If you are setting up your first hair extension business, or are simply looking to purchase a set of pre-bonded hair extensions, it is very likely that you would have come across the term “keratin”. For many people, the word keratin holds little meaning other than “the glue used to fit hair extensions”, however what many do not realise is that keratin is in fact not a glue at all, and in understanding what keratin is you will come to learn where it comes from and how it works, so that the next time someone asks about your hair extensions you can answer them with confidence.
Where does Keratin come from?
Keratin is a family of fibrous structural proteins and is the key structural material found on the outer layer of human skin, hair and nails.
Due to its versatile structural properties, keratin can be used in a number of different capacities including hydrolysed keratin found in shampoo and conditioners, to larger keratin structures which are insoluble and used for attaching hair extensions, hair loss treatments, etc.
Keratin can be an extremely strong protein and this natural glue like substance is safe to use with human hair, however it needs to be looked after. When melted, Keratin meets a high temperature before it cools down and hardens, therefore it is important to use the correct equipment to avoid any harm to the technician or the wearer.
Is Keratin glue?
Keratin is often referred to as “glue”, however it is in fact a glue like substance that can perform in this capacity, but is not a synthetic product like most “glues”. In much the same way, keratin is often referred to as a wax, which can also lead to more confusion regarding what this product actually is.
Is Keratin safe to use on my hair?
As keratin is naturally found in hair, it is safe to use as a hair extension fitting method. You must however be careful to ensure that if you do decide to have hair extensions fitted that this is performed by a professional who is qualified to do so. The same can also be said when it comes to removing hair extensions, and it is equally as important to ensure this is performed correctly.
What does Keratin look like?
Keratin for hair extensions comes in a number of different forms. If you are having your hair extensions applied using a pre bonded method, the keratin will already be attached to the end of each strand of hair extension hair in a nail type shape as illustrated below. A heat connector is then used to fuse the end of the hair extension to the natural hair. The second form keratin can take is in the form of keratin grains or beads. These are generally used to retip hair extensions before a fitting takes place, and are generally only purchased by hair extension professionals who know how to use them. The final form is a keratin stick which is inserted into a heat gun used to apply hair extensions that are not pre bonded.
How long will it last
Keratin is a very resilient product, therefore if you have had hair extensions fitted via this method they are likely to last you 3-4 months before they need changing. You will need a specific solution to remove the keratin from the hair which is typically an acetone or alcohol based product. By applying this to the sealed bond its grip will be loosened so that the hair extension can be safely removed without affecting the natural hair. Please note that only a trained professionals should remove your hair extensions to prevent any damage to your natural hair.