Keratin treatments have exploded in popularity as an effective way to temporarily smooth, strengthen, and straighten naturally curly or wavy hair. The process involves applying a formula containing keratin protein to penetrate and bond to the hair shaft. This helps fill in weak spots and makes hair appear shinier, silkier and more manageable.
But these dramatic results come at a cost. So how much is a keratin treatment? The price can range anywhere from $150 to $800 based on the factors below. While not cheap, many find the investment pays dividends in time savings and boosted hair confidence.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Keratin Treatments
Several key factors determine how much you’ll pay for a keratin treatment:
Location of the Salon
Like most hair services, location significantly impacts the price. An exclusive salon in Los Angeles or New York City will charge far more than a salon in a small town.
Salons in affluent urban neighborhoods can charge $500+ per service. The overhead is higher in ritzy areas, and these salons cater to an upscale crowd.
Salons in suburbs or rural areas typically range from $150 to $350 since rents are lower. Value-conscious clients in these areas keep prices in check.
Experience Level of the Stylist
The more experienced your stylist, the higher the price tag. Stylists with 10+ years under their belt command more for a keratin treatment. Their expertise yields better results. Newbie stylists charge less as they build skills.
Ask about your stylist’s keratin experience. Look for 5+ years consistently performing the service. This expertise is worth paying more.
Quality of the Keratin Treatment
Like any product, keratin treatments range from drugstore to designer. Higher-end brands with patented formulas and proven results cost more. Thriftier generic versions contain similar ingredients at a fraction of the price.
Ask your salon what brand they use and look up reviews. Opt for a reputable brand like Brazilian Blowout, Trissola or Keratin Complex for longer-lasting results.
Length and Thickness of Your Hair
Long, thick hair takes more product and time. Short, fine hair may only use half a bottle. Thicker hair needs extra layers of treatment for full coverage. This means costs scale up for longer, denser manes.
Most salons price by the hour and amount of product. Have an estimate of your hair’s length and thickness to anticipate time and product needs.
Add-On Services Received
Additional services tack on cost. A haircut or toner before the treatment adds time and price. Deep conditioning treatments make hair more penetrable to keratin and may be recommended (for an upcharge).
Know what’s included in the base price and extras you may want. Add-ons like trims, gloss and conditioning boost the overall investment.
What Is a Keratin Treatment?
Now that we’ve covered cost factors, let’s look at what a keratin treatment actually does for your hair.
Keratin treatments deposit a protein formula that adheres to the hair shaft. This forms a protective barrier against humidity and heat. Keratin also flows into weak spots in the cuticle to temporarily strengthen, repair damage, and make hair more elastic.
This results in smoother, softer, frizz-free strands – regardless of your hair’s natural texture. Some popular brands include:
- Brazilian Blowout – hydrating, customizable for different needs
- Trissola – organic formula, added amino acids for shine
- Keratin Complex – high protein content for dramatic smoothing
The treatment goes by names like Brazilian Blowout and keratin smoothing treatment. But they all work similarly to temporarily transform curls or waves into straighter, shinier and more manageable hair.
How Long Does a Keratin Treatment Last?
Once you pay for the service, a logical next question is: how long does a keratin treatment last?
The first treatment provides the most dramatic results. You’ll notice glass-like shine and loose waves becoming pin-straight if your hair is naturally curly. Most keratin treatments last 2-5 months, gradually fading until your natural texture returns.
You can generally go up to 6 months between treatments. Doing another round extends the results as keratin continues adhering to and reinforcing the hair shaft over time. Some people stretch treatments to 2-3 times a year for cost savings.
Eventually the keratin wears off as hair is washed or grows out. When your texture starts reappearing, it’s time for a touch up. Consistent treatments make hair incrementally smoother and straighter over time.
Tips to Make Your Keratin Treatment Last Longer
Once you’ve paid and put in the time for a keratin treatment, follow these tips to extend the results as long as possible:
Wash Hair Less Often
Frequent shampooing strips the keratin coating. Washing every 2-3 days preserves the protective layer, while washing daily diminishes effects quickly.
Use dry shampoo to refresh greasy hair between washes. This keeps keratin sealed onto strands longer.
Use the Right Hair Products
Harsh ingredients disrupt keratin and may cause uneven results. Avoid sulfates, parabens and heavy alcohols in shampoos, conditioners and styling products. These can dry out hair and dissolve keratin.
Nourishing, sulfate-free products reinforce smoothness and shine. Ask your stylist for product recommendations to maintain results.
Limit Use of Hot Styling Tools
While keratin helps protect against heat damage, frequent hot tool use still wears it away quicker.
Keep temperatures under 370°F and use a heat protectant when blow drying or using irons. Allow hair to air dry when possible to preserve the keratin treatment.
Switch to a Microfiber Towel
Rubbing with a regular towel roughens up the cuticle. A microfiber towel is gentler on hair and helps lock in moisture. This preserves your silky, frizz-free results.
Pros and Cons of Keratin Treatments
Keratin treatments promise dramatic transformations, but also require a sizable investment. Are the results worth the time and money?
Here are the main pros and cons to weigh:
- Smoothes and strengthens hair by filling weak spots
- Cuts styling time with increased manageability
- Can enhance the look of faster hair growth
- Protects against humidity for frizz-free hair
- Lasts months to maximize your investment
- Seals in hair color and increases shine
- Expensive compared to other salon services
- High maintenance between treatments
- Potential for damage if done improperly
- Loosening of texture for very curly hair
- Fumes during application may irritate eyes and skin
- Results eventually fade requiring repeat treatments
Look at reviews and before/after photos to set realistic expectations. When done correctly, most agree the investment pays off with months of boosted hair confidence.
Is a Keratin Treatment Worth the Money for You?
A keratin treatment can be a worthwhile investment if:
- You want to reduce frizz and add shine to create sleek styles easily
- You want to cut time spent blow drying or using hot tools
- You want to temporarily tame thick, unruly curls
- You want to reinforce weak, damaged hair
- You want to reinforce color and prevent fading
- You are willing to pay for dramatic results and maintenance
A keratin treatment may not be the best option if:
- You have very tight curls that you don’t want to loosen
- You want to cut costs and embrace your natural texture
- You don’t want to commit to stretching washes and limiting heat styling
- You are pregnant or concerned about fume exposure during the process
- Your hair is too damaged and requires cutting instead
Schedule a consultation with an experienced stylist. They can assess your hair in person to see if a keratin treatment is suited to your texture, goals and budget.
So how much is a keratin treatment? The answer depends on where you live, your stylist’s experience, your hair’s length and thickness and any add-on services. Top salons charge $400+ for high-end keratin on long, thick hair with a full service menu. More budget-friendly salons charge $150 to $300 for shorter styles.
While not the cheapest service, keratin treatments offer months of hassle-free hair thanks to smoothed frizz and enhanced shine and strength. Follow tips to make results last and determine if dramatic yet high-maintenance results are worth the investment for you.
With this comprehensive guide, you now have all the tools to make an informed decision for your hair. Here’s to healthier, smoother and shinier strands ahead!