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Why I Made the Controversial Decision to do a DIY Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Avatar • Jun 13, 2014

by Cassandre of cassandrebeccai.com

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After flat ironing my hair for the curing period

 

You mean this product can help keep my hair temporarily bone straight for longer than an hour? Sign me up, today!” This was the only thought that crossed my mind as I trolled the website of the Uncurly brand Brazilian Keratin Treatment looking for a solution for my frizz prone natural hair.

While others complain about missing their curls after 3.4 seconds of wearing a straightened style, I can easily go a week or maybe even two with no interest in seeing my curls again before washday.

My choice to heat-style was met with the reality that my hair doesn’t stay straight for long. The last time I took a flat iron to my hair was two years ago. What became of my hard work after 30 minutes of exposure was an awesome blown out fro. I wanted my straight look to stay for a while this time, but how? With a DIY Brazilian Keratin Treatment, of course!

The Brazilian Keratin Treatment is known for it’s ability to temporarily loosen tightly curly hair and provide humidity resistance for at least 3 months thus improving heat styling results by keeping it frizz-free. I can’t say I did years of research on the BKT, but I did enough to decide on the Uncurly brand Straightening Kit, which among ingredients of nano hydrolyzed proteins contains 4% formaldehyde in the formula.

Uncurly Refill Kit 2nd version

Yep. FORMALDEHYDE.

Before you turn on your imitation Sweet Brown on me (ain’t nobody got time for that!), hear me out.

I believe one can do anything with their hair as long as they’re not ignorant of best practices and the possible long lasting effects.

I’ve heard about the formaldehyde in the BKT formula debate and decided to go with this product because:

  • I felt that my limited exposure to the formaldehyde in Uncurly probably has as much cancer causing effect as the GMO meat, fruit and veggies I generally don’t consume.
  • I know that the formaldehyde is the very reason why the professional treatments actually work so well and last as long as they do, and I wanted something that would do the job just as well (without as much formaldehyde) as the ones in any salon.

I could hardly wait to apply the product when I finally got it.  I clarified with the Uncurly shampoo then I applied the straightener on my air-dried hair. I was careful to use as little heat as possible on my strands so as to not fry my curls. My low heat process + being on mommy duty for much of the time allowed the task to take up to 2 days to complete. In the end, after washing out my hair after the curing process I was pleasantly surprised by my results. You can check out my video recording of the BKT application and results below:

Now, three months after my treatment, I can honestly say that it was the right decision for me.

Here are three positive things I noticed after I did my at home BKT treatment.

1. My hair retained moisture better.
What I noticed for weeks after this treatment is that my hair seemed to be able to retain moisture much better, so much so that I skipped deep conditioning my hair after washes for a few weeks (isn’t that a natural hair faux pas or something?)

Usually, I’d have to moisturize my hair at least twice a day in order for it to feel this good, but for the time I had the treatment, I really didn’t have to.  All of a sudden my dry hair seemed less dry!

This makes sense because the product makes your hair more humidity resistant. Humidity resistant hair is hair that is well moisturized and thus doesn’t need to be looking to the atmosphere for the hydration is craves.

2. My hair felt stronger.

I’m not talking about stronger as in “I just did a protein treatment. Can’t you tell by the stiff feeling and dusty look of my afro,” but more like, “Oooh girl, even my ends feel like they’ve just grown out of my scalp!”

My hair seriously had that brand spankin’ new feeling that I only remember as a newly natural. When that hair first pops out of your scalp, it’s unadulterated by the myriad of stuff we do to it and thus it’s generally stronger. That feeling lasted for weeks.

3. My hair snagged and tangled less.

Can I tell you how not a tangle could be seen or felt in my hair for nearly 2 months?! I mean, seriously, ya’ll. SERIOUSLY.  Snags and tangling are the arc enemies of growing natural hair and this product helped keep all that at bay and for that I am grateful!

I didn’t experience the loosened curl pattern that many experience after a Brazilian Keratin Treatment, because I deliberately did not use enough product for that to happen. For my length and thickness, using closer to 2/3 or even the whole 4oz  bottle of treatment would have probably given me the looser curl result.

image_1

My hair two days after the treatment.

