Safe Alternatives to Traditional Keratin Treatments

Keratin straightening treatments have become increasingly popular due to their frizz-fighting abilities and silky, smooth finish. However, many people are still unaware of the potential adverse health effects from exposure to the chemicals that can be found in hair straightening products.

The main issue with the keratin treatments is the formaldehyde vapors that can be released from straightening formula during blow-drying and flat ironing. Although formaldehyde makes the straightening solution more effective, this advantage is not worth the health risk that you and your stylists are exposed to during the straightening process.

The following smoothing treatments are formulated without formaldehyde or formaldehyde donors and are much safer for clients, stylists, and the environment than standard chemical-based keratin treatments. These innovative smoothing treatments can be customized to your liking and give you more styling flexibility than traditional, formaldehyde-based straightening treatments.

Girl with healthy straight hair

1. Keratin Cure Gold & Honey Bio Hair Treatment

Keratin Cure Gold & Honey Bio Hair Treatment is a glycolic-based smoothing treatment. It is designed to infuse your hair with powerful moisturizing and shine-enhancing ingredients. It smoothens the rough and unruly hair, adds shine, and keeps your locks frizz-free for up to 3 months. It is not supposed to make your hair pin-straight, but it does make it frizz-free, soft, and silky. If your hair is curly, you will get glamorous loose waves. This hair smoothing treatment does not contain harmful chemicals.

Also available at Walmart

How it works:

Keratin amino acids act as crosslinking agents that link together the hair’s protein and the added keratin, strengthening hair fibers from the root to the tip.

Silk Protein fills in the gaps in the hair cuticle, reducing porosity and giving a silky feel to the hair.

Behentrimonium Methosulfate is known for its de-tangling, hair thickening, and cuticle smoothing properties.

Hyaluronic Acid nourishes the scalp and moisturizes your hair, improving its softness and shine.

The nourishing blend of organic oils includes coconut, argan, hemp seed, marula, and peppermint oils.

Hair types:

Keratin Cure Gold & Honey Bio Hair Treatment is meant to be used on frizzy unruly hair, as well as on dry, damaged, or overprocessed hair.


  • Smoothens your hair and makes it easier to manage
  • Eliminates frizz and leaves hair silky soft
  • Leaves hair hydrated and shiny
  • Rebuilds inner strength and boosts volume
  • Reduces breakage and encourages hair growth
  • Soften your hair’s natural waves
  • Reduces blow-dry time
  • Hair can be washed the same day of treatment


  • The product has a strong odor that lingers in your hair.
  • The straightening process can make the color lighter, especially if your hair is bleached.

The appliation and aftercare

The application process takes 2 – 3 hours depending on your hair length and type. You will need a clarifying shampoo, wide-toothed comb, blow dryer, and flat iron that can reach maintain temperature up to 450F. For maximum absorption, the treatment needs to be applied to clean hair. The product comes with detailed instructions on how to use it.

To get the optimum results, the treatment should be performed by a licensed hair professional.

You can wash your hair the same day after receiving the treatment. You can also style your hair the way you want. You are supposed to use sulfate- and salt-free products when washing your hair.

2. Unique Amino Style Keratin Treatment 

This innovative formaldehyde-free keratin treatment product designed to reduce volume, eliminate frizz, and restore damaged hair. The formula uses a blend of amino acids, sugar cane, and assai extract.

Hair types:

The treatment is compatible with other chemical treatments and can be applied to previously straightened, relaxing, or colored hair. However, this treatment can change your hair color to a lighter shade or even leave some brassy tones. To avoid this, it is advisable to dye your hair after, not before the treatment. You can get color service the same day after receiving the Unique Amino Style Treatment.

The manufacturer claims that the product is completely free of harmful chemicals and safe to use on any type of hair.


  • After receiving Unique Amino treatment hair is straighter and looks shiny and healthier.  The styling time is greatly reduced. The results look like those after having a hair Botox treatment.
  • This treatment will not make your hair pin-straight, but it greatly improves the look of dry, damaged, frizzy, or dull hair. When you want to make your hair straight, this can be easily achieved with a few strokes of a flat iron.

