Who doesn’t want rich, glossy, healthy hair? Of course, having happy hair comes, in part, from a beauty perspective. After all, which one of us would mind having hair that looks like we just walked out of a shampoo commercial? But hair also has a deeper layer of significance for many people: it’s often associated with health, identity, self-esteem, and pride.
Many of us have heard of the terms keratin and biotin. These ingredients are usually listed on the labels and ingredients of our shampoos, conditioners, and many styling products. In fact, you may even be giving your hair a keratin or biotin boost without even realizing it. But what are they exactly and how do they fit into the health of our hair? Read on to find out how these ingredients might just help you fulfill all of the gracefully flowing, “blowing in the wind” hair dreams you ever had.
Keratin Vs. Biotin
Rest assured that there is no rivalry between keratin vs. biotin. On the contrary, the two work hand in hand to help put a lock on your luscious locks.
What Is Keratin?
Keratin is the type of protein that makes up our skin, nails, and hair. In fact, keratin is a power-packed protein that happens to contain 18 amino acids and it works mighty hard as an antioxidant. Keratin promotes a longer growth cycle and helps hair to better resist scratching or tearing compared to other types of cells that our body produces. When infused as an ingredient in hair products, keratin works by smoothing down the cells that overlap to form our hair strands. The layers of cells — what we commonly understand as the hair cuticle — absorb the keratin and this is what gives hair a full and glossy sheen. Keratin also has the ability to make curly hair less frizzy and easier to style.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, comes from the vitamin B family. Because the vitamin B group of vitamins are water-soluble vitamins, they aren’t stored in our bodies for very long — if only! Biotin comes best from the foods we eat, so in order to be effective, it needs to be consumed. Biotin-rich foods include egg yolks, legumes, nuts and seeds, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes to name but a few.
The beauty about biotin is that it helps to boost both keratin production as well as collagen production, so it can actually increase the rate of follicle growth. Although they’re two different things, both biotin and keratin act as supplements for hair and skin, so they’re both great for the hair game. The key difference between the two in a nutshell: biotin is a water-soluble vitamin while keratin is a structural protein. They may be different, but they’re both essential and effective components of the body because biotin takes its cue from metabolic activities while keratin functions as a protective barrier. Having both ingredients as part of your hair cake routine can only be a win win.
What Are the Hair Benefits of Keratin?
There’s a reason why keratin is a component in many hair care products — especially when it comes to conditioner. Keratin restores moisture into the hair, which not only finds a way to make that dreaded frizziness smoother, but it also improves the shine and luster of lackluster hair. Keratin also has the claim on managing split ends and helping hair to grow longer and stronger. You’ll also love the fact that keratin locks out humidity! Never will you have put up with crazy, big, Monica-from-Friends hair, when she yelled out, “It’s the humidity!” We’ve all been there.
Does Keratin Work for All Hair Types?
The good news is that keratin treatments work well on most hair types, and hair specialists often recommend it for anyone who blow-dries or straightens their hair on a regular basis. One particular thing to be aware of is that the protective keratin in your hair can become damaged or depleted if you're prone to overstyling your hair or constantly applying either heat or chemicals to it.
Hair stylists and hair product manufacturers both recommend keratin treatments for coarse, thick, frizzy, or curly hair. If you have thin hair that is coarse or curly, a keratin treatment can be the thing for you. Unfortunately, thin, fine, or straight hair may not benefit from keratin treatments as much.
Popular Keratin Products
Keratin treatment products can work wonders on unruly curly hair — without compromising on the curl. The treatment is used to eliminate frizz and makes it easier to blow out the hair. Treatment products include keratin-infused shampoos and conditioners, leave-in oil hair treatments, keratin mousses, as well as keratin masks. To save yourself a trip to the salon, a couple of our our favorites include the Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Plant Keratin & Amla Oil Extract Fortifying Shampoo and the Frizz Free + Keratin Smoothing Oil 5-IN-1 Benefits Conditioner
What Are the Benefits of Biotin?
Biotin breathes vitality into your hair by stimulating hair growth. A well-formulated biotin shampoo can put a stop on hair thinning and actually thicken hair, as well as stimulate hair growth by converting its nutrients into energy. A hairy word to the wise: a biotin deficiency can result in hair loss, therefore taking a biotin supplement might be a smart idea! The best biotin supplement in our books? Try Nature's Bounty Biotin Rapid Release Softgels (10000 mcg) to put a dead end stop to any breakage and get on the happy hair wavelength.
Bonus tip: biotin can also make your skin glow and strengthen those brittle nails.
One final thought on our end: is there a way we can bathe in it?