The key difference between keratin and cysteine treatment is that keratin has harsh chemicals like formaldehyde, whereas cysteine is free from them.
Since cysteine treatment does not use formaldehyde, it is safer even for pregnant women and children above 12 years. But, it is more expensive, and its longevity is less. Both keratin and cysteine treated hair should be well looked after and maintained to get the maximum benefits.
What is Keratin Treatment?
Keratin treatment is a chemical procedure done at a salon to straighten hair. It is also called a Brazillian blowout or Brazillian keratin treatment. This treatment reduces frizziness, improves hair colour, adds a straight, glossy, shiny and healthy look to the hair. Overall, the hair becomes more manageable. This look will last up to 6 months.
Keratin is a natural protein in skin, hair, and nails. The keratin in these treatments is also taken from these body parts. But, other ingredients, including a chemical called formaldehyde, is added to it. According to researchers, Keratin treatments contain carcinogens, which is cancer-causing or help cancer to grow. Because of this, keratin treatments are not recommended for pregnant women.
Major Risks of Associated with Keratin Treatments due to Formaldehyde
- Burning eyes
- Runny nose
- Itchy skin
- Skin rash
- Hair loss
- Hair breakage or damage
- Scalp irritation
- Scalp burning
Doing a keratin treatment takes several hours. It has two methods. Some stylists first, wash the hair and brush the treatment onto the wet hair. It is kept for 30 minutes, but this depends on the length and the volume of the hair. Meanwhile, some 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 this treatment depends on the way you looks after the hair.
How to Take Care of Keratin-Treated Hair
- Avoid washing or brushing the hair during the first 3 days after the treatment
- Avoid frequent washing
- Use sulphate free shampoo and conditioner
- Do not tie hair
- Use a silk pillowcase
What is Cysteine Treatment
Cysteine treatment is a non-essential amino acid treatment that is used to straighten hair. This treatment is best for extremely dry and unmanageable hair. The tight curls are relaxed from the ingredients in this treatment. Therefore, it gives a very natural straight look to the hair. This treatment lasts only up to 3 months and is therefore semi-permanent.
Cysteine does not contain formaldehyde, so it is safe for people. This treatment contains four steps. First, the hair is washed using cysteine smoothing shampoo and dried. Second, a protein-leave-in conditioner is applied; then, a hair straightening protein and cysteine smoothing treatments are applied. This is kept for 45 minutes. Then the hair is blow-dried, ironed and rinsed.
How to Take Care of Cysteine Treated Hair
- Avoid sulfate-based products
- Use cysteine based products
- Avoid henna
- Avoid oil
- Do not wash frequently
- Avoid swimming for a month
What is the Difference Between Keratin and Cysteine Treatment?
The key difference between keratin and cysteine treatment is that keratin has harsh chemicals like formaldehyde while cysteine is free from them. Therefore, cysteine treatment is safer even for pregnant women and children above 12 years. But, it is more expensive, and its longevity is less.
The below infographic presents the differences between keratin and cysteine treatment in tabular form for side by side comparison
Summary – Keratin vs Cysteine Treatment
Keratin treatment contains formaldehyde, which is a cancer-causing chemical. Therefore, this treatment is not safe for pregnant women, children and people with sensitive skin. Due to the harsh chemicals in it, there may be various kinds of allergic reactions. The effects of treatment last for about 6 months. Unlike keratin treatment, cysteine treatment can be done even at home. It is relatively expensive since cysteine based shampoo, conditioner and serums have to be used after the treatment. This doesn’t contain formaldehyde or any other harsh chemicals; therefore, this is safer even for pregnant women and children above 12 years. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between keratin and cysteine treatment.
1. Weatherford, Ashley, and Kathleen Hou. “Read This before You Get a Keratin Treatment.” The Cut, The Cut, 7 Oct. 2021.
2. B, Shalu. “Cysteine Hair Treatment Guide: Pros, Cons, Side Effects – 2021.” Fabbon, 10 Oct. 2021.
1. “Haiirnxt keratin treatment” By beautywoodinc – (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Smiling hairdresser straightening hair of female client” (CC0) via Pexels