Skip to content

Do Your Hair Products Contain Formaldehyde?


Have you seen those advertisements in the magazines or on the television showing products that can potentially transform your naturally curly and wavy mane to a smooth and shiny fur? These products are known as keratin products. Keratin treatment is a chemical treatment that helps to smoothen and add shine to natural hair; the effects of this treatment on your hair can last up to 6 months. This treatment was viral among women of different races and colors, especially amongst curly-haired women who were in love with the defrizzing effects of the treatment. So naturally, the advertisements for these treatments and products are very satisfying, and one cannot help but want the same results for themselves. However, what the advertisements fail to inform are the chemicals used in such products, one of which is: formaldehyde. 

What Is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is a colorless, pungent-smelling gas that is dangerous for the human system. The safe level for formaldehyde in the air is 0.1 ppm; when occurring in levels above this, it can lead to adverse effects in some individuals such as watery eyes, skin irritation, nausea, burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat. Formaldehyde is typically used in making building materials and household products such as adhesive, insulation materials, glues, plywood, pressed-wood products, etc. Additionally, formaldehyde is also used in other essential products: keratin products or hair smoothening products. 

Effects Of Formaldehyde

    • Wheezing
    • Coughing
    • Hair loss
    • Can lead to cancer
    • Runny nose
    • A sensation of burns in the throat, eyes, and nose
    • Skin rash
    • Itchy skin
    • Nausea
    • Mood changes
    • Hair damage
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Headaches

Many brands, to avoid getting tested positive for formaldehyde, use other names to list the chemical, such as:

    • Formalin
    • Aldehyde
    • Methanal
    • Methylene oxide
    • Methylene glycol
    • Morbid acid

Other Alternatives

Keratin treatments and smoothening products undoubtedly improve your hair’s feel, look, and shine, but this is not the only way. There are various other natural treatments that you can consider to get the same smooth and silky results but without the adverse effects. Prolonged exposure to heat is not suitable for our hair’s health, so instead of using a flat iron to straighten out your hair, you can use a round bristle brush to blow dry your hair. This will give your hair the same straightened appearance as a flat iron. The keratin treatment is most popular amongst the curly and wavy hair types due to its ability to smoothen out the hair and remove the ever-present frizz. The reason why curly and wavy hair experiences a lot of frizz is that these hair types are naturally dry as compared to other hair types. To avoid frizz, avoid washing hair regularly, do not use too much shampoo as it strips the scalp of the natural oil. 

Use natural products regularly to moisturize and smoothen your hair. Natural moisturizing products will help keep your scalp and hair healthy. Use products such as:

    • Coconut oil
    • Argan oil
    • Olive oil
    • Sunflower oil
    • Almond oil

In Conclusion

Keratin treatments are a quick fix to your curly and untameable hair, but the long-term effects of the treatment are something you do not wish to experience. Studies and tests show that smoothening and straightening products contain high and unsafe chemicals such as formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and has a lot of adverse health effects. Before making an appointment with a salon, make sure to ask about the ingredients used in the keratin treatments. Check the labels carefully and ask to get a more natural or safer alternative treatment to achieve straightened hair. Additionally, if you are a lactating woman or in your trimester, it becomes significantly more necessary to avoid exposure to such gases. Please do your research on the brand used and check its label. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: