In My Opinion...

Are We Looking to Make a Quick Buck?

by Clive Lamb

I'm in the shower reaching for my conditioner and a thought occurs to me. Is this protein or moisture? We all know that too much protein is not a good thing because it makes the hair dry and brittle. Companies have been telling us for years that protein heavy products can be great if used in moderation and I agree with them…"moderation" is the key!

Follow me now. I'm no scientist but all of this makes me think about Keratin straightening treatments. As we all know, there's been a lot of controversy about this process and rightly so. Formaldehyde, the delivery system in the process, is dangerous, if not deadly. I've read that 2% formaldehyde is safe but without any government regulation there's no guarantee. I have read that many relaxing solutions may contain up to ten times that amount!

Now really think about this for a second. Formaldehyde and some Keratin treatments have been banned in Ireland, France and Canada. What happens when it's been sitting on your head for six months? No one knows. Warnings on the bottle say "don't use while pregnant." Do you know if your client is pregnant? Well she might not know yet either. Are you willing to take that chance?

Now let's forget all the scary stuff for a minute and get back to me in the shower. I want to talk common sense. I'm worried about the pros and cons of protein in the conditioner I'm using, meanwhile hairdressers are pumping so much protein onto their clients hair it actually makes the hair straight! Forget the Formaldehyde danger; this alone can't be good for the hair. It's a simple analogy; moisture-balanced hair is like copper wire – bendy and pliable. Hair that is overly infused with protein is like a steel needle; bend it and it snaps.

Manufacturers have said to use protein in moderation and in a balanced way. Does this really sound balanced to you? Then, on top of everything, we're sealing the Keratin and Formaldehyde into the hair with a 450 degree flat iron. "Really"? In my opinion this is going to make the hair brittle and create so much heat damage there will only be one way to fix it… cut it off. This is why you won't find these treatments in my salon.

Come on hairdressers, get real. Have we only jumped on the bandwagon to make a quick buck or are we really thinking about what we're doing? If not, maybe it's time to start.