Difference Between Relaxer & Keratin Treatment: What You Need to Know

The primary distinction between relaxer and keratin treatments is that relaxer treatment minimizes the appearance of curls from the inside of the hair strand and makes hair permanently straighten, whereas keratin treatment is a semi-permanent chemical process that reduces frizziness and straightens the hair while adding a protective layer to it. Both treatments make hair smooth, straight, frizz-free, and naturally textured, making it easier to manage hair locks and giving a lustrous appearance. As a result, women can save time on hair styling.

Key Takeaways

  • Relaxer treatment is a chemical-based treatment that smoothens and relaxes kinky or curly hair, while keratin treatment is a semi-permanent procedure that reduces frizziness and straightens hair.
  • Relaxer treatments take about 30-60 minutes to perform and last for around 6-8 weeks, while keratin treatments take about 2-4 hours to complete and last for about 3-6 months.
  • Relaxer treatments are more suitable for kinky and unruly hair, whereas keratin treatments are ideal for slightly wavy and curly hair.

What is a Relaxer Treatment?

Hair relaxer treatments are chemical-based treatments specially created to smoothen and relax kinky or curly hair. They also improve texture, reduce frizz, moisturize, and condition the hair. They last for around 6-8 weeks; After that, the results may weary. There are three main types of hair relaxers:

No-lye relaxers or calcium hydroxide relaxers – suitable for all hair types
Lye relaxers or sodium hydroxide relaxers – suitable for wavy and curly hair
Ammonium thioglycolate relaxers – suitable for fine, wavy, and curly hair

Relaxers work by interrupting the bonds between the protein construction in the hair, thereby changing its natural formulation. This can be done at home and usually takes about 30-60 minutes, following the procedure given below.
How to Relax Hair at Home:

Apply petroleum jelly onto hair to protect the scalp and hair
Apply the relaxer lotion or cream from hair ends to the strands
Leave for 15 minutes
Rinse off with warm water using a neutralizing shampoo and a conditioner
Apply a hair moisturizer

Once you have completed this treatment, avoid constant shampooing and heat-styling. You should take care to use sulfate-free shampoo, leave-in conditioners, and protein masks to protect your hair. Another aftercare procedure is trimming the hair.

Side Effects of Hair Relaxer Treatments:
Though your hair may look appealing after a relaxer, the chemicals used, which are between pH 9-12, can be harsh on the skin. Consequently, there may be adverse effects like,

Increase frizziness
Dandruff, hair thinning, and loss
Dry and brittle hair
Chemical burns
Hinder hair growth

What is a Keratin Treatment?

Keratin treatment is a semi-permanent chemical procedure done at a salon to straighten hair. This treatment minimizes frizziness, improves hair color, and adds a straight, glossy, shiny, and healthy look to the hair. Overall, hair becomes more manageable. This look will last up to 6 months. There are different types of keratin treatments as Brazilian blowout, soft keratin, Japanese hair straightening, and Japzilian keratin.

Keratin is a natural protein in hair, skin, and nails. The keratin in these treatments also is taken from these body parts. But, other ingredients, including formaldehyde, are added to it. According to research, this contains carcinogens, which are cancer-causing. Therefore, keratin treatments are not recommended for pregnant women.

Side Effects of Keratin Treatment due to Formaldehyde:

Scalp irritation
Runny nose
Itchy skin
Skin rash
Hair loss
Hair breakage or damage
Burning eyes
Scalp burning

A keratin treatment takes several hours. Some stylists first wash the hair and brush the treatment onto the wet hair. Then it is kept for 30 minutes, but this depends on the length and the volume of the hair. Some stylists blow-dry the hair first and apply the treatment onto dry hair. Then the hair is flat ironed to absorb the treatment. The duration of the results of this treatment depends on the way the person looks after the hair.

How to Take Care of Keratin-Treated Hair:

Avoid frequent washing
Avoid washing or brushing hair during the first 3 days after the treatment
Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
Use a silk pillowcase
Do not tie hair

What is the Difference Between Relaxer and Keratin Treatment?

The key difference between relaxer and keratin treatment is that relaxer treatment minimizes the appearance of the curls from the inside of the hair strand, while keratin treatment is a semi-permanent chemical process that reduces frizziness and straightens the hair. Moreover, relax treatments usually take about 30-60 minutes, but their results lasts for about 6-8 weeks, whereas kertain treatments takes about 2-4 hours to be done, but their results last for about 3-6 months.

Summary – Relaxer vs Keratin Treatment

Relaxer treatment is ideal for kinky and unruly hair as they can straighten hair semi-permanently, making it more manageable. This procedure takes about 30-60 minutes, and the results will last for about 6-8 weeks. Keratin treatments, on the other hand, are ideal for slightly wavy and curly hair. This treatment makes the hair permanently straight and is more expensive than relaxer treatments. The treatment procedure takes about 2-4 hours to be done, and the results last for about 3-6 months. So, this is the summary of the difference between relaxer and keratin treatment.
1. Iftikhar, Noreen. “Keratin Treatment Side Effects: Formaldehyde Risk, Alternatives, More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 14 Dec. 2021.
2. “Relaxer.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Mar. 2022.
Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Related posts:

Difference Between Indie and Boho / Bohemian Look
Difference Between Color and Dye
Difference Between Business Casual and Business Professional
Difference Between Formal and Semi-Formal
Difference Between Hair Relaxing and Rebonding

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles