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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Extenso Vs Keratin - Expert Stylist Saman Nomani tells you how to beat frizz

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chi enviro american smoothing treatment
Keratin treatments beat frizz while nourishing your hair

Tired of the battle against frizz? If you’re thinking of turning to a long-term solution like Keratin or Extenso, we have the low-down for you.

L'Oreal's Extenso rebonding range hair products
L'Oreal's Extenso Rebonding range

We took Keratin and straightening treatments (like Extenso) head-to-head with hair & beauty expert, Saman Nomani of Saman’s Salon. Which is really the best option for you and your hair?

expert stylist saman nomani saman parlor
Expert Stylist Saman Nomani

Saman explains,

“Keratin and Straightening treatments like Extenso are two completely different processes. Keratin is a deep protein treatment that nourishes your hair at a micro level. Straightening treatments and relaxants on the other hand are chemical processes that actually change the structure of your hair.”

So which should you choose? Well, Keratin may be better for your hair but your choice depends on your hair type and the sort of results you want.


Keratin treatments are suitable for people with a soft wave in their hair and for those looking for frizz removal rather than total straightening. It does have a straightening effect but the degree depends on the natural curl in your hair. Keratin nourishes your hair and hydrates your hair like a long-lasting protein. It repairs damaged hair better than dozens of protein treatments.

chi enviro hair product range
The new Enviro range is Keratin with less fumes

Keratin gives smoothness without a poker straight look. It gradually washes out over 4-6 months but most users comment how their hair is in better condition even after 6 months.

How long Keratin lasts depends on how porous your hair is. Keratin gets stripped more easily from more porous hair whereas less porous hair holds onto the Keratin better.

Straightening Treatments (like Extenso)

Straightening works on a micro level, relaxing the bonds in your hair and restructuring them so than the strands can’t go back to their wavy form.

saman's salon hair makeup karachi
Straightening restructures your hair

Straightening is great for people with very curly or coarse hair and for people who want a shiny, dead straight look with no styling necessary.The Extenso brand itself does leave hair with a little more volume than traditional rebonding treatments but it is still a very straight look.

schwarzkopf strait therapy hair products
Saman uses Schwarzkopf Strait Therapy for very curly hair

Straightening treatments aren’t suitable for people with highlighted or very processed hair. This is because straightening is an intensive chemical treatment that also includes a heavy-heat blowdry and ironing.

L’Oreal’s Extenso is not the only straightening option. Saman says,

“There are a various brands available and which one I use for a client depends on their hair and the sort of finish they are looking for. For people with very coarse hair, for example, I use Schwarzkopf Strait Therapy”

Unlike Keratin, Straightening doesn’t wash out over time so it can last up to a year, with only the roots showing at frizz or curl.

x-tenso rebonding L'Oreal

So which is better for YOU?

It’s absolutely imperative to have a consultation with your stylist before you decide on one or the other. Saman is very particular about this,

“Don’t let anyone but a proper stylist near your hair with intense treatments like Keratin or straightening. It’s very easy to over process hair, particularly highlighted hair and there is really very little you can do to fix that. There should be a proper pre-consultation where the stylist examines your hair. Clients often want to do a consultation on the phone but I always tell them that I need to see them in person.”

A proper consultation involves the stylist check your hair for porosity and elasticity, which they can do by examining and feeling the strands. For problem hair, especially chemically treated hair, they may want to do a strand test to see how the hair will cope with the process.

Your hair type and the end result you are looking for both affect which treatment is better for you.


Keratin allows you styling flexibility. You can opt for a bouncy blowdry, waves or even tight curls and your hair with hold the style. You will find that you will need less styling and heat than before the Keratin, further protecting your hair from damage.

curly hair keratin
Keratin allows you to opt for various styles including bouncy curls when the mood takes you

If you use a straightening treatment on the other hand, dead straight hair is your only option. On the plus side, with straightening treatments, you just wash your hair and go. You can leave it dripping wet and it will still dry perfectly straight with no frizz. You don’t have to dry your at all.

Colour Treated Hair

Straightening is really not an option for highlighted hair because it’s such an intense treatment and highlighted hair can be delicate. Also, it does affect colour - in fact, both Keratin and Straightening can make colour treated hair up to two shades lighter.

Saman explains,

“Some clients love the change but it’s something I do warn about because with Extenso (and other straightening treatments) you can’t colour your hair for a month. You can re-do the roots after ten days but you have to wait longer before highlights or full head colour.”

GK keratin treatment hair products
GK Keratin treatment is another option offered at Saman's Salon Clifton

Saman also recommends testing straightened hair before colouring. It may already have been processed before the straightening and the additional chemical treatment can leave hair vunerable.

Keratin also turns hair up to 2 shades lighter but it nourishes the hair too. Hair is glossier and has great shine after Keratin. The manufacturers advise that you can colour your hair one day after Keratin but Saman recommends waiting a week. After that she suggests using ammonia-free colours and highlights which won’t strip the Keratin from your hair.


Keratin needs no pre-treatment therapy but Saman recommends a couple of proteins to hydrate the hair before straightening. Treatments like Extenso and Strait are very drying and stressful for the hair so it’s important to nourish and moisturize the hair prior to treatment.

hair protein treatments
Indulge in hydrating protein treatments prior to rebonding or straightening

Post Treatment

Both Keratin and Straightening open out the natural wave in your hair so your cut will become uneven. That means a trim is necessary after either treatment and the best salons, including Saman’s Salon, include a trim in the cost of the treatment.

saman salon karachi
Top salons like Saman's Salon Clifton including trimming in the cost of the treatment

Beyond this, after-care depends on the treatment. Keratin actually leaves your hair in better condition so all that is necessary is that you use sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner. This is because sulphates strip the Keratin more rapidly from your hair. If you want to prolong the effect of the treatment, sulphate-free products are preferable. Chlorine and salt-water are also bad for Keratin-treated hair, so swimming is out.

steam after hair mask or protein treatment
A steaming towel after a hair mask or protein helps the treatment penetrate deep into your hair

Straightened hair, however, needs a lot more aftercare. Your hair will be dry and so you need to invest in serums, masks and hydrating shampoos. By a salon mask and use it once in a while at home. Apply it to towel-dried hair and then wrap in a steaming towel so open the cuticle and nourish your hair deeply.

The verdict
extenso vs keratin

Both Keratin and straightening treatments like Extenso and Strait are convenient long-term solutions against frizz. If you’re tempted, head on over to consult with an experienced stylist like Saman Nomani who can help you work out what’s best for your hair.



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