Can You Curl Your Hair After A Keratin Treatment?

By Tina Moretti
Published 22 May 2021

Can You Curl Your Hair After A Keratin Treatment?

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If you want to curl your hair after a keratin treatment, here’s what you need to do:

  • Wait at least one week for the treatment to settle
  • Get a good quality curling iron
  • Get a light sulfate-free hair styling spray
  • Plan it well to avoid over manipulating your hair
  • Easiest option: Ask your hairstylist to help you

The trick is to craft your curls without damaging the integrity of the treatment.

If you get it right (handled with the utmost care), then you can bounce between curls, waves, and straights whenever you feel like it.

Although, I am so tempted to ask: Why The F would you?

But I totally get it.

After all, the word would be far less interesting if you had to rock the same hairstyle for two weeks! Wouldn’t it?

So here’s how you do it the right way …

How To Curl Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment

get curly hair after keratin treatments

If you’ve got $300 worth of treatment sitting on top of your head, the last thing you want to do is screw it all up in 10 minutes by being unprepared.

Think of it this way:

You can either come out with beautiful curls or F*CK it up badly, which will leave you with neither!

So plan it well. Understand what’s involved, and figure out how your hair will react when you try to curl it after the keratin treatment.

Easiest Option: Book Your Hair Stylist

The easiest and safest option to go with is to ask your hairstylist to do it for you.

Why?

Because your hairstylist can check the condition of your hair before curling it, he/she will have more control, better tools, better products, and most importantly, the right experience to do it.

Yes, it will cost you a bit, but in my opinion, if you desperately need to get your curls back after a keratin treatment or just fancy switching up your style a bit, it’s totally worth it.

If you don’t want to spend the extra money, here are some tips to help you curl your keratin-treated hair at home:

Check The Keratin Has Dried Out Properly

Keratin coating is malleable in the first week as it’s still soaking into the hair. That’s why you shouldn’t wash freshly applied keratin in the first 3 days to avoid stripping it away.

Consider the first week as a NO NO period for anything related to hair. No color, no fancy styles, no accessories. You just have to let that first week run its course and be patient.

After the first week, do a quick test by running your fingers through your hair.

Does it feel sticky and patchy?

If your fingers don’t run smoothly along the lengths of your hair and it feels a bit sticky, then the treatment hasn’t fully absorbed.

It’s better to wait a bit more before taking a curling iron to your hair.

Do your fingers run all the way smoothly?

If your fingers run smoothly, the treatment is set. You can start doing curls, but proceed with caution.

Take it one step at a time.

Do a Strand Test

I highly recommend you do a strand test on your keratin-treated hair before you go all guns blazing with a curling iron.

Why?

It will help you set the proper heat and ensure the keratin doesn’t peel off.

To do your strand test, grab a small section of your hair just behind your neck to start with. If it goes wrong, you can chop it off, and it won’t clash with the rest of your mane.

Use The Right Tool

If you’re going to use a flat iron to curl your hair, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. It’s like putting a square peg in a round hole!

Use a hair curling tool to make the process easier and quicker.

And depending on the type of curls you want to create, pick the right size barrel for your curling iron.

  • Gentle relaxed waves – 2 inch barrel
  • Large loose waves – 1.75 inch barrel
  • Soft Voluminous curls – 1.25 inch barrel
  • Tighter ringlets – 1 inch barrel
  • Beach waves – Curling wand
  • Tight kinky spirals – 3/8 inch barrel

If you’ve had a keratin hair straightening treatment, I won’t recommend going for tight curls as it requires too much manipulation. Stick to loose and more relaxed waves to begin with.

Set The Right Heat on Your Curler

This is super important.

Never use high heat on freshly applied keratin treatments. It will melt the coating, leaving your hair in a mess.

GHD recommends using 365° F (185° C) to avoid burning your hair. So stick to a lower heat setting than 365°F to start with.

Read: At what temperature does hair burn?

Use a Heat Protection Spray

To further protect your keratin-treated hair from the rigors of heat styling tools, use a heat protection styling spray to shield your hair.

