Omar Roth, co-owner of O Salon in Greenwich, Connecticut, worried about health effects and after due diligence, selected a “free” brand.
“It removes about 70-percent of frizz and wave and doesn’t last quite as long as the original formulas, but the results are still amazing,” says Roth, whose former printing-plant salon space has industrial ventilation. “We do about eight treatments a week now.”
J.B. Veltman, who owns an eponymous salon in Coconut Grove, Florida, says some brands he tested lasted just until the next shampoo. He now educates for a company that openly shares the percent of formalin in the product.
“I’ve been using it for years in a well-ventilated studio salon with a de-fumer at the station,” says Veltman, who along with his clients, wears a mask during the treatment. “No matter which brand you use, the same precautions apply.”
|An Association Weighs In|
The Pro Beauty Association recently issued an Industry Advisory on Brazilian-type keratin treatments. To read it in its entirety, go to www.probeauty.org
Choosing a BrandIf you’re shopping for a keratin treatment line, common sense mandates working with a reputable distributor or manufacturer and avoiding eBay or other online-only options. Request and require a Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) so you can read the hazards identification section. Ask your vendor about specific ingredients, then research them yourself in a cosmetics ingredients dictionary or online.
Next, perform product tests in a well-ventilated area. Use gloves and a canister mask for formalin-containing product tests (particulate masks aren’t effective with gases). Compare results to expectations. Call other salon-users to discuss pros and cons.
Vent, Vent, VentWhether you choose a “free” brand or not, professionals stress appropriate ventilation, including a source-capture system—fans don’t help a stylist three stations away. Use gloves and masks.
Peter Garzone, owner and president of ProSalon distributorship in Cranston, Rhode Island, says an article in Allure initially made him happy he avoided keratin treatments. Now, he wishes he’d started distributing the formalin-based product he chose sooner.
“If you’re concerned, wear a passive air monitoring badge that measures formaldehyde in the air,” says Garzone. “Ours tested at 0.25 parts per million.”
According to OSHA spokesperson Ted Fitzgerald, the maximum, permissible formaldehyde concentration in an atmosphere to which workers are exposed is 0.75 parts per million (ppm) over an eight-hour period—or 2 ppm for 15 minutes.
SNAPSHOT: SURVEY SAYS ...
|As part of our report on keratin services, SALON TODAY conducted a brief online survey of a sample of salon owners from our ProView Panel. Fifty-two owners participated. Here are the results:|
What have they heard?
Nearly two-thirds (65%) are familiar with the term keratin treatment or Brazilian keratin service. The other 35% were not.
How/where did THEY hear about Brazilian Keratin Services?
(Choose all that apply)
Usage IssuesAs a matter of practice, all salons should have well-ventilated storage rooms and avoid placing cross-reactive chemicals near one another. Formalin can be explosive in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. Sodium chloride, salt and ammonia are all incompatible with formalin, which is why coloring the hair before formalin-based keratin treatments is recommended.
“When you discuss the service with clients, talk about hair condition, lifestyle, expectations,” says Denise Kingsley, a texture specialist who owns High Tech Hair in Denver.
Because formalin-based keratin treatments do not break bonds, users say their true power is in transforming damaged, frizzy or wavy hair. Kingsley adds that it’s not the best choice for healthy, super-curly African-American hair, but if that hair type has been previously relaxed or heavily colored—the more porous it is—the better the service will work and the longer it’ll last. Another must-know: You can’t use a shampoo that contains sodium chloride, which breaks down formalin-based chemical links and possibly others, reversing results.
The Choice is YoursHundreds if not thousands of high-end salons are offering keratin treatments because clients are clamoring for it. Many say the results it produces—a semi-permanent way to smooth wave and banish frizz—has become an irreplaceable business builder.
Those who aren’t ready to bring in the category, or refuse to do so, say they are sticking with alternate service options to cater to their clientele: from flatironing and blow outs to traditional relaxing and Japanese thermal straightening. The latter two break bonds and use chemicals that require their own precautions. Some manufacturers and salons are capitalizing on the questions surrounding formalin-based keratin products to promote these alternatives.
The best advice from all industry and category experts is for salon owners to do their own homework. Make an informed business decision for your salon, your team, your clients. Evaluate and assess your ventilation system and safety procedures for all areas and services offered in the salon. Do what you need to do to protect the health of your business.
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.