The Best Shampoos for Keratin-Treated Hair (Sulfate-Free and Salt-Free)

By Camelia Smith
Updated

The Best Shampoos for Keratin-Treated Hair (Sulfate-Free and Salt-Free)

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

It wasn’t until the third wash that I noticed these problems:

  • Keratin peeling off: Like excess residues flaking off my hair
  • Dry hair: My hair felt dry with sticky patches
  • Frizzy hair: Flat and straight in parts, frizzy in others
  • Styling nightmare: Couldn’t get my hair right
  • Money wasted: Yes, I had to do it all over again!

Lesson:

Make sure you get the correct keratin aftercare shampoo.

These shampoos are usually labeled as:

  • Sulfate-free,
  • Sodium chloride free, and
  • Safe for color-treated hair.

If it doesn’t strip hair dye, it won’t strip keratin, either.

So without further ado, here are the best ones we’ve handpicked with the help of my local hairdresser, who has almost 10 years of experience doing Brazilian keratin treatments in London.

Plus, we had a few volunteers who didn’t mind testing a new shampoo and giving feedback in return for a free keratin treatment voucher. Win win!

Word Of Advice:

Please, please always do a patch test on a small section of your hair and on your skin beforehand. Everyone’s hair and skin reacts differently. So do not rush this process. It’s best to exercise caution.

If you’re not 100% sure, ask your local hair salon to help you.

The Top 3

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keratin hair treatment shampoo that is sulphate-free

Arvazallia

  • Creamy texture.
  • Delicious fruity floral scent.
  • Sulfate-free and sodium-chloride free.
rich argan and natural oils shampoo that hydrates hair and protects keratin coating

Luxeorganix

  • Makes hair soft and frizz-free.
  • Sulphate-free, salt-free, paraben-free.
  • Formulated for chemically-treated hair.
hair salon grade vegan shampoo for Brazilian blowouts aftercare

Vegamour

  • Clean plant-based.
  • Vegan, gluten-free, and silicone-free.
  • Rejuvenates hair follicles.

The Best Sulfate-free Shampoos for Keratin-Treated Hair

Best Overall

1. Arvazallia Sulfate-Free Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Product Summary

Pros

  • Infused with premium-quality argan oil for fast healing.
  • Nourishing ingredients like macadamia oil.
  • Positive ratings and reviews.
  • Comes with a deep conditioner.
  • Gentle and does not strip.
  • Less expensive than salon shampoos.
  • Curl-friendly.

Cons

  • You have to buy the whole set.

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback via our blog from happy customers who thanked us for recommending this product. You can see it for yourself on Amazon. Search the reviews for “keratin” and read the comments.

When I bought this set first time, I immediately fell in love with the quality, the yummy fruity floral scent, how my hair felt after using it, and most importantly, the longevity it gave to my blowouts. To date, I still use this complete set every time I get a Brazilian keratin treatment done.

It is my tried and trusted shampoo that never disappoints, and I know exactly what to expect from it. Plus, it comes with a conditioner and a lush hair mask too. It’s excellent value for money as you won’t have to buy them separately.

Here are the reasons why the Arvazallia shampoo is excellent for keratin-treated hair.

  • It is SLS-free.
  • It does not contain salts.
  • It has the highest grade of pure Moroccan argan oil.
  • It helps hair heal from damage.

Formulated as an advanced hair repair system, the shampoo, conditioner, and mask are designed to revitalize stressed-out hair after chemical treatments. With antioxidant-rich argan oil and nutrients-rich macadamia oil, this system fortifies the hair from root to tip to accelerate recovery after keratin, color, and even bleaching treatments.

What’s particularly impressive about this shampoo is that it lathers so well despite having no sulfates and salts. It deep cleanses so well that you won’t need to wash your hair frequently. Once a week is enough.

Best Sulfate-Free Option

2. LuxeOrganix Sulfate-Free Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Works for all hair types.
  • Does not leave residues.
  • Makes keratin last longer in hair.
  • Keeps hair color looking fresh and vibrant.

