The Truth: Can I Have a Keratin Treatment While Pregnant?

Keratin hair treatments can smooth and straighten unruly locks, and have exploded in popularity in the past 6 months. Women are quick to want new beauty items, and salons are quick to want business, but as with anything new, there are precautions to take. You want to research both the treatment and the stylist you are considering before taking the plunge. Stay tuned for an upcoming post with details on how to do so!

While there are many questions women have about keratin treatments, one very important question has popped up a few times and there seem to be conflicting answers. That question? “Can I Have a Keratin Treatment While Pregnant (or nursing)?” Manufacturers say no. Salons are split; some will, some won’t. And it’s so new that many OB’s may not yet know what they are or how they work.

The manufacturers’ answer is decidedly no, because it is new and no one has done any tests on how it might affect a baby. But how many women ever contact the manufacturer of the hair color or other products their stylist uses? Why would you? You trust your stylist…right? Not to knock hair stylists; we are talented artists and outgoing professionals, but we aren’t chemists and we certainly aren’t Doctors (even if we sometimes substitute for therapists!). We are eager to see what’s new in beauty and offer it to our clients to make them feel as good as possible. But many salons are advertising these treatments as “all-natural” or “chemical-free,” which is simply not true. They do not chemically change the hair, but as I always say…if they were made of rainbow and butterflies, they wouldn’t last 3-6 months! American Culture, who manufactures Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment, was kind enough to send an ingredient list:

Simply Smooth ingredients:
WATER, HYDROLYZED KERATIN, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, VANILLIN (which comes from vanilla, but is still an aldehyde, is 3-methoxy-4-hydrobenzaldehyde- so much for all-natural!), CETRIMONIUN CHLORIDE, HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETEARETH-20, AMODIMETHICONE, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIMETHICONE, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, FRAGRANCE , YELLOW 5 (CI 19140), ORANGE 5 (CI 15510)

Again, I’m not a chemist, but I’m pretty sure there’s more than apples and honey in there. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad! Keratin treatments have done miracles for the frizzy gals of the world, and are perfectly safe when applied and processed properly in an appropriate environment. However, there are many things women enjoy in moderation or use regularly, but have to hold back from while pregnant. If you’re a reader of A MOM in Red High Heels, there’s a good chance you’ve spent several months of your life avoiding alcohol, OTC medications, soft cheeses, soft boiled or over-easy eggs, sushi and certain kinds of fish, cycling or horseback riding, and after that brilliant maternity massage you pouted and passed up the jacuzzi/sauna. All in the name of love and protecting your baby. And I bet it was worth it.

See what some of the most popular keratin treatment companies have to say about receiving the treatment while pregnant or nursing:

From the Brazilian Blowout FAQ page [http://www.brazilianblowout.com/FAQs]

Q. Can I receive a Brazilian Blowout if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

A. There have been no clinical tests performed on the safety of performing the Brazilian Blowout on pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding. As a result, we do advise against pregnant or breastfeeding women receiving the Brazilian Blowout treatment.

Lisa Loria from Keratin Complex says, “Keratin Complex is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. We have not done the research or development, therefore we do not put our stamp of approval.”

Doreen Guarneri from American Culture/Simply Smooth replied, “Although no tests have been executed regarding women that are pregnant or breastfeeding, we do not advise using Simply Smooth Brazilian Keratin treatments on them. We must hold that disclaimer until otherwise advised.”

Customer Service at Marcia Teixeira’s Brazilian Keratin says, “The choice to use our product, or any other chemical treatment during pregnancy and/or nursing is a personal one. When in doubt, we recommend that you seek the advice of your physician.” and provided an
MSDS to show the Doctor

And Yariv Ozulay from Global Keratin gets the prize for the least PC/PR and most candid statement: “The answer is very simple. Babies are precious. If there is any doubt, then the answer is “no”.  That’s my answer to that question every time.”

Not much room for interpretation there. So why do some salons offer keratin treatments to women who are pregnant or nursing? Beats me. Maybe they just don’t know any better? Maybe the manufacturers need to be clearer about that subject in the training? The “training” from some companies is just watching a video presentation. In my salon, we have a keratin treatment information sheet which we go over with the client before starting the service, and that is one of the three main points on it (it also includes a chemical history section so we know your hair’s condition beyond how it looks, and a section describing which product is being used). From my own FAQ page [http://bit.ly/cQlGKC]:

“Are keratin treatments safe while pregnant or nursing?
Testing has not been done on this, so the manufacturers suggest waiting until you are done nursing before having the treatment done. Jordana Lorraine takes this advice and your baby’s health seriously, and does not perform the service on women who are pregnant or nursing.”

