Did you know?
Unkempt, damaged, and “can’t be bothered hair” can make you look older!
According to a survey conducted by Pantene:
People with beautiful hair attracted more positive attention to their faces.
In contrast, people with unruly hair drew attention to their negative spots like frizz, flyaways, and dry ends. They were judged to look 4 years older than their age.
Is your hair ageing your appearance?
It probably hasn’t dawned on you yet, but years of bleaching, coloring, heat styling and layering of toxic products may be undermining your hair’s ability to perk up your look and confidence.
You may have a bathroom overflowing with anti-aging face creams and serums, but if your hair looks as dull as dishwater, there’s nothing more aging than that!
Beautiful hair matters. And the secret to achieving it sits at the end of a keratin treatment.
It’s like an anti-frizz, anti-aging, and damage-healing treatment on steroids!
Plus, with the added benefits of silky smooth and lust-worthy locks that will make every mere mortal envy your dazzling and youthfully radiant hair – it’s the holy grail of hair restorative treatments.
So go on, glam the F up on your chevelure!
Here are the best keratin treatments that will rewind the clock on your strands.
In this article:
- Top-rated keratin treatments
- Our Best Pick
- Best Keratin Treatment for Dry and Frizzy Hair
- Best Keratin Treatment for Hair Straightening
- Best at Home Same-Day Treatment
- Best Brazilian Blowout Keratin Treatment
- Best Keratin Treatment for African American Hair
- Best Keratin Treatment for Blonde Hair
- Best Keratin Treatment for Vegans
- Best Keratin Express
- Best Keratin Treatment for Damaged and Chemically Treated Hair
- Keratin Treatment Buying Guide
- Reasons to Do a Keratin Treatment
- Keratin Treatment Benefits
- How Does a Keratin Treatment Work?
- Common Ingredients in a Keratin Treatment
- What’s in a Keratin Treatment Kit?
- Instructions for Doing Keratin Treatment at Home
- How to Do a Patch Test
- How Long Does a Keratin Hair Treatment Last?
- Caring for Keratin-Treated Hair
- How to Wash Hair After Keratin Treatment
- How to Brush Hair After Keratin Treatment
- How to Style Keratin-Treated Hair
- Hair Oils to Use on Keratin-Treated Hair
- Using Dry Shampoo on Keratin-Treated Hair
- How to Sleep with Keratin-Treated Hair
- Hair Masks for Keratin-Treated Hair
- When and How to Color Hair After Keratin Treatment
- Curling Hair After Keratin Treatment
- Fixing Common Problems After Keratin Treatment
- Hair Still Frizzy After Keratin Treatment
- Dealing With Sticky and Stiff Hair After
- How to Fix Greasy After Keratin Treatment
- Dealing With an Oily Scalp After Keratin Treatment
- Dealing With Post-Keratin Hair Breakage
- Dealing With Dandruff After Keratin Treatment
- How to Reverse a Keratin Treatment
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Keratin Treatments (Updated 2022)
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2. Keratin Cure Gold and Honey Set
- 0% Formaldehyde
- Salon professional grade
- Complete kit with aftercare and flat iron
4. Lasio One Day Formula
- No need to wait 3 days to wash hair
- Eliminates frizz
- Curl reduction and hair repair
5. Buriti Liss By Kerazon
- No waiting time for washing
- Color safe and works on all hair types
- Straightening effect with intense shine
6. Keratin Research Gold Label
- Powerful straightening formula
- Includes pre-shampoo and aftercare
- Eliminates frizz and curls
GK Hair The Best - Juvexin Keratin Treatment
- No waiting time – Wash hair same day
- Straightening and smoothing in one
- Silky smooth hair for up to 5 months
- Improves moisture retention and elasticity
- Repairs, conditions, and strengthens hair from the inside out
- Salon professional product used by pro hairstylists
- Proven to work on color-treated hair
- Detailed instructions included
GK Hair is a well-respected salon-professional brand. Customers describe their Juvexin smoothing system as the best keratin treatment around for its easy application and excellent results.
It’s a perfect blend of modern science and botanical ingredients that work seamlessly to repair, nourish, and protect the hair from the very first application.
I love this kit because it contains all the essential pre-treatment and post-treatment products that I don’t have to buy separately.
The instructions guide is visual, detailed, and it has clean ingredients without any harsh chemicals. The kits also ship in different sizes (cheaper price), making it ideal if you just want to try.
Unlike other Brazilian keratin treatments, GK Hair confirms that you can wash your hair with their sulfate-free shampoo on the same day. No waiting for 3 days smelling like a fart! Woohoo!
No frizz, wash-and-go styles, flawless hair. Cost be darned. It’s a game-changer!
Keratin Cure Gold and Honey Kit
- 7 pieces included in the set
- Bonus straightening iron and keratin oil
- Available in multiple sizes
- Can be used for up to 20 applications
- Formulated with organic ingredients and less chemicals
- Strong processing smell – Use in well-ventilated space
- Glyoxyloyl Carbocysteine may release Formaldehyde when heated
- Time-consuming treatment process (Requires a stylist)
The Keratin Cure Gold and Honey Bio Protein kit is good value for money because if you had to buy the 7 pieces separately, it would cost you a lot more than the bundle.
The keratin treatment is formulated with coconut oil, argan oil, organic hemp seed oil, marula oil, peppermint oil, hyaluronic acid, and silk proteins blended together to deliver an intense revitalizing treatment for the hair.
