Passionate amateur writer, DIY enthusiast, and self hairstylist with lots of courage to try new products, colors, and styles.
How I Killed My Hair
Since I was in high school I loved experimenting with my hair. I colored it, bleached it, cut it, grow it..never too worried and quite impulsive when it comes to hairstyles. If I had an idea, it was urgent and must be done as soon as possible. This means a lot of DIY home experiments and plenty of mistakes as well. Two years ago I decided to grow my hair so I do not cut it as often, but I replaced changing length, with other options. I completely bleached my hair and was blond for a while. After that, I went back to black. Then had a perm done. Then straighten perm with Brazilian Blowout. Then made highlights. Then colored highlights with Punky red color. Then decided I do not like red anymore and would like my light highlights back so I did a couple of home vitamin C masks to remove the red color from my hair...
Homemade Hair Masks Did Not Help
These changes made my hair significantly damaged, dried, and with split ends.
I tried different kinds of hair masks to repair the situation like a combination of Ricinus and coconut oil, bananas with honey, and stuff like that. It did seem to be a little better, but still, after washing my hair, I must curl it or iron it to appear less dry and damaged, especially now, when I have light ends. Have you noticed that on dark hair damage is less visible? I think so.
Long story short, I read a lot about keratin treatment and how it can inject lost keratine into your hair and repair it. When I was straightening my perm a couple of years ago, I had a Brazilian blowout done at a professional hair salon. This is also a treatment with keratin that works on the same principle, so I decided to try a home version.
How Keratin Treatment Works
During this treatment products with keratin (fundamental protein in our hair, nails, and skin) are applied to hair, blow-dried, and then locked in with an iron. This process makes your hair less frizzed, decreases extensive volume, and makes it shiny. After the treatment usually, you do not need to iron your hair for a couple of months, you just blow-dry it quickly and have a nice and easy manageable hairstyle. The downside is that it makes your hair completely straight so if you are a fan of curly hair, this is not something I would recommend.
From my point of view, as my hair is severely damaged and does not look nice now, it would be worth sacrificing my occasional curls for healthier and shinier hair. The downside was that professional treatments are very expensive and I was not ready to pay so much for something that if not successful would still end up with me cutting my hair shorter.
How to Do Keratin Treatment at Home
I will now explain in detail the process I did at home and give my personal, non-professional opinion on the product I purchased. I will also try to update this article from time to time and share how my hair looked like after some time.
After what was truly a short investigation I decided to purchase KATIVA Brazilian Straightening Kit and give it a go.
Product I Used
What You Get In the Kit
In the package, you will get all you need to do the treatment at home.
- A pre-treatment shampoo that does the task of cleaning your hair from any existing hair product you might have and preparing it for the keratin treatment.
- A brush to apply the product
- A keratin mask
- Shampoo to wash your hair after keratin treatment
- A conditioner to apply after washing out the shampoo
- A pair of gloves
Step 1 - Prewash Hair
Wash your hair well with prewash shampoo. Do not apply any conditioner. Blow-dry it well without applying any products (no heat protection products, oils, etc.).
Step 2 - Applying the Straightening Hair Mask
Divide your hair into sections so you can apply the mask evenly. I divided my hair into 5 sections and fasten it with a plastic hair clip. I suppose you can do what suits you best, the point is that when you start applying the mask it will be important to be able to take small strands of hair without messing everything up.
When I was ready, I took a plastic brush (the same one as you usually use for hair coloring), put on the PVC gloves, and started one hair strand at a time.
I applied the product with a brush and then smudge it out with my fingers just to be sure that all parts are equally wet. The product should not touch your scalp so I applied it a couple of centimeters lower.
My hair is not that curly and the point of this for me was to get the keratin in my damaged lower hair parts so I concentrated on those parts and did not worry too much will I apply the product to the same height on all parts of my hair.
What I can say is that these are some badass chemicals! The smell is not that bad (a strong chemical smell) but it is powerful so I kept the bathroom window open the entire time. While applying the product I got some of it on my forearms and did not wipe it off immediately. After some time it started to itch so my skin was not happy with it. After noticing this I was extremely careful not to get the product on my scalp, face, or eyes.
After I applied the product to my hair I kept it on for 15 minutes according to instructions.
In the meantime, I had a glass of milk just to be sure.
The mask quantity is generous - I used only around 2/3 for my hair length.
Step 3 - Dry, Dry and Then Dry Again...
Dry your hair completely using a blow dryer and a brush. This part was a little tricky. First I took a wide comb and tried to comb my hair to make blow-drying easier. This is also where you can remove some excess of the mask if necessary. I was taking one hair strand at a time and blow-drying it while combing it with a round brush.
It takes time! It took me about 35 minutes to dry the entire hair completely.
Hair is sticky and heavy from the mask and it does not dry quickly. Also, during this process, the smell of chemicals is significant so I tried to blow-dry in the opposite direction of my face. I did not take off my gloves during this process as you still need to touch your wet hair to be able to take hair strands and dry them. I have however tried to wipe off my fingers after each strand so I do not completely mess up my blow-drier. A small towel came in handy at this point.
The hairbrush and comb I used will definitely need cleaning after.
Step 4 - Ironing Hair to Seal in Keratin
After I completely dried my hair it was time to iron hair well. This process is important as the keratin reacts with the heat of the iron and seals in the hair. The instructions said that it should be done at the temperature of 200-215 degrees. It does say that if your hair is damaged or bleached you should not go above 180 degrees. I decided to go with 160 degrees and tried to do it rather quickly not to burn the hair a lot. I took smaller hair strands (around 2-2,5 cm wide) and went through with my iron quickly 7-8 times on each.
The process actually took less time than Step 3.
Final Step - Washing and Drying Again
I waited 5 minutes for my hair to return to room temperature as instructed, rinsed my hair with a warm shower for a couple of minutes, and then washed it well two times with shampoo from the kit.
I applied the provided conditioner, left it on for 5 minutes, and then rinsed my hair thoroughly again.
After washing it, I dried my hair with a blow-drier and a round brush (the second one, the first is still waiting for cleaning). It was not necessary to overdo it at all.
Pros and Cons of Home Keratin Treatment
After 2,5 hours, my conclusion is:
- Hair is smoother and softer at the touch.
- Drying after washing takes half of the usual time and there is no need for the use of an iron.
- There is less volume which is good in my case.
- There is more shine.
- Price for the DIY option is significantly lower compared to saloon professional treatment.
- My hair is lighter especially on the previously bleached parts so I guess it would take out some existing hair color. I did not mind this.
- The smell is rather bad so I am not sure how healthy this process is for the general well-being. I suppose that occasional exposure should not be that harmful as it is already the same with bleach and hair color products.
- It can not repair all the damage and split ends. Lesser, but I still see dried and broken ends. However, I suppose that I had perhaps unrealistic expectations. I will still have to cut off a few cm of my ends but overall I think it did well on my hair.
- It takes some time and skill to do it at home so if you have money to spare for this at a professional hair saloon it would be an easier choice and probably would look even better.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Ivana Balić