If you are considering a keratin treatment while pregnant, don’t just take the stylist’s word that it’s safe. Ask for the ingredients and/or brand name and manufacturer, contact them, and run it by your OB. Remember, your OB isn’t a hairdresser either! So it is important to explain how it will be used; tell your Doc the formula will be applied to your hair, blowdried in, then ironed at as much as 450 degrees. During this last step, there will inevitably be chemical fumes. In most cases (all but Brazilian Blowout brand), it is then left in the hair for 48-96 hours.

Of course you want to look your best, even if you don’t feel your best. But please do take this seriously…hopefully they will be able to do some testing (though I’m not sure who would volunteer for that?) and will determine it is safe while pregnant. But in the meantime, if your stylist offers you a “chemical-free” way to straighten your hair…it should be a simple flat iron.

Contributed by:
Beauty Task Force member and Keratin Treatment expert, Jordana Lorraine

Los Angeles, CA (Marina Del Rey)
310-922-2645/ jordanalorraine@gmail.com
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From the Editor:
This article was put together in response to a question we received from a reader asking about the safety of keratin treatments on pregnant women. Despite Jordana’s warnings against it, the reader decided to go ahead and get a Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment since her salon said it was “safe and chemical-free”. As you can see by the ingredient list above, the Simply Smooth Keratin Treatment is definitely NOT chemical-free. We believe she was misled by her stylist who was perhaps under-educated about the facts herself. It is not our goal to cause fear in you or this reader, but please consider this research put together by Jordana and avoid getting a keratin treatment on your hair while you are pregnant or nursing. The gorgeous hair you’ll enjoy from the treatment is simply not worth risking the health of your baby!

Instead, hold off until baby has arrived or you are done nursing!  Consider it a great gift to yourself for having birthed a beautiful baby and if you nurse, having given your baby a healthy start to life!

For alternative hairstyles to help get you through pregnancy and nursing, consider the style options listed in this post: Are Keratin Hair Treatments Safe for Pregnant Women?

Exciting Update!!  Some of the more newly-developed keratin and smoothing treatments, which are made up of different ingredients, actually ARE safe while pregnant or nursing!  See this post to learn more about the new generation of treatments: http://amominredhighheels.com/comprehensive-guide-formaldehydefree-brazilian-blowout-keratin-treatment-alternatives/

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Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi Jordanna,

    I just had a chocolate keratin treatment yesterday and I would like to know when is it considered safe to breastfeed again? My hair stylist was great and asked me if I was breastfeeding before giving me the treatment and if I planned on continuing to do so. He said I would have to stop breastfeeding for my daughter’s sake. She is 22 months old, but I miss breastfeeding her and it breaks my heart when she tries to do so and I have to say no. Also, I’m planning on having another baby soon and would like to know if it’s safe to get pregnant or if I would have to wait?

  2. Hi Elizabeth, thank you for writing! In my studio, we ask when the client calls to schedule an appointment, if they are pregnant or nursing; as this article shows, most manufacturers advise waiting until nursing is complete before having a treatment. Now that there are some newer products on the market which are safe during these times (see the linked article under Trackbacks, below) there are more options.

    I would recommend you contact the salon to find out exactly what product was used on your hair; I have searched, but not found an actual brand named “Chocolate Keratin Treatment.” You’ll want to call the manufacturer directly and explain your situation, both about nursing your first baby and about your plans for another baby. BTW if they do not recommend having the treatment while pregnant or nursing, you may consider speaking with your salon’s manager to ensure all stylists and receptionists know that. This will avoid the awkward situation of someone coming in for a treatment when they are pregnant or nursing, and the stylist/salon not wanting to lose the revenue. Also, you may want to request they look into one of the new treatments that is safe while pregnant and nursing, to accommodate you and other clients during those times.

    Then take whatever the manufacturer says, and run it by your OB. You’ll want to provide the Doctor with a list of ingredients, an MSDS (the salon is require by law to have this available, but if they do not the company surely will) as well as an explanation of how the treatment is performed. It will be important for the Doctor to know how hot the iron will be when the treatment is processed (often up to 450 Farenheit.)

    I hope this helps!

  3. CambridgeMom says:

    Hi – Thanks for the advice. I had a keratin appointment scheduled this week but after going on your website decided to call the salon for their view on whether it was safe. They advised me against doing it. Bummer! But I’ll take a healthy baby over pretty hair any time…

  4. @CambridgeMom Good for you, and congratulations! But I do have some good news: there are some newer options that are safe while pregnant and nursing. You could ask your stylist to consider getting one of them in for you, or looking for a stylist in your area who already offers one of them. Read about which keratin treatments can be used while pregnant and nursing, here:

    http://amominredhighheels.com/comprehensive-guide-formaldehydefree-brazilian-blowout-keratin-treatment-alternatives/

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