A heat protection spray will work to prevent direct heat on the keratin coating, thus preventing it from melting.

Don’t Keep The Heat in Direct Contact for Too Long

Be as quick and efficient as you can when using your curling iron.

It’s a lot easier to work in sections as you won’t end up going over the same strands over and over again. Once a section is done, move on to the next.

Doing it this way will avoid leaving clamp marks in your hair.

Use a Comb or Brush to Assist You

Get someone to assist you so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

I remember when I tried curling my hair after my second Brazilian keratin treatment, I asked my sister to help me with a Denman brush and doing the sections around the back of my hair, which was so awkward to do.

Nowadays, I find it easier to just use an ionic hair styling brush that combines the benefits of both in one.

For more inspiration on how to curl your hair, check out this guide:

L’Oreal: How to use a curling iron or wand for perfect curls

To avoid stressing your hair, craft your curls as quickly as you can.

You’ll need to avoid manipulating the hair as much as possible. If you plan it all well, you’ll be able to do it.

What to Expect When Curling Hair After Keratin Treatment

Your curls will hold better due to better elasticity and strength from the inside. But don’t expect intense well-defined curls.

I could never get my hair to reach the same curl pattern it had before the treatment until it wore off completely.

But still, my waves were pretty, sexy, and bouncy.

Products To Curl Hair After Keratin Treatment

OR GET THE 2-in-1 HOT AIR STYLING BRUSH:

As a rule of thumb, always use a sulfate-free products on keratin-treated hair.

Also, look for keratin infusion which helps fortify the existing treatment.

When is The Best Time to Curl Hair After Keratin Treatment?

The best time to curl your hair after a keratin treatment is:

  • 1 week after the treatment is applied
  • Or when the treatment is almost worn out

If you read my article on things to avoid doing after a keratin treatment, you’ll see that I stick to a very pessimistic timeline of 2 weeks to start extreme styling, but if you proceed with care and do the patch tests, it should be fine.

Everyone’s hair is different and the treatment you use also varies. So it’s not possible to give a definite answer to all, but, my hairstylist always says 2 weeks, unless you know what you’re doing.

After the initial week, you’ll need to be extra gentle, paying particular attention to areas that still feel malleable and not dried properly.

Treatment is Almost Worn Out

If you are towards the end of the treatment when it’s almost worn out, then you have 2 options:

  • If you got bored of it – wash it out completely
  • Keep it but style as you would do with your normal hair

Wash it out completely

At the later stage of a keratin treatment, chances are your hair is not holding much of it anyway, as regular washing would have faded the treatment.

If you don’t want to keep the treatment anymore and you fancy experimenting with various hairstyles on a daily basis, then use a clarifying shampoo to wash it all out. This way, it will not interfere or make your styling routine hard.

Style As You Would With Normal Hair

Honestly, if I were two months in, I would style my hair as usual. It wouldn’t make much of a difference as your hair won’t be holding much of it anyway. At this point, your hair is already reverting to its virgin state. So if it was curly before you did the treatment, you’d find your natural curls emerging back again.

Curling Hair After Keratin Treatment (Videos and Inspirations)

Check out these useful videos I’ve gathered for inspiration:

To Curl Or Not To Curl?

Remember: A keratin hair treatment is just a way to improve the protein level, strength, smoothness, and elasticity to make your hair healthy.

When your hair is in a healthy condition, it makes it easy to style and manage effortlessly

So there’s no need to overthink it.

Just make sure you listen to your hair. Assess if it’s ready, then proceed with care.

A keratin treatment only lasts for 3 months max. So if you’re nearing the end of the treatment or even midway through, it should be good enough to experiment with curls, waves, and whatever hairstyle you fancy.

To summarise:

Yes, you can curl your hair after a keratin treatment as long as you follow the steps below:

  • Plan in advance
  • Assess the condition of your hair if it’s ready
  • Don’t rush
  • Do a strand test
  • Use the right tool (Curling wand)
  • Protect your hair from direct heat
  • Don’t over expose your hair to heat
  • Use a brush to help
  • If you don’t feel comfortable doing it – book your hair stylist