The Wrong Shampoos That Can Ruin Your Keratin Treated Hair

Camelia Smith – Updated: 12th September 2019

A while back, I bought the wrong shampoo for my keratin treated hair.

It wasn’t until my second wash that I noticed these:

  • Keratin was peeling off: More than what my stylist told me
  • Dryness: My scalp became dry
  • Itchy scalp: Not to mention the embarrassing dandruff
  • Uneven hair: Flat & straight in parts, and frizzy in other parts
  • Styling nightmare: Couldn’t get my hair right
  • Dirty: It didn’t feel as clean as before the treatment
  • Hair breakage: It happens, I was told, but my shampoo wasn’t helping
  • $300 wasted: Yes, I had to do it all over again

Lesson: Don’t ignore the labels, seriously.

How to take care of keratin treated hair. Start with your shampoos.

Don’t trust fake shampoo reviews online. That’s how I got done.

Since then, I’ve learned a few tricks And I want to share them with you today.

But first, without wasting your time, here’s a quick preview of my prime picks …

My Top 3 Shampoos For Keratin Treatment Maintenance:

  • Arvazallia Keratin Aftercare Shampoo Complete Set

    Check Price

  • Theorie Helichrysum Keratin Treated Hair Shampoo

    Check Price

  • LuxeOrganix Sulfate-Free Shampoo Set

    Check Price

My Exclusive Keratin After Care Tips

Here’s what I will cover in this post:

  • Avoid fake SLS shampoos: How to spot them
  • Top 10 Best: The 10 best products for keratin treated hair
  • Your otions: How you can mix it up with other hair products
  • Maintenance: A few golden rules for hair care
  • First 3 days: After keratin treatment first wash (Dry)
  • Dry shampoos: Where to buy dry shampoos & my favorites
  • Dry scalp: Dry scalp, dandruff, and greasy hair issues
  • Hair breakage: Hair breakage after keratin treatments
  • Tips: My keratin hair treatment aftercare tips & products
  • Washing keratin out early: How to reverse keratin treatment

Added Bonus:

A printable chart with all the DOS and DON’TS at the end.

The bottom line is:

If you don’t look after your keratin treated hair, you’ll see the keratin wear off fast.

And it won’t look good. Trust me.

Okay, like you already know:

You should be using sulfate-free shampoos for upkeep.

But guess what?

Not all sulfate-free shampoos are sulfate-free.

I learned this the hard way.

Let me explain:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is often disguised as:

  • Diethanolime (DEA) – Wikipedia
  • Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Monoethanolamine (MEA)

You see them in most shampoos.

Other equally dangerous cousins to SLS are:

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Disodium Laureth Sulfosucinate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate

They are synthetic Lauric acids made from Sulfurs.

Be Warned:

Some products that claim to be “SLS-Free” may contain them in disguise.

Let me start with the products you should avoid:

(yep, I may have saved you some money here !)

Shampoos To Avoid After Your Keratin Treatment

OGX Hair Products

Ok, a lot of people recommend Organix.

I agree it’s cheap and popular.


A quick look at the ingredients shows:

  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Sodium Chloride

OGX hair products are not Sulfate-free

Google “shampoo for keratin treated hair”, and you’ll find a few popular online shops recommend OGX hair products.

Hmmm … Not surprised: there are lot of unhappy women out there who have messed up their keratin treated hair.

You see:

The fact that Organix has salt (Sodium Chloride) is enough to warn you.

It will strip away keratin from your hair. Salt is abrasive.

Want some hard evidence?

Check This: Behind The Label: Organix’s Misleading Labeling.

Coppola Keratin Complex

Here’s another popular choice which sadly does not live up to its expectations.

Customers report that this shampoo washes out keratin treatment because it contains sulfates.

Coppola keratin shampoo

I do rate Coppola keratin treatments, but this one looks like a fake.

Update: This Coppola keratin shampoo and conditioner set has now been removed from Amazon.

Pura D’or

Pura D’or

A lot of rave reviews, and a lot of unhappy customers too.

Although this shampoo does not contain any traces of sulfates and sodium chloride, something is not right.

Are they offering free product for fake reviews?

I will be keen to know what you think.

More honest opinions here on makeupalley “

Now The Big Question … What shampoo is good for keratin treated hair, and where do you find them?

Look no further.

I’ve hunted them down for you.

The Best Shampoos for Keratin Treated Hair

Please Note:

We actively update and refresh the products here based on customer feedback, and periodically re-checking the ingredients.

1. Macadamia Oil By Arvazallia

Keratin shampoo and conditioner
(+ Bonus Argan Oil Hair Mask)

2. Theorie Helichrysum

Theorie’s Keratin treated hair shampoo has good reviews. Check it out.

3. LuxeOrganix

100% Keratin safe shampoo. Gentle and no SLS.

4. It’s A 10 Miracle Bundle

It’s a 10’s best shampoo and conditioner after keratin treatment combo

5. Scrupples White Tea Shampoo Set

Contains Scruples White Tea. Sulfate-Free.

6. Inoar Hair Botox Shampoo

Hair botox shampoo by Inoar. Ideal for formaldehyde-free keratin aftercare.

More Details

Feel the luxurious blend of Moroccan Argan oil, Keratin, and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Paraben, Sodium Chloride, and Sulfate Free.

9. Keeva Organics

Pure organic (Hydrolyzed Protein) keratin treatment shampoo and conditioner.

10. Aveeno Pure Renewal

The best affordable drugstore shampoo for keratin treated hair (Sulfate-free).

Check out how we tested and handpicked these products:

The best Keratin shampoos to use after a Keratin Treatment “

Keratin Treatment Aftercare Products

Let me show you the cool products I use now.

The trick to maintain your hair is to rotate and switch between:

  1. Washing
  2. Moisturizing
  3. Conditioning

Why I say this?

Because in the first 2 weeks you’re more likely to experience dry scalp, flakes, and your hair will feel flat.

Some may also experience greasiness.

You’ll need more than just a shampoo and conditioner.

My Perfect Keratin Aftercare Combo Set Includes:

  1. Dry Shampoo: Klorane ”
  2. Chemical free wash: Arvazallia shampoo and conditioner ”
  3. Keratin Spray: Sally Hershberger Spray ”
  4. Keratin Oil: Lanza Anti-Breakage Oil ”

Your First 3 Days – Dry Shampoos To The Rescue

Not being able to lather up your head for 3 days will make you feel gross.

I know that feeling.

You are not allowed even a single drop of water on your hair.

Luckily, there’s this sweet magic in a can : the dry shampoo

Deanna Rizziello from confirms this in a Youtube video to her twitter followers:

Can I use dry shampoo after keratin treatment?

So What Is A Dry Shampoo ?

It’s a spray powder or liquid that you apply to the roots of your hair.

It soaks up all the dirt and oils.

If you haven’t tried one before, here are some tips:

  • Start At The Roots: Spray lightly at the roots
  • Lift Your Hair & Spray: Lift your hair in sections and spray
  • Let It Sit: Let it sit for a bit
  • Blend It: Use fingers to shake your hair at the roots
  • Flip Your Head Upside down: Fluffen things up
  • Powder Not Liquid: Only use the powder form. Not Liquid

Yes, you can survive these long 3 days with a dry shampoo.

Refresh your hair and knock out that nasty oiliness until your next proper shampoo.

Best Dry Shampoos For Keratin Treated Hair

Powder based dry shampoo for keratin treated hair.

Affordable dry shampoo on keratin treated hair.

3. BlowPro Faux Dry Shampoo

A blowout’s new best friend.

4. Bumble & Bumble Pret A Powder

Extend your blowout with Bumble & Bumble Pret A Powder.

What about African American hair? We get asked a lot about tips on picking the right dry shampoo for African American hair.So, which one works ?