 

Since applying the treatment I’ve only blow-dried my hair twice (my hair dried very quickly by the way; a direct result of the treatment) and I haven’t flat ironed my hair again.  At the end of the day, I felt the benefits were worth it to me and I would gladly do it again.

Editor’s Note: The effects of the Brazilian Keratin Treatment vary according to hair’s resilience and strenth. Some naturals have reported excessive shedding and breakage after doing a Brazilian keratin treatment.

What were your results from a DIY Brazilian Keratin Treatment? Would you try it again? Why or why not?

 

Cassandre Beccai: Just another naturalista playing by my own rules!

 

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About Cassandre

Just another naturalista playing by my own rules! Got hair that doesn't seem to grow past your shoulders? Check out my free Grow Your Hair Faster Video Course

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Lauren Narelle
Lauren Narelle
6 years ago

I’ve had a keratin treatment done before as well and love the results…my hair was shinier, dried faster, and still kept my texture. But the keratin treatment I did had zero formaldehyde..and it was plant based…so any naturals that are interested but don’t want the chemicals…they’re options..

Cassandre
6 years ago
Reply to  Lauren Narelle

Hi Lauren! Please, do tell the brand. I want to know! Do you feel the results lasted for months?

Shebababy126
Shebababy126
6 years ago
Reply to  Cassandre

Cassandre.…your hair is beautiful but that first picture you posted I guess after the Keratin treatment…your hair looked dry and stiff…Also your ends didn’t look very healthy…they probably should be trimmed.…instead of even suggesting a treatment like this which involves a carcinogen being introduced why not try something that is thermo based such as the Japanese straightening method or other thermo based treatments…Please don’t advise or suggest this treatment.…I work in the Health care field and we see the very bad effects cancer has on the human body.

blkmgcwmn
blkmgcwmn
6 years ago
Reply to  Shebababy126

But isn’t a japanese hair straightening method the same as relaxing your hair? At least keratin is something that already exists in your hair as a form of protein , and the fact that there’s only approx. 4% formaldehyde in the products she decided to use can’t be that bad compared to what a japanese hair straightening treatment or relaxer may contain

Lauren Narelle
Lauren Narelle
6 years ago
Reply to  Cassandre

Well I’m not sure because I got it done at the salon..but if you run across a salon or even Google some to see if they offer the plant based formula..

Lola
Lola
6 years ago
Reply to  Lauren Narelle

Can you please name the brand name of the product you used? Thanks

Toni
Toni
6 years ago
Reply to  Lauren Narelle

Hey, I’d be interested in that one. What’s the name of the plant based keratin treatment?

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago

Okay, I thought I could stay quiet on this, but as a Black woman of science, I can’t. Do you as far as the Brazilian keratin treatments go (that twistout two days after is beautiful), but please don’t equate exposing yourself to 4% formaldehyde to consuming GMOs. GMOs in and of themselves are not bad (though their socioeconomic effects are awful), and I’m getting pretty well sick of the pseudoscience claiming that they are–it’s on the same level as people saying you shouldn’t vaccinate children. For example, bananas and corn. It doesn’t matter how organically either were grown, all examples… Read more »

Cassandre
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

This is great! Thanks or educating me.

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Cassandre

No problem! Thank you for having an open mind and not taking offense to my passionate rambling 🙂 Keep avoiding mass-produced GMOs because they hurt small farmers and may lack nutritive value as compared to small crop counterparts, but don’t avoid them for fear of cancer–because there’s no evidence that carcinogens are one of their many evils.

Rachael
Rachael
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

GMO foods are not without their health risks. “Roundup Ready” crops that are manufactured to withstand vast amounts of pesticides are found to contain traces of glyphosate (which can be toxic to humans) well exceeding the level that is permitted by federal regulation. To say that this is what people have done for thousands of years is an oversimplification of the issue. However, I agree that deliberately exposing your scalp to formaldehyde (btw– 4% is no small percentage) is not even in the same ball park risk-wise. And even if there were some alternate reality where you could feasibly equate… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

I agree with you that GMO foods are not without health risks, and I apologize for oversimplifying. I didn’t want to write as much as I would need to in order to thoroughly explain everything, and I didn’t want to run the risk of being confusing.