Reviewers rave about the Luxeorganix shampoo’s ability to preserve their keratin for up to 4 months while keeping their hair frizz-free and smooth.

Formulated for all hair types and textures, this shampoo is enriched with Moroccan argan oil, vitamins, fatty acids, and omegas that work together to protect the hair’s lipid layer, boosting natural moisture.

It doesn’t have any bad sulfates or salts, so rest assured it won’t strip your keratin-treated hair even if you use it 2 times a week. Just work it into wet hair and massage it gently to activate the cleanse. Then rinse out.

For those with dyed hair, you’ll love how this shampoo makes your color look radiant after every wash, without fading.

Best Vegan and Plant-Based Option

3. Vegamour

Product Summary

Pros

  • 100% vegan.
  • Pure plant-based.
  • Contains vegan keratin (Karmatin)
  • Helps with hair growth.
  • Makes hair stronger.

Cons

  • It is on the pricier side.

Vegamour is one of the fastest-selling hair products right now on Sephora and Amazon. It’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free, plant-based, and considered by many as the best keratin shampoo in the clean beauty space.

A few months ago, I bought Vegamour’s GRO products to do a review, and I must admit, these products are a different class. Yes, they are expensive, but you feel the love and passion put into each of their products.

Made with pure botanical extracts and b-silk vegan keratin (Karmatin), this shampoo is a no-brainer for keratin-treated hair. There is basically nothing in their products that can strip the hair. In fact, the shampoo is so gentle you can wash your hair every day with it. I wish I could, but looking at the price, I’d rather make it last for 2 months.

The Vegamour keratin shampoo will suit you well if you’re vegan and an advocate for clean sustainable cosmetics that don’t contain any animal derivatives.

4. Olaplex 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Works for all hair types.
  • Heals stressed-out hair.
  • Quickly repairs split ends.
  • Provides intensive nourishment for the hair.
  • Reduces breakage after keratin.

Cons

  • Can cause protein overload.
  • You may not like the scent.

The Olaplex 4 is a reparative shampoo designed to fortify the bonds in hair that has been chemically processed.

It is normal for hair to feel weakened and stressed out after any kind of chemical treatment due to the intense heat and chemicals applied. This is where Olaplex swoops in with its recovery powers to strengthen vulnerable and weak hair against breakage and split ends.

Olaplex is the number 1 go-to product for anyone with damaged hair. Trusted by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and legendary hairstylists, Olaplex is clinically proven to reverse the damaging effects of chemical processing and heat damage on the hair.

By using a unique patented bond multiplier technology, it rapidly heals the hair from the inside to strengthen each strand from root to tip.

However, beware of overusing this shampoo. It has high doses of keratin and aminos, so it can cause protein overload on hair that already has keratin coated. Protein overload usually manifests in dry, brittle hair that breaks easily.

So avoid using it daily and stick to once a week.

5. Tree to Tub Soapberry Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Adds volume to thinning hair.
  • Rich in vitamins A, E, omega 6, and linoleic acid.
  • pH balanced.
  • Paraben-free.
  • No irritants.
  • Contains DHT blockers to reduce hair fall.
  • Stimulates hair growth.
  • Gentle for sensitive skin.

Cons

  • No lather.

The Tree to Tub shampoo is pH-balanced without harsh chemicals. It helps neutralize alkalinity from chemical products that can leave the hair feeling dry, damaged, and prone to breakage. By rebalancing the follicular environment, it brings both the scalp and hair into their natural harmonious pH range for optimal moisture and function. It also does an excellent job of calming frizzy hair after showering.

My only gripe about this shampoo is that it doesn’t contain hydrolyzed keratin, which means I have to add an extra product to my routine to top up the keratin.

6. Maple Holistics Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Made with pure oils.
  • Enhances shine and texture.
  • Curl-friendly.
  • Reduces frizz.

Cons

  • Poor packaging.