The procedure and aftercare

To obtain the best results, the treatment must be applied by a certified hair professional. The procedure is the same as for most other keratin treatments. The product should be left in the hair for about 20 minutes. When the hair is dried up to 70% the stylist uses a flat iron to seal the treatment in the hair. You are free to wash your hair the same day and also to style it the way you want.

With proper maintenance, the effects will last between 8 and 12 weeks. The manufacturer offers a complete aftercare line, which includes aftercare shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner.

The results are progressive and cumulative so that you can apply the treatment every 8 to 10 weeks and your hair will be shinier, and healthier-looking with each application.

African American model with straightened hair

3. Cezanne Classic Keratin Smoothing Treatment

This hair smoothing treatment (formerly known as Cezanne Perfect Finish Keratin Hair Treatment) is advertised to reduce frizz and make hair smoother, stronger, and more beautiful for up to 4 months.

Hair types:

This treatment is especially suitable for people with dry, frizzy, curly, coarse, and unmanageable hair who want to cut drying and styling time.

How it works:

The treatment uses a low pH system to raise hair cuticles and infuse hair strands with a blend of keratin, sericin, botanical extracts, and vitamins. These healthy ingredients replenish lost and damaged keratin and help protect the inner bonds in your hair. Using the heat during the flat ironing stage helps lock in the treatment and creates a smooth and shiny look.


  • Cezanne Smoothing Treatment improves the strength of the hair, reduces frizz, and adds intense shine.
  • The treatment will soften and loosen your curls, but it won’t make your hair bone straight. Your hair will still hold a curl if you desire that.

The procedure and aftercare

The procedure takes up to two and a half hours, depending on the hair texture and length. The process can be customized to create the desired results.

Cezanne Express treatment formula is meant for clients who want a more affordable option or want to cut the time spent in the salon. It is less effective than the classic option and is supposed to last about 8 weeks.

Unlike chemical-based keratin treatments, you can shampoo your hair the same day and style it the way you want. You can also exercise or go swimming right from the salon. Color service can be performed the same day, either before or after the smoothing treatment.

To maintain the results, use sulfate-free and salt-free products. Daily washing is not recommended.

The Treatment can be reapplied after about 4 months. Make sure to consult your stylist, because frequent applications can make your hair feel heavy.

4. Argan Protein Therapy by UNEX PROFESSIONAL

This treatment promises to make hair straight up to 95 % without the use of Formaldehyde or any other chemicals. This means that you don’t have to inhale toxic fumes that can cause itchy and burning eyes or make your throat hurt.

Hair types:

The best candidates for receiving Argan Therapy are individuals with damaged, chemically treated, bleached, and frizzy hair.

How it works:

The treatment is formulated with hydrolyzed keratin, collagen, cysteine protein, and argan oil that are biocompatible to human hair. The effects last 2-6 months. The product should be reapplied approximately every three months.


  • Straightens your hair up to 95 % with no harm to the strands
  • Restores damaged hair, improves hair elasticity, and reduces breakage
  • Lubricates, repairs, and seals the hair cuticle, resulting in soft, shiny, and frizz-free hair
  • Reduces the appearance of split ends
  • You can wash your hair the same day after receiving the service.

The procedure:

Argan Protein Therapy can be done at home. However, you may need an extra pair of hands during the flat ironing stage to ensure the best results. The procedure will take 2-4 hours, depending on hair length and thickness. To read the detailed directions, visit the manufacturer’s website.

hair treated with keratin treatment

5. SAFFRON SECRET Formaldehyde Free Saffron Smoothing Treatment

SAFFRON SECRET Smoothing Treatment uses an organic saffron-based formula to make wavy, frizzy, and curly hair straighter, healthier-looking, and more manageable. Saffron is a spice, derived from the flower of Crocus sativus plants. The spice is rich in concentrated Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, and niacin. The company claims that the product, when properly applied, gives instant smoothing results that last up to four months.

How it works:

This straightening treatment has several convenient features that can make the application procedure safer and more comfortable:

  1. Saffron Smoothing Treatment straightens the hair without the use of damaging chemicals and is claimed to be safe for the user and for the stylist.  This product can be used on hair roots, which makes the initial application procedure as well as touchups easier. There are no strong vapors released during the treatment that can irritate your eyes, nose, or throat.
  2. This product is easier to apply and the application process takes less time than traditional straightening services. You don’t have to wash your hair before application, which eliminates the initial steps of clarifying as well as blow-drying your hair. This means that you will spend less time in the salon and probably pay less money for the straightening service.
  3. Another convenience is that the treatment provides you with an instant result. There is also no downtime after the treatment. You can color or style your hair the way you want immediately after the procedure is completed or on any of the following days.