The only downside is that this treatment is not easy to perform at home if you don’t have the necessary experience. Most people would buy this kit and take it to their salon to have it done by a professional hairstylist.
Even though the product claims to be Formaldehyde-free, we noticed 2 ingredients that are potential red flags:
- Glyoxyloyl Carbocysteine
- Glycolic acid
For that reason, it’s best to have this treatment done in salon rather than at home.
Nutree Amazonliss Professional Keratin Treatment
- Deeply nourishing and moisturizing
- Super effective at straightening in one treatment
- Contains a variety of hair-friendly natural ingredients
- Improves hair elasticity and strength
- Easy to use
- Gives hair luxurious shine
- Strong smell
The Amazonliss Brazilian keratin hair straightening treatment boasts long-lasting durability of up to 20 weeks (around 5 months) of frizz-free, straight, and manageable hair, boosting texture, shine, and overall health of the hair from the inside out.
According to the product manual, it’s safe and easy to apply at home and can be used for all hair types. Its effectiveness on damaged hair is also well-received with customers’ before and after pictures proving the amazing results after just one treatment.
You can get around 10 keratin treatments with this pack, which is excellent value for money.
Lasio Keratin Treatment
- Eliminates frizz and split ends
- Fast and easy application
- Restore your hair’s natural sheen
- Less breakage after shampooing
- Eases hair styling every day
- Can be used for up to 8 applications
- Rich in antioxidants and nourishing ingredients
- Super lightweight formula that rinses out well
- Contains 0.02% Formaldehyde (But no fumes)
The Lasio One Day keratin treatment moisturizes, repairs, and eliminates frizz for up to 4 months.
By harnessing the fortifying properties of amber extracts, this lightweight formula absorbs seamlessly into the hair to accelerate its keratin bonding process, making it one of the best at-home keratin treatments that can be done and dusted within 1 hr.
You can also wash your hair within 24 hrs! No downtime, no need to sleep with keratin in your hair overnight.
Buriti Liss by Kerazon
- Formulated with green hydrolyzed keratin
- Buriti oil seals and aligns hair cuticles
- Immediate frizz reduction
- Repairs damaged hair
- Prevents hair breakage
- Not ideal for people with sensitive skin
The Buritiliss Brazilian Blowout is a thermo active keratin treatment enriched with green keratin (hydrolyzed cereal proteins), buriti oil, shea butter, acai berries, cupuacu, tamarind, myrrh, cinnamon extracts, and olive oil.
It has a processing time of 90 minutes with no waiting time for washing.
The before and after photos from satisfied customers prove how much of a dramatic difference it makes after one application. Going by the testimonials, this product seems to be highly effective on damaged hair.
Keratin Research Gold Label
- 3x stronger heat protection when styling
- Penetrates very thick hair
- Color-safe and can withstand very high heat
- Contains natural oils that boost moisture and shine
- Works on bleached and damaged hair
- Releases strong fumes when heat is applied
Most generic keratin treatments won’t work well on thick and coarse afro hair because thicker hair requires more passes and higher heat for sealing liquid keratin.
The Gold Label has been developed for thick and coarse hair with a strong formula that can resist multiple passes of high heat to blend in the keratin without causing heat damage.
Keratin Cure BTX Blonde
- 7 pieces set including all pre and post care products
- Free dual-voltage hair straightener included
- Can deliver around 20 applications
- Available in different sizes
- Works like botox for the hair (anti-aging effects)
- Improves hair texture, shine, and manageability
- Restores the hair’s lost proteins
- Limited stock
For blonde hair that constantly takes on a brassier appearance, the Keratin Cure BTX fixes the hair’s high porosity, which is the main culprit for warm color tones and dehydration.
This protein treatment works to replenish moisture back into your strands, restoring its natural pH balance and shielding the hair shafts to prevent external influences from zapping away its natural glow.
The BTX Capilar is also highly effective for bleached blonde hair that feels brittle and damaged thanks to its active healing keratin complex.
But please note:
This product requires in-salon application as home use can be challenging.
GK Hair Coco
- Nourishes the hair
- Reduces styling time significantly
- Makes hair super smooth
- Very easy to apply
- Seals and prevents split ends
- Formulated with a blend of superfoods for the hair
Veganism is not just about your diet. Other lifestyle choices like skincare and haircare products can also contribute towards a greener planet and reducing animal cruelty.
GK Hair’s vegan keratin treatment is made with pure, vegan ingredients and customized for those on a vegan lifestyle. It provides the same benefits as a traditional keratin treatment without animal by-products. The formula strengthens and rebuilds hair while reducing frizz and restoring shine.
Peter Coppola Smoothing Kit
- Low-commitment keratin treatment
- Express application and easy processing
- Straight, smooth, and curly styles
- Provides heat and UV defense
- Highly-trusted salon-quality product
- No aftercare
The new α-Keratin Repair System from Peter Coppola is a breakthrough, safe, and advanced hair healer ideal for dry, damaged, color-treated, over-processed, and frizzy hair.
With its Formaldehyde and Aldehyde-free low-pH formula, all-natural keratin proteins, amino acids, and other natural ingredients, this keratin system delivers professional-grade results within a short amount of processing time.
Watch the video below for a demonstration:
- Improves hair manageability and control
- Relaxes intense curls with its smoothing properties
- Heals hair damage
- Delivers soft and more natural look
- Intense hydration and revitalization
- Improves strength, growth, and shine
The Agi Max Semi Di Lino restores keratin and collagen to the hair, providing intense hydration, damage reversal, and overall strengthening of the hair’s inner and outer structures.
