Hair straightening permanent

19 Jul 2021 Ref-No#: 3181

Assalamulykum. I want to know about permanent hair straightening and keratin treatment. I have read some fatwa saying it is halal. And then again some rules also mentioned that it should not create any waterproof layer. My question is we normal people don’t have much idea about chemical. How would i know if i have done it and it created a layer on hair?
Do i have to shave my hair now? As I’m having waswasa about my validity

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

In principle, there is no harm in straightening one’s hair, especially if it is done for medical reasons or to beautify oneself to please one’s spouse.

However, there are various methods of doing such without the need of chemical treatment, for example:

  • Straightening Comb
  • Hair irons
  • Blow dryer
  • Large hair rollers
  • Hair straightening brushes

In terms of the ‘keratin treatment’, also known as the ‘Brazilian Keratin Treatment’ or ‘Permanent Straightening’, it should be noted that keratin is a protein found in the hair, nails, and skin. Keratin affects your hair texture and whether it is straight, wavy, or curly. Using chemicals to change the molecules in coiled or curly hair to make it straight or wavy is known as relaxing the hair. In a keratin treatment, a cream containing formaldehyde (or another chemical that releases formaldehyde) is brushed into the hair, which is then blown dry and flat-ironed. The combination of formaldehyde, heat, and compression causes straight keratin in the cream to bind to the keratin in the hair, making curly or wavy hair more relaxed.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that causes health problems when inhaled, sprayed into the eyes, or absorbed through the skin. It can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, cause coughing and wheezing, and trigger a severe allergic reaction of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Some people have also reported that it caused headaches, dizziness, nausea, chest pains, vomiting, and rashes. Repeated exposure at high levels has been linked to various cancers, especially leukemia. Formaldehyde is released at highly concentrated levels when it is heated, so stylists that perform keratin treatments and customers that repeatedly get them are at the greatest risk for these health problems.

Based on the above, and in conformity to many other pieces of research which has been conducted, the ‘keratin treatment’ has been proven to be harmful.

The Sharī’ah strongly advises against reciprocating harm just as much as one should avoid causing harm, therefore, such a method of straightening one’s hair should be avoided.

Furthermore, according to another definition of the ‘Brazilian Keratin Treatment’, the hair is sealed by flattening the cuticle, which provides a silky, smooth, and shiny texture. The chemical found in the treatment then serves as a stocking, which means that it coats the outside of the hair like a stocking.

Since water does not permeate the chemical, water will not reach the hair; hence, one’s Wuḍū and Ghusl will be compromised.

If one has undergone such treatment, then it is without doubt, that the above has taken place in terms of the hair being coated.

Any Ṣalāh that was performed after the treatment was undergone will have to be repeated.

Lastly, your hair does not need to be shaven, but rather, there are alternative ways of reversing the ‘keratin treatment’, such as the usage of coconut oil, a yogurt and sea salt mixture, and the usage of sulfate shampoos or shampoos with high salt content.