This article was originally posted by Tiffany Anderson, our resident Curl Whisperer, on Live Curly, Live Free. Lately, she’s been fielding tons of questions about this straightening technique, and thought it’d be important for me to share this info with you gorgeous gals.

Liquid Keratin

The latest round of questions I’ve been getting is about a treatment called “Liquid Keratin.” Many curly girls are asking me if it is as safe and effective a way of straightening at home as the company claims it is.

Frankly, based on what I’ve heard from others and my own training as a cosmetologist, I think Liquid Keratin is a whole lot of bad news and not a whole lot of anything else. I have absolutely no qualms about sitting here and telling you I believe there is a bunch of misleading information in their marketing and they are not being honest with consumers about this product.

First of all, what is Liquid Keratin?

The company says it is a “…revolutionary patented treatment that infuses curly, frizzy, unmanageable hair with keratin protein that it’s naturally missing in just 30 minutes…unlike salon treatments, Liquid Keratin DOES NOT contain Formaldehyde or harmful chemical ingredients..[it] is a spray in treatment with amazing results of straighter, smoother, stronger and longer hair instantly!”

From the above, which can be found on the company’s web site, I think we can agree consumers are being led to believe this is a safe way to straighten their hair using only a protein infusion treatment. Unfortunately, their marketing is misleading for quite a few reasons, as I have outlined below:

1) Not everyone who has curly hair has keratin protein that is “naturally missing.” On the contrary, coarse-haired curlies manufacture an overabundance of protein “naturally” in their hair on their own. If you put more protein–especially with a treatment like this–on top of hair that is already protein-heavy, you will have a dry, straw-like mess on your hands.

2) Hair is permanently straightened or curled by breaking what are called the “disulfide bonds” in your hair–the bonds that are responsible for the shape of your hair strand. The marketing of this product leads consumers to believe the keratin protein infusion is what is responsible for straightening the hair; however, it is absolutely impossible for protein alone to break disulfide bonds to permanently straighten curly hair. That takes chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, ammonium thioglycolate…or, formaldehyde.

And here’s where it starts to get really interesting.

3) The company bills the product as formaldahyde-free. They literally scream it at you in caps: “DOES NOT contain Formaldehyde or harmful chemical ingredients.” However, if you look at the ingredients on their product label, you will see one near the top called “Biformyl.” And another name for biformyl is oxalaldehyde, which happens to belong to the group of organic compounds called aldehydes…a group to which formaldehyde also belongs.

4) There is protein in this treatment; however, the order of the ingredients on the product ingredient label tells me this is simply a formaldehyde-type straightener with a little protein keratin thrown in so they can legally call it a keratin treatment instead of what it really is…a procedure that is banned in many salons because of the risk of sickness from fume inhalation.

5) Quite a few women with lightened or bleached hair who have actually used this product reported it turned their color a horrible, brassy orange color, which they then needed to have redone. Something a pure protein treatment wouldn’t do.

So, there you have it. This safe little at-home treatment doesn’t seem so safe all of a sudden, does it? And I have to wonder: what do we think might possibly occur if an individual with asthma or other breathing-related health issues is exposed to an aldehyde without their knowledge?

My biggest issue is this: I have a BIG problem with sneaky, unethical marketing. I don’t like it when any product manufacturer tries to pull the wool over the customer’s eyes just so they can make a buck. And I invite any representative from the Liquid Keratin company to address the points above and tell us why they are not being misleading or dishonest in their advertising of this product.

You can contact the Liquid Keratin company at:

Liquid Keratin, Inc.
101 King High Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
0001 – (647) 588-5515
[email protected]