Unlike relaxers and harsh Brazilian Blowouts, Agi MAx does not break the hair bonds or alter the hair at a molecular level to change its shape and texture.
It’s a semi-permanent hair smoother that lasts for 3-4 months and restores the hair to its natural keratin state while imparting a healthy shine.
The treatment is perfect for curly, frizzy, or damaged hair as it helps to seal the cuticle, reduce frizz, and add elasticity and strength.
Keratin Treatment Buying Guide
Keratin treatments are not cheap. So before you go and splash out on one, do your due diligence to avoid disappointment and waste of money.
I see many people complain about how a keratin treatment has ruined their hair. Still, the truth is, they’ve probably got treatments that were not suitable for their hair type or condition, which inevitably lead to undesirable results.
Before buying a keratin treatment, it’s necessary to check in advance that you’re getting one that works for you. You also need to decide whether you want your hair pin-straight or just smooth. These small details matter.
With so many options on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but the good news is – having a wide variety to pick from ensures that every head of hair is catered for.
So here’s a list of what you need to consider before buying a keratin treatment:
If you have curly hair, you want to reduce frizz or reverse hair damage but still want to keep your curls intact – then you need a smoothing treatment designed for curl enhancement.
Unlike other keratin treatments (Brazilian Blowouts mostly) that can relax the cysteine bonds to reshape the hair straight, a smoothing treatment simply improves the texture for smoother and softer hair that is easy to manage. You do not lose your curl pattern.
A straightening treatment on curly hair can damage your curls, resulting in a fake straight look. Although not permanent, it can cause frustration in styling until the treatment fades and your curls grow out. This can take up to six months!
So choose the right treatment for your hair type.
- Straightening: For normal and straight hair types
- Smoothing: For curly, natural, and textured hair types
Keratin treatments can vary from gentle formulas to super intense ones.
A strong and intense keratin treatment is intended for severely damaged and chemically treated hair. On the other hand, a gentle formula will suit normal healthy hair.
If you use an intense keratin treatment on normal hair, you may experience protein overload or dry and brittle hair due to the heavy ingredients that your hair didn’t need in the first place. Such treatments can also lead to hair breakage and minor hair loss.
Assess the condition of your hair before you pick your keratin treatment.
A strong keratin treatment does not always equate to better results.
Go with what your hair needs.
I suggest starting small. Use a gentle treatment and do progressive top-ups over time rather than going too strong in one attempt.
What do you want to achieve from your keratin treatment?
Are you planning a hair makeover for a special occasion like a wedding?
Are you planning to do the treatment to make your hair manageable and hassle-free for a good few months?
Or are you looking to transform your hair into a new style – like going from curly to straight?
Whatever your hair goal or commitment level, there are many options ranging from low-commitment to long-term hair makeovers to help you spend your money wisely.
For example, if you need a hair makeover for only a few weeks, you can try an express keratin treatment instead.
If you fancy a long-term change that you’re happy to commit to, then a premium keratin treatment that costs a bit more is definitely worth the investment as it will cut down significantly on hairstyling time and the amount of money you spend on frizz-fixing products.
Keratin Express vs Full Keratin Treatments
Formaldehyde is a toxic ingredient used in the old Brazilian Blowouts to accelerate keratin bonding to the hair. Due to its toxic load and high probability of causing cancer, it was flagged by the FDA as hazardous and carcinogenic.
Read: Dangers of Formaldehyde in keratin treatments
Although most keratin treatments have improved their formula to be free from Formaldehyde, there are still potential risks if other Aldehydes are used, which may release the F gas when heated at high temperatures.
For example, Glyoxylic acid, used as a Formaldehyde alternative in some keratin treatments, can decompose into Formaldehyde gas when subjected to high heat. 
So check your ingredients list carefully and identify any potential red flags.
List of Formaldehyde chemicals:
- Methylene glycol
- Formic Aldehyde
- Timonacic Acid
List of Formaldehyde alternatives that can potentially release toxic gas when subjected to high heat during application:
- Glyoxylic acid
- Glyoxyloyl Carbocysteine (Oxoacetamide carbocysteine)
- Phenyl Trimethicone
In-Salon or Home
If you’ve done DIY keratin treatments before at home and you’re fairly comfortable with the process, then you don’t need to overthink it. You’ll know exactly what tools you need, how to perform the treatment, and how to care for your hair after.
But if you are new to it, not sure where to start, and what tools to use, it’s better to make an appointment at your local hair salon to have a professional hairstylist do it for you.
Getting assistance for the first time will help you understand:
- The preparation steps
- The importance of patch testing
- The process
- The risks
- And how to mitigate any faux-pas
It also helps you understand the safety procedures required to perform a keratin treatment, which, if not done correctly at home, can lead to unwanted side effects on your health.
Same Day Formula or 3 Days Wait to Wash
Traditional keratin treatments and Brazilian Blowouts require you to wait 72 hours (3 days) before properly washing your hair. The 3-days period allows the keratin serum to soak completely into the hair.
Read: When to wash hair after keratin treatment
For most of us, this can be a sticky situation as the hair starts to feel gross, heavy, flaky, and it makes life a little awkward when it comes to sleeping and just being out and about. The lingering smell (like fart or gas leak) will make you wish you never had it.
Are you prepared to go through this?
I always go for same-day wash keratin hair treatments. They are as effective as the traditional ones, but if you can’t find a one-day formula that suits your hair type or condition and you’re only left with 3-day wash options, then it’s worth thinking about it before jumping in with both feet.
