Washing Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment – Everything You Need to Know

By Camelia Smith
Published 27 Jan 2021 / Updated 19 Oct 2021

Washing Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment – Everything You Need to Know

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Washing your hair after a keratin treatment can be an anxiety-inducing endeavor.

Will a shower wash out my treatment too early?

Am I using the right shampoo?

Am I waiting long enough to allow the keratin to set in?

I get asked many different questions on this topic via forums and our blog, and yeah, I totally get it.

A keratin treatment is not cheap. The last thing you want is to f*ck it up badly by not following the aftercare rules properly.

Trust me, I’ve seen a few who’ve messed up their keratin treatment using bad shampoos that made their hair look uneven and frizzy in parts.

Too bad, maybe they were too hasty.


I always say this to my friends who seek advice about hair washing after a keratin treatment:

All you need is good planning and the right set of hair products.

how long before washing hair after keratin

It’s as simple as that.

I do keratin smoothing treatments pretty much every 4 months, and I can tell you that the first 3 days are always the hardest to get by.

I literally do not get out of the house because my hair looks flat and a greasy mess.

But it’s cool.

I know after that first wash, it’s totally worth the hassle.

So how do you prep yourself for that first shower?

Prepping For Your First Wash After a Keratin Treatment

Preparing for that first hair wash after a keratin treatment is a lot simpler than you think.

As I said, it’s all about good planning and making sure you stock up on the right products, like the right shampoo for keratin-treated hair.

You don’t want to be heading out with a greasy head hunting for that last sulfate-free keratin shampoo, only to find out that it’s out of stock!

Or you try to buy it online at the last minute and find out that it won’t reach you until the next week!

If you’re doing it in a hair salon, your hairstylist will most likely sell you the keratin care products, but if you’re doing your keratin treatment at home … PLAN your aftercare products in advance!

Yes. Go and buy your sulfate free and sodium chloride free keratin shampoo beforehand.

A week before my keratin appointment, I always check with my hairstylist that she has the products in stock or if I have to buy them elsewhere.

So without further ado, here’s the bare minimum you absolutely must have when washing your hair after a Brazilian keratin treatment.

keratin how long to wash hair after

Arvazallia Keratin Aftercare Shampoo Set


Best sulfate free shampoo and conditioner for keratin treated hair.

best keratin after care products

DevaCurl Microfiber Towel


Best towel to dry your keratin treated hair after washing.

Products Checked. Now let’s get to that first holy shower.

When Can You Wash Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment?

Most hairstylists recommend at least 3 days (72 hrs) before you can get your hair wet.

But this rule depends on the product.

For example, there are same-day wash keratin treatments that have no downtime.

But then there are other products like the GK Keratin that offer a more generous 48-hrs wait time.

If you’re not sure, read the product instructions or ask your hairstylist for help.

How many hours after keratin treatment can you wash your hair?


72 Hours

As a rule of thumb, I follow the 72-hour period rule regardless of the product instructions.

From most of the products I’ve used, this is the maximum wait time I have ever seen. So to be on the safer side, I stick with three days.

Now let me show you how to wash your keratin-treated hair.

How to Shower After Your Keratin Treatment

1. Have a microfiber towel handy

Before you wet your hair, make sure you have a microfiber towel handy.

2. Make sure your water is not hot

Once you are in the shower, run some water just above the normal body temperature of 38°C. You do not want the water too hot as it can melt the keratin coating.

38°C is also considered the ideal balance to keep your hair clean and protect your scalp from irritation.

3. Avoid saturating your hair with water

Saturating the hair forces the cuticles open, and you do not want this to happen. Allowing the cuticles to flex can cause the keratin coating to break.

My tip is to get in and get out as quickly as you can.

4. Apply shampoo

Apply a dime-size amount of shampoo and concentrate the shampoo on your roots.

Shampoos are not meant to clean the hair; they are meant to clean the scalp.

So even though the shampoo is sulfate-free and won’t damage the keratin coating, you should focus only on the scalp.

Once you’ve covered every inch of your scalp and massaged it thoroughly, rinse the shampoo out thoroughly.

5. Apply conditioner

Again use a dime-size and massage it this time from mid-length to the ends of your hair.

A conditioner is designed to moisturize and balance the hair. Unlike shampoos, they are not good for the scalp. So make sure your conditioner doesn’t get too close to the scalp. Otherwise, it may leave a waxy buildup due to its fatty ingredients.

6. Massage your hair

Massage the conditioner into your hair for less than a minute.

7. Avoid using a wet brush to detangle

Using a wet brush in your hair is not recommended in the first 2 weeks.

A wet brush can cause more friction and knots since the hair will not be slippy enough for the brush to glide.