The procedure:

As we mention, there is no hair clarifying step prior to the treatment. The product is poured into a bowl and applied to the hair section by section, using a hair dye brush. A plastic wrap is then placed tightly over hair for 50 minutes. After removing the plastic wrap, your hair is blow-dried and brushed for 10 minutes. Your hair is then flat ironed at a temperature of 380-450 Fahrenheit. The final steps also differ from standard straightening treatments. After the flat ironing step, the hair is simply washed with a sulfate-free shampoo, blow-dried, and styled.

6. Keratin Complex Hair Treatment by Damilla

This straightening treatment utilizes a blend of natural keratin, silk amino acids, collagen, soy protein, and wheat protein to replenish the lost proteins and strengthen hair. Argan oil conditions your tresses and boosts shine.

The product is non-toxic and easy to use at home. One bottle is sufficient for multiple applications.

Also available at Walmart.


  • The treatment gives you straighter, frizz-free, and easy to manage hair for up to two months.

7. Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger KeraTriplex Treatment (Available at Walmart)

This frizz-fighting treatment uses isolated proteins identical to human keratin to replace keratin lost during chemical services. The treatment is not meant to straighten your hair, so there is no flat-ironing stage. This repairing treatment is designed to reconstruct hair damaged by chemicals and restore hair softness and sheen.

KeraTriplex Treatment is much easier to apply than traditional keratin straightening treatments.

More brands to consider: Keratin Straightening Treatment by Paul Brown Hawaii, Brazilian Perola Organic Hair Straightener Treatment (formaldehyde-free) by ETERNITYLISS, COSMO-9 Proliss Anti Frizz hair Treatment – Formaldehyde Free, Revamp Keratin Smoothing Treatment by Biolustre, and Brazilian Treatment Ingel Maxx by Forever Liss Professional.

8. Amino Acid-Based Smoothing Treatments

This type of smoothing treatments utilize amino acids to tame your curls, control unwanted volume, and make your hair smooth for up to three months. The formula penetrates deep into the hair shaft to fill up tiny gaps, resulting in smoother, frizz-free, and more manageable hair.

The most popular amino acid-based smoothing treatments include Cysteine smoothing treatment, Pravana Perfection SmoothOut, CHI Enviro American Smoothing Treatment, Argil Therapy, and Thermafuse f450 Amino Fusion Smoothing Treatment.

Popular Brazilian Blowout Smoothing Treatment also uses amino acids to smooth hair. However, this line of products has formaldehyde in its formula.

Hair types:

Amino-acid smoothing treatments can be performed on all hair types including color-treated, highlighted, bleached, permed, relaxed, and keratin straightened hair.

The application process is similar to keratin treatments. However, your hair can be washed the same day using an appropriate shampoo and conditioner.

Medical Disclaimer

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7 thoughts on “Safe Alternatives to Traditional Keratin Treatments”

  1. I have used the saffron smoother – got it on Amazon. Highly recommended and you gave a good summary of it.

  2. I’ve had problems with my naturally white hair turning very yellow mustard color. Of course very concerned about this result.

  3. Purple shampoo is the easiest way to get rid of unwanted yellow tones. There are purple masks that serve to the same purpose, but in addition to toning, they hydrate and nourish your hair. Purple toners also work on naturally white hair. Discuss all options with your stylist.

  4. This is so misleading. According to the government website, “Glycolic acid does exhibit some inhalation toxicity and can cause respiratory, thymus, and liver damage if present in very high levels over long periods of time.”
    Just don’t use it.

  5. I kit had the Cezzane one done at a salon and it’s awful. Left my hair so dried out that I need a good 2 inches cut off., it also didn’t work very well. Skip this one.

    In the past, I’ve had the majestic hair Botox done. Which is also formaldehyde-free. And it worked very well, though like the others it leaves your hair very brassy.

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