The Rotten Eggs Smell
Be prepared to smell like rotten eggs, a disgusting fart, or a gas leak after a keratin treatment. When pressed with high heat, some of the chemicals and protein in the keratin serum release a nauseating and rancid smell until the hair is washed with shampoo.
That’s why I don’t like keratin treatments that have a 3-day waiting period for shampooing.
Even same-day wash treatments will release the smell, but once you wash your hair with a proper keratin aftercare shampoo, the smell will dissipate.
Tip:You can use a scented hair mask for keratin-treated hair in the meantime to neutralize the odor.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should NOT be doing a keratin treatment.
Most keratin treatment brands clearly advise against it.
While there is no conclusive research or studies to prove that such treatments are unsafe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Use common sense and err on the side of caution.
Sensitive Skin or Allergies
If you have skin sensitivity or allergies, do NOT buy DIY home keratin treatments.
To be on the safe side, book a consultancy and a trial session at your local hair salon, where an experienced hair stylist can help you with patch testing and allergy tests.
Getting professional assistance can also aid in quick first-aid procedures if anything goes wrong or requires a medical emergency.
Suppose you have a known sensitivity or allergy and perform the treatment at home without assistance. In that case, it can potentially put you at risk of not being able to seek emergency help.
If you have any other doubts, please consult a hairstylist online or at your local hair salon to help you pick the right keratin treatment for your hair.
Keratin Aftercare and Your Commitment Level
A keratin treatment requires a strict aftercare routine that may not be for everyone.
Here’s a list of things you cannot do after a keratin treatment.
Read it, and evaluate if you can fit these rules into your lifestyle. If not, you’re probably better off with a light keratin express treatment for a zero-hassle aftercare routine.
Watch Out for Counterfeit Products
The online marketplace is rife with cheap imitations and counterfeit products that can put your health at risk. Read reviews and check the product details before you buy. Make sure it’s a trusted brand, and the brand has a legit website with proof of authenticity.
Check for Expiry Dates
Keratin treatments have expiry dates. Always ask the seller if the product you’re about to buy contains expiry information. If the expiry date is missing, contact the seller directly to enquire.
According to SafeCosmetics, expired products can release Formaldehyde.
Why Do You Need a Keratin Treatment?
Like the rest of your body, the hair is not exempted from aging. Over time, the follicles shrink, producing thinner, brittle, and dry hairs that become vulnerable to breakage and damage. The aging process also depletes keratin and collagen, affecting the structural integrity and density of the hair fibers.
A dip in the keratin protein levels make the hair weaker and less elastic, which means more breakage when tugged or pulled. The cells on the outer protective cuticle become more fragile, making breakage seemingly inevitable. Rita Perna-Allor
Artistic Director for Alterna - Speaking to TheList.com
On top of these, hair coloring, heat styling, bleaching, and overuse of chemicals hidden in hair products can only make the condition worse.
Unlike our skin, we don’t feel pain in our hair.
We take it for granted that if our hair does not bleed, it does not suffer.
But here’s the thing …
The damage only becomes obvious when you start to see your hair thinning and frizzing all over the place. Hair that once used to be so abundant and vibrant suddenly looks trash.
Almost everything we do to our hair – washing, combing, and brushing, compromise the surface fibers of hair. Deeper problems happen with things like heat styling, coloring, bleaching, and other chemical processes. As the damage accumulates, it messes with your hair’s structural integrity from the inside out. Kevin Mancuso
Trichologist and Global Creative Director for Nexxus - Womens Health Mag
To put it simply:
Our hair goes through a lot. It’s only fair that it needs a complete reconstructive and restorative treatment that can heal it and bring its lifeforce back once in a while.
A keratin treatment does just that. It gives your hair its living sense. It reignites the hair’s cellular machinery.
Benefits of Keratin Treatments
As any celebrity hairstylist will tell you, celebs love keratin treatments for their miraculous smoothing effects and the ability to keep their locks styled to perfection in front of the cameras.
By improving the quality of your hair, a keratin treatment can also shave off a few years off your look!
Unfortunately, nowadays, we are abusing our hair with color, heat, bleach, and all sorts of products never like before. Everyone wants to look flawless on camera, either for an Insta selfie or a TikTok video.
These wild hair transformations can quickly add up, causing heat damage, hygral fatigue, high porosity, and even hair loss.
Keratin treatments work to restore your tresses from the rigors of harsh styling and extreme makeovers that leave your hair withered and weakened.
Here is a list of benefits that a keratin restorative treatment can bring to your hair:
Frizz-Free Hair for up to 3 Months
For those who fight a constant battle against frizz, a keratin smoothing treatment gets to the root of the problem by boosting internal moisture and sealing the outer layers of the hair to lock out humidity-inducing frizz.
The treatment can hold for up to 3 months, strengthening the hair from the inside to help you manage it effortlessly every day without the need to plonk on tons of anti-frizz products to keep your style in place.
Reduces Hair Styling Time
A smoothing treatment streamlines your everyday styling due to a significant reduction in frizz, breakage, and split ends. It also makes your hair easier to brush through as the layers are smoother, enabling your brush to glide through like a hot knife through butter.
A keratin treatment literally gives everyone “wash and wear” hair. You know you will be able to make it look great in 15 minutes with just a simple blow-dry. Andy LeCompte
Celebrity Hairstylist - Glamour
Hair is More Resistant to Humid and Cold Weather
There is no frizziness when the dew point is high and no statics when the cold winter air zaps your hair dry. This is how keratin therapy conditions your strands to be resilient to their surroundings.
