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Hair Botox vs. Keratin Treatment: Which is Right for You?

beautiful woman with long blonde hair

The quest for luscious, manageable hair is a journey that can lead us through a seemingly endless array of treatments and products. Two popular options that have taken the beauty world by storm are hair botox and keratin treatments. Inspired by medical procedures, their names can be confusing, making it difficult to understand what they actually do and which one is right for your hair.

Well, this article is dedicated to everyone who is looking for an optimal way to improve their hair's appearance. Today we are going to take a closer look at hair botox and keratin treatments, understand the difference between these treatments and their application methods, and ultimately, help you choose the treatment that best suits your hair goals.

What Are the Main Differences Between Hair Botox and Keratin?

Despite their similar-sounding names, hair botox and keratin treatments are quite distinct and different in their formula and application methods. To understand the main differences a little bit better, let's first break off their key differences:

  • Function: 

Hair Botox: This treatment focuses on repair and rejuvenation. It doesn't contain actual botox (which is a neurotoxin used in medical procedures) but rather a cocktail of nourishing ingredients like proteins, vitamins, amino acids, and sometimes hyaluronic acid

These work together to fill in damaged hair cuticles, adding strength, and shine, and reducing frizz. It's essentially a deep conditioning treatment on steroids!

Keratin Treatment: This treatment aims to straighten and smooth hair. It coats the hair shaft with keratin, a naturally occurring protein in hair, and seals it in with heat-styling tools like flat irons. This process creates a straighter, more manageable mane that's resistant to frizz and humidity.

  • Chemical Composition: 

Hair Botox: Generally free of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde (although some variations might contain very low levels). Professional hairstylist for the YouTube channel Bekah & Co. explains: "Botox is a deep conditioning hair treatment that uses ingredients such as caviar oil, antioxidants, vitamin B5 and collagen complex." This formula makes it a safer option for those with sensitive scalps or pregnant women (always consult your doctor beforehand). 

Keratin Treatment: Traditionally contains formaldehyde or methylene glycol (releases formaldehyde when heated), which can cause eye irritation, respiratory problems, and a strong chemical smell during application. However, formaldehyde-free versions are becoming increasingly available in hair salons.

  • Results on Hair Texture: 

Hair Botox: Won't drastically alter your hair's natural texture. It might provide a slight relaxing effect on waves or curls, but the primary focus is on improving hair health, not straightening. A common botox hair treatment usually lasts somewhere between 4-8 weeks. Of course, the longevity depends on hair type and aftercare routine.

Keratin Treatment: Offers a more dramatic change, straightening hair and reducing curl definition significantly. Can last anywhere from 2 to 6 months, with proper care extending the lifespan of the treatment.

hairstylist applies botox hair treatment on a strand of brunette hair

Hair Botox vs. Keratin: How It's Done?

Now that we understand the core differences between these hair treatments, let's explore the application process for each treatment:

  • Hair Botox:

Consultation: A good stylist will discuss your hair goals and assess its condition to determine if hair botox is the right choice.

Hair Preparation: Your hair will be washed and cleansed to remove any product buildup.

Application: The hair botox formula will be applied section by section, focusing on the mid-lengths and ends.

Processing: The stylist will leave the product on your hair for 20-30 minutes, allowing it to penetrate the hair shaft.

Rinse and Style: The hair botox will be rinsed out, followed by conditioning and blow-drying.

  • Keratin Treatment:

Consultation: Similar to hair botox, a consultation is crucial to ensure the treatment is suitable for your hair type.

Hair Preparation: Your hair will be thoroughly washed and dried, sometimes with a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup.

Application: The keratin solution will be applied section by section throughout your hair, maintaining a safe distance from the scalp.

Drying and Flat Ironing: The stylist will blow-dry your hair partially, followed by section-by-section flat ironing with high heat to seal the keratin into the hair shaft. This step is responsible for achieving that hair straightening result.

Keratin Post Care: You might be advised to avoid washing your hair for 24-48 hours after the treatment to allow the keratin to fully set. Blogger Dana Dey recommends not to crease your hair: "When you go to sleep you can't put your hair in a tie, but you can clip it away with a non-crease hair clip." 

hair stylist blow dries hair in a salon

Choosing the Right Treatment for You and Your Hair

With this thorough breakdown in mind, how do we actually decide between hair botox and a keratin treatment? I believe you have to keep in mind five major factors when picking your cup of tea. 

  • First of all, what are your hair goals? If your main concern is damaged hair lacking shine and manageability, hair botox might be the better option here. However, if your primary goal is to achieve straight, sleek hair, a keratin treatment is the way to go.

  • Consider your natural hair texture and condition. Hair botox is generally safe for most hair types, even color-treated hair. However, if your hair is severely damaged, a keratin treatment might cause further breakage. Consult a hairstylist to determine if your hair is strong enough to withstand the heat styling involved in keratin treatment.

  • We've mentioned that some keratin treatments contain formaldehyde, which can cause irritation. If you have sensitive skin or a history of respiratory problems, hair botox might be a safer alternative due to its minimal chemical content.

  • Think about your daily styling routine. Keratin treatments can restrict styling options for a while, as tight curls might not fully straighten, and frequent heat styling can shorten the lifespan of the treatment. Hair botox, on the other hand, offers more styling flexibility without compromising the results.

  • Both hair care treatments require some level of maintenance to maximize their effects. Sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are crucial to prevent the treatments from washing out too quickly. Additionally, heat styling should be minimized, especially after a keratin treatment.


At the end of the day, the best way to choose the right treatment for your hair is to consult with a professional hairstylist. They can assess your hair type, condition, and desired outcome to recommend the most suitable option. A specialist will also explain the specific treatment process, and aftercare routine, and answer any questions you might have.

Both hair botox and keratin treatments offer unique benefits for achieving your dream hair. By understanding the key differences, considering your hair goals and type, and consulting a hair salon specialist, you can confidently choose the treatment that allows you to flaunt smooth, healthy-looking hair with newfound confidence.
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