I received a reader question regarding keratin hair treatments, pregnancies and perms.  It’s actually a two-fold question: 1) Are keratin hair treatments safe for pregnant women 2)Will a keratin treatment help my permed hair behave until I can get another after having baby?

Sarah says:

“I had my hair permed in November and it was shoulder length. I became pregnant with my second child weeks later. Now my perm has grown out about 5 inches and looks horrible! I was planning on getting it re-permed, but my doctor says no perm while I’m pregnant.  Now I don’t know what to do! I don’t want to cut it off since I’ve been trying to grow out my hair, but I can’t possibly wait until Fall to get my hair re-permed again.  The top 5 inches are flat and straight and the bottom is all curly and permed.

I have very thick hair and it’s always been hard to have a style because of that. It’s straight and flat on the top and always get wavier near shoulder length and downwards.  I’m wondering if getting the Formaldehyde and chemical free Keratin smoothing treatment might make my hair manageable for the next few months? Is it safe for pregnant women? Will it straighten my hair or just leave it slightly more manageable?  Please help!”

I asked keratin treatment specialist, Jordana Lorraine at Phenix Salon Suites in Marina Del Rey, CA for her input on this hair emergency. Unfortunately, I don’t think the answer is what this expecting mom is hoping to hear.

Jordana says:
“Congratulations on your new baby! I’m sorry to hear you’re in a pickle with your hair. It is a common misconception that keratin treatments are chemical-free; while they don’t chemically change your hair like a perm or tradition relaxer, they do contain chemicals which (in combination with the heat it is applied with) bond the treatment onto your hair. These processes are relatively new and therefor are not recommended during pregnancy or nursing. If there is a specific keratin treatment you are considering, I would recommend asking them directly and double-checking with your Doctor. In my salon we do not perform the service on expectant or nursing Moms, based on our manufacturer’s instructions and our cautious nature. From my FAQ page:

Are keratin treatments safe while pregnant or nursing?
“Testing has not been done on this, so Brazilian Blowout suggests waiting until you are done nursing before having the treatment done. Jordana Lorraine takes this advice and your baby’s health seriously, and extend this precaution to all keratin treatments.”

I wish I had better news for you in this situation. My advice would be to explore styling techniques that will compliment the mixed texture…headbands, scarves, braids and updos as seen here from Daily Makeover:

There is good news however, for those of you who get perms and end up with one you just don’t like! Jordana explained that, “A keratin treatment can definitely be done over a perm. It would condition, smooth and strengthen; though the straightening results could be unpredictable, it would definitely help chill it out and make it more blendable!” So, as long as you are not pregnant or nursing, go ahead and get a Brazilian Blowout, or keratin treatment of your choice, to counteract that bad perm!

*image credit: ©Daily Makeover


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TAMMY GIBSON, founder of A Mom in Red High Heels, is a God-loving, coffee-drinking, heel-wearing, wife and mom offering up her best tips to help women look and feel fabulous so they can achieve their biggest dreams.


  1. My doctor and salon stylist confirmed that the Simply Smooth Brazilian Keratin Smoothing Treatment was safe for pregnancy.

    I had it done on February 24th (my birthday!). There were no fumes, smells, or anything. In fact, it was so natural, I question it’s effectiveness at this point… You can read all about my experience here:

    Simply Smooth Brazilian Keratin Treatment Review – Straighten and Smooth Hair – http://www.thefashionablehousewife.com/02/2010/simply-smooth-brazilian-keratin-treatment-review-straighten-and-smooth-hair/

    I have only had it for about a week now, but I’m in Florida and the humidity is really getting to me. I’ll have to wait till I go back home to New England next week to make my final verdict on the process and decide whether it actually make an improvement.

    I mean, it did makes it very silky and shiny and it did relax the perm a little but I was expecting it to straighten it a little more than it did. That’s why I say I’ll need to wait till i get home to see the true results!

  2. @Sarah Happy Birthday! I hope you love your hair and I hope that your salon was correct in the information it give you. Most of all, I hope you have a beautiful, healthy baby.

    I do not mean to be argumentative and my concern is purely for clients’ health and that of their babies–this is what I do, and of course I wouldn’t turn away business without a good reason.

