You may have read about the Brazilian Blowout™, Global Keratin, and Brazilian Keratin Treatments on A Mom In Red High Heels; now learn about Keratin Complex by Coppola! Resident keratin treatment expert and A Mom in Red High Heels Beauty Task Force member Jordana Lorraine tells us how Keratin Complex differs from the others.


First your hair will be shampooed with a clarifyer, then loosely blow- dried to remove moisture and allow the stylist to see patterns in your hair, such as curl and frizz. Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy solution is then applied with a brush and combed through, wrapped in a plastic cap and allowed to settle in for 20 minutes. Your stylist will blow-dry the treatment in and then iron it. Your hair may have some static at this point, but natural oils will stick those down within a few hours. You must keep your hair very straight as the stylist leaves it, with no clips or ponytails, for 72 hours. It is important to avoid wetting your hair in the shower, or even with perspiration, but if it happens the best thing you can do is re-dry and flat-iron it.

The Keratin Complex solution is gel-based and has almost no fragrance. The treatment is formaldehyde-free, but does contain an organic aldehyde which works similarly but causes irritation in fewer people. Because it is gel-based and not cream-based, the steam that evaporates during the treatment is not as thick in the air as with some other treatments that are cream-based. In my salon, we do all keratin treatments in a private room to minimize both fumes and irritation. Keratin Complex by Coppola is headquartered and manufactured in the US (Florida).

Keratin Complex is not a straightener, but does give stronger results than many other keratin treatments, and for this reason I called it “demi-permanent” rather than “semi-permanent”. I have seen the results linger (they do fade, but don’t completely disappear) for as long as 6-8 months; this could be a pro or a con, depending on your hair type, situation, and desired results. I like to use Keratin Complex on clients who are growing out a Japanese or other permanent straightener, because it gives a slightly stronger, stiffer result which blends better with their ends. Or for a client who is currently flat-ironing her hair daily and wants to make it easier to get that pin-straight look. However, on a curly girl who just wants to try it out and may want her curls back, I would recommend Brazilian Blowout™ instead because it fades completely back to natural in 3-4 months after one treatment.

As with all keratin treatments, it is important to use shampoo that is free of sulfates and sodium chloride. Coppola makes a shampoo, conditioner and deep conditioner which are safe for the treatment and also contain some of the active ingredients to help prolong the effects of your treatment. See this recent post on AMIRHH to learn more tips on taking care of your keratin treatment: Caring For Your Keratin Treatment.

Contributed by:

Jordana Lorraine, Hair Stylist
Los Angeles, CA (Marina Del Rey)
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Looking for an alternative to Keratin Complex by Coppola?  Try the NEW Hyde-Free Brazilian Blowout™!  As of April 2010, it is now free of formaldehyde and all hyde family ingredients, as shown on their website Read our report: BIG NEWS: Keratin Hair Treatment, Brazilian Blowout™ in Now HYDE-FREE!

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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. @Angela I’m afraid I cannot answer all of your questions, since I cannot see your Mom’s hair. If she is in the Los Angeles area, please have her call me but otherwise I really must suggest seeing someone local. The deep moisturizing treatment I recommended was to help her hair heal from the possible heat damage; it is not in any way a replacement or alternative to the keratin smoothing treatment, and will not give similar results. It is just meant to help her hair heal before applying more chemicals and/or heat. If her hair is dry and frizzy, it needs time and moisture before it can handle more chemicals and heat, but I cannot advise the amount of time it will take, as the hair needs to be evaluated as it progresses. Repeating treatments will overload the hair with keratin, making it dry and brittle. She really needs to consult with a stylist or stylists in her area, who can help her set up and follow through with a plan.

  2. @margaret I’m afraid this is not something that can be definitively diagnosed in this forum. Did you see the same stylist for both treatments? I would suggest scheduling a consultation appointment with the stylist who did your second treatment, and the salon manager, to show them your hair and discuss your concerns. If you went to someone different the second time, you should probably return to the first stylist when you are ready for another treatment.

  3. @Rebekah I have only heard of one other occasion where a client left the product in for a much longer time than instructed. In that case, it did cause her a problem; humidity caused the hair to frizz, and the crinkly texture set in because the keratin was still curing in the hair. Another possible side effect could be over-strengthening to the point of brittle hair.

    I am glad to hear that you haven’t had any trouble, but I would definitely NOT recommend leaving the treatment in the hair longer than instructed. It is important to wash the hair as close to 72 hours as possible, and not to use any clips, ponytails, etc. that could crease the hair during the 72 hour period.

