My Thoughts on BKT: Brazilian Keratin Treatment

So I'm sure many of you have been hearing the buzz on BKT which is short for Brazilian Keratin Treatment. I don't have an interest to try it but when it comes to hair, I like to keep abreast of what's going on. I was reading some threads on LHCF before doing research of my own and learned quite a bit. (I tell ya, out of all the hair forums I'm a member of, I swear LHCF is still the best. They have info on every possible thing one can do to and use on their hair! But back on topic.....)

A brief break down of what it is:

It is said to thicken your strands which in turn will weigh down your hair and give it more shine, softness, smoothness, and reduced frizz. (If you have wavy, texlaxed or relaxed hair, it will make it virtually straight. If you have curly to koily hair, I am safely guessing it would make your hair range from wavy to looser kurls.) The results can last for up to 4 months-so it is not a permanent treatment (, which may make it a better alternative to relaxers). The keratin, which is what most of your hair strands are made up of, in the product involves using a high (about 450 degrees Farenheit) heat flat iron to "fuse" it to your hair strands.

Here's why I'm not into it:

1) Many of them still have formaldehyde as one of the ingredients, be it in small amounts. Formaldehyde is a toxin/carcinogen and has tons of not so good side effects. I really try to go out of my way to avoid products with this (among other ingredients) in it. Out of a rating of 1-10 with 1 being least hazardous, it gets a 10 on Cosmetic Database.

2) While it's not permanent, it's still a caustic chemical process. One member of LHCF said that she has to do it outside b/c if she does it inside, the vapors can make you feel like you have to cough or irritate your eyes some; burning.

3) You have to use, in my opinion, dangerously high amounts of heat in the procedure. I'm just not interested in applying that much heat to my hair. How could you not suffer some (and I'm being generous with that) damage from that? Your kurls won't ever curl back the same but maybe some of you are ok with that. I'm just sayin..

4) I personally think henna does pretty close to the same thing except that it deposits color so this wouldn't work for you if you didn't want color (-there's always cassia which is colorless) and its affects just don't last as long. But it's cheaper, doesn't require use of seriously high amts of heat and is not caustic so I'll stick with that.

But many naturals are into it, stating that it helps to make their kurls more cooperative and keep breakage and fairy knots at bay. It also makes straightening easier if they choose to do so. Mane and Chic uses it and really likes it. Many also like it b/c you don't have to do it with as much frequency as you would with henna to achieve the same results.

My final thoughts are def do your own research on this if you are considering getting it done. I am not a licensed cosmetologist so this is not professional advice, suggestions, etc. This piece is by no means law and is soley comprised of my opinions. Scour resources online and talk to professional hair stylists that are trained to do this procedure and will give you a realistic picture of the process (and aren't just trying to get a sale).

I would sooooo love for The Natural Haven to do a post with her research and thoughts on this. Hint hint if you're reading this Jc!

***EDIT: The Natural Haven did a post, as requested, on BKT!!! Check out Jc's findings and her thoughts on it***

For more info on the Brazilian Keratin Treatment check out some of these sites:
LHCF BKT Support Thread

There are others, do your research. Have any of you done this procedure? If so, do share your results and thoughts. Weigh in!


Moni said…
JC commented on this post ( that she doubts keratin or formaldahyde has any straightening effects. Basically, its the super high heat that's doing all the work! Basically, you're heat damaging your hair, which causes it to be looser and seem smoother. Why would you risk putting toxic chemicals in your head just to get it straighter? That really does make me think of the Marcus Garvey quote about removing the kinks from your mind... Plus, since the treatment is so unregulated, you have no idea what you're putting in your head or whether or not it will be permanent or what the long term effects would be. After cutting out the relaxer, I'm done risking my health for my hair.
Jc said…
lol!! I hear you. I'll research it for you this week and put it up next week.

I did want to comment that anything that requires me to use gloves and a face mask is something that I would rather not put on my hair. Generally gloves and face masks are part of the hazmat (hazardous materials) gear!
Milan said…
Thanks for weighing in Moni. I agree with you 110%!

I was hoping you'd read this post Jc! I look forward to the post. I agree with you as well. I'm not feeling it one bit but some naturals are doing it. Hope they're not jacking their hair up but I kinda have a feeling that they are. There's a heck of a lotta heat used to "fuse" the keratin to the hair!
Anonymous said…
I agree. The important thing here is information. I write a lot about Keratin treatments because I live in Brazil and I'm a product junky.
Lots of info on my blog, not just aboout BKT, but hair in general.

Check me out -

Love from the beach and keep up the good work.
Milan said…
THanks for weighing in BrazilianFab! Product junkies make some of the best bloggers. LOL! Off to check out your blog.
Amina said…
I also love me some lhcf
no bkt for me either..
not interested in applying heat ever
..... said…
Hi, great post! This is an article I wrote on the subject, needs some updating, though:

I did 1 treatment a few months ago but I used a formaldehyde free version and only went over my hair twice with the flat iron as I usually do. It definitely reduced the bulk in my hair and I can see why naturals enjoy the treatment. However, I honestly just prefer my natural hair as it grows (4a kinks and curls) so I eventually mixed 4 or 5 tablespoons of salt with a conditioner to strip the BKT off and it worked like a charm. Oddly enough the bkt made my hair look brown but after the salt conditioner thing it was back to black!
Got this done 3 weeks ago and am so delighted to have softer smoother hair which only needs a quick blast with the hairdryer for salon results. Will be getting it done again and again. genius!