Chances are you’ve heard a hairdresser, esthetician, or nail artist use the word keratin. If you’re like me, you probably just nodded your head politely and pretended you knew exactly what they were talking about. We reached out to hair care professional Zayne Hajjar to answer a few questions about keratin and what it does for the body.
What Is Keratin, and What Does It Do?
“In basic English,” Hajjar explains, “keratin is a form of protein.” This protein is one of the largest components of our hair, skin and nails. She adds, “Basically, hair is keratin.” According to a study in PeerJ, your hair is made up of four things: water, pigmentation, lipids (fat) and keratin. Of these components, keratin is responsible for the majority of the hair’s structure.
Because keratin is such a large part of hair and nails, it’s fairly noticeable when damaged (dry, brittle, frizzy hair; thin, easily broken nails). Hair care professionals and estheticians use extracted keratin to create protective treatments for hair, skin and nails and rebuild damaged areas.
Hajjar is certified in the ever-popular keratin-based straightening treatment, the Brazilian Blowout. She says, “This is more than a straightening treatment. It is a smoothing treatment that actually improves the condition of your hair by adding a protective layer around the keratin in your hair, and filling in the gaps where it is damaged.” This helps restore the natural levels of keratin back into your hair, creating healthier, fuller and stronger hair.
Our Top Keratin-Based Products for Hair and Nails
If your hair is over-processed, damaged or prone to frizz, it may be because it is lacking keratin. Your nails might be thin, prone to breakage or otherwise damaged. We’ve compiled a few of our best keratin-based products to help you rebuild your hair and nails at home.