The wide use of professional-use hair smoothing products containing keratin has sparked varying concerns regarding ingredients and questions around potential safety issues. In response to this industry-wide issue, and to help educate and inform the industry, the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) has released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document, which is the industry’s most current, comprehensive and objective report on the keratin smoothing product category. In addition to the FAQs, PBA formally requested that the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) take up a re-examination of the use of formaldehyde-releasers in cosmetics, and initiate a formal examination of methylene glycol in personal care and beauty products.

PBA is committed to providing relevant information regarding beauty products and services to its members, the industry, and general public. Having first issued information in 2007 regarding these types of products and the possible presence of formaldehyde, PBA’s FAQs will address many questions that beauty professionals, the media, and consumers have regarding this issue. PBA is committed to providing relevant information to our members and the industry at large. As such, the association will continue to actively monitor and report on this issue.

 “While PBA does not regulate products, it is imperative for the safety of beauty professionals and consumers that we help to provide accurate information and facts regarding various beauty products and services, such as professional keratin hair smoothing treatments. It is part of our organization’s mission to educate, advocate and provide resources on critical issues that affect our members and the industry.” – Steve Sleeper, PBA Executive Director

PBA would like to reiterate the need for manufacturers and distributors of these products to provide stylists and other industry professionals with up-to-date information, training, and education about how to safely apply and handle keratin products.

Some of the FAQs addressed in the report include: 
  • The presence of formaldehyde in professional-use keratin smoothing systems
  • Government agencies responsible for regulating salon safety
  • What authority the FDA has over personal care products
  • How OSHA regulates formaldehyde in the workplace. Review of the state of Oregon’s exmination of formaldehyde levels in salons tested
  • Advice on how to report adverse experiences related to cosmetic and beauty products
To download the FAQs document, Professional Keratin Hair Smoothing Products, and to see the formal letter to CIR, visit The FAQs document is intended only to provide interested parties with helpful information on professional smoothing services only. It is not a substitute for comprehensive training requirements, or to prescribe rules or standards, or to define or create legal rights or obligations. PBA advises confirming with product manufacturers and distributors regarding individual products.