

Some experts believe repeated Brazilian treatments will improve the condition of hair over time. This is due to the added protein and flexibility the treatments provide. The treatments may also help prevent split ends from ripping off as well as preventing new ones from showing up. This treatment can be done again and again without damage.

For tightly curled or kinky hair Brazilian treatments may be performed once and then repeated 3 weeks later for a more dramatic result. The maintenance treatments can be applied every 6-8 weeks. then maintained every 6-8 weeks. The only drawback is that it’s addictive!

Cost Factors

The price for an average head of curly, wavy or kinky hair, by an experienced certified stylist, will range from $350 to $600 in most cities. The higher the demand for the treatments, the higher the cost.

Be sure to get a detailed cost estimate of the total cost before you proceed. Clarify if there are hidden costs to the process that are no obvious. If you decide to combine any other hair services such as a pre-treatment conditioning or cut, get an itemized cost estimate.


The price for an average head of curly, wavy or kinky hair, by an experienced certified stylist, will range from $350 to $600 in most cities. The higher the demand for the treatments, the higher the cost.

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- Revised Publication Date: 11/01/10

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