Don’t even get me started on “Round-up Ready” crops or the rest of Monsanto’s bullshit. If there’s any corporation who deserves the axe for endangering life around the globe, it’s them.

cacey
cacey
6 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

this is really at Dananana,
i hate monsanto too but you know they are not goin anywhere. our politicians are far too bought out for that to be even a remote possibility at this point. 🙁 it saddens me. i watched a documentary on them with my hubby way back, and i seethe about them every time i hear/read their name somewhere. including now, actually.

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

@ cacey: Right? Monsanto + the Koch Bros.= polluted water, polluted land, monocultures, and poverty.

Our politics were co-opted by profit so long ago, and I’m terrified that nothing short of another revolution will change it for the better.

SuZQ
SuZQ
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

While I agree on the dangers of formaldehyde, gmo’s have not been proven conclusively either safe or harmful. There is not enough data yet. Previous genetic modifications were based on cross pollination and other forms of combining related species. That is not what modern gmo does. They insert random genes into existing crops from unrelated plants/animals to prevent pests and do horrible things like create sterilized crops so local farmers cant plant the seeds (Monsanto). We do not know the long term effects of this type of modification, but it is not necessary- the earth produces enough food without these… Read more »

merry
merry
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

You are wrong about GMOs. I am reading about Monsanto and GMOs now. The fact of the matter is that we don’t really know the impact of GMOs because Monsanto doesn’t release their seeds for scientific study. When there is, scientists lose their jobs, funding, etc. Because of pressure from Monsanto because they don’t like the results. And please don’t say well the fda approved. Lmao. Monsanto owns the fda and the fda has overlooked many holes in Monsanto’s research. Monsanto has even omitted information. Again, let’s be clear. There have been no long term or many independent scientific studies… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  merry

While I agree with both of you (SuzyQ and merry) that Monsanto is the devil, and that their GMOs have not been proven safe…Monsanto is not the only company producing GMOs. Most produce and products on the market are GMOs…even the non-Monsanto seeds you buy for your home garden have been genetically modified in some way. Ever see the world “cultivar” after a plant variety? If you do, it’s a GMO. I also wouldn’t trust the FDA as far as I could throw them, so you’re preaching to the choir here. As far as the method for genetic modification–it doesn’t… Read more »

sash
sash
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I just watched an awesome movie called GMO OMG, extremely enlightening. Im pushing my state and house reps to pass legislation for labeling of gmos. Although there are no studies, I was raised its best to be safe than sorry. Also, being of african american descent and being aware of things such as the tuskegee experiment, forced sterilization of black women, etc., I believe my mistrust has been more than earned. I have no interest in “innocently” partaking in a mass experiment and then 50years later our government saying “we didnt know”. smh, no thank you. and round up should… Read more »

Persistence
Persistence
6 years ago
Reply to  sash

the tuskegee experiment, and this GO stuff is new to me. My eyes have been opened!
Thanks a lot

bsbfankaren
bsbfankaren
6 years ago
Reply to  sash

That’s inaccurate. Studies have in fact been done, and are ongoing. Anyone curious should Google GMO studies.

SuZQ
SuZQ
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

Sorry, Im a bit late replying, but I’m a computational biologist and “genes are genes” is not really accurate. Slight difference in genes can have long term devastating effects, and epigenetic modifications triggered by the environment or elevated exposures to certain toxins and/or proteins produced by gene inserts can also induce different gene expression that may or may not be desirable in humans and the surrounding environment. We do not have a food shortage, there is no need to increase yield in most countries. Shortages are primarily a political and distribution issue. Genes incorporated from bacteria/viruses have had hundreds or… Read more »

Liz
Liz
6 years ago
Reply to  merry

YES, thank you, the “FDA” doesn’t approve ANY natural remedies, because you can’t patent natural remedies (yet). They say EVERYTHING that is natural is “inconclusive” even if people have been using the herb/natural medicine for centuries. And THAT is just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t forget that the rats that were fed GMO food were fine UNTIL the 4th generation, where many of them started to become sterile (aka not able to have kids). They also started to get tumors, sooo…not saying we’re rats, but. Ya. Chew on that. Nothing makes me angrier than when people say that we… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Liz

I’d like to read that study you’re citing about the rats becoming sterile in the 4th generation-do you mind posting a link? Genuine sterility would be an interesting observation to read about, but I have to burst your bubble and inform you that most research rodents begin developing tumors at a certain age or generation. Unless a study is specifically using rats that don’t get cancer so that they may avoid confounding factors, their rats will eventually have cancer. It’s been that way in every research lab I’ve worked in, and it’s because the types of rats/mice most commonly used… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

The question mark should be a “does not equal” sign.