The Maple Holistics shampoo is made with 100% pure argan oil, almond oil, green tea extracts, avocado oil, silk amino acids, and hibiscus to heal, rejuvenate, and strengthen keratin treated hair.

The set also comes with an equal-sized conditioner, so you don’t have to buy one separately. For me, a 236ml bottle can last for up to 2 months if I wash my hair once every week.

7. Aveeno Blackberry Quinoa Protein Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • No parabens.
  • Good for a sensitive scalp.
  • Protects hair color from fading.

Cons

  • Contains sodium c14-c16 olefin sulfonate.

If you are on a tight budget, the Aveeno quinoa protein shampoo is the cheapest shampoo for keratin treated hair available from most drugstores.

Although it contains some mild sulfates (C14-C16 olefin sulfonate), we noticed it still did a pretty good job on colored hair. So we tested it on one of our client’s post-keratin hair after 1 week. We wanted to see if this cheap option would work, and surprisingly it did.

It didn’t show any signs of stripping. Both keratin and color were safe and didn’t fade after 2 weeks of use.

The Aveeno shampoo is also ultra-soothing on the scalp, and it leaves the hair soft and smooth.

8. Videri Lemon Sage and Tea Tree Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Made with essential oils.
  • Ultra-hydrating.
  • Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Cons

  • Expensive

The Videri shampoo combines peppermint, tea tree, jojoba, vitamin C, and aloe vera extracts to deliver a refreshing cleansing experience like no other.

You immediately feel the invigorating qualities deep down on your scalp. Not only it detoxes the hair and the scalp, but it also re-energizes dry and brittle hair with its deeply moisturizing fatty acids and omegas.

The Videri shampoo is also low pH (4.2 – 5.8), doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, and has extra hydrolyzed wheat proteins, which ticks all the right boxes.

The only sticking point is the price for 355ml volume. There are better options with more volume at lower prices, like the one below.

9. ArtNaturals Argan Oil Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Reasonable price.
  • Make hair smooth and silky.
  • Great for dehydrated hair.

Cons

  • Very low lather (but it’s good)

This set comes with a shampoo and conditioner, both big enough to last for up to 2 months if you wash your hair twice a week.

The shampoo provides a gentle cleanse, while the conditioner adds good slip to help your brush or comb glide through your locks without friction.

It works well for keratin-treated hair because of its keratin proteins (from rice) and healing botanical extracts. Combining Moroccan argan oil and aloe vera as the base of its unique formula, the Artnaturals sulphate-free shampoo cleanses with low lather while keeping moisture intact.

Yes, you may not see a lot of suds in your hair, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cleansing. It works differently.

Unlike other shampoos that make the hair dry due to heavy surfactants scrubbing the outer layer of the hair, the Artnaturals shampoo contains very mild and non-irritating ingredients that absorb dirt and impurities from your hair instead of scraping. For post-keratin-treated hair, this is exactly what you want. A shampoo that absorbs and rinses the gunk out. Not one that would erase the keratin layer from your hair.

10. Loma Nourishing Shampoo

Product Summary

Pros

  • Contains aloe vera.
  • Gluten-free.
  • Vegan.
  • Rebalances hair moisture.
  • Rich and creamy.
  • Ideal for long hair.

Cons

  • Leaking bottle
  • Low suds

For those with very long hair looking for a shampoo that’s gonna cleanse without sudsing up, the Loma shampoo is an excellent choice. It has a lightweight formula that doesn’t take a lot of time to wash out.

The Loma shampoo also delivers vibrant shine for unbeatable luster and radiance. When used together with the moisturizing conditioner, it delivers a luxurious experience resulting in silky smooth hair that makes your keratin treatment look fresh and vibrant.

The only drawback is it’s a low suds. You will feel that your hair gets oilier faster in between washes. But don’t panic. Let your scalp adjust, you’ll be fine.

Other Shampoos We Tested That Did Not Make The Cut

As always, we initially start we a big list of good quality shampoos and verify the ingredients, quality, size, and customer sentiments on the whole. We also use some of them and ask people (on forums), who have used them, for their personal opinions.

