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What Is Keratin?


Keratin is a buzzword in the hair care industry. Some hair experts claim that keratin treatments and products can completely change the look and health of your hair. But before you invest in a keratin treatment or other products that contain keratin, it’s important to understand keratin. Learn more about what is keratin, how it works, and how much it actually improves the appearance of your hair. Keep reading for our complete guide to keratin treatments and products, including Toppik Hair Building Fibers, which are made from premium colored keratin protein!

What is Keratin?

Keratin is a naturally occurring fibrous protein in our hair, skin, and nails. Keratin makes up 65-95% of the hair structure. Both the protective exterior, called the cuticle, and the structural interior, called the cortex, contain keratin.

However, heat styling, the chemicals in hair dye, improper hair care techniques, and other factors can deplete hair’s natural keratin. This can cause hair to become brittle, dry, dull and frizzy.

For this reason, many hair care products contain keratin, along with other important ingredients that help make hair stronger, healthier-looking and more manageable.

Keratin Uses

Keratin products really can improve the look of hair that is thin, fine, damaged or frizzy. Here are some of the ways to use keratin to improve your hair:

Keratin Hair Fibers

Keratin-based hair fibers, such as Toppik Hair Building Fibers, instantly can improve the look of fine or thinning hair while looking completely natural. Toppik Hair Fibers are made from naturally derived keratin fibers that have a natural magnetic charge. This allows them to cling to even the tiniest existing hairs, making hair look instantly thicker. The best part? Toppik Fibers resist sweat, rain and wind, so they’ll stay in your hair until the next time you shampoo, with minimal touch-ups.

It’s true that keratin hair fibers don’t actually affect the hair structure or improve hair health. However, Toppik Fibers do enhance the appearance of fine or thinning hair by making it look naturally fuller, which can really give you a boost of confidence!

Salon Keratin Treatments

Also known as a Brazilian keratin treatment, salon keratin treatments promise straight, shiny, and healthy-looking hair for 12 weeks.

First, the stylist or shampooer washes hair. Then the hairstylist applies a cream containing keratin to the hair. The hairstylist then blow dries and straightens the hair. The client must keep the hair dry for several days, then return to the salon to have the cream washed out.

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Straightening hair as part of a salon keratin treatment

While a salon keratin treatment can have beautiful results, the level of heat used in the treatment can actually damage hair. Also, salon keratin treatments contain high levels of formaldehyde, a toxic chemical linked to cancer. The formaldehyde in keratin treatments was even the subject of a 2016 lawsuit against the FDA. So be sure to do your research and consider carefully before you get a salon keratin treatment.

Keratin Serums, Shampoos, and Conditioners

According to a study in the journal BMC Biotechnology, keratin in hair products can be effective in repairing and conditioning hair so that it looks healthier. These products also can strengthen the hair shaft and make it more resistant to breakage. Swap your usual shampoo and conditioner for Toppik Hair Building Shampoo and Toppik Hair Building Conditioner. They’re formulated with hydrolyzed keratin for thicker and healthier-looking hair.

While keratin shampoos may not have quite the dramatic results of a keratin salon treatment, they’re a safer and more cost-effective everyday way to strengthen hair strands!

Keratin Supplements

There’s some limited evidence that taking keratin supplement pills improves hair strength. However, keratin supplements may cause too much protein to build up in the body, creating a condition called proteinuria.

Have you tried a keratin treatment or product to improve your hair? What were the results? Let us know in the comments!

More Expert Hair Tips: If you’re looking for a dietary supplement to improve the health and thickness of your hair, try Viviscal™ Hair Growth Supplement. Viviscal is an effective way to get the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients needed to promote existing hair growth.*

Existing hair growth



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


Colleen Welsch is a freelance beauty writer and blogger specializing in hair care, hair growth education and beauty.

8 Responses

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  5. I avoid going to a hair stylist for a keratin treatment, even if they claim they don’t use damaging formaldyhude they still use the chemical methylene glycol,which is just as caustic. Also two other reasons I don’t get professional keratin treatments,one being the cost,$100 or usually more ‘n $100,too costly to need get redone, after the one month that it lasts in your hair. But I guess the most reason I don’t is because the professionals use quite a high level of heat(like450) which is pretty hot,and I am always careful to limit the strength of heat I apply to my hair,always using medium never high.-because common knowledge that high heat is very damaging to the hair shaft. I do believe that keratin is beneficial to the hair,for strength, and fixing problems like frizz, and shine. So the route I go is to use the keratin styling creams,the no rinse out keratin creams, and conditioners, I heat ,press them in at medium heat, never high,. Results may not last beyond the next shampoo,but containing keratin, they do work to smooth frizz,and add shine,without the extremely high heat, dangerous methylene glycol,and formaldehyde used in professional keratin- that over time,, damage the hair instead of improving .

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