The Wrong Shampoos That Can Ruin Your Keratin Treated Hair

By Camelia Smith
Published 04 May 2015 / Updated 11 Dec 2020

The Wrong Shampoos That Can Ruin Your Keratin Treated Hair

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

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

  • Keratin was peeling off: Like excess residue flaking off my hair
  • Dryness: My scalp felt dry with some sticky patches
  • Itchy scalp: I had an active flare-up with redness on the hairline
  • Uneven hair: Flat and straight in parts, frizzy in others
  • 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 I was worried
  • Money wasted: Yes, I had to do it all over again!

Lesson:

Make sure you use the right keratin aftercare shampoo.

And check the labels for sneaky ingredients like sulfates.

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

I must admit, I was naive.

And most of the problems above were a direct result of using the wrong products.

I didn’t do much research, and I bought the easily available drugstore shampoos that were “supposedly” good for post keratin treatments.

The problem:

They all had (BAD) sulfates and chlorides, or at least the wrong ingredients that are not keratin-friendly.

After many trial and errors, botched keratin treatments that I had to undo, tears, and desperate consultations with my hairstylist, I finally figured out what type of hair products actually work after keratin treatments.

And today, I am going to share my experience with you.

I will show you:

What hair products to use for keratin treatment maintenance and aftercare.

And most importantly, what products to avoid.

But first, without wasting your time, here’s a quick preview of the excellent products you should get.

My top 2 shampoos for keratin treatment maintenance

And here’s what I will cover in this article to make sure you get the most out of your keratined hair.

Added Bonus:

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

Table Of Contents

The bottom line is:

If you don’t look after your keratin treated hair, the treatment will wear off fast and can fade within a week!

I know you don’t want that to happen.

Related
keratin care maintenance

What not to do after your keratin treatment (The complete list)

So here’s the first thing you need to know:

Use sulfate-free shampoos.

Yep, it’s true that you can find them anywhere these days:

  • SLS-free
  • 0% Sulfates
  • Low-foaming shampoos
  • Low-surfactants shampoos

These are the latest buzzwords in the hair care market as we, consumers, have become savvier about reading labels on our beauty products.

But guess what?

The small prints on the back are still confusing as f*ck!

While none of them will actually list sulfate in their ingredients list, you’ll come across a few tong-twisting chemical terms like Cocamide DEA, Propylene Glycol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and many more.

Read: Is your sulfate-free shampoo really sulfate-free?

You see:

A lot of product labels are just plain misleading. Product manufacturers actually use these terms loosely with slight variations to glamorize their products and keep up with the competition.

Let me explain:

A lot of SLS-free products still contain sulfates often disguised as:

Just because the chemical name does not contain the word “sulfate” doesn’t mean it’s not a sulfate.

Other equally dangerous cousins to SLS are:

  • Sodium Laureth
  • Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate

They are synthetic lauric acids made from sulfurs.

So don’t fall for cheap shampoos that claim to be sulfate-free.

Here’s a list of the wrong shampoos you should avoid after your keratin treatment:

Bear with me. I will explain more about their ingredients below and why they strip keratin off the hair.

1. Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy Shampoo

This is the biggest trap of all.

If you search for “best shampoo for keratin treatment” on Google, you’ll notice this product shows up every time.

Unfortunately, it was one of my first buys. But never again!

I don’t know what it is about Organix shampoos, but my scalp felt tight after a few washes, and I started getting white flakes and itchiness.

Needless to say, it didn’t work for me.

When I checked the ingredients, I found these:

Both of them surfactants that are harsh on the skin and hair.

2. Keratin Complex Keratin Care shampoo

According to reviews, this shampoo is a bit of a hit and miss.

Many people claim the products are fake, and they didn’t get what they expected. When I checked online, I saw there were too many counterfeits.

I’ve seen a few versions of this product, all with different ingredients.

Plus, it’s quite expensive. So I wouldn’t risk it.

3. BRAZILIAN BLOWOUT Shampoo and Conditioner Duo Set

This product stands out on Amazon when you search for keratin care shampoos.

The ingredients also look decent, but there is one problem.

Too many people complained about the packaging and the authenticity of the product.

Would you trust the ingredients in this shampoo if the product itself doesn’t look genuine?

So there you have it.

It’s not a long list, but I just highlighted the obvious shampoos that would have caught you out.

What shampoo is good for keratin treated hair, and where do you find them?

Look no further.

I’ve been doing keratin treatments every 3-4 months, and by now, I can tell you confidently that: I have figured it out.

There is a set of products, both myself and my colleagues absolutely swear by.

And of course, we also keep a close eye on these products as at any time, they may change their formulation.

