The Brazilian Keratin category has people talking. Salons, manufacturers, clients, consumer press and bloggers are all abuzz: “Where are the opportunities? What are the concerns?” Make sure to read Salon Today Investigates Brazilian Keratin Services for the answers.
Here, Graciela Santiler-Nowik, owner of Hair Base in Chicago, tells us her experience of providing keratin treatments.
Hair Base, Chicago, IL
ST: When did you first add keratin treatments at your salon?
GSN: “Three years ago this June. We are a “neighborhood” salon on the north side of Chicago. We were one of the first salons in Chicago to adopt and publicize the service.”
ST: How did you learn about the service, and how did you research or test it?
GSN: “Four years ago, we were doing a lot of hair extension classes. An educator from Miami told me about a new process coming from South America. I started looking for information. Finally, at a show in Florida, I found a lone manufacturer with a tiny booth. I spent three hours there. Later, I traveled to get certified before ultimately bringing a certification class into the salon for the entire team.”
ST: What do you charge for the service?
GSN: “Between $300 and $600, based on length and density of hair. It takes an average of two hours, and we always work in tandem to be efficient.”
ST: How many of these services are you selling per week?
GSN: “At least two per week. I’ve seen a slight dip because of the economy and some increased competition. But we’ve used this service to attract new business and clients. We promoted it heavily online, through beauty sites and forums. There’s always someone coming to us from out of state.”
ST: You are very involved in Cosmetologists Chicago and Cosmetologos Latinos associations, as member and past president. What are your colleagues telling you about this service?
GSN: “At first, a lot of people were scared. They made judgments without having all the information. Now, it seems almost everyone is on board. For instance, the Mario Tricoci salons here in Chicago now offer the service.”
ST: When another salon owner finds out you’ve been having success with keratin treatments, what questions do they ask?
GSN: “How’s it going, what do you charge and what about the formaldehyde.”
ST: Do you take any extra or special precautions?
GSN: “We revamped our entire ventilation system. We needed to do it anyway, because of the Japanese straighteners and other chemical services we offer. We went a step further and said, “Let’s really protect ourselves.” I researched and found a lab safety supplier, and picked a multi-gas, carbon mask to wear. It filters out ammonia, peroxides, thio and, of course, formaldehyde or formalin. These are multiple-use masks with replaceable cartridges. They cost $60 each. Our entire team now wears the mask for all chemical services, including basic color. We also offer masks to clients to wear for all services. Many have started to do so, but their exposure is so minimal.”
ST: How did clients react?
GSN: “We educate them. We do thorough consultations for all keratin treatments and other non-traditional services before we will even book them. We explain how low their exposure is, and that we are taking extra precautions because we are exposed on a daily basis.
“I’ll admit that it was a strange feeling for some to come into a salon and have hairdressers wearing these masks. But over time, they understand. When your nose is only seven inches away from those fumes, it is hard not to get that into your lungs, no matter what the chemical is. This is a trend I think more hairdressers and salons will keep moving toward. It should start and be taught in school. It’s a new era of responsibility and wellness. Clients will adapt, respect and even appreciate it.”
Fast Facts About Brazilian Keratin Services
|What it is: A chemical process service to smooth curly, frizzy hair. Includes the application and absorption of a liquid solution throughout the hair. Heat (450 degree flatironing) is applied to activate, and seal keratin to the hair. |
What you can charge: The service can command up to $800; the average price ranges from $300 to $600, depending on length and density of hair.
Time it takes: Most technicians complete the service within 90 minutes. Some salons have stylists “double up” to expedite the flatironing stage, depending on the length and texture.
Permanent or temporary: Designed to be long-lasting without changing the physical structure of the hair. Fades over time with shampooing.
How long it lasts: The straightening, frizz-reducing effects are estimated to last up to four months, depending on the client’s hair texture, condition and home maintenance routine.
Do: Perform color services before processing keratin treatments.
Don’t: Shampoo hair for three or four days after processing
Know that: Formalin, a cosmetic-grade solution of formaldehyde, is what binds and preserves the keratin (a protective protein) on the cuticle, and is what creates the long-lasting effect.
Always: Ask your distributor or manufacturer for an MSDS on the product. Be suspicious of any product that does not plainly list its ingredients on the label.
Insist: On training, education and proper ventilation systems.