Dry Shampoo For African American Hair

All my recommendations above work well.

But this one that stands out for black hair: The Tigi Bed Head Rockaholic.

Best dry shampoo for black hair. Buy it from “

Your Hair Care Is About To Change For Good

The strict shampoo regime after my keratin treatment taught me one thing.

To go organic.

As a rule of thumb, if a shampoo contains more than 9 ingredients I won’t buy it.

I love the feeling of chemical free shampoos.

Chemical Free Shampoos

A chemical free shampoo will guarantee you 2 things:

  • No Sulfates
  • No Salts

The 2 main culprits that dissolve keratin coating from your hair.

Why you need a chemical-free shampoo:

  • No Allergies: Natural ingredients are safer (There are exceptions)
  • Mild & Gentle: Tell me how your scalp feels after one wash
  • No Residues: Natural shampoos don’t leave gunk on your scalp
  • More Essential Oils: Eucalyptus oil, Lavender oil etc
  • No Synthetics: You don’t need silicone and plastics in your hair
  • No Artificial Fragrances: Fragrance contains 3100 chemicals
  • Eco-Friendly: Bio-degradable materials

Recommended reading:

That sexy rose fragrance in your shampoo contains 3100 chemicals

You don’t need to clear out your bathroom cabinet just yet.

But, if you’re thinking of trying an organic shampoo in the future …

Bookmark my tips for reference:

  • Ingredients: Make sure it’s free from colorants and fragrances
  • USDA Organic Seal: Look out for this label
  • First Ingredient: The first ingredient has the highest concentration.

My top picks for chemical free shampoos are:

1. Christina Moss

Gentle, no lather shampoo and conditioner after keratin treatment. You’ll love this.

Rahua is 100% Vegan and contains USDA Approved Organic Ingredients.

This is probably what your hairdresser whispered in your ear after your treatment:

Sulfate-Free Shampoo.


Equally as good as organic, but only if you get get it right.

Be prepared to navigate through that long list of tongue-twisting ingredients.


You will find sulfates in shampoos that claim to be sulfate-free.

Best Sulfate Free Shampoo For Keratin Treated Hair


Let me explain what a sulfate shampoo does to your hair …

  • It scrubs out natural oil from your scalp
  • It dissolves keratin coating on your hair
  • It strips your hair color
  • And it leaves your hair and scalp severely dry

Watch this Youtube video from hairclub expert:

Why choose Sulfate free keratin shampoo and conditioner for keratin treated hair.

You Don’t Need Your Chemistry Book To Buy A Shampoo

I totally get it.

When you scan the ingredients, half of the stuff on there don’t make sense.

Even the most knowledgeable of consumers have to decipher labels.

But don’t worry.

I’ve done some research for you and made it simple to understand.

Good Sulfates Vs Bad Sulfates

A little exercise for you:

  • Find your shampoo and check the ingredients against this list below
  • The more GREENS you match the better
  • If the ingredients list matches more than 2 REDS, AVOID it

Find your best sulfate free shampoo after keratin treatment. Pick more GREENS. Important:

Ingredients are listed by their concentration levels – High to low.

So the ingredient that makes the most of the shampoo is always at the top. Some clever manufacturers write their herbal and plant extracts at the top of the list as a decoy.

Be warned, and scan through the full list. Sulfates are not always be at the top of the list. And not the last.

They hide in the middle.

Not all sulfates are bad for your hair.

For example:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is derived from coconut and palm oils
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a mixture of sulphuric acids & salts

So why don’t they name it as coconut and palm oil?

It’s simple:

The FDA wants to protect you, the consumer from health hazards and deceptive practices. Read: The Story of the Laws Behind the Labels

Also don’t forget: Salt-free (Shampoo without Sodium Chloride).

Salt based shampoos also wash out keratin treatments.

My Best Sulfate Free Shampoo List: (also salt free)

Keratin shampoo and conditioner sulfate free.

2. Natu Liberating

Organic & sulfate free shampoo for keratin treated hair.

3. Green People

Sodium free shampoo for keratin treated hair from Green People.

The gentle lather shampoo. Mild & no fragrance.

5. Kinky Curly Come Clean

Popular choice for ethnic hair.

6. Shea Moisture

Best sulfate free shampoo for fine hair.

Remember: Sulfate-free shampoos won’t strip out keratin early.

But one thing you need to know …

Regardless of sulfates or not, keratin will wear out with frequent washes. (even if you wash with pure water)

Biotin And Keratin Shampoo

Mill Creek Biotin Shampoo. Buy it from “

I recommend Biotin if you suffer from minor hair loss.

Take a look at the Mill Creek shampoo. Works great for those with thinning hair.

Hypoallergenic Shampoos

28% of us have allergic reactions to hair care products, according to

If you do get rashes, pimples and dry scalp…

Buy a keratin shampoo that’s also hypoallergenic.

Hypoallergenic hair Shampoos

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Naturelle Hypoallergenic
  2. Klorane Shampoo with Oat Milk
  3. Honest Sweet Orange Vanilla Shampoo
  4. Era Organics Sulfate Free Shampoo for Dandruff, Psoriasis, Eczema

Hydrolyzed Keratin Shampoo

Hydrolyzed Keratin hair shampoo. Buy it from “

Too much protein in your hair can cause more damage than good.

Yes, it makes your hair look stiff, ridged, and brittle.

To fix your keratin addiction, switch to a product with Hydrolyzed Keratin.

Because, the proteins are broken down into tiny pieces.

Compared to regular keratin that sits on top of your hair, micro (hydrolyzed) proteins will bind into your hair faster.


Once you survive the first week settling in with your new hair routine …

It’s time to rock your hairstyle and show off.

Use A Keratin Spray For Lighthold Styling

Keratin spray treatment

Rediscover your sexy voluminous hair with a few spritzes.

Even better:

  • Untangle Knots: Keratin hair spray loosens the knots
  • Damp Without Wash: Makes your hair damp for easy brushing
  • Reduces Friction: Glide your hair brush in
  • Reduces Breakage: Less friction is less breakage

Yes, breakage is expected in the first 2 weeks. So don’t be surprised.

But hold on:

Only use a keratin spray for hair after the first week. Don’t rush into it too early.

Need help picking the right one?

Click and read the reviews:

  • CHI Keratin Mist
  • Sally Hershberger Hyper Hydration Super Keratin Spray
  • Matrix Biolage Keratindose Silk Renewal Spray

Wash In Reverse – Conditioners For Keratin Treated Hair

The truth is, you’ll be washing your hair less after your blowout.

What I do is: wash my hair in reverse.

This trick always works for me.

I apply the conditioner with keratin to my damp hair first. Let it sit for a bit.

Then I wash with shampoo.

It helps by adding a protective layer between the shampoo and my hair.

Agree, sulfate-free shampoos won’t hurt my hair much …

But you still have to think about washing away natural oils in your hair.

I use the Shea Moisture Masque and it makes my hair feel like butter.

“Another great way to achieve smooth hair without spending the big bucks is to get an intense conditioning masque that’s keratin infused. This will only last one week, but it’s a great way to introduce yourself to the treatment.”

Eric Rosado Senior stylist at Ted Gibson in New York City –

Leave In Conditioners – Don’t Let Your Hair Dry Out

Don’t forget the keratin conditioner. Let it shield your hair from heat and dirt.

This is important if you spend a lot of time outside in the sun.

A leave in shampoo or conditioner is easy to use. Only takes 2 minutes.

Buy Renpure from “

And you’ll love the fast results:

  • Easy combing: It prevents tangles
  • UV protect: It protects your hair against the scorching heat
  • Use In Shower: You can use it in shower on damp hair. Saves you time
  • Light: It won’t weigh your hair down or make it look greasy
  • Focus on sections: Only target the sections that need conditioning
  • Bouncy: Feel the bounce in your hair without heavy oils
  • Moisture: When air is too dry indoors, it keeps your hair moist

My Best Leave In Conditioners:

Pureology keratin leave in conditioner.