For now, these are the best products we recommend:


The Best Shampoos for Keratin Treated Hair

Please Note:

We actively peer review and update this list based on ingredient labels and customer feedback.

what is the Best shampoo for keratin treated hair

3. It's A 10 Miracle Bundle

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

deluge

6. Deluge

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

low ph sulfate free shampoo

8. Biolage RAW Nourish

Low pH shampoo. Sulfate-Free.

drugstore shampoo without sulfates for keratin treatment

9. Aveeno Pure Renewal

The best affordable drugstore shampoo for keratin treated hair.

Best Value
Check out how we tested and handpicked these products:

The best Keratin shampoos to use after a Keratin Treatment »


Keratin Treatment Aftercare – How to Get It Right

The best trick to maintain your hair after a keratin treatment is to wash and style with keratin-friendly hair products.

You need delicately balanced hair products that won’t interfere with the keratin settling in process.

That’s 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.

From my experience, you’ll need more than just a shampoo and conditioner to get by.

Here Are The Keratin Aftercare Products I Use

  1. Dry clean: Klorane dry shampoo
  2. Shampoo: Arvazallia set
  3. Styling: CHI keratin mist
  4. To prevent breakage: Lanza anti-breakage oil
  5. Sleeping care: SLIP silk pillowcase

These products combine perfectly to:

  • Clean
  • Moisturize
  • Style
  • And protect

my hair while the keratin is still fresh and taking its time to settle in properly.

Let me explain why these products are excellent for keratin care and why they work.

First 3 Days – Dry Shampoos to The Rescue

Dry shampoo after keratin treatments

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: Dry shampoo.

Dry clean your greasy roots and eek out that hair wash for a few days without even getting your hair wet.

Here are my tips for using dry shampoo on keratin treated hair:

  • Start at the roots: Spray lightly at the roots
  • Lift your hair and 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

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

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

Best Dry Shampoo for Keratin Treated Hair

dry shampoo after keratin treatment

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Sulfate Free. No White Residues. Paraben Free.

The Klorane dry shampoo is transparent and doesn’t leave any white residues.

What I love about it is its pure botanical ingredients with ZERO trace of sulfates and alcohols which, can dry out your scalp.

Girls with colored hair absolutely love this brand for its color-safe formula.

If you haven’t tried it yet, I suggest you do.

It’s beautifully fragrant, not overpowering, and adds a fresh herbaceous scent that will get you hooked from the first whiff.

Related
best keratin safe dry shampoos

The best color safe dry shampoos without the chalky residues »

My next favorite is the shampoo set.

Best Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner For Keratin Treatments

Once you get past the first 3 days, it’s ok to start washing your hair with a shampoo and use a conditioner to gently detangle and moisturize.

But like I said, NOT any shampoo and conditioner.

You have to use sulfate free and sodium chloride free hair products.

Why?

Because both sulfates and chlorides dissolve keratin coating from the hair.

Additionally, these ingredients increase pH levels with their alkaline reaction.

High pH is always bad for the hair as it opens up the cuticles, thus increasing friction.

Read
keratin care shampoo ph balanced

Why Low pH Shampoos are Better for Your Hair and Scalp

What you need is a gentle (non-abrasive) shampoo and conditioner without harsh chemicals and surfactants.

After searching high and low for the best shampoo for keratin treated hair, which is:

  • Sulfate free
  • Sodium chloride free
  • pH balanced
  • And gentle

I found the Arvazallia set.

It ticks all the right boxes to be considered the best amongst the sulfate and sodium chloride free shampoos.

Some ingredients may look like sulfates and chlorides on its list, but they are what the cosmetics industry class as good sulfates and chlorides.

We have used trusted resources like:

to understand the exact science behind each ingredient and whether they do any harm to your skin and hair.

It’s also important to note that some ingredients are merely there to preserve the shelf life of the product.

I will explain more on good and bad sulfates below …

If you want to check out the ingredients, I have detailed out every single item from the back of the shampoo here:

Arvazallia Keratin Shampoo Ingredients List (With explanations)

BTW: We’ve had a lot of positive feedback via our blog from happy customers, who thanked us for recommending this product.

Another reason why I love the Arvazallia set is that it’s perfectly formulated to heal damaged hair with it’s potent combination of argan and macadamia oils.

best shampoo and conditioner to use after keratin

Now, I know what you’re thinking?

Why should you use a hair damage repair product when you’ve just had a keratin treatment?

Is the treatment not meant to repair and smoothen your tresses in the first place?

True, a keratin treatment does all of that to give you frizz-free, healthy, and smooth hair that lasts.