By sealing the thirsty gaps along the cuticle layer and conditioning the lipid layer with positively charged molecules, the treatment shuts out dense humid air from creeping in and fends off static electricity from building up.
Better Hair Texture and Resilience
The core function of a keratin hair treatment is to rebuild keratin and the amino acid chains in the hair cortex that gives each fiber its shape and ability to stretch, twist, and bend without snapping. By injecting micronized keratin concentrates, amino acids, hyaluronic acids, ceramides, and collagen deep into the hair, the treatment works as a filler to replace lost keratin and other essential nutrients that deplete gradually due to aging and daily wear and tear.
As a result, the treatment uplifts the hair to boost its strength and ability to withstand manipulations from daily styling like brushing, flat ironing, and being stretched into ponytails and updos.
Heals Hair Damage
The powerful concentrate of reparative hair boosters like silk proteins, hydrolyzed keratin, micronized amino lipids, collagen, and antioxidant-rich argan oil work together seamlessly to plug gaps and cracks along the surface of the hair. The treatment fuses together broken disulfide bonds to strengthen the long keratin filaments that form the main structure of the hair cortex.
By consolidating the bulk of the capillary cortex, keratin heals hair damage and supports your hair with all the good nutrients it needs to find its spring factor again.
Less Split Ends
Split ends happen when the sheath around the hair becomes too thin and too dry, weakening the hair’s ability to hold on to its length. Consequently, the older parts of the hair (the ends) start to break off and splice through to the middle parts, causing further breakage.
A keratin smoothing treatment bonds the surface of the hair back together. It seals all the rough edges along the hair shafts and the scraggly ends that are about to split.
It’s like a 3-months split ends sealer. No regular touch-ups are needed, and fewer visits to the hair salon to nix those dead ends.
33 Reasons to Get a Keratin Hair Treatment
How Does a Keratin Treatment Work?
A keratin straightening or smoothing treatment works to repair, nourish, and protect the hair.
The process starts with a clarifying shampoo to prime the hair first, removing product buildup and residues to allow maximum keratin liquid absorption.
Once cleansed, the keratin filler is applied to the hair and left to work for about 45 minutes.
And this is when the magic happens.
The treatment deploys millions of micro molecules loaded with active ingredients into each hair strand. These active ingredients then seek out the damaged parts in the capillary cortex to patch them up and refill the building blocks of keratin, collagen, amino acids, and lipids.
The process binds these components together to make the hair shafts strong, elastic, and buoyant.
A keratin treatment gives your hair its substance back.
As you can see from the graphic above, there is also a sealing process. This is when healing ingredients like argan oil come into play to flatten and seal the cuticles, forming the protective barrier for a smooth finish.
Check this diagram below to understand the difference between healthy hair with tightly closed cuticles and damaged hair with wide-open cuticles.
When the cuticles are raised (high porosity), they make your hair rough.
Rough hair is hard to manage because:
- It tangles easily
- It catches the bristles in your brush (snags)
- It doesn’t absorb and retain moisture
- Dirt and buildup accumulate in between the scales
- It becomes brittle
- It starts to split
- It needs a lot of products to style
When your hair cuticles lay flat:
- Hair is smooth (easy to detangle)
- Hair reflects more light (shiny)
- Less dirt gets in between the scales (no buildup or residues)
- Hair retains moisture for longer
- Hair needs fewer products to style
To Summarize:A keratin hair treatment improves the overall condition of the hair fibers both inside and outside by repairing, nourishing, and protecting.
Ingredients in Keratin Treatments
The new generation of keratin treatments blends a rich combination of actives and bio-compatible ingredients to give your hair more strength, energy, and vitality.
Here’s a list of common ingredients you’ll find in keratin treatments:
- Hydrolyzed Keratin
- This is keratin broken down into smaller molecules so that your hair can digest them easily. Otherwise, the keratin fragments would sit on top, causing protein overload and brittleness.
- Argan Oil
- Argan oil is a highly potent antioxidant that can heal damaged hair’s inner and outer layers. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, argan oil also helps to soften the cuticles for a smooth and glossy finish.
- Caviar Oil
This luxurious delicacy is rich in vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids.
While vitamin A improves healthy sebum production on the scalp to condition the hair, vitamin D and omega help to strengthen the hair fibers. And the best thing about caviar oil is, it makes your hair smooth AF.
An important thing to note is that only a few selected professional keratin products contain caviar extracts.
- Collagen Complex
- Collagen is the substance that allows your hair to twist, bend, and snap back into shape without breaking. It brings elasticity to your hair, which is essential for effortless styling. A keratin hair treatment helps to regenerate the cellular function of your tresses to fortify them against chemical and mechanical damage.
- Amino Acids
Amino acids are essential for good hair growth because they are the foundation of protein cells’ protein production.
If you want your hair to feel full of body, shine, and vitality, aminos are a great natural ingredient to improve hair health.
Related: What is an amino acid treatment
- BONT-L Peptide
- This is a synthetic chain of amino acids to seal split ends and restructure damaged strands. That’s why the Brazilian keratin treatment is also highly effective for split ends.
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic acid, nourishes the hair follicles to function properly. It makes your hair resilient against daily wear and tear.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E reduces oxidative stress in the hair.
What is oxidative stress exactly?
Hard water, chemicals in hair color, and sulfates in shampoos … These elements cause an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals, which can damage cells in the hair in the long run.