Leave in Mist from Malibu (Popular).

Deep Conditioner For Hair

If your hair still feels dry after the first week: Use the Shea Moisture Deep Masque.

Best deep conditioner for keratin treated hair. Buy it from “

This deep conditioner for hair reduces breakage and split ends.

And it’s awesome. I always have one handy.

Only leave it for 15-20 minutes. A little bit goes a long way.

Dry Hair And Breakage After Keratin Treatment

You’ve probably heard horrifying stories online about the dramatic hair loss after keratin treatments.

I’ve seen them too.

For example: Jennifer Aniston had to cut her hair after her keratin treatment went wrong.

First of all, the main reason for excessive dry hair and scalp is related to Formaldehydes in your treatment.

If your treatment did not contain formaldehyde, it’s not something to worry.

For those looking for hair breakage solutions, I recommend: Lanza Oil.

Lanza Hair Products – Shampoo For Breakage

There are 3 reasons for abnormal hair breakage after keratin treatment:

  • Formaldehyde: Causes scalp skin to dry
  • Heat: Too much heat applied too close to the scalp
  • Overuse: Slathering on too much product & careless about your scalp


We strictly advise against Formaldehyde based treatments. If your treatment contained formaldehyde and you’re experiencing hair loss, consult your stylist or a dermatologist.

Minor Hair Loss … You should anticipate some minor hair loss for the first 2 weeks. Some hair shedding is part of the process until it gets back to normal.

If it worries you, use an anti-breakage keratin oil shampoo to keep things under control.

Lanza keratin healing oil shampoo 1000ml. Buy it from “

People call this the everyday blowout treatment.

The Lanza keratin oil is the inexpensive version of a keratin blowout. The results are instant and you can use it every day.

Use it on the ends and the edges of your hair, you’ll notice the big improvement.

One reviewer claimed to have reduced hair breakage by 60% in 48 hrs.

That’s impressive!

Use these tips below to prevent hair breakage:

  • Avoid Direct Heat: Heat makes your hair brittle
  • Gentle Cleansers: Avoid harsh shampoos. Use moisturizing ones
  • No Manipulations: Avoid twists, braids, and mechanical strains
  • Condition, Condition: Keep your hair supple & pliable
  • Cut Out Split Ends: Split ends and knots make your hair weaker
  • Stop Coloring: Commercial dye dries out your hair
  • Sleep on a silk pillowcase: Silk is friction-free
  • Baby Your Ends: The ends are the weakest parts. Give them more TLC

Keratin Hair Mask – Light & Bouncy Without Breakage

Another great way to maxx out the results of your blowout is to use hair masks.

The Ion Keratin Smoothing Mask is a total steal for your hair.

Buy the Ion Keratin mask for hair “

This will make your hair feel like you just came back from the salon.

And you can’t beat the price!

For DIY lovers, here’s a simple recipe:

Homemade Keratin Mask For Hair (Quick Recipe)

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon Argan Oil or Jojoba Oil
  • 1 avocado (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon fractionated coconut oil
  • 1 drop of biotin. (Available on “)


  1. Mix: Mix all of them
  2. Apply: Apply to scalp and hair
  3. Massage: Massage well for a few minutes
  4. Leave On: Let it sit for 25 minutes
  5. Rinse Off: Rinse well with cool water

And Tada! You’ve just made your first hair mask.

Itchy Scalp, Flakes, And Dandruff

Flakes and dandruff are really embarrassing to deal with.

Unfortunately, 2 weeks after your treatment, you will see keratin coating peeling off.

It’s normal. Don’t panic.

If you can’t survive the two weeks curing period and want a quick solution:

Use the Era Organics Shampoo

Era-Organics is sulfate-free which makes it a 2-in-1 deal for washing and soothing your itchy scalp.

Another post keratin treatment problem you don’t want is: Greasy hair!

Best Shampoo For Greasy Hair …

Greasy Hair Surprising Fact … Wash it less.That’s right! Stretch it out to 3 days without washing and see …

Some of us are well-oiled machines.

No matter how often you wash, you can’t avoid the greasy mop look.

“Switch to a volumizing dry shampoo. It will strip your roots of natural oil, resulting in less grease.”

Paul Labrecque Owner of Paul Labrecque Salons and Spas, in New York City –

Here are some good tips from hairsylists:

  • Condition The Bottom: Condition only the bottom half of your hair
  • Dry Shampoo On The Roots: Dry shampoo on the roots 2X daily
  • Avoid Brushing Your Hair: Brushing simulates oil glands

That’s right:

“Brushing your hair too often simulates oil glands.”

Candace Bossendorfer LA hairstylist –

Tell Your Oil machine to Pipe It Down!

You can train your hair to become less oily by washing it less.

Want to stretch to 3 days without washing?

Use dry shampoo on your keratin treated hair, and see the difference.

Best shampoo greasy hair after keratin treatment “

How To Maintain Keratin Treated Hair

Post keratin treatment hair care is more than shopping around for shampoos and conditioners.

Simple tricks like changing your pillow case makes a big difference?

Well, here’s my first tip for you.

Use silk or satin pillowcases after your keratin treatment.

Because silk and satin reduce friction between your hair and your pillow.

Related Overnight Hair Hacks How to sleep with keratin treated hair

The result: Less breakage

How to care for keratin treated hair. Use Silk or Satin Pillowcases

Fabrics like cotton will dehydrate your hair. Satin and silk won’t.

Help your hair stay straight for longer. Use the right pillow cases.

Try the 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase and see the difference it makes to your hair!

Want more tips?

Just hear me out and take notes …

  • Planning: Make your hair fit in your life for the first week
  • Dry Shampoo: Dry Shampoo in the first 3 days
  • No Workouts: At least you have a good excuse. No sweating please
  • Leave It Down: No fancy hair styles for the first 3 days
  • Avoid Dents: Remember, Keratin is malleable in the first 3 days
  • Avoid Clips And Bands: No pony tails please
  • Blow Dry If Wet: No water for 72 hrs. Blow dry if wet
  • Don’t Tuck Behind Ears: Don’t bunch it up behind the ears
  • Color After 2 Weeks: How long after keratin treatment to color hair?
  • Wash Infrequently: Stretch your time between washes
  • Leave-In Conditioner: Infuse with moisture once a week
  • Tepid Cool Water: Shampoo with tepid or cool water
  • Boar Bristle Brush: Use a boar bristle brush to detangle before bed
  • Umbrella & Hat: Keep it handy in case of rain
  • Avoid Swimming: Avoid swimming with keratin treated hair (2 weeks)
  • Conditioning: A masque with nutritional proteins 2X / month

How To Remove Keratin From Hair

How to remove keratin treatment from hair. 3 easy tips.

If it all goes wrong, you need a quick solution to get your hair back to normal.

After all, you want to look presentable at work, or when you heading out.


Not everyone is over the moon after having a blowout treatment.

And I completely understand that.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to wash out keratin treatment early:

  • Too Dry: Your hair feels too dry and brittle
  • Bone straight: You want your hair curly at times, but it won’t budge
  • Front Is Straighter: The front area looks straighter than the rest
  • Too Greasy: You don’t want to wash every day
  • Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde side effects

How To Get Rid Of Keratin Treatment (3 Safe DIY Solutions)

The Yogurt & Sea Salt Solution

What you need:

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 spoon of sea salt

Mix them.


  • Rinse your hair first
  • Gently scrub your hair with the mixture
  • Keep it in your hair for 45 minutes
  • Wash thoroughly
  • Pat dry with towel
  • Let it air dry

Be gentle with your hair and avoid using a blow dryer just yet.