But, the application is still a chemical process that causes some level of stress to your strands.

Any product that supports your hair to heal and revitalize faster is a welcome addition.

Your hair will thank you for it.

To make it even better, the clean-rinsing conditioner juices things up nicely to boost your hair’s moisture levels.

The Conditioner Provides Plenty of Slip For Easy Detangling (No Hairbrush Needed)

The Arvazallia keratin treatment conditioner is like a silky slice of heaven.

Apply it generously after your shampoo and feel it untangle your hair with ease. You won’t even need a wet brush.

The problem with a fresh keratin treatment is, you cannot brush your hair until after a week or two.

Read
can i brush my hair after keratin treatment

Can You Brush Your Hair After A Keratin Treatment?

Using a conditioner with plenty of slip allows you to skip the brushing yet come out of the shower with zero knots and tangles.

I absolutely love the light and slippy feel of my hair after my shower.

And the scent is so uplifting, you’ll literally feel that you’ve just drenched yourself in tuberose.

Use The Deep Conditioning Mask To Hydrate Your Hair

I use the rich argan oil hair mask to keep my tresses smooth, supple, and easy to manage in between washes.

This helps to improve the hair texture, and by keeping it well-moisturized and silky, I don’t need to use a hairbrush or even a hair straightener to style my hair.

“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 - TedGibson.com

If you need to take it up a notch with styling products to manage your hair daily, let me give you some good suggestions.

How to Style Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment

can i style my hair after keratin treatment

After coming out on the other side of a successful keratin treatment and having the most gorgeous and healthy-looking hair to flaunt …

… there is only one thing that comes to mind.

I need to make some people jealous 😆

BUT hold your horses.

After 3 weeks or so, sure, you can experiment with daring hairstyles. But before then, I won’t recommend going GAGA.

Stick to modest keratin-friendly hair styling products that will prolong the life of your treatment.

Anything extra you put in your hair should have keratin renewal benefits.

By that I mean, your styling products should have micronized keratin (small keratin molecules) that will help to enhance and fortify the existing keratin coating in your hair.

You’ll have to be very careful of hairstyling sprays because many of them contain salt (sodium chloride) to give the hair texture and the volumizing effect.

If you need to use hairsprays for holding your hair throughout the day, use a salt-free one with keratin infusion.

I use the CHI keratin mist spray, which does an excellent job at holding my styles while also keeping my hair soft and manageable.

Now don’t be too concerned if you see some minor hair breakage when styling your hair or running your fingers through your hair.

My hairstylist told me it’s normal, and it will happen.

Dealing With Hair Breakage After Your Keratin Treatment

keratin treatment breakage

If you notice too much of your hair breaking and you’re worried, here are 2 things you can do:

  • Revisit your stylist to check if there’s any cause for concern
  • Use an anti-breakage oil to minimize the breakage

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 dry hair and scalp can be related to Formaldehyde in your treatment.

Note:

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

Formaldehyde is a strong chemical used in older versions of keratin treatments to mold the shape of the hair.

Too much of it applied to the hair can weaken the shafts causing excess breakage.

Another reason is protein overload. In some cases, I’ve seen people applying more keratin than the recommended dosage.

Regardless of the cause, your hair is shedding, and you need to fix it fast!

While I didn’t have any major issues with hair breakage, I used a keratin hair oil which, helped keep things under control.

Here it is:

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 a big improvement.

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

That’s impressive!

Let me throw in a few more tips here to help you combat hair breakage after your Brazilian keratin treatment:

  • 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: Frayed ends and knots make your hair weak
  • Stop Coloring: Commercial dye dries out your hair
  • Baby Your Ends: The ends are the weakest parts. TLC them

And do you want to know another secret?

Sleep on silk.

Pillowcase, bedding, whatever you lay your head on.

Sleeping After Your Keratin Treatment

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

Simple tricks like changing your pillowcase can also make a big difference.

Use silk or satin pillowcases after your keratin treatment.

Because silk and satin reduce friction between your hair and the pillowcase.

The result: Less breakage.

Read
how to keep your hair straight when you sleep

How to Sleep After a Keratin Treatment and Wake Up With Untangled Hair

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

These fabrics help your hair stay straight and untangled for longer.

And trust me:

You won’t even need to use a hairbrush in the morning.

So this was an insight into my low-maintenance keratin aftercare routine.

I will always emphasize a small set of keratin-friendly products.

DO NOT overthink it. DO NOT overdo it.

Keep it simple and low maintenance.

