Brazilian Blowout vs. Keratin Treatment — Which One Should You Get?

Stylists weigh in on these popular hair smoothing treatments.

A smoothing treatment can be a worthwhile investment for anyone with frizz-prone hair. In fact, some of us are willing to shell out $250 on average for salon services like a Brazilian blowout or a keratin treatment if it means getting smooth, glossy tresses in return.

But what's the difference between these two popular hair treatments, exactly? And which one should you get? InStyle turned to Christina B. of New York City's Rita Hazan Salon and celebrity hair specialist Joseph Michael to find out more.

What Is a Brazilian Blowout?

Person with a straight blunt bob and bangs
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"A Brazilian blowout is a treatment that will turn frizzy curly hair into more of a straighter texture," says Michael. "It will also allow for an easy blowout with less heat," he adds. Additionally, a Brazilian blowout is a specific brand of keratin treatment. But while all Brazilian blowouts are keratin treatments, not all keratin treatments are Brazilian blowouts.

What Is a Keratin Treatment?

Similar to a Brazilian blowout, a keratin treatment aims to de-frizz hair and cut down on styling time, notes Michael. However, whereas Brazilian blowouts will give your hair a straighter finish, keratin treatments will create more of a loose body wave, he explains.

How to Choose

Brazilian blowouts and keratin treatments essentially both eliminate frizz and boost shine. They're safe for all hair types and can be done on color-treated hair. So how do you decide which is best for you?

Before recommending either treatment to a client, Michael considers their current hair texture and the hair texture they're looking to achieve. "People with coarse hair are able to handle the Brazilian blowout treatment with minimal damage. People with finer hair sometimes can create more damage with the Brazilian blowout," he tells us. In other words, "The keratin treatment is a softer way of treating the hair."

Just keep in mind that while keratin treatments may be safer for finer texture hair, they won't give you the same results as a Brazilian blowout. Generally speaking, "The Brazilian blowout is meant for more of the straightening system. The keratin treatment is meant more as a de-frizzing and smoothing treatment," says Michael. He usually recommends the former to clients that are looking for straighter strands and the latter to those who may want to maintain their curls.

Still, it's worth noting that Brazilian blowouts are more customizable than keratin treatments, adds Christina B. "Since the market is so saturated with keratin treatments you could spend hours googling what you think would be best for the look you're after, but the Brazilian blowout can be adjusted for different hair textures," she explains. "The stylist can flat iron the hair at different temperatures and achieve different looks."

What this means is that if you don't want your hair completely straight, your stylist can tailor the treatment so that your natural hair texture isn't completely lost. They'll still seal the treatment with a 450-degree flat iron, and you'll still have smooth, voluminous waves when they're all done.


Although these hair-smoothing treatments wield benefits, there has been concern about the formaldehyde in their formulas. However, Christina B. says that it typically shouldn't be cause for alarm. "I find that if they're done properly and in well-ventilated areas they are not harmful at all. But you can find formaldehyde-free versions if you are worried about that."


Brazilian blowouts and keratin treatments will vary in their downtime. Following a keratin treatment, it's recommended that you don't tie your hair up or wash it for three or four days. As for a Brazilian blowout, you can go about your regular styling routine.

Regardless of which treatment you go for, Michael advises investing in the proper haircare routine and products. "I recommend clients use either a sulfate-free shampoo or conditioner to maintain the treatment while also doing a weekly conditioning treatment." This will help to prolong color, he explains.

The Final Takeaway

Whether you decide on a Brazilian blowout or a keratin treatment, make sure to research salons in your area that offer the service to find one that's reputable. You'll get the results you want without sacrificing the health of your hair.

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