Pat
Pat
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

Thank you, I was ’bout to say, formaldehyde should be used in a fume hood and with nitrile gloves as a minimum

cepfeng
cepfeng
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

THANK YOU

seriously, enough with the rubbishy junk science, we don’t need it. Just before I transitioned, almost exactly a year ago I also tried this. It was horrendous. The stuff itself simply wont bind if the temperature is too low so your head is burning and the fumes it lets off…ick. They make your eyes and throat burn. You also need to have your strands separated with a fine tooth comb and I lost a good 2 inches of length through breakage doing this. Avoid.

Cami
Cami
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I think you need to do more research on these GMOs you talk about. As it stands there has not been sufficient research that can conclusively say the GMOs are safe. Since these companies are currently using us as experiments for their GMOs we can’t directly link it to cancer as cancer will take about 30 years to manifest. Negative impacts of GMOs have been observed in terrestrial mammals animals as well as in sea urchins (which are often used as bio-indicators of environmental toxins). Many of these “GMOS are safe studies” that are available today were produced by multinational… Read more »

bsbfankaren
bsbfankaren
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

I’ve not read your entire post, but please allow me to put my two cents in. While I would never attempt to classify myself as a scientist by any means, I have taken many science courses, and have studied the subject of GMO’s in an attempt to understand why people and indeed nations are opposed to them, and believe you are over simplifying the subject. While it is true that all foods are genetically modified and have been since Mendel’s study of pea plants, one of the issues with modern GMO plants is that the plants are modified to grow… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  bsbfankaren

You should read my entire post. I admitted to oversimplifying, and I’ve already pointed out that they have negative effects on our environment and socioeconomics. Thanks.

cha52
cha52
6 years ago
Reply to  Dananana

Hey Dananana, thanks for leaving your comments. Had a discussion earlier this month about GMOs and I found your take on it refreshing. About the BKT treatment: I agree it’s definitely carcinogenic and they’re definitely studies to back it up. I have not clicked on any of the link so please excuse me if I really have any information, I’m on my phone and I’m just passing through. I am under the impression that the whole controversy about the formaldehyde being in the BKT treatments with more about the stylish doing the treatments rather than the clients because the stylist… Read more »

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  cha52

In my humble opinion, Cha52, BKT treatments are dangerous for anyone without a respirator in the vicinity of the treatment. I say that because formaldehyde is volatile, meaning it evaporates quickly from a liquid state into the air. While formaldehyde is also a skin irritant (and is quickly absorbed by skin) it does most of its damage while in the air–and breathing it in just gets it into your bloodstream that much faster. That’s why scientists use formalin; adding formaldehyde to water/methanol cuts its volatility a bit. If you want to check out the links I posted on formaldehyde when… Read more »

Tabatha
Tabatha
6 years ago

Well I never talk about what people decide to do with their hair or not. It’s your head. I’m glad that you decided to give it a shot and then write about it. I’m happy that you liked it. It clearly did what you wanted it to do. I’m a scaredy cat because I’ve had so much progress with my no heat and chemical journey that I feel that trying something like that would possibly set me back. Last night I used my blow dryer and I was so scared because it had been almost 3 months since I used… Read more »

Cassandre
6 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

Girl, I totally and completely understand! I think the amount of heat they say to use (450+) is OD especially for afro-textured hair! I used between 375–400 and even that’s really really high. I think it’s a big risk, but if you decide to do it, just to be safe stay around the 325 degree lane.

Kezzy
Kezzy
6 years ago

Is this temporary? I don’t want my curl pattern to change if I get one.

Cassandre
6 years ago
Reply to  Kezzy

Hey Kezzy. It isn’t permanent but the heat damage is.

Stace
Stace
6 years ago
Reply to  Kezzy

No it’s not permanent. I found that it strengthened my hair, it retained moisture very well, I didn’t need a lot of product (only heat protectant spray), and I didn’t have to use high heat or make excessive passes of the flatiron to get a smooth result.

I didn’t have any heat damage and I flat ironed once a week only on wash days.