Then we make a shortlist to filter out the ones that don’t work, are misleading with their ingredients, and have bad reviews.

Here are the other products we looked at but didn’t like:

Luseta Keratin shampoo

A promising one, but we found sodium chloride in the ingredients list. Otherwise, it is a good keratin shampoo for people who just want to strengthen their dry and brittle hair.

L’Oreal EverPure Sulfate-free shampoo

Misleading ingredients. We found too many cleansing agents and sodium chloride on the list. Reviewers also reported dry hair after use. It may work well for people with oily hair, but if you’ve just done a keratin treatment, it’s best to avoid it.

Keratin Complex Keratin Care Shampoo

This product is advertised as good for use after a keratin treatment, but has mild sulfates and salts. We also had it confirmed from Ulta Beauty forum discussions.

OGX Brazilian Keratin Shampoo

We wrote this one off after 2 uses. It makes the hair dry, and it contains sodium chloride. It may look like a popular choice online, but we advise against it.

Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Sulphate-free shampoo.

Unfortunately, despite boasting clean and naturally sourced ingredients, we still found too many chemicals, including sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and salt. Otherwise, the Bio:Renew would have made a good budget-friendly option.

Why Do You Need a Special Shampoo for Keratin-Treated Hair?

A keratin treatment, like hair dye, is a semi-permanent treatment that sits mostly on the top of the hair as a coating. It seals the outer layer of the hair to reduce frizz and smooth the hair strands.

A gentle shampoo without harsh surfactants is necessary to preserve the coating and prevent it from fading fast.

A good shampoo for keratin-treated hair should not strip the keratin coating but reinforce the keratin treatment.

Buying Guide – What to Look for in a Post-Keratin Treatment Shampoo

A good shampoo for keratin-treated hair must have the following qualities:

  • Prevent keratin treatment from wearing off
  • Deep cleanse without stripping the hair
  • Moisturize and hydrate without making the scalp feel greasy
  • Reduce frizzy hair
  • Strengthen the hair against breakage
  • Not leave residues

Here’s what to look for when buying a post-keratin treatment shampoo:

  • Sulfate-free.
  • Salt-free.
  • Alcohol-free.
  • Color-safe.
  • DMDM-hydantoin-free (Formaldehyde).
  • Contains argan oil.
  • Strengthens and prevents hair breakage.
  • Low lather.
  • Low or pH balanced.
  • Good scent.

Sulfates to Avoid on Keratin-Treated Hair

While sulfates do get a bad wrap in cosmetic hair products, it’s essential to note that not all sulfates are bad. Some sulfates are derived from plants and fruits, but due to cosmetic naming standards, the ingredients have to be listed by their chemical names. You need to avoid sulfates considered as surfactants (stripping). That’s because strong surfactants open up the cuticles to cleanse through them. When hair is treated with keratin, the cuticle layer should remain undisturbed, allowing the keratin coating to settle in and absorb. Only after a few weeks, you may use a slightly stronger shampoo.

Bad sulfates to avoid:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  • Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

Good sulfates (mild), you may still consider:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (derived from coconut oil)
  • Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
  • Disodium EDTA

You can use InciDecoder to get a more detailed explanation of the ingredients in your shampoo.

Ingredients in cosmetic products are listed by their order of concentration. So if you find these ingredients high up the list, then their concentrations are high. It indicates a very low concentration if they are near the bottom of the list.

Why Sodium Chloride Is Bad for Keratin-Treated Hair

Sodium chloride is salt. And salt has exfoliating effects. Do you really want to put salt in your hair to scrub out the layer of keratin you’ve just paid $300+ to apply? Probably not.

Salt also dehydrates as it sucks out water from its surroundings to store in its crystals. So if you use any product that contains sodium chloride, it will have the dual effect of exfoliating and dehydrating your hair. That’s why most hairdressers recommend staying away from it if your hair is colored or chemically treated.