To Recap:

Here are the products you need:

  1. Dry clean: Klorane dry shampoo
  2. Shampoo: Arvazallia set
  3. Styling: CHI keratin mist
  4. To prevent breakage: Lanza anti-breakage oil
  5. Sleeping care: SLIP silk pillowcase

To follow up on my earlier promise, now let me explain what good and bad sulfates are and how you can check these ingredients yourself to make sure you’re buying keratin-safe hair products.

Good Sulfates vs. Bad Sulfates

Good sulfates are mild surfactants with a low toxicity level that don’t aggressively scrub the hair fibers and the scalp.

Bad sulfates are considered harsh surfactants used for deep cleansing. For example, deep-cleansing detox shampoos that you use once a week to remove buildup and impurities from the hair and scalp.

A good example of using a clarifying sulfate-based shampoo is when you want to prematurely reverse a keratin treatment.

In fact, these shampoos are so intense that they can remove all the keratin coating from your hair within 3 washes.

Here’s a quick chart to illustrate a few examples of good and bad sulfates:

Find your best sulfate free shampoo after keratin treatment
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. BAD Sulfates are not always at the top of the list. And not the last.

They hide in the middle.

Remember, not all sulfates are bad for your hair.

You just have to make sure you don’t get too much of the BAD ones.

For example:

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate is derived from coconut and palm
  • Sodium Socoyl Sarcosinate is a natural amino acid

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

It’s simple:

The FDA wants to protect you, the consumer, from health hazards and deceptive practices.

If you want to verify how good or bad the ingredients in your cosmetic products are, I recommend using the following resources to check:

Also, don’t forget:

Salt-free (Shampoos without Sodium Chloride).

Salt-based shampoos also wash out keratin treatments.

But one thing you need to know …

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

You need to adapt and learn to wash your hair less.

Embrace the dry shampoo.

Washing your hair less is always a good thing anyway.

Now, I understand some of the shampoos I recommended above may not work for all of you.

For example, you may have allergic reactions to regular shampoos.

But don’t panic.

I have put together a list of shampoos for those with sensitive skin below.

Check them out …

Hypoallergenic Shampoos

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

If you get rashes, pimples, and dry scalp, get a keratin care shampoo that’s hypoallergenic.

Here’s what I recommend:

Want more tips?

Let me show you how I seamlessly make my post keratin hair care routine work well with my lifestyle.

How To Maintain Keratin Treated Hair

Just hear me out and take notes …

  • Planning: Make your hair fit in your life for the first week
  • Dry Cleansing: Use dry shampoo to get by
  • No Workouts: At least you have a good excuse. Avoid sweating
  • Leave It Down: No fancy hairstyles for the first 3 days
  • Avoid Dents: Remember, keratin is malleable in the first 3 days
  • Avoid Clips & Bands: They cause dents and demarcation marks
  • 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 2-3 Weeks: How long after keratin treatment to color hair?
  • Wash Infrequently: Stretch your time between washes
  • Tepid Cool Water: Shampoo with tepid or cool water
  • Boar Bristle Brush: Detangle your hair before going to bed
  • Umbrella & Hat: Keep it handy in case of rain
  • Avoid Swimming: Avoid swimming for the first 2 weeks
  • Conditioning: A masque with nutritional proteins 2X / month

So these are the rules if your keratin treatment was a success.

Unfortunately, in some cases, it can go tits up.

Wrong product, expired product, didn’t follow instructions properly, or your hair wouldn’t take it …

Shit happens!

But don’t worry. I’ve got your back.

I know how to reverse a keratin treatment without damaging my hair because yeh I’ve had to do it 2 times.

Let me show you how …


How To Remove Keratin From Hair

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’re heading out.

Look:

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

And I completely understand that.

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

  • Your hair feels too dry and brittle
  • You want your hair curly at times, but it won’t budge
  • The front area looks straighter than the rest
  • Your hair feels too greasy
  • Formaldehyde side effects
  • Or, it was a total f*ck up!

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

Let me show you a few safe DIY solutions and some products I recommend.

The key here is to scrub out the keratin then moisturize immediately to avoid damage.

Because you will be taking your hair to two extremes. It’s important to restore pH balance.

Without further ado, let me show you how to do it.

1. The Yogurt & Sea Salt Solution

What you need:
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 spoon of sea salt

Mix them.

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

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

The sea salt will remove keratin, while yogurt will keep your hair moist.

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

2. 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.

However:

I suggest you do a strand test 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).

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

There are more gentle solutions like keratin healing oils.

Give them a try first.

Conclusion

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 the plan is an easy to remember chart for you.

Scroll down and download this FREE pdf.

Keratin Treatment Aftercare
Keratin Treatment Aftercare

Click Here to download this FREE Chart (PDF).