Salt removes keratin – At the same time Yogurt will keep your hair moist.

Follow up with coconut oil or jojoba oil the next evening. Leave it in your hair overnight for best results.

Revert Using Mud Wash

Use a Terressential mud wash with Bentonite clay for a gentle hair detox.

Note: It’s not recommended to use on color treated hair.

The powerful purifying formula is enough to clean your hair strands and remove keratin safely.


I suggest you do a strand testing beforehand to see how it works for you.

Clarifying Shampoo For Keratin Treated Hair (With Salt)

Skip the dirty DIY tricks, and use a clarifying shampoo.

You can remove keratin treatment fast from your hair without damage.

Useful Tip:

Look for a clarifying shampoo with Sodium Chloride (Salt).

Use the Organix and Biotin shampoo and you will notice the difference after the first wash.

If you’ve had a horrible experience with keratin blowouts, just promise you won’t mis-treat your tresses again.

There are more gentle solutions like keratin healing oils.

Give them a try first.


Aftercare is the most challenging part of a keratin treatment. But with good planning you can stretch the results even up to 4 months.

The best way to summarise this is an easy to remember chart for you.

Scroll down and download this FREE pdf.

PLUS: See our handpicked shampoos to get you started. (Reviewed & Tested)

Keratin Treatment Aftercare

Click Here to download this FREE Chart (PDF).

Best Shampoos After Keratin Treatment “

Five Easy Hair Tips for Keratin-Treated Strands

Keratin hair treatments have been making their way back into the beauty community—and for good reason! The hair is primarily made up of keratin protein, and these specialized treatments boost hair’s keratin content to smooth the strand, decrease frizz and reduce blowout time and hair breakage. For someone that has very porous hair (think coarse, frizzy, curly or difficult to style), a keratin treatment can make a huge difference!

The way that a keratin hair treatment works is by breaking down the hair’s natural structure and rebuilding it. This process adds shine, rebuilds broken strands and smooths frizz. There are a myriad of different types of keratin treatments that range in strength and efficacy, but regardless of the type, there’s one thing to keep in mind: average, run-of-the-mill hair products aren’t their friend.

A major benefit of getting a keratin treatment is that you can use fewer products and spend less time styling. However, when choosing hair products, you have to be cautious of ingredients that may break down the treatment. The most important rule when looking for keratin-safe products is to look for ingredient lists that are sulfate- and sodium chloride-free. While sulfates and salts are completely safe to use on non-keratin treated hair, they can break down the bonds in a keratin treatment (and cause hair color to fade) in just a few washes.

Pro tip: A lot of products boast keratin-friendly promises because they contain keratin protein. While this may be true, be sure to check the label! A keratin treatment-friendly shampoo doesn’t have to contain keratin to be safe.

1. Try a Keratin Shampoo

Our favorite keratin-safe shampoo is L’ange Hair Lather Keratin Protein Shampoo. The gentle formula prevents breakage and smooths hair with keratin-friendly botanicals while also boosting hair’s ability to defend itself against free radical damage. That’s right, free radicals don’t only wreak havoc on your skin—your hair can be damaged by them too!

Pro Tip: If you have ultra-dry hair, try PHYTO SPECIFIC Cleansing Care Cream. This unique cream acts as a shampoo and conditioner in one to infuse hair with shine and softness and lock in moisture.

2. Follow with a smoothing conditioner

We love L’ange Hair Crème Brule Keratin Protein Conditioner because it is gentle enough for your keratin treatment, but also contains keratin protein to help detangle, soften and add shine to hair. Plus, it balances the scalp’s pH with yarrow and soothes and protects the scalp with white willow bark and sage!

3. Maintain your look with a weekly conditioning treatment

The best way to maintain your treatment is by keeping your hair hydrated and happy. Rene Furterer ABSOLUE KERATINE Ultimate Renewal Mask reduces breakage and smooths the hair strand with botanicals that love your locks. Camelina oil reduces moisture loss and biocymentine, a soy derivative that infuses hair with ceramides and fatty acids, improves hair’s structure.

4. Prevent fly-away’s and protect from heat with a blow dry styler

Oscar Blandi Blow Out Crème smooths the hair strand, repels humidity and nourishes hair while adding softness and strength to your locks. Hydrolyzed quinoa and herbal extracts protect against heat damage while improving hair’s elasticity, meaning less frizz, more shine and less damage.

5. Extend the life of your blowout with a dry shampoo

Dry shampoos are a must-have for keratin-treated hair. We love Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Sheer Dry Shampoo because it absorbs excess oil and impurities without leaving a white cast behind on strands. Plus, it’s talc-free and comes with a revolutionary pump top that makes it much easier to dispense the right amount of product.

Pro Tip: If you find yourself with frizz on day two or you’d like to hold your style into place, try Kenra Professional Dry Oil Control Spray. This lightweight spray provides all the nourishing benefits of a dry oil in a unique spray that also holds styles in place without feeling stiff or crunchy.

Want to learn more hair tips? Check out more on our blog!

What’s a keratin treatment and what does the process look like?

A keratin is a smoothing treatment that seals the hair cuticle with a coating of protein that eliminates frizz, and adds softness and shine. The process can take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours depending on hair type, length, and fullness. Before the treatment, the hair must be thoroughly shampooed to strip any oils and product residue. Once the hair is shampooed, I break the hair up into four sections, and taking 1/2-inch to 1-inch subsections, apply the Keratin product from root to ends while combing through to ensure even distribution. Then I start to rough dry the hair to about 75% dry, and once again, section the hair and start to blow dry the hair smooth with a boar bristle round brush. Once the hair is completely dry, I create sectioning yet again and flat iron the remaining sections with 3-8 passes of the flat iron, depending on how smooth and straight the client wants the hair.

What does a keratin treatment do for the shine, health, and color of hair?
It makes the hair smooth and more manageable. It’s even great after a color service, as it will seal in your color and add incredible shine. For clients, both men and women, it can also help with unruly hair, helping cut styling time in half.

Who’s the ideal candidate?
I have tons of clients coming in and asking what exactly is a keratin and if they would be a good candidate for it. It’s not for everyone though. If you have coarse and frizzy hair, I highly recommend a keratin, as it’ll eliminate frizz and soften hair for easier styling. If you’re someone who doesn’t like their curl, or blows their hair out smooth on the daily, I would definitely recommend a keratin.

Who’s not a good candidate?
I would not recommend a keratin on someone with fine, thin texture, straight hair, or overly processed hair. For the angel fine-haired clients, again, I don’t a keratin, as the high heat of the flat iron can cause damage and make the hair break. The same applies to overly processed hair, such as a bleach and tone or platinum blonde. If you’re a curly-haired client and really love your natural curl, I would also not recommend a keratin, as a keratin will soften your curl and can pull out your wave a bit.

How much damage does a keratin treatment cause hair? Is it similar to getting your hair colored?

Keratin treatments aren’t necessarily damaging, they can be nourishing to the hair. Over time, we start to lose our own keratin protein in the hair and a treatment can put the keratin back into the hair. When it comes time to flat ironing during the process, that’s where damage can come into play. Flat ironing the hair to seal the product in is a must for a treatment and depending on hair type and condition, will have to be highly evaluated by your stylist. On someone with a lot of highlights, you would use a lower heat setting and do less passes as opposed to a virgin-haired client whose hair won’t be as prone to damage with the iron set to a higher heat setting.

How long should you wait to shower or get hair wet after the treatment?
Typically, keratin product lines recommend a waiting period of two days or 48 hours post treatment before shampooing or getting hair wet. This allows for better lasting results.

What shampoo and conditioner do you recommend clients use post treatment?
You want to be sure any shampoo you are using is sulfate-free. Check out the OUAI shampoos which are all sulfate-free or the Shu Uemura Color Lustre line.