- Omega 6
- Just like our body needs healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, our hair also needs fatty extracts for nourishment. Omega 6 is a crucial ingredient used in many hair and skin products to boost natural fats.
- Glyoxylic Acid
Glyoxylic acid is a new innovative ingredient that replaces Formaldehyde.
After years of research, scientists have finally invented a safe alternative that won’t put your health at risk.
Source: Formaldehyde replacement with Glyoxylic acid – An investigation.
What You Get in a Keratin Treatment Kit
The Clarifying Shampoo
The keratin pre-treatment shampoo, also known as a clarifying shampoo, is used before applying the treatment to prime the hair for maximum absorption. The shampoo effectively strips everything from the hair surface, making it more receptive to the subsequent application of the liquid keratin.
The Keratin Concentrate
The serum itself is a thick liquid that contains all the vital active ingredients.
Here’s how the serum works:
Once the hair is deep cleansed, it’s applied in sections and then sealed with a hair straightener at high heat.
The sealing process allows the serum to infuse into the hair to start working. After 45 minutes, the serum can be rinsed out with lukewarm water.
Post-keratin products may vary for different brands. Some may provide shampoo and conditioner; some may only provide a hair mask.
All keratin treatments need to be followed up with compatible aftercare products that enrich and progressively enhance the treatment.
The Instructions Manual
Application instructions are mandatory.
If you receive a keratin kit without an instructions leaflet, please contact the seller and insist on one. Some manufacturers may point you to their website to download it online, and that’s ok also.
Besides providing a step-by-step guide on how to perform the treatment, the instructions leaflet also contains vital information about safety and toxicity, which you should not ignore.
When you buy your keratin kit, make sure you get these 4 essential things.
How to Do a Keratin Treatment at Home
The new generation of keratin treatments is designed for easy application at home. Unlike Brazilian Blowouts from the early days that required qualified and certified hairstylists to perform the treatments, nowadays, anyone can just buy a kit online, follow the instructions manual, and be done in less than 2 hours in the comfort of their home.
I’ve done mine a few times at home too, and while I agree it’s easy, there are a few things you need to prep and consider:
Always Do a Patch Test First
Allergic reactions can trigger unanticipated catastrophic consequences!
Always think: What can possibly go wrong?
Since everyone’s skin and sensory sensitivity are different, a patch test can reveal any potential allergic reaction that can be managed and mitigated.
It helps avoid serious problems like extreme swelling, heart-rate changes, breathing difficulties, rashes, redness, and irritation, which can be seriously agonizing.
Even if the keratin treatment claims to be 100% natural and clean, let’s not forget: pollen causes allergy, and it’s completely natural.
I cannot emphasize this enough:
A patch test is mandatory. Do NOT ignore this step.
I’ve been doing keratin treatment for years, but I still patch test every new product.
Here’s how to do your patch test at home:
- Do your patch test 48-72 hours before the treatment.
- Apply a small amount of the keratin serum to your skin, either behind your ear or on top of your arm.
- Allow it to dry uncovered and leave it for a minimum of 48 hours.
If no irritation, rash, swelling, or redness occurs during this time, the chance of a reaction from the treatment is very much less, but still never certain.
If any signs of irritation occur, wash the area thoroughly and do not carry out the treatment.
After 48 hours, if there is no allergy (redness or blisters), it is safe to proceed with the keratin treatment.
Use a Well-Ventilated Space
When doing the treatment at home, you’ll have to endure some strong chemical smells and gases during the heat application phase.
Choosing a well-ventilated space is vital to avoid choking or getting bleary eyes. I use my bathroom with windows and doors wide open. I also use the bathtub to wash my hair as the sink is too small.
As I mentioned above, even though the new keratin treatments claim to be Formaldehyde-free, some of them have the potential to release gases when exposed to high heat.
If you’re worried about Formaldehyde release, you can get a Formaldehyde monitor to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to the hazard.
Get the Right Tools
Having the right tools available will ensure you get the job done effectively without wasting time.
Lack of planning can leave you in a bit of limbo, walking around like a headless chicken sifting through drawers looking for a pair of large clips while your hair is soaked with keratin. Not ideal!
Before you start, I suggest you prep everything on your table in the right sequence.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need in this specific order:
- Clarifying shampoo
- A good microfiber towel
- A blow dryer
- Large hair clips
- Mixing bowl
- Applicator brush
- A pair of gloves
- The keratin serum
- Straightening iron
- And a sulfate-free shampoo
Step-by-step procedure to do your keratin treatment:
- Start by washing your hair with the clarifying shampoo
- Wash twice so that your hair is properly purged and prepped
- Massage the shampoo thoroughly and let it work. Don’t rush it
- After the deep cleanse, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water
- Pat your hair dry with the microfiber towel
- Make sure there is no excess water and avoid tangles
- Use your blow dryer at medium heat to dry your hair at 100%
- Once your hair is dry, divide it into equal sections
- Use the clips to hold them the sections
- Before you handle the keratin, put your gloves on
- Pour the required dosage of the keratin serum into the mixing bowl
- The dosage will depend on the length of your hair
- Use the applicator brush to mix it well
- Start applying the solution to your hair starting from the back
- Distribute the serum evenly throughout the hair
- Move on to the next section until you’ve covered every inch of your hair
- Leave the solution to sit in your hair as per the product manual
- Then rinse your hair with lukewarm water
- No need to pat dry at this stage as it will remove the keratin
- Use your blow dryer at medium heat to dry your hair thoroughly
- Next, section your hair equally and use the clips to help you
- Make sure you don’t clip them too tight
- Now it’s time to seal the treatment with heat
- Use your straightener ideally at 450° F / 230° C (as per manual)
- Run the plates through each section at least 7-10 times
- Make sure you run them through very thin layers to get the best results
- Once you’re done with all sections, sit down and relax
- Leave it in for a few hours before rinsing
Depending on your product’s washing instructions:
- Not same-day: Simply rinse thoroughly
- Same day: Wash lightly with a sulfate-free shampoo
Please Note:Instructions may vary for different products. For example, processing time and hair straightener temperature may change. Check the product manual.
