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Hairstyling/Hair straightening


QUESTION: I had my hair chemically relaxed in the past using a Sodium Hydroxide relaxer. Now I am looking into getting a keritin treatment. I am concerned that some ingredients in the keratin treatments might not be compatible with the Sodium Hydroxide, and cause breakage. I read that Cysteamine HCL is not compatible with Sodium Hydroxide. How about Cysteine? Is it the same thing? Is Cysteine compatible with Sodium Hydroxide? Are you aware of any specific keritin treatments I should avoid?  Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Patty,

You are right to be concerned. Very few products are compatible with sodium hydroxide based treatments. And Cysteamine HCL is a derivative of cysteine so I doubt it's compatible either. The only way to know for sure is to call the help line of the two brands to find out if the products you're wanting to use are compatible and even then I would do a test strand.

Personally, the only product I use over sodium hydroxide is Muzani Thermasmooth. It will straighten, but the hair only stays straight until you shampoo. But it is very conditioning and a great way to wear your hair straight  until you can transition into a different permanent system.

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QUESTION: Hi again. Now I'm considering maybe getting another keritin treatment in the spring, instead of going back to the straightener, if the straightener will be too damaging since I now have more hilites. But I'm nervous about that too, and this is why. I've had 2 Coppola Keritin Complex Smoothing Treatments in the past year, 6 months apart, done by same stylist. The first one worked great. My hair was smooth and frizz free. But after the second one I had breakage and damage. I don't know if the breakage was due to the keritin itself, or maybe the flat iron was too hot??

Anyway, do you think it's safe to switch to a different keritin brand? It seems that every salon uses a different one. The salon I'm going to now uses Lasio. Others use GK, TrisSolo, etc. Do you think it's safe to switch from 1 keritin brand to another? Is there one keritin brand you think is best? Thank you!

ANSWER: Without being able to actually see your hair I can make some guestimations as to why you got breakage from the second smoothing treatment. You still need to be careful about switching brands, even with smoothing treatments because the active ingredients vary between brands. The only products I hear complaints about are those with formaldehyde or those that create formaldehyde gases when heat us applied.

My personal preference is Redken or Brocato.  

I still recommend that you call the help line and ask the company directly if their products are compatible and have your designer do a test strand. Another thing to consider is that while dome may be compatible, not all of them can be used on highlighted hair. A thorough consultation where you discuss everything you've had done over the last 3 - 5 years will help alleviate many of your concerns. If your designer doesn't offer an in depth consultation, I'd have someone else do the service anyway.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The first questions I asked you were about chemical hair relaxers. Now I'm thinking that a relaxer might be too damaging, so I'm considering another keritin, which is why I asked you if it is safe to switch from one Keritin brand to another. I had the Coppola Keritin Complex Smoothing Therapy done twice, 6 months apart. After the 2nd one I had hair breakage, damage and dryness. That's why I'm now asking you which keritin treatments you think are best. Have you heard other negative things about the Coppola? Thank you.

Hi Patty, I know. I responded to these questions. I did reject a duplicate question. My last response addressed your question about switching to Keratin treatments. I gave you my two faves for smoothing treatments and suggests you use the help lines because even with a smoothing Keratin treatment, some are not compatible.  

Again, the only bad reviews I've heard are about the smoothing treatments that have formaldehyde or create formaldehyde gases with the application of heat. I have not heard anything negative about Coppola although I don't think it is as widely used as some of the others. That, however, depends on the part of the country you happen to be in. What's popular on the east coast may be completely unknown on the west coast. All that means is, just because I don't know of anyone who uses Coppola, it doesn't mean it isn't a good product. It simply means that it hasn't spread to my part of the country yet.  


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Dana Sear


I can answer questions on all types of hairstyling, cutting, designing, coloring, corrective color, perming techniques,product knowledge, and in general, anything that has anything to do with hair. PLEASE NOTE: I am a professional designer and trainer. I do hair and teach advanced classes to licensed designers. I do not, under any circumstances, recommend doing chemical services including but not limited to relaxers, perms, color, highlights, or any other chemical service at home. I will not tell you how to use professional products nor will I tell you how to do your color at home. What I CAN do is arm you with current and accurate information and help you to be able to better communicate with your stylist/designer. I can also help you with what you need to do at home to maintain, protect, and treat your hair.


I have been a designer and educator for 31 years. I have been a salon consultant for Redken, affiliate trainer for ABBA Pure and Natural, Director of Education for my own salon and am currently a member of the design team and advanced trainer for my company. I specialize in corrective color, perming and style support, and image updates (make overs)

I have been actively licensed for 31 years. I actively participate in and teach cutting, perming, coloring, and business building classes. I am a REDKEN Certified Haircolorist, and REDKEN Specialist. I also have extensive training in Structure in Motion Cutting Techniques and Tigi Cutting.

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