    As for aftercare, I always recommend using the same-branded shampoo and conditioners for maximum benefits and longevity. That said, my specialty is not African-American hair, so if your stylist specializes in your hair type s/he may have some insight that I don’t. Coppola does make a deep moisturizing conditioner if you want to stay within the brand but are concerned about needing extra moisture.

  4. Becky Wiseman

    I purchase the Keratin Blow Out each time I get my color. The past 4 or so times I have expressed concern with the treatment only lasting about 2 weeks. When I initially started about a year and a half ago it would last almost 8 weeks. This is the express blow out that you can wash the next day. Today on my visit my stylist used conditioner after washing and prior to putting on the Keratin Solution. I questioned him and he said it was okay that it made combing easier. Can I get some advice here? Thanking you in advance!! Ths is the Coppola brand.

  5. Hi Becky, I have heard back from Coppola with some excellent advice. Account Specialist Brigitte has explained that there are two categories under which a treatment may not be as effective:

    Home/Personal Care: any medications you may take (or go on/off of) can affect the way a treatment works on your hair. Seasonal habits such as swimming in (ocean or pool) and frequency of shampooing can also affect longevity, and it is important you use Keratin Complex aftercare shampoo and conditioner (Color Care or Blondeshell shampoo, depending on your color, and the matching conditioner and/or Vanilla Bean deep conditioner) for the best and longest-lasting results.

    Treatment Steps: When the Express BlowOut is performed after color (note it should not be performed on hair that has been colored with henna,) the color should be washed from the hair first, using Color Care or Blondeshell shampoo, and then shampooed lightly using the Keratin Complex Clarifying Shampoo (one shampoo with each.) NO conditioner or any other product should be used between this step and applying the Express BlowOut solution, which should already be poured out from the bottle and aerating (it needs 10-15 minutes to ‘breathe’ before being applied.)

    Going back to home care, it is imperative that following the final step of the treatment (flat-ironing), you keep your hair down, dry and straight for 8 hours; no pins, clips, ponytails, moisture, etc. If part your hair accidentally becomes wet, you should dry and flat-iron the affected area immediately. After the 8 hours, you begin with the regimen of shampooing using Keratin Complex aftercare products as described above.

    I hope this is helpful! You may want to discuss the steps with your stylist and/or salon manager to ensure they are followed accurately. Keratin Complex can be reached at 888-409-4445 if you or the salon have any further questions.

  6. Hi Jordan,

    When I went for my first treatment my hairstylist did not follow these guidelines you listed and she used Coppola Natural Keratin Smoothing Treatment. She did not blow dry my hair after purifying it, she towel dried it and poured in the solution from a bottle. My head burned and then it stopped. Then she blow dried it, but the roots were not fully dry because I touched my hair…then she flat ironed it, but not that aggressively. When she blow dried it I realized I couldn’t feel my scalp and I told her.

    Is this the proper way to do this? I washed my hair after a week and I had scabs on my head etc. What do you recommend that I do?

  7. @Betty I am sorry to hear of your experience. Did you visit a dermatologist to diagnose/treat your scalp reaction? It does sound as though a few things went off-course with your treatment, and I do hope the reaction cleared up without any long-term effects. The product should not be applied directly to the scalp, nor should it have been left on for more than 72 hours. I personally would have washed the product out immediately if a client told me she couldn’t feel her scalp. I would suggest you contact Coppola directly to discuss your concerns, and suggest they re-train the stylist who may have performed the service improperly. Best wishes, Jordana Lorraine

  8. Charlene

    I have had several Coppola hair treatments. And the don’t seem to be lasting as long as they use to. I received one approximately 2 months ago and I have a full head of curls already! It is not the temporary one either. I have had this happen before and my stylist redid it for free but I don’t want to get redone again. Any suggestions as to why this keeps happening? Thank you!

  9. I have had the same problem as Charlene. The keratin does not seem to be lasting as long. Was there a change in the product or do you think it might be something the hairdresser might or might not have done? The same hairdresser has been doing my keratin for the last few years.

  10. @Charlene and Sally I am sorry to hear of your inconsistent experiences! Assuming you have used the same stylist and product, a few possible causes could be: the freshness and storage of the product, the condition of your hair at the time of treatment (where you are in your color cycle,) and your aftercare routine.

    I would suggest contacting the company directly with your concerns ( You could also ask your stylists to attend a re-training course; I am not implying they aren’t well-trained, but it would give them the opportunity to speak directly with an educator from the company and ask questions that are specific to your situations or others they have encountered.