How long does a keratin treatment last?

A Keratin Treatment should last you anywhere from 3-6 months depending on how often you’re shampooing, and making sure you’re only using sulfate-free shampoos.

How many times a year can you get the treatment without damaging hair?
I usually recommend 2-3 times a year. These treatments aren’t cheap and one treatment can last you up to at least six months.

What’s the difference between a keratin treatment and Japanese straightening?
There’s a huge difference! A Japanese straightener is comparable to a relaxer—it changes your texture for good up until the hair is fully grown out. A Keratin will eventually fade away and texture will still remain somewhat soft, but you will still have a lot of your natural texture.

More frizzy hair fixes right this OUAI

Hair Straightening Vs. Hair Smoothing: Differences, Side Effects, And Maintenance Tips Anjali Sayee Hyderabd040-395603080 December 19, 2019

Most women want straight or smooth hair. It looks good and glossy and is easy to maintain. While curly and wavy hair look beautiful too, they need constant maintenance. Although a solid hair care routine does help to some extent, not everyone finds enough time to pamper their hair with oil massages and hair masks. That is why there are treatments like hair smoothing and hair straightening that help transform the structure of your hair, making it more manageable. While both these treatments result in sleeker hair, there is a slight difference between the two.

Hair straightening came before hair smoothing. The first hair straightening procedure was done on African hair. This procedure was invented to manage coarse hair but quickly became a popular trend. Hair smoothing was invented in Brazil around 2003 and, hence, is also called Brazilian keratin treatment or Brazilian blowout. There are many more differences between these two procedures. Read on to know more.

What Is Hair Straightening?

Image: Instagram

There are two types of hair straightening treatments: permanent and temporary. Temporary straightening is done with heat styling tools like hot irons or hot combs. Here, functioning cohesive and adhesive forces work in a highly viscous system to keep the fibers parallel. The straight hair you get as a result of these procedures is temporary. Your hair goes back to its natural texture when you wash it.

Permanent hair straightening is a process by which the structure of your hair is altered to give you pin-straight hair. The chemical relaxers used in this process permanently break the bonds in your hair shaft. Heat is applied to restructure your hair, and more chemicals are used to seal the newly formed bonds. The alkaline agent in the chemical relaxer breaks the keratin bonds in curly/wavy hair to stretch and smoothen them (1).

How Does It Work?

Alkaline straighteners contain 1–10% sodium hydroxide (lye-relaxer), lithium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, or a combination of these ingredients. The high pH of these chemicals helps open the cuticle scales and penetrate into the hair fibers. When these chemicals come in contact with the cortex, they react with keratin to break and rearrange the disulfide bridges to stretch them out, thus giving you straight hair (1).

While this process causes more damage than hair smoothing, it can straighten even the curliest of hair and is permanent. Thus, the treated hair remains straight until your natural hair grows out (1). Permanent hair straightening is also known as ‘Japanese straightening.’

When Can You Choose This Method?

Hair straighteners work on all hair types, from wavy to kinky curly hair. Depending on the hair texture, the procedure will need to be repeated every 8-12 weeks. One important thing to remember is that permanent straightening uses hydroxides or thioglycolate that are incompatible with bleached hair.

Side Effects Of Hair Straightening

  1. Chemical relaxers should not be applied on the scalp as they can burn your skin. This is why it is recommended to apply some petrolatum along the hairline and on the ears before the application of the relaxer to prevent alkaline burns (1).
  2. Wrong technique may cause scalp burns and hair breakage (1).
  3. The swelling of hair fibers and opening of cuticle scales can make the hair susceptible to friction, thus lowering its resistance and strength (1).
  4. The most commonly reported side effects of permanent hair straightening are: frizzy hair, dandruff, hair loss, thinning and weakening of hair, graying of hair, and split ends (1).

What Is Hair Smoothing?

Image: Instagram

Hair smoothing is a temporary treatment that is considered to be a procedure under hair straightening by some people. The process involves saturating your hair with a formaldehyde solution followed by drying it out and using a flat iron to lock your hair in a straight position (1). However, the chemicals used for hair smoothing are not as strong as the ones used in hair straightening treatments. This makes this treatment less damaging. But it is not ideal for all hair types.

Brazilian keratin treatment has become popular because the procedure is compatible with bleached hair and gives the hair a naturally smooth, shiny look, which is impossible to acquire with chemical relaxers.

First, a formaldehyde solution is applied to the hair. The water in the solution breaks the hydrogen bonds of the keratin molecule. It is then blow-dried straight (a flat iron can also be used). The newly redesigned keratin remains straight because the formaldehyde crosslinks the keratin filaments in perfect alignment. This makes the hair comparatively straighter and shiny (1).

The effects of hair smoothing last between 2 to 5 months. It is primarily recommended for hair that is wavy or frizzy. This is because it does not so much alter the structure of your hair so much as it aligns it. The treatment is not likely to be very effective on hair that is extremely thick or curly.

Side Effects Of Hair Smoothing

  • Earlier, when formaldehyde was used in the Brazilian keratin treatment (BKT), consumers complained of burning eyes, strong smell, and burning mouth and nose. However, the ingredients are not formaldehyde- or glutaraldehyde-based. Formaldehyde-releasers, such as methylene glycol or glyoxylic acid, are used now (1).
  • BKT (hair smoothing) uses formaldehyde releasers. Formaldehyde has been associated with reactions, such as eye problems, nervous system problems (for example, headaches and dizziness), respiratory tract problems, nausea, chest pain, vomiting, and rashes (2).
  • A study showed that formaldehyde could increase the risk of developing asthma (3).
  • The excessive use of heat (flat iron) in hair smoothing can damage your hair (1).

Note: African people’s hair has less volume and density compared to Caucasian people’s hair. Their hair is also more prone to breakage and dryness as their scalp produces lesser sebum. Thus, when they straighten their hair, it can look like they are experiencing hair loss (1).

Why Hair Smoothing Over Hair Straightening?

This decision is simply based on the client’s hair type and desired result. Most people want a natural finish without their hair looking pin straight. Hair smoothing, although temporary, serves this purpose with less damage.

The highlight of hair smoothing is that it can be done on bleached, permanently dyed, and relaxed hair. It is also great for improving shine and softness (1).

With hair straightening, the hair bonds need to be broken and then rebuilt. This causes a certain amount of hair damage. While your hair can be repaired, it will need intensive care and regular touch-ups and trims when the natural hair starts to grow back (1).

Why Hair Straightening Over Hair Smoothing?

While frizz can be tamed with hair smoothing, it does not do much for straightening really curly hair. Hair straightening is preferred when dealing with difficult hair types like thick and kinky hair when the client desires straight hair.

While smoothing your hair can transform your curls into frizz-less waves, the chances of it going straight are poor. You are more likely to get the results you desire when you choose to straighten your hair permanently.

Note: Check if you have any chemical allergies, hair loss issues, or any other serious conditions before getting any of these hair treatments. Get a hair test done at a salon. If you experience any discomfort or hair breakage, consult a doctor before you proceed any further.

So, what should you go for?

Hair Smoothing Vs. Hair Straightening – The Final Verdict

Both these procedures have their advantages and setbacks. Both of them have to be done at a salon by trained hairdressers. Remember, both procedures require regular upkeep to maintain the obtained hair texture and structure.

Before making your decision, here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do you want a treatment that is permanent or temporary?
  • Do you want pin-straight hair or something that looks more natural?
  • Are you just trying to battle frizz or is straight hair the end goal?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to decide which treatment is likely the best option for you.

Repeated chemical treatments can damage hair. How can you protect your hair after these procedures? Here’s how!