How Long Does a Keratin Treatment Last?
Most keratin treatments guarantee to last at least 3 months. Some may even stretch up to 5 months.
However, it all depends on what you do to your hair during that period. If you follow a good aftercare and maintenance routine, you will benefit from the long-lasting frizz-free and easy-to-manage hairstyles that come with it.
Check out our post-keratin care section for more tips on how to maintain your treatment.
Keratin Aftercare Considerations
After a keratin treatment, caring for your hair is not as daunting as most people think.
Let me make it simple with these 4 rules:
- Wash your hair less
- Avoid manipulating your hair (ponytails, heat, brushing too hard)
- Use the right products
- Appreciate and enjoy your new hair
Just like a color treatment, the more you wash your hair, the faster it fades.
While a sulfate-free shampoo slows down the fading, it’s impossible to stop water from dissolving the treatment, especially if you have hard water in your area, which contains heavy minerals that can strip the surface of the hair shafts.
Ideally, I recommend washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo once a week. But if your hair feels dirty and greasy between this period, use a dry shampoo to get by.
Products I Recommend:
I don’t recommend brushing hair too soon after your treatment, even if it’s a same-day wash. Leave it for 3 days to allow the keratin to blend in properly.
After that, choose an appropriate hairbrush that won’t cause kinks and knots. Avoid plastic and metal brushes as they can cause frizz and static.
Use a boar bristle brush instead. It’s gentle, and its bristles are more flexible and porous, which allows the brush to glide through your hair with ease without peeling off the keratin coating.
Read more: Brushing your hair after a keratin treatment
The best way to style your hair after a keratin treatment is to wear it down and straight, at least for the first week. Leave your hair loose if you have curls and opted for a smoothing treatment.
Avoid tight hairstyles like ponytails, and avoid using accessories like elastic bands and clips for the first couple of weeks.
Stretching and manipulating your hair with tight hairstyles may cause lines of demarcation, kinks, and dents in your hair while the keratin coating is still setting in.
After the grace period, you can experiment with different hairstyles as long as you use sulfate-free, salt-free, and alcohol-free products.
Related: When can you tie your hair after a keratin treatment?
One of the many benefits of using hair oil is that it helps protect hair from breakage and dryness. Keratin-treated hair can be particularly vulnerable to breakage and dryness, so using a good oil can help improve the overall condition of your hair. Oils can also help to seal in moisture and prevent frizz, making your hair look sleek and polished.
However, it’s vital to choose a light oil that doesn’t weigh heavy on your tresses. Otherwise, you’ll end up with hair that feels too greasy, requiring a lot of shampoos to wash out.
See: Best oils for keratin-treated hair we highly recommend
Using Dry Shampoos
Using dry shampoo is the best way to get you through the first 3 days when your hair is not allowed to go anywhere near water. To be honest, my hair is 70% dry shampoo in the first 3 weeks after my keratin treatment. It works without disrupting the treatment, and it helps me wash my hair less, which helps my keratin look fresh for longer.
Recommended: Best dry shampoo for keratin treated hair
Using Hair Masks
If you love a weekly ritual of pampering your tresses with a nourishing hair mask, use one infused with keratin.
A keratin mask will enrich and enhance your treatment by infusing micronized keratin, renewing the existing treatment for extra mileage.
Recommend: Best hair masks for keratin-treated hair
Sleeping Without Creasing Your Hair
It can feel a bit awkward in the first few days trying to sleep and keeping your hair straight, tangle-free, and without creases. But no matter how careful you are, once you fall asleep, it’s inevitable that your hair will be all over the place, rubbing off your bed sheet and pillowcase.
I highly recommend using a silk pillowcase to avoid friction, tangling, and waking up with a bedhead.
Unlike regular cotton, silk doesn’t snag or pull your hair when you move around. Silk allows your hair to glide, eliminating friction and tangles.
Cotton grabs your hair and twists it at the root throughout the night, damaging hair and causing bed-head in the morning… Cotton [also] draws moisture from your hair, drying it out. SLIP
Silk Beauty Sleep Experts - Repeller.com
Silk is also an excellent temperature regulator, meaning it won’t make your head sweat if your room is too hot and it doesn’t absorb moisture either.
So grab the SLIP silk pillowcase and drift into a beauty sleep every night.
Read: How to sleep after a keratin treatment to avoid creasing your hair
Coloring Your Hair After
Unfortunately, if you fancy coloring your hair after a keratin treatment, you’ll have to wait 2-3 weeks because hair dye won’t cling to the hair due to the fresh keratin coating. So it’s pointless even trying it.
You may end up with more of a mess.
Once your hair is ready, you can use Semi-Permanent hair dyes. Please avoid permanent hair colors until your keratin treatment has completely faded, as permanent dyes require a lot of lifting and peroxides to work. Using peroxides and ammonia on keratin-treated hair may undo your keratin completely.
After the 2 weeks, assess the condition of your hair by doing a small patch test with the semi-perm hair dye, then proceed if it works.