Color-safe Indicates That the Shampoo Doesn’t Strip

A good shampoo for color treated hair also makes for a good post-keratin treatment shampoo. I tend to think of it this way: If it doesn’t strip semi-permanent hair dyes, then it won’t strip keratin coating, either. Both treatments are a little similar in the sense that both keratin and semi-hair dyes are simply hair-coating agents.

A Good Scent is a Must

Often, keratin treatments can leave a bad odor in your hair that dissipates after a week or so. Sometimes it may even last longer. It’s essential to use a shampoo that can neutralize and mask the smell in the meantime.

Deep conditioning keratin masks can also be used to distract from the odor. They are infused with more intense conditioning agents and natural scents from organic ingredients that also prevent the keratin from drying up and peeling in layers.

Can You Use Dry Shampoo After a Keratin Treatment?

I highly recommend using dry shampoo after a keratin treatment. It’s an excellent way to keep your hair fresh and clean and get more mileage between washes.

Recommended: Best dry shampoo for keratin-treated hair.

What Other Products Can You Use On Keratin-Treated Hair?

Like your shampoo and conditioner, any other styling products you apply to your hair should complement the treatment and make it last longer. The styling products you use should also be light and easy to wash. You don’t want to apply products that require heavy shampoos to wash out; for example, coconut oil and castor oil are a big NO.

So here’s the list of other products we’ve carefully handpicked:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a normal shampoo after keratin treatment?

Using a normal shampoo after a keratin treatment can be risky. Regular shampoos tend to have lots of sulfates that strip oil and impurities from the scalp and hair. These harsh ingredients may have an adverse effect on the keratin treatment by dissolving the fresh layer that’s trying to absorb into the hair strands.

How long after a keratin treatment can you wash your hair?

The general rule is to wait 3 days (72 hours) unless your product states you can wash your hair on the same day.

How to wash your hair after a keratin treatment?

There is no hard set rule on how to wash hair after the treatment. However, you should use a common sense approach and be gentle with your hair to avoid stripping the fresh keratin from your hair. My hairdresser suggests avoiding hot water as it will melt the keratin. Wash your hair with tepid cool water instead. The recommended temperature is 38°C. Similarly, avoid using a flat iron or hair dryer on high heat. It will melt the keratin layer.

Also, avoid drying your hair with a rough towel and avoid rough detangling. I recommend using a microfiber towel after washing your hair. It has a smoother surface that absorbs water faster, reducing the need to squeeze or rub.

For more help on how to do it right, read our guide here:

Washing hair after a keratin treatment – The common mistakes to avoid.

How often should you wash your hair after a keratin treatment?

Regardless of sulfates or not, keratin will wear out gradually with frequent washes (even if you wash with pure water). Just like a semi-permanent hair dye, the more you wash, the more it fades. So plan to wash your hair less often. Use dry shampoos and keep your hair clean as much as possible to avoid washing. You can do so by not touching your hair too often, not sweating too much, and not using heavy hair products like oils that require washing.

Where can you buy good shampoos for keratin-treated hair?

I’ve always found Amazon to have the most comprehensive range of products online. Plus, they do next-day delivery if you have a Prime membership, which is very handy.

Stores like Sephora and Walmart are also good, but you won’t find the options I’ve listed above.

Can you use drugstore shampoos after a keratin treatment?

Sure, you can, but be aware that you’ll find that almost all drugstore shampoos contain some level of sulfates. They can be hit-and-miss. You’ll have to verify the ingredients carefully before you buy.

Here’s a list of drugstore shampoos for keratin-treated hair to check if you want to go that route.

Other Useful Resources to Make Your Keratin Treatment Last Longer:

Final Thoughts

Aftercare is the most challenging part of a keratin treatment. But with good planning and using the right shampoo and conditioner, you can stretch your treatment for up to 4 months.

So look for products that are sulfate-free, sodium chloride-free, and labeled as safe for keratin-treated or color-treated hair. And remember to add dry shampoo to your routine to help stretch your washdays for longer.

The less you wash your hair, the longer the keratin will last.