Hair Maintenance For Smoothened Or Straightened Hair

  • Use silicone-based hair care products to rejuvenate your hair. They are known to protect the hair shaft from abrasive actions and increase its thickness (1).
  • Massage your hair and scalp with oil (coconut, sunflower, mineral oils). A study has shown that coconut oil can reduce protein loss in damaged hair (4).
  • Use a leave-in conditioner and hair masks to hydrate and strengthen your hair.
  • Limit the use of heat styling tools on your hair for the first few weeks until your hair regains its moisture and strength.

Whether you decide to straighten or smoothen your hair, remember that both use chemicals that can damage your hair when done repeatedly. If you do get them done, nourish and take care of your hair to prevent further damage and hair fall.

4 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Hair Cosmetics: An Overview, International Journal Of Trichology, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Hair smoothing treatments: Perceptions and wrong practices among females in Saudi Arabia, Journal Of Dermatology And Dermatologic Surgery.;year=2019;volume=23;issue=1;spage=20;epage=23;aulast=Algarni
  • Asthma From Hair Straightening Treatment Containing Formaldehyde: Two Cases And A Review Of The Literature, Toxicology And Industrial Health, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage, Journal of Cosmetic Science, US National Library Of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

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Anjali Sayee

Anjali Sayee is a writer and an introvert. From studying Aeronautical Engineering and wanting to design her own airplane to writing articles on hairstyles, she has been on quite a journey. She believes that hair is one of the key factors that define a woman’s personality. To quote her, “What’s the first thing they do in the movies to show a personality change? Change the hair – because it has a life of its own.” She’s here to help you find the hairstyle you need. This bookworm is a self-professed Wholocker, a talented drummer, and an amateur photographer.

Are you looking to transform your unruly tresses and curls into well-tamed, luscious locks? If you are tired of constantly trying to manage frizz and flyaways, then a smoothing treatment at a professional salon is a good idea. However, choosing between a keratin treatment and a regular smoothing hair treatments can be confusing, so we are here to help. Read on to find out which process is better for you and why.

The K Factor
Both smoothing and keratin treatments involve thorough shampooing to remove dirt and build-up from your hair and scalp. Once your hair has been blow dried, your hair stylist will apply a smoothing solution or keratin-based solution to your hair. The main difference between these solutions is that keratin is a naturally occurring protein in our hair and it is replenished during the treatment for healthy, silky hair. The solution used in a regular treatment will also ensure smooth hair, but the ingredients used are alien to our hair so they may not blend as well as keratin.

Taming Frizz
Smoothing as well as keratin treatments make your hair easy to manage, so trying out new styles is a cinch. As your hair will be straighter and smoother than ever, you won’t be bothered by frizz and flyaways, which will add to your well-groomed look.

Healthy Hair
While they both treatments bring life to dull and lifeless hair, a keratin treatment also enhances the health of your hair as it is a protein-based treatment. Hydrolyzed keratin penetrates deep into the cuticle and bonds with it during treatment, strengthening your hair from within. After a keratin treatment, you will notice that in addition to being lustrous, your hair is healthier and has more volume.

Time Investment
Both the treatments require investing about 3-4 hours at the salon, depending on the hair type and length. To be on the safer side, it is advisable to get the treatment done when you have an entire day to yourself.

A regular smoothing treatment will last you for about 6-8 months, while keratin treatment usually lasts for about 3-4 months. However, this time span can vary depending on how well you take care of your hair post-treatment.

You cannot clip or wash your hair 72 hours after either of the two treatments. Moreover, you need to switch to a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner once you get smoothing done to ensure the effect lasts longer. A keratin-based treatment typically requires more aftercare, as it is highly recommended that you use a keratin-based shampoo and conditioner.

Be Cost-Wise
Keratin treatments are more expensive compared to regular smoothing treatments. Moreover, the cost of maintaining your hair after a keratin-based procedure is much higher as it requires using special products. Keratin smoothing also needs frequent touch-ups at the salon to keep the effect intact, which adds to your total cost.

As you can see, both the treatments will effectively ensure that your hair is smooth, silky, and easy-to-manage, but a keratin-based one, while expensive, also enhances the overall health of your hair. Regardless of which treatment you choose, you need to visit a renowned salon with experienced professionals and follow all their aftercare instructions to the T. So, pick any one treatment and say goodbye to your wild and uncontrollable hair!

Is your hair broken after doing a keratin treatment?

Do you have split ends?

Then surely you will feel disappointed and honestly, I understand.

Weekly, I receive two or three women in the salon that come in with damaged hair after doing a keratin or straightening treatment.

And they are desperate. Because they had all their expectations put into the treatment, but something went wrong.

And instead of improving, their hair got worse.

  • Where there shouldn’t have been frizz, there was a lot of little hairs that stood up like they were electrified.
  • Instead of being moisturized, the hair was limp and lifeless.
  • And the ends were horribly open.

They show up looking for a solution and insulting the stylist that did the treatment.

And they ask me two questions.

The first: Karin, what happened during the keratin application?

And the second: Karina, how do I fix my broken hair?

For the first question, there is no one solution.

Maybe the stylist did the treatment poorly. Or maybe the products that they used weren’t good quality.

Or maybe, the responsibility isn’t on the professional, but on the client.

Yes, don’t look at me like that.

Unfortunately, I also have had clients that after doing the straightening treatment forget all the recommendations that I explain to them patiently.

And then, they continue using the same shampoos full of sulfates. And they don’t worry about protect their hair from the sun or chlorine water. And they don’t even moisturize their hair deeply at least once a week.

As you can see, there are many reasons that after applying a keratin treatment, your hair can end up broken, straw-like and the ends completely damaged.

The Good news is that broken hair is not a life-long sentence.

With the right products, you can turn your straw hair into a brilliant mane.

However, the key to all of this is finding the best products for damaged hair which fortunately are available for all types of budgets.

That’s why, if you want to fix the health and beauty of your hair, that was ruined after applying the keratin, keep reading, because today I will tell you how.

The best products to fix broken hair

When it has to do with damaged hair, what we are really talking about is moisture lost during the keratin treatment.

When the treatment isn’t done correctly or the aftercare isn’t don’t properly, the cuticles of the hair chafe and break. And the ends of the hair don’t have the best luck.

Repairing the hair at the roots and in the middle is much easier than fixing the ends. To be completely honest, to improve the ends of the hair, you should start by cutting them even if it’s just two centimeters.

I know that we women take more time to make the decision to cut the length of our hair. I personally love long hair.

But if you cut a few centimeters at the ends, the rest of the hair will be strengthened and you will stimulate hair growth.

When the cuticles are compromised, your hair will not be able to retain moisture which leads to breakage and an unhealthy texture.

What do you do when you feel the skin on your hands or legs is dry?

Most likely, you run to find some moisturizing lotion and you apply it with some good massages.

With broken hair, the same thing happens. You will have to look for hydrating ingredients in your shampoos, conditioners, and masks.

But so that you don’t lose time and money, here, I’ll tell you the ones that for me are the best moisturizing products to fix your hair damaged after keratin.

And first, the king of moisturizers, the preferred product of the most dazzling, Hollywood Stars.

Can you guess which one I’m talking about?

Olaplex 3

The Olaplex products line jumped to fame thanks to Kim Kardashian, when from one day to the next, she went from brown to platinmum blonde and her hair looked spectacular.

Olaplex 1 and 2 generally are applied at the salon, while Olpalex 3 is designed to be used at home.

Do you want to work a miracle for your dehydrated ends and cuticles?

This is the product that you should buy, without a doubt, because it works immediately, linking the broken bonds in the hair fibers that produce frizz and dryness.

There’s just one problem: it’s a very strong product. That’s why you shouldn’t use it too often and you should reduce its use to once a week.

  • To use it, simply wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and dry it with a towel.
  • After, you should apply the product over your whole hair starting from the roots and going down to the ends.
  • It’s very important that you let it sit for at least two hours.
  • After, simply wash your hair with shampoo and condition.