Adrienne
Adrienne
6 years ago

I purchased the Beautiful Textures, naturally straight manageability system but have not used it yet. It is in fact a keratin straightening treatment but I do not know if it has formaldehyde. An editor from Curly Nikki wrote a good article about the system and broke down and described all of the ingredients to a science. I don’t know if I’m allowed to copy and paste the article on here.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/056.JPG[/img]

Yasmin
Yasmin
6 years ago

It came out hute cute! Personally, cute hairstyles are not worth exposing myself to known cancer causing agents. Thats just me, everyone should do whats best for them.

Stace
Stace
6 years ago

I experienced the same 3 benefits she listed above after doing a keratin treatment at the salon. After about 2 months the product was completely gone from my hair ( fyi: I used a different brand).

I think they are really good for people who use heat because it allows you to use heat less often, at lower temperatures, and with less passes necessary to get a completely straight and frizz free result. It’s reversible and if you only do it once or twice a year then exposure to any potential hazardous chemicals is low.

amor.
amor.
6 years ago

No shade, but how is a woman making the decision to change her hair a “controversial decision”? Chilee, it is just hair.

Elle
Elle
6 years ago
Reply to  amor.

Perhaps controversial since this is a website dedicated to NOT chemically straightening hair.

gigi
gigi
6 years ago

Thanks for sharing your experience. But I want to be able to control what goes in and on my body as much as I possibly can, since I’m already unknowingly exposed to who knows what. So I rather not take the risk.

Interesting
Interesting
6 years ago

A question for the author (or anyone else that might have an answer): my hair loves humectants such as glycerin. Its in almost all of my products. I use a glycerin + water mix everyday as my moisturiser. But as you know, humectants work best in areas of high humidity, by drawing in water from the atmosphere. What would this mean for my hair if I this BKT? would my humectant based products no longer work? do you think my hair would be more willing (lol I speak like my hair is a person) to accept non humectant based products?… Read more »

Yo Yo
Yo Yo
6 years ago

I am not a fanatic when it comes to “natural” hair. I say to anyone do what you like and what works for you and your hair. If you want to straighten your hair chemically or thermally then have at it. I came across a keratin product last year and used it once. I am thinking of revisiting it again this year. The name is Simply Smooth Touch of Keratin. I found it on TreasuredLocks.com. It is a do-it-yourself product. I am not cosigning this product 100% only because I only used it once or twice. I did not have… Read more »

natacha unelus
natacha unelus
6 years ago

I’ve dobe a formaldehyde home treatment on leave-outs and that portions did not revert which wass annoying because part of my hair stayed straight, and part of it was curly.

natacha unelus
natacha unelus
6 years ago

I’ve done a formaldehyde home treatment on leave-outs and that portions did not revert which was annoying because part of my hair stayed straight, and part of it was curly.

linda
linda
6 years ago

I strongly believe that GMO must be better look into because it is not as simple as scientists and their studies make it look like. Choosing a more productive or stronger crop according to the Nature cycles, soils and environment is way much healthier and less harmful than modifying them with gene-insertion using long term harmful methods where bacteria and viruses are used in a way they are not supposed to be used for the sake of having more food faster. It has been proven that GMO plants modify the environment especially when plants are grown in places they aren’t… Read more »

qt_1
qt_1
6 years ago

Monsanto begins compensating victims of dioxin exposure Published time: July 08, 2014 19:16 Residents of a West Virginia town that formerly hosted a Monsanto factory that produced noxious, cancer-causing chemicals can begin receiving assistance promised through a 2012, multi-million-dollar settlement. A long-promised claims office finally opened up on First Avenue in Nitro, WV on Tuesday this week, meaning residents there will now be able to drop by five-days a week through October 31 in order to learn about what kind of coverage they are eligible to receive. Monsanto, a major biotech corporation and the world’s largest seed producer, shut down… Read more »

Valerie
Valerie
6 years ago

Looks great Cassandre, thanks for the information and your experience.

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[…] a good note from the article on from Black Girl Long Hair: “The effects of the Brazilian Keratin Treatment vary according to hair’s resilience […]

jjac401
jjac401
5 years ago

I just got an Amino Acid Treatment and I am in love!!! No turning back!

No more frizz and tangles, but I am still wearing my hair curly. This is a winner for me!

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