CurlyB asks…A couple of months ago, Organix came out with its own formaldehyde-free BKT, the “Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy 30-Day Smoothing Treatment”. I was thrilled to find a grocery store product at a reasonable price that contains no formaldehyde or other -hyde ingredients. I bought it, tried it, and loved the product. It did a very good job of decreasing frizz and relaxing my kinky hair into smooth loose curls. However, I’m reluctant to try it again because I can’t find out much about one of the first ingredients, oxoacetamide. The instructions contain some strong wording about ventilating the area where the treatment is performed, which adds to my concern that there is some pretty harmful stuff in there. Is this product safe for regular use? Or should I limit or discontinue these treatments?
The Right Brain responds:
Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy contains similar chemistry as the Fructis Blow Dry Perfector Kit which we discussed in our previous article on temporary hair straighteners. Fructis uses cysteine and ethanolamine to rearrange the bonds in your hair where Organix uses oxoacetamide and carbocysteine. These products are safer than their formaldehyde-containing cousins but they do cause some degree of damage to your hair by the nature of the chemical reaction they use to change the hair structure.
How does Organix work?
The best description we’ve seen actually comes from yet another product that uses the same technology: BIOKERATINE BY JJC PARIS. Here’s how Biokeratine explains how their product works:
“Hair is basically composed by the alpha-keratin protein which is responsible for 80-90% by weight of the mass of hair. The major amino acid present in the keratin is the cysteine, responsible for the cysteine links. The Cystine can interact with another cysteine in the same polypeptide chain and form a covalent bond. These bonds are responsible for “waves” that appear on our hair. It’s a revolutionary new system to make a global smoothing, promoting straightening, the relaxation of curls and still has actives that are repairing the damage caused by chemical processes, all in a single step. It enables the interconversion of the oxidized form of cysteine in a reduced form, thus modeling the hair becomes possible and easy.”
Basically, here’s what this means: The bonds in your hair that help hold its shape contain an amino acid called cysteine. When you use a product that adds more cysteine to your hair (under the right conditions of pH and temperature) you can rearrange some of the cysteine bridges and force your hair into a straighter shape.
Aqua/Water/Eau (DI water), Oxoacetamide, Carbocysteine, Oxoacetamide Amino Acids, Polyquaternium 67, Behentrimonium Chloride, PEG 90, Shea Butter, Amidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) Cetyl Esters, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance, Silanetriol, Panthenol
Aqua, oxoacetamide carbocysteine, oxoacetamide amino acids, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Peg 90M, Silanetriol, Panthenol, Shea Butter Cetyl Esters, Shea Butteramidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Isopropylpalmitate, polyquarternium-67, Aleurites Moluccana kukui Nut Oil, Hydrolyzed keratin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Parfum (Fragance).
The Beauty Brains bottom line
Organix (and similar straightening products) are safer than formaldehyde-based products. However, they can damage hair by making it dry and prone to breakage. If you like the straightening effect you get from these products you may be willing to put up with some degree of damage.
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Can I use Brazilian keratin therapy while breastfeeding? Is it safe?