Recommended: Best hair dyes for keratin-treated hair
Curling Your Hair After
Curling your hair after a keratin treatment is possible as long as you wait for the keratin coating to dry out properly and use the right tools.
Read more here: How to curl your hair after a keratin treatment
Addressing Problems After Your Keratin Treatment
Everything should be hunky-dory in the hair department after a successful keratin treatment in an ideal world.
BUT. There’s always a but.
Since everyone’s head of hair is different and everyone’s choice of product varies, it’s fair to assume that some of us unlucky ones will have to navigate through some sticky patches.
Based on my own experiences and from friends who’ve done keratin treatment over the years, here are some of the post-keratin problems we know of and some useful tips on how to address them:
Hair Still Frizzy After Keratin Treatment
Don’t panic. Your hair may be experiencing an adjusting period where it’s trying to balance out the moisture and protein injected by the new treatment.
Leave it untouched for a few days, don’t add any products, and let your hair find its sweet spot.
If your hair continues to frizz after a week, it needs more moisture. Use a deep conditioning keratin hair mask 1-2 times a week for extra support.
Hair Feels Stiff and Sticky After Keratin Treatment
If your hair feels sticky and stiff in the first few days after your keratin treatment, it can be due to incorrect application or your hair’s slow ability to absorb the treatment.
This can easily be fixed by using a boar bristle brush to loosen up the dense patches in your hair, causing the excess residues.
Read more: How to fix sticky hair after a keratin treatment
Greasy Hair After Keratin Treatment
Greasy hair after a keratin treatment is also a common problem many women face in the first week or two. Again, this may be due to excess keratin coating leaving residues or a combination of factors like over washing and overusing conditioning hair products.
Read: How to fix greasy hair after your keratin treatment
Oily Scalp After Keratin Treatment
The 3-day no washing adjustment phase, lack of brushing, or incorrectly applied treatment may lead to sebum building up at the hair roots, causing your scalp to feel oily.
If you find yourself in this position, again all you need to do is use a boar bristle brush to gently distribute the scalp oil evenly throughout your hair. Regular brushing helps to break down the greasiness at the roots. You can also use a dry shampoo to soak up the excess oils.
Read: How to deal with oily scalp after keratin treatment
Hair Breakage After Keratin Treatment
Seeing massive chunks of hair breaking off sporadically after your treatment can cause a lot of anxiety.
This can be due to an incorrect application using more heat than recommended to seal the treatment or using a keratin treatment that was way too intense for your hair type. But anyway, once it’s done, there is no going back.
Your immediate priority is to rectify the problem and prevent further breakage. The best way to fix the problem is by using a keratin healing oil.
Read more here: Dealing with hair breakage after a keratin treatment
Dandruff After Keratin Treatment
An incorrect application can also lead to excess protein buildup drying out and decomposing into dandruff-like flakes on your scalp. To fix it, get an aftercare shampoo that can also defend against dandruff and flakes.
Recommended: Best sulfate-free dandruff shampoo for keratin-treated hair
If it all goes wrong, you’re not satisfied with the results of your keratin treatment, there is the option of undoing it. But you have to handle it gracefully.
How to Reverse a Keratin Treatment if it Goes Wrong
You can reverse a keratin treatment without damaging your hair by using a clarifying shampoo followed by a moisture-boosting deep conditioning treatment.
The trick is to use an alkaline solution that can strip the keratin coating and immediately rebalance the hair’s moisture to prevent it from going dry and brittle.
Here are a few solutions you can try:
DIY recipes to reverse a keratin treatment at home
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is a Keratin Treatment?
When you buy online, prices can range between $100 to $400 for home DIY kits. In hair salons, the cost is typically between $200 to $500, plus any extra charges depending on the salon.
How Long Does a Keratin Treatment Take?
A keratin treatment takes around 1-3 hours to perform. This includes the clarifying shampoo stage, the keratin serum application, heat application to seal the serum, blow-drying, rinsing, and deep conditioning mask application.
How Often Should You Do a Keratin Treatment?
Wait at least 3 months to do your next keratin top-up treatment. Your existing treatment will last for up to 3 months, depending on your aftercare. There’s no need to do one within this period if the current treatment hasn’t completely faded.
How Long After a Keratin Treatment Can You Color Your Hair?
It’s safe to color your hair 2 weeks after your keratin treatment. But make sure you do a patch test first and only use semi-permanent hair dyes.
Can You Use Toner After a Keratin Treatment?
You will have to wait at least 2 weeks to use any type of hair dye or toners in your hair. However, once your hair is ready to be washed with a sulfate-free shampoo, you can alternate with a gentle SLS-free toning shampoo within the first 2 weeks.
How to Sleep After Keratin Treatment?
Sleep on a silk pillowcase to prevent your hair from tangling. Keep your hair straight and sleep on a flat back.
How Long After a Keratin Treatment Can You Wash Your Hair?
If your treatment says same-day wash, you can wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo within 24 hours after the application. Immediately after the treatment, you can rinse the product until the water runs clear.
If your treatment doesn’t specify same-day wash, wait 72 hours (3 days) to wash with a shampoo. Do not wet your hair during the 72 hours.
How To Shower After a Keratin Treatment?
Do not use hot water to wash your hair. Keep your water just above normal body temperature of 30°C, and use a gentle microfiber towel to pat your hair dry without rubbing. If you are not washing your hair and just showering, use a shower cap to protect your hair.
Read more: Washing hair after keratin treatment