If you want to accelerate your hair’s recuperation process, and since you can only use Olaplex once a month, here, I’ll tell you about another product that is worth it.

Triple Moisture Hair Mask by Neutrogena

It almost needs no introduction.

Neutrogena is synonymous with trustworthy products of high-quality, when it comes to repairing damaged hair.

Also, for a Little more than ten dollars, your hair will quickly get back moisture and shine lost during the keratin treatment.

It contains two botanical ingredients that work to intensely repair each hair fiber: olive extract which penetrates to the interior and almond which covers the outer layer wrapping it in a blanket of moisture.

To optimize the effects of the mask, I advise you to use it as a conditioner one to two times a week letting it sit for about ten minutes in your hair.

Remember that I recommended it to Maria, one of my clients that had completely fried ends and dry hair.

After fifteen days, I received a call from Maria to thank me for the suggestion for this mask. In just two weeks, her hair was like new, her ends had improved by 50% and the frizz had almost disappeared.

In addition to these products that can be used once or twice a week, the shampoo you use regularly is also important.

Surely you know that the best shampoo to wash keratin hair, is one that doesn’t contain sulfates.

And there are many types of brands of these shampoos on the market.

If I had to recommend one, it would be this one.

Shampoo Don’t Despair, Repair! By Briogeo

From the name it suggests that it’s the ideal solution for broken hair: “Don’t Despair, Repair!”

It is sulfate-, silicon- and parabens-free so your hair won’t dry out more, which is key to fix the health of your hair.

Also, its formula contains algae extract which is very nourishing, and panthenol which works to reconstruct the elasticity of your hair.

I’m a fan of this shampoo, even though I recognize that it can have an elevated price. But remember that we are talking about the health of your hair and what products to use at home to improve it.

It will always be cheaper than paying hundreds of dollars in a salon for a moisturizing treatment.

And if we talk about shampoo, a good conditioner also will work to improve the look of your damaged hair.

Nourishing conditioner with mango butter from Klorane

Another great Brand when it comes to hair beauty.

To heal your broken hair, leaving out a good conditioner is not an option.

This product nourishes your hair and gives your hair its life back. At least, that’s what one of my clients said after I recommended it to her.

If Sofia could fix her hair, you can too

Sofía came into my salon with hair that hurt to look at. She had done a keratin treatment at home, but something didn’t go right. When evaluated her hair, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Her hair broke just when I combed her hair to detangle it, and when I touched it, it was one of the roughest things that I had touched in the last few years.

In addition to cutting off a few centimeters from the ends, I applied the Olaplex treatment 1 and 2 at the salon. And I recommended that she include Olaplex 3 in her haircare routine at once a week and the products that I recommended above.

When she came back into the salon after a month, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Her hair was brand new. She was very happy. She told me that these products left her hair softer and more moisturized but without looking flattened or greasy.

Of course, you can always use some organic oil treatment once a week like coconut oil or argan oil. But believe me, when you try any of these products in your broken hair, you won’t want to stop using them.

Have you ever used any of these products to repair your damaged hair after doing a keratin treatment?

Viviscal Hair Growth and Hair Care Programs

Keratin and Hair Growth

Does keratin promote hair growth? Keratin is the name for the protein found naturally in hair strands, which gives hair its structure. That is why many promote keratin as a protein which strengthens hair.

Keratin is also used in keratin treatments, which are designed to smooth and shine hair. If you have frizzy hair or your hair looks dry and damaged, you may be tempted to get a keratin treatment to smooth hair and add shine. However, keratin treatments, due to the ingredients involved and the high heat required to do the technique, may actually cause more damage to hair. In a salon keratin treatment, keratins are mixed with formaldehyde and applied to the hair with a flat iron and sealing the protein into your hair. It is a semi-permanent treatment that smoothes the cuticle (the outside layer) of hair and leaves hair looking silky smooth.

Companies and salons that promote the service say that you can revitalize hair follicles with keratin, and claim that it is a non-damaging treatment. However, many experts warn against the treatment because formaldehyde is a harsh and potentially hazardous chemical that has been linked to cancer. In addition, using flat irons at high temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit in order to do keratin treatment can also damage hair, breaking down the natural keratin structure in hair strands. For these reasons, keratin and hair loss can go hand in hand, and keratin treatments can contribute to excess hair shedding and thinning hair. If you’ve had a keratin treatment that has damaged your hair, your best remedy may be to get a short, blunt haircut and avoid keratin treatments in the future.

To promote healthier looking hair and nourish it from within, be sure to eat a balanced diet of vitamins, minerals and marine proteins, or take a daily clinically proven hair growth supplement that contains some ingredients of natural origins. Cleanse and condition with a gentle densifying shampoo that won’t strip damaged hair of essential oils and will nourish hair strands. A good shampoo and a conditioner that are SLS-free and SLES-free will help create the ideal environment for healthy hair growth. Choose a shampoo and a conditioner that contains Biotin, Zinc and Keratin to leave hair looking smooth, shiny and thick. Add a lightweight hair elixir that makes hair look thicker and healthier.

Does Keratin Thicken Hair?

Keratin is an important structural protein, and it can certainly help with hair thickness. However, it must be taken in correctly.

Keratin treatments may be able to straighten hair, but they damage it in the process. This is because keratin treatment products contain ingredients other than keratin (such as formaldehyde) and the high heat of the styling tools used can burn and break hair, causing it to shed. Indeed, keratin treatment products have been cited many times by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for containing higher levels of formaldehyde than are allowed in the U.S.

Used in hair thickening products, however, keratin can be useful. For example, keratin makes hair less prone to breakage. This is because keratin bonds to the rough edges of individual hairs, covering the cuticle, straightening it, and promoting shine and strength. Keratin nourishing serum or elixir also strengthens hair and leaves hair looking thicker by coating individual hair shafts. Densifying shampoos, conditioners and similar products containing keratin are a great quick fix to thicken hair.

Why Does Protein Need to Be Hydrolyzed?

The protein in your hair is vulnerable to damage from harsh cleansers, frequent chemical treatments, and heat styling, which can result in dryness, reduced elasticity, and excessive hair shedding.

Repairing this damage is more complicated than simply replacing the missing protein because the molecules are too big to penetrate the hair shaft and support the integrity of the hair.

To effectively repair this damage, proteins need to undergo a process called hydrolysis.

That’s a chemical reaction that breaks protein molecules down into fragments with lower molecular weights that can be absorbed by the hair.

These smaller protein pieces can penetrate the hair shaft, replace the lost protein, and strengthen the hair from inside. Hydrolyzed proteins help improve moisture retention and elasticity while giving hair softness, shine, and bounce.

Hydrolysis also makes protein water-soluble, and suitable for use in cosmetic formulations.

How to Use Hydrolyzed Proteins on Your Hair

These protein products deserve your attention because unlike synthetic chemicals that can damage your hair and pose a health risk, hydrolyzed proteins are completely safe for use in personal care products.

If your hair is fine, damaged, dry, relaxed, or difficult to style, you should consider hydrolyzed proteins as part of your hair care regimen. As you do, you will notice your hair looking and feeling stronger, fuller, softer, and shinier.

Hydrolyzed proteins are not finished personal care products, but concentrated raw ingredients that are meant to be used for making cosmetics or adding directly to your store-bought hair care products. (Don’t use these raw ingredients directly on your hair—they are too strong to be used without diluting.)

Be careful to avoid protein overload, because too much protein can leave your hair looking greasy and feeling brittle, especially if your hair already has enough protein. If that happens, deep conditioning treatments and moisturizing products will help get the protein/moisture balance back, but you should lessen the amount of hydrolyzed proteins in your hair care products and reduce the frequency of using protein-rich products.