  11. Has anyone had the Coppola Blonde treatment done? My hair is foiled with blonde highlights and last summer I had the “California Smooth” keratin treatment done and it did NOT work. My hair is still as curly as ever. But I hear GREAT things about Coppola and I’m getting up the nerve (and time and money) to try another treatment. I heard Coppola has a treatment especially for “blondes” but I can’t find many reviews online. Anyone???

  12. Great question, Lindsay! Keratin Complex for Blondes is a more recent formula, which was created for more delicate, chemically-treated hair. It is creamier than the original formula, and therefore more moisturizing. It is also performed at a lower temperature, which is better for bleached, high-lift tinted, and/or highlighted hair. Bonus: it doesn’t give as stiff a result as the original treatment described in this post.

  13. I’ve just learned about Keratin Complex through a hairdresser near me that is having a deal on the in-salon treatment.
    My tips are damaged (hence why I am looking into the treatment) and my hair is mostly dyed with henna. I’ve read in the comments to avoid doing the treatment if you used henna (I use schwarzkopf line and have no problem going lighter or darker).

    What are your thoughts? thank you! 🙂

  14. Kerry Kungle

    I was wondering what would cause static after having Kertain Complex treatment? What do suggest to solve this issue?

  15. I have been using Keratin Coppola for two years now. Someone told me that I should only be doing the regrowth when I do the treatment. Is that correct?

  16. @Kerry Great question! The treatment process includes several clarifying shampoos, two blowdries, and repetitive flat-ironing; this combination often leaves the hair staticky, causing the shorter hairs to stick up, especially on top. It is recommended that you resist the urge to use any products to stick them down, because the ingredients could interfere with the treatment and its need to cure for 72 hours.

    Some clients do experience lasting static in their hair, even after they resume shampooing and conditioning. Rest assured that this is not a symptom of any damage to your hair, but rather a natural problem that straight-haired people experience. Your hair is different than it was before, and may require different care. You should be using Keratin Complex home care shampoo and conditioners, and your stylist can also recommend styling products that will compliment your “new” hair type and combat any issues like static. I hope that helps!

  17. @Sally How to approach repeat treatments should be evaluated at the time of service. This is not a permanent straightener type of product that will damage the hair if re-applied over previously treated hair. Whether or not the treatment is applied all through the hair shaft, or processed at different strengths on the new root vs. the previously treated ends, should be determined by an experienced stylist. It will be different for each person’s hair, and possibly different on each visit, depending on your needs at that time.

    In short: if you are happy with your hair as it is, continue doing it as you have been; if you are experiencing any problems (such as dry/brittle hair, overly straight ends, etc.), discuss it with your stylist. If s/he doesn’t seem flexible with the way the treatment is performed, you may want to seek out a specialist who can help adjust it to your needs.

  18. jennifer

    Hi jordana…I am considering either a BraziliIan blowout or coppola keratin complex smoothing. My concerns are that they both contain substances that can create formaldehyde gas. My salón doesn’t do anything different for ventilation. I have looked at the material safety data sheet for both and the Brazil Ian does look scarier on that however when I Google both treatments are always the top ones for complaints even on OSHA. Can you lend some insight on client safety for both treatments? For example on the BraziliIan does the formaldehyde stay in the hair even though u wash it out? In addition while I get my hair colored all the time with no problem,I do have a couple psoriasis patches behind each ear- do you think there is any problems with that for either? I have fine, wavy hair- naturally blonde but I die it dark and keep some blonde highlights.

    Thank you!

  19. I just had my first Keratin Complex Full ( not express) and my hair is now rubber!
    Literally, it stretches and feels like a bag of rubber bands!
    wth ? !!
    Im furious. It feels the worse it ever has. I once ( 15 years ago) had 2 perms in a week, and my hair felt better than it does now.
    Im utterly disgusted! I dont bleach or perm now, I use Redken Color Fusion with 20 vol on my new growth every 6 weeks. I dont swim, or go into the sun. I use Tigi Color Goddess Shampoo/conditioner.
    I never blow dry and usually use velvet hot rollers to style my hair.

    As you can see, nothing ” I ” do, is horrible to my hair. I just wanted to smooth out the frizz I have from all my grey .

    I beg all of you considering this treatment… DO A TEST STRAND FIRST !

  20. I love this treatment! I tried it on my curly hair and it is really great, smooth and silky!