The XEX Blog

The Science Behind Keratin: How It Works And Which One is Best for You?

April 24, 2024 · Posted in: Salon News
Close up of the back of woman's hair relaxed with Keratin in Chicago salon

Often referred to as the holy grail of hair care, Keratin treatments are known for their ability to bring life back into otherwise dull and damaged hair. This treatment smooths, adds moisture, and creates a barrier to protect your hair from future damage. But what exactly is keratin, and how does it work its magic on our hair? In this article, we will explore what Keratin is, the science behind how it works, and what treatments might be best for you and your hair. 

What is a Keratin Treatment? 

The main goal of Keratin treatments is to smooth, shine, and protect hair. It is often used to de-frizz frizzy hair and add protection to your hair where it may lose it over time. As your hair grows without being cut, it is subjected to the natural elements of the outside world and to the damage we might do to our hair ourselves. 

Using heat products like curlers and straighteners damages our hair over time and extended periods in the sun, cold, or extreme moisture. Your hair develops holes in its natural protein keratin, which makes it more brittle and easier to break. 

What a Keratin treatment is, essentially, is putting the natural protein back into your hair to fill in the ‘holes’ that were caused by various lifestyle factors. These treatments are recommended to people who are looking to bring some moisture back into their hair and restore it to its natural, healthy beauty. 

Types of Keratin Treatments

Olaplex Treatment

We’ve all heard the buzz around Olaplex. Olaplex is a popular hair conditioning treatment that’s designed to repair and strengthen damaged hair. It works by reconnecting broken disulfide bonds in the hair, often damaged through heat styling, chemical treatments, and environmental factors. There are tons of types of Olaplex treatments ranging from in the Salon to do-it-yourself. If you want to know more about Olaplex, check out our Olaplex guide here

Brazilian Blowouts

Keratin treatments can go by many different names, but the most common treatment currently is Brazillian blowouts. says, “The Brazilian Blowout hair treatment is a liquid keratin formula that bonds to your hair to create a protective layer around each strand, effectively diminishing frizz, sealing the cuticle, and protecting against any external damage.[…] after getting the treatment, your hair will be left hydrated, less frizzy, and more resilient to heat styling — not to mention, with an insanely glossy mirror-like shine.” 

As the most classic and well-known Keratin treatment, Brazilian Blowouts have become synonymous with smooth, healthy, and luxurious hair. However, the process of a Keratin treatment can be different for many people with long hair, depending on which type of hair you have and how much product you might need. Brazilian blowouts are said to “work on any type of hair, including virgin, permed, colored, previously straightened, bleached (and) blonde.”


One of the newest treatments on the market and, quickly rose to popularity because of its one-of-a-kind technique: “It’s produced by a silkworm and wraps around each hair strand to smooth it, which is what makes this a game-changer. It wraps around each strand to penetrate into the hair, as opposed to other treatments, which just lay flat on the strand.” according to an iconic fashion website

The Cezanne treatment is perfect for someone “that has fine hair and just wants to soften up frizz and nurture damaged strands” according to Cezanne is considered one of the best treatments on the market because “Cezanne ADDS keratin, the protein your hair is made of strengthening it against damage and repairing it while smoothing.”

Japanese Treatments 

The final type of the most popular treatment is the Japanese Keratin treatment. Japanese treatments are mostly used for long-term fixes and will only grow out, not fade away. “Japanese straightening restructures your hair by breaking the bonds and realigning them. Unlike traditional keratin, which washes out over time, Japanese straightening will grow out. Japanese hair straightening requires a lot of upkeep” unlike other treatments according to 


You must wait 72 hours before the hair can get wet when receiving the Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy. If the hair gets wet within this period, blow the hair dry and flat iron with medium to low heat immediately.

Keratin treatments don’t hurt your hair, but a hot flatiron or other tools damage your hair and treatment. Always use professional tools with temperature gauges, setting it on the lowest setting and working your way up if needed. The treatment lasts about six months, and you can choose to continue it or let your hair grow back naturally after. 

Keratin Care Shampoo and Conditioner (Sodium-Chloride Free) or Keratin Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner (Sodium-Chloride and Sulfate Free) must be used for XEX to guarantee the procedure. The treatment can be done as often as 4-6 weeks. Re-application should be done on the entire head as the build-up of Keratin can only improve the hair.