The advantage of adding hydrolyzed protein to your hair care product over buying the products that already contain hydrolyzed protein is that you can customize the amount of protein in accordance with your needs. To achieve your desired strength more easily, some hydrolyzed protein products come with a measuring pipet and a percentage chart.

The most common types of protein that are used for making hair care products are hydrolyzed wheat, hydrolyzed silk, and hydrolyzed keratin protein.

Let’s see how your hair can benefit from hydrolyzed proteins and how to incorporate them into your hair care routine.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

This protein-product is an amber-colored liquid derived from wheat. Due to its low molecular weight, it can penetrate damaged cuticle layers and strengthen your hair from within. This product doesn’t contain gluten, so it can be used if you are gluten sensitive.

Hydrolyzed wheat protein will last up to a year without losing its effectiveness. Store it in the refrigerator after opening to preserve its potency.

Properties & Benefits

Fine, porous, damaged, and chemically treated hair will get the most benefit from this protein. If your hair lacks protein, this will bring it back to life. You may see a noticeable difference after the first use.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein reduces hair’s porosity and strengthens it from within, making your hair healthier, shinier, and easier to style.

This protein increases your hair’s ability to receive and retain moisture.

It helps reduce breakage, eliminates frizz and tangles, and makes your hair appear fuller.


Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein should be mixed with your moisturizing conditioner and used as a deep conditioner or protein treatment, depending on the porosity level of your hair. Make sure to follow instructions that come with the product.

If your hair is over-porous and very damaged, you need to apply it as a protein treatment biweekly. If you have low porosity hair, use this protein product monthly as a deep conditioning treatment.

Try to avoid putting the mixture directly on your scalp because it can clog up your pores.

You can apply heat or just use a shower cap and towel for 30-45 minutes. Rinse thoroughly; otherwise, your hair may appear sticky or greasy.

Hydrolyzed Silk

Hydrolyzed Silk Protein is an amber, non-viscous liquid obtained from silk fibers. This water-soluble protein can be added to your hair care products at concentrations of 0.5 – 5% of the total amount of product.

Properties & Benefits

When added to hair care products, Hydrolyzed Silk helps improve the elasticity of hair strands and adds luster and manageability to the hair.

Hydrolyzed Silk Protein fills in the gaps in the cuticle, giving more silkiness to your hair than any other hydrolyzed protein.

Its outstanding moisture-binding capacities help increase the hair’s ability to retain water, improving its elasticity.

When added to hair shampoos, it can reduce the irritating potential of harsh surfactants.


Hydrolyzed Silk Protein can be added to a hair shampoo or conditioner in concentrations up to 5% of the total volume to increase the conditioning and softening properties of these products. Make sure that your shampoo or conditioner is rich in moisturizing ingredients to help keep the moisture/protein balance in your hair.

You can add Hydrolyzed Silk to your deep conditioner and apply it as a protein treatment every few weeks.

Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein

Hydrolyzed Keratin is a clear amber liquid with a strong odor. Its thin consistency makes it easy to mix with any water-based hair care product. Hydrolyzed keratin protein is usually derived from sheep’s wool.

Properties & Benefits

Hydrolyzed Keratin is a protein fragment that not only coats but also penetrates the hair shaft to replace missing keratin in microscopic gaps along the hair shaft, resulting in smooth and shiny hair.

This product is not meant to be used for straightening your hair. It helps rebuild the hair’s natural protective layer, making it stronger and more elastic while reducing hair breakage and splitting.

Hydrolyzed keratin increases the diameter of hair fibers, giving a fuller appearance to fine and thin hair.

It also increases the hair’s ability to retain moisture and reduces frizz and flyaways caused by dryness.

If your expensive salon keratin treatment has started to wear off, adding hydrolyzed keratin to your shampoo, conditioner or leave-in conditioner could help extend the time between salon straightening services.


Hydrolyzed Keratin can be incorporated into all kinds of water-based hair care products. You can add it to your shampoo and conditioner at a concentration between 0.5%-3%. The optimum use rate may vary depending on the condition of your hair. Make sure not to exceed the maximum concentration of up to 3%, because if you use too much, your hair can become stiff or look greasy.

It can also be added to your deep conditioner and left in your hair under a shower cap for about an hour. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and follow up with a moisturizing conditioner.

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Keratin for Hair Health and Hair Growth

Maintaining hair health and providing your locks with the nutrients they need can sometimes be challenging. However, there are many beneficial ingredients for your hair and scalp that you can look for when scanning product labels. Some of these ingredients include jojoba oil, tea tree oil, silk proteins, and this article will delve more specifically into the importance of keratin and how sources that contain keratin can benefit your hair.

What is Keratin?

Keratin is made up of multiple structural proteins and is found in our hair, skin, and nails. The word “keratin” comes from the Greek word “Keras” which translates to horn. Keratin is a strong and resilient component in both humans and animals that serve as a protective barrier against external factors. Hair is made up of about 88% Keratin so when someone is keratin deficient, they will more than likely experience a decrease in hair, skin and nail health.

Where is Keratin found?

Food: Keratin can be obtained from outside sources such as food. When searching for keratin-rich foods look for items that are high in vitamin C as well as foods that contain biotin. Foods with biotin aid in protein metabolism which provides a foundation for keratin. Additionally, whole grains and lean protein are other good food sources for improving the keratin in your hair skin and nails.

Topical Products: Similarly to Biotin, keratin is naturally produced within the body, can be found in food, as well as in topical products. Hydrolyzed keratin is very popular among over the counter topical treatments such as shampoos and conditioners, nail treatments, as well as lotions.

Benefits of Hydrolyzed Keratin

When keratin is hydrolyzed (broken down into smaller components) and placed in hair treatments, it actually creates a protective barrier on the hair while simultaneously imparting shine. Hydrolyzed keratin has also been shown to replenish the hair and skin with moisture while also improving the skin’s elasticity. As a result of its moisturizing properties, shampoos and conditioners containing hydrolyzed keratin are a favorable option for those with limp, dry and brittle hair. Shampoos and conditioners with hydrolyzed keratin are also great for making unruly hair more manageable.

Tags: keratin, keratin for hair growth, keratin for hair loss


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Beyond providing Skin Deep® as an educational tool for consumers, EWG offers its EWG VERIFIED™ mark as a quick and easily identifiable way of conveying personal care products that meet EWG’s strict health criteria. Before a company can use EWG VERIFIED™ on such products, the company must show that it fully discloses the products’ ingredients on their labels or packaging, they do not contain EWG ingredients of concern, and are made with good manufacturing practices, among other criteria. Note that EWG receives licensing fees from all EWG VERIFIED™ member companies that help to support the important work we do. Learn more | Legal Disclaimer

Both products are available at most drugstores for around $15 and are nonrelaxer straightening treatments that claim to reduce curl and frizz for about a month.

One can at least be assured that there is no formaldehyde in them, since the ingredients are printed on the box, though I thought that I needed a chemist to tell me what PEG-14 dimethicone was. I decided to try both products simultaneously, sectioning my hair, in stylist parlance, and using the Garnier on one half and the Organix on the other.

The Organix came with a pre-treatment shampoo, so I used that in the shower, combed my hair and wiggled into clear plastic gloves. The Garnier serum was clear and smelled noxious, like perm solution, while Organix’s was creamy and pleasantly reminiscent of coconut oil. I left both on for a half-hour. My dog took one sniff of me and backed away to his bed.

I rinsed them out thoroughly, put Garnier’s Perfect-It after-cream on the appropriate section and, following the instructions, went to work blow-drying my hair to the best of my meager abilities. Then I used a salon-quality T3 flat iron. My hair seemed vaguely easier to straighten, but the whole process still took about three hours. Results appeared to be the same on both sides, with stick-straight hair lacking a bit in body.

Smoothing treatments for hair

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