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Considering an anti-frizz treatment? Here's what you need to know

Here's what you need to know about keratin treatments and Brazilian blowouts.
Keratin treatment, Brazilian blowout
Imagine being free of frizz!Getty Images stock
/ Source: TODAY

While the warm weather is always a welcome change, it can wreak havoc when it comes good hair days.

Gorgeous strands can quickly become frizzy situations and that's where hair-smoothing treatments can save the day. But how do you know if a keratin treatment or Brazilian blowout is right for you? And what is the difference between the two?

TODAY Style got the scoop and is breaking it all down for you.

What's the difference between keratin treatments and Brazilian blowouts?

Both treatments aim to do the same thing: eliminate frizz and smooth your locks. In fact, other than the name and the ingredients they use to get the job done, there's not much of a difference between the two. They're like Coke and Pepsi.

"A Brazilian blowout and a keratin treatment are both hair-smoothing treatments that temporarily coat the outer layer of the hair to smooth the hair, remove frizz, enhance shine and decrease blow-drying time. They start to differ depending on which brand your stylist uses," Arsen Gurgov, owner of Arsen Gurgov Salon in New York City, explained to TODAY Style in an email.

But while both treatments calm frizz and smooth strands, there is a difference when it comes to intensity.

"Brazilians also leave your natural texture (curl or wave) in with just removing frizz," explained Brandi Voorhees, a stylist at Sally Hershberger Salon in Barneys New York. "With keratin, (the treatment is) heavier, taking away more volume and frizz, and calming the curl more."

Gurgov agreed, adding, "Generally speaking, you will get more of a smoothing and deep-conditioning effect with a keratin treatment ... as it contains less harsh chemicals and silicones, which weigh down the hair and clog the scalp as compared to a Brazilian blowout."

Both treatments can contain formaldehyde and other chemicals, so it's important to ask your stylist about the brand and ingredients to make sure it is the right one for you. Just like with various brands of shampoos, different brands of the treatments can yield slightly varying results.

Will it make my hair too straight?

Don't worry: Either way you won't be getting that stick-straight Japanese straightening look that was popular in the '90s.

"These treatments do not make strands permanently stick straight and grow out naturally. You don’t get the tell-tale line of demarcation as it grows out that you do with the permanent chemical straighteners," explained Gurgov.

And the keratin formula itself has changed over time.

"Initially, keratin treatments were used to provide clients with straighter hair. Now, there are gentler formulas on the market that are more effective and use less heat while offering deep-conditioning benefits for added shine and manageability," Gurgov said.

Companies have a movement to embrace natural textures, so they've also adapted their products. Zoe Hyams, director of marketing for Keratin Complex, explained to TODAY Style that now there are treatments that can give you the benefits of keratin while enhancing curls. There is also typically a spike in these treatments during times of high humidity like May, June and July, which Hyams calls "peak smoothing months."

Anthony J. Diaco, senior hairstylist at Warren Tricomi Flatiron in New York City, added that the treatments can also be adjusted based on the clients needs. For some, he will only do their hairline because they still want to have a little natural frizz throughout their hair.

"I like to customize the treatments I do for each and every client that requests this. Not everyone wants straight, flat hair. Most still want fullness, body and volume," said Diaco. "It's misinterpreted that keratin only makes the hair straight and flat."

A Brazilian blowout typically lasts about three months where a keratin treatment typically lasts three to five months. This all depends on how often you shampoo and the natural texture of your hair. Gurgov suggests only washing the hair once or twice a week after getting one of these treatments and using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners when you do.

In fact, one of his favorite tricks to make these treatments last longer is to simply wet the hair in the shower, rather than washing it with shampoo, and applying only conditioner most of the time.

What should I know about the application?

The time between when you get the treatment and when you can first wash your hair afterward depends on the brand your stylist uses. Each company has slightly different specifications for its products. The same goes for the the application and the amount of time the service takes, but generally it includes washing the hair, applying the formula and blow drying it straight and then using a flat iron to seal it in if necessary.

Despite the chemical intensity, both keratin treatments and Brazilian blowouts are generally healthy and nourishing for the hair.

"It adds protein back to the hair that has been stripped from normal stress over time," explained Diaco.

It can also help condition the hair. Gurgov recommends using hair masks or leave-in conditioners for additional hydration as sometimes the chemicals can be drying, depending on your stylist's application.

This story was originally published on July 4, 2018.