8. Rinse the conditioner out thoroughly

Rinse your hair thoroughly to make sure it’s not feeling greasy.

9. Wrap your hair with a microfiber towel

Now use your microfiber towel to wrap your hair gently and leave it in for about 3 minutes.

I recommend this towel because, unlike regular cotton towels, the material is smoother and doesn’t cause friction and static in the hair.

A rough cotton towel can strip the keratin coating from your hair, especially when the hair is wet.

This is the best microfiber towel I highly recommend:

dry whole head with microfiber towel

DevaCurl Microfiber Towel


Best hair towel to use after getting a keratin treatment.

10. Do Not blow-dry

As I said, heat is bad for keratin-treated hair in the first 2 weeks. Like hot water, direct heat from a blow dryer can also melt the keratin coating.

Allow your hair to air dry instead.

And voila!

That’s how you do your first hair wash after a keratin treatment.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment?

You should not be washing your hair more than once a week after a keratin treatment.

If it’s styled with keratin treatment or you have a blow-out, you may not need to or want to wash more than once a week and put more stress on your hair. Angela Lamb. MD.
An assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City - WebMD

However, if your hair always feels too greasy or too dry, here are your options:

  • Greasy hair: 3 times a week
  • Dry hair: 2 times a week

Since everyone’s hair is different, how often you need to shampoo depends on how greasy your scalp feels.

Related: How to fix greasy hair after your keratin treatment

But regardless, I always recommend that you try to wash your hair less often.

Or at least train your hair and your scalp to be less addicted to shampoos and conditioners.

A keratin treatment does fade with frequent washing, even if you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo. It’s almost the same as a color treatment.

By washing your hair less often, you can extend the life of the treatment.

But wait!

How are you supposed to keep your hair clean and fresh if you’re not shampooing within your regular schedule?

A Dry Shampoo is Keratin Treated Hair’s Best Friend!

Yes, you can use dry shampoo after your keratin treatment.

In fact, most professional hairstylists recommend you use one in the first 3-days.


Because you are effectively cleansing your hair without water.

Also, since you only apply dry shampoo to the roots, it should not interfere with the keratin coating on the hair shafts.

But make sure you apply the dry shampoo close to the roots only.

Here’s the best dry shampoo for keratin treated hair.

can you put dry shampoo on keratin treated hair

Klorane Dry Shampoo


Klorane is my favorite keratin safe dry shampoo.

Keep a Boar Bristle Brush Handy

Alongside my dry shampoo, I also use a boar bristle brush to loosen up dirt, oils, and buildup from my scalp.

It’s not absolutely essential, but personally, I feel using this brush in between washes definitely helps to clear and soothe my scalp.

brushing fter washing keratin treated hair

Tips for brushing your hair after a keratin treatment

A boar bristle brush also helps to distribute your hair’s natural oils evenly throughout preventing your scalp from feeling too oily.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my hair gets wet before the first 3 days after a keratin treatment?

Don’t panic. If your hair gets wet before that first wash, use a microfiber towel to gently soak up the water without rubbing too much on the hair.

From my experience, I know it’s not a big deal. You can wet your hair after a keratin treatment in the first 3 days.

As long as it’s pure water and you’re not rubbing it with a cotton towel, you’ll be fine. But having said that, don’t do it deliberately.

How soon can I wash my hair after keratin treatment?

The minimum waiting time is 72 hours (3 days).

However, premium keratin treatments can be washed on the same day if you’re willing to pay more for the convenience.

What is the best way to dry your hair after a Brazilian keratin treatment?

The best way to dry your hair after the treatment is to avoid heat and use the simple air-drying method. You can also use a microfiber towel to soak out excess water from your water without rubbing.

Why does my hair smell when wet after a keratin treatment?

It’s normal. The keratin coating will smell for a few days until it completely absorbs into the hair.

You can expect the smell to be slightly stronger after your hair has been washed.

Just allow yourself plenty of ventilated space to dissipate the smell.

Can I apply heat to keratin-treated hair after washing?

No. For the first 2 weeks, refrain from straightening or blow-drying your hair.

You may use heat after 3 weeks, but as a general rule, don’t apply heat when your hair is wet as this causes damage.

To Wrap It Up:

Good planning and the right set of hair products make washing your hair after a keratin treatment easier and hassle-free.

Top tips to remember:

  • Avoid hot water
  • Sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
  • Use the shampoo to clean your scalp. Not your hair
  • Apply conditioner to the hair. Not to the scalp
  • Do not brush hair when wet
  • Use a friction-free microfiber towel
  • Do not blow-dry. Air dry instead

And yes, please learn to wash your hair less often. With some practice and patience, you can definitely do it.

It’s one of the best-kept secrets for making your keratin treatment last longer.

Don’t forget to grab these essential products: