Use intensive conditioners on dry or frizzy hair, and leave them on overnight for the greatest efficacy.


Brazilian Keratin Straightening Treatment (BKST)

What is BKST?

Brazilian Keratin Straightening Treatment, known as BKST or BKT, is a long term blow dry for your hair, that lasts about ten weeks. It is designed for people who have curly or frizzy hair, but would like a smoother more sleek appearance without using chemical treatments. BKST is safe for use on coloured hair. It will help repair your hair because the main component used is Keratin, the protein found in hair. Your hair is left smooth, straight, glossy and sleek.

brazilian keratin straightening system - before
Before treatment
Hair is frizzy and out of condition.
bkst - after
After treatment.
Hair is smooth and sleek.

What's involved?

Generally a two hour appointment in the salon. The process is cheaper than the Japanese straightening treatments and can be performed on bleached, chemically processed hair. In fact, the more damaged your hair the longer the straightening effect will last.

Where can I get it done?

Currently the only salon offering the newest version of this treatment is Avenue B in New York City (quite a long way for the Brits to go). However, the distributors of this product are preparing to distribute it throughout the US. Presumably if it is successful, expansion into the UK will follow suit. Other salons in the US offer different versions of BKST.

Are there any salons in the UK offering any versions of BKST?

Not that I am aware of. However, if you know different, let me know and I'll add their addresses to this page.

What about the current health controversy surrounding BKST / BKT?

The treatment contains a chemical called formaldehyde. There is some evidence to suggest that formaldehyde is a carcinogen, ie it causes cancer. In animal experiments, formadehyde at high doses was shown to cause cancer of the nose, although there is no long term clinical data for low level exposure.

Formaldehyde is also found in cigarettes and tobacco, cleaning products and other common household products.

When BKT is applied to the hair, formaldehyde fumes are released potentially posing risks to anyone exposed - especially a hairdresser who would be repeatedly exposed. However, there have not been any studies carried out on BKT to establish its safety, or otherwise.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel have stated that a limit of 0.2% formaldehyde is considered to be safe. It is unclear how much formaldehyde is in BKT as amounts vary, but there may be up to 100 times the safe limit. One death in Brazil has allegedly been attributed to BKT, by a woman who left the solution on her hair for four days.

Clearly, more research is needed before this treatment can be recommended. Click here to view the video about potential health dangers from CBS News.