    I would recommend that any pregnant or nursing woman considering a keratin treatment contact the manufacturer of that treatment. It’s not that there is a known problem…just that there are unknowns because the service is so new. Many things that are safe for adult women, are not advisable while pregnant, i.e., sushi, soft cheese, alcohol.

    Below are the phone numbers for the treatment referenced in this post as well as the 4 other most popular ones.

    Simply Smooth manufacturer American Culture 631-293-3143
    Brazilian Blowout 877-779-7706 (or FAQ @brazilianblowout.com
    Keratin Complex by Coppola 888-409-4445
    Global Keratin 305-390-0044
    Brazilian Keratin by Marcia Teixeira 561-272-8553

  3. Pingback: The Truth: Can I Have a Keratin Treatment While Pregnant? | A Mom in Red High Heels - Beauty & Style Tips for Moms

  4. Hi Jordana… I have a four months old baby and I’m breastfeeding… I just got the global keratin treatment done on my hair and was not told by my hairdresser that it was not safe to get it done while breastfeeding. Now I’m reading up that it is not safe… should I be worried? I am concern

  5. @Sharon Congratulations on your baby! I am sorry to hear of your stylist’s oversight, but please try not to panic as what’s done is done. None of the keratin treatment companies list potential issues with having a treatment while pregnant or nursing, they just advise not to since they have not done any research on it.

    If you haven’t washed your hair yet, you may want to do so, to remove the product and be sure it does not come in contact with your baby. You may also want to ‘pump and dump’ for a few days(?) I’m not sure how quickly breast milk regenerates…your best bet would be to contact Global directly. And it might be nice of you to let the salon know, so they can be more responsible for future clients…

  6. Pingback: Keratin hair treatment during pregnancy Yay or Nay? - BabyandBump

  7. Thediscoera

    Is using shampoo and conditoners having some sort of keratin save while pregnant? I have had the treatment done a while ago, but now I am only using shampoo and conditoners related to Keratin. I am not pregnant yet, but I am trying and I was not sure whether I can continue on using the products I use now and during I am pregnant.

  8. @thediscoera, good question! The shampoos and conditioners only have the keratin and smoothing ingredients in them, not any of the chemicals which bond them to the hair long-term. You are absolutely safe using the shampoo and conditioner, and many companies now make styling products, such as a leave-in conditioner or smoothing serum, which are also safe and can help control frizz.

    There are even some newer treatments which you can have while pregnant or nursing, should you decide you’d like a stronger result than just the home care products provide. To learn more about this, read here:


  9. I am nursing my 4 month old daughter and was wondering if I could get the Brazilian Keratin Treatment. The salon I want to go to uses QOD, CADIVEU, and REJUVENOL products. Are these products safe for pregnant and nursing women?

  10. @Aqila Congratulations on your new baby! I would recommend checking with the manufacturers of each to see what they advise. Cadiveu is the only one of those three that I am familiar with, and they advise not to. The products which are safe during pregnancy and nursing are usually from a different category, containing no methylene glycol or related ingredients. You can read about some here: http://amominredhighheels.com/comprehensive-guide-formaldehydefree-brazilian-blowout-keratin-treatment-alternatives/

  11. Dina salem

    I had my hair done with karatine treatment but I didn’t know I was pregnant , so that makes me three weeks pregnant when I had it done …. Should I be worried ? What can be risks ?

  12. @Dina Please do not panic. There have not been any tests done, so the issue is not that there are known problems but more that the risks are unknown. Just like you may have had a drink or some sushi before you realized you were pregnant, you can’t change that but can choose not to have it any more until you are finished nursing.

    I would advise you find out from your hairdresser what treatment you had, and ask him/her for the “MSDS”. This is the Material Safety Data Sheet, which includes ingredients and risks, and is required to be available for any chemicals a business uses (in case of ingestion, fire, etc.) If your salon cannot provide it, contact the manufacturer and they should be able to (you may also suggest they send one to the salon.) You can then take this sheet to your OB and explain the process (product was applied to damp hair, heated up to 450 degrees on your hair, left in the hair for a few days if that is the case.)

    I hope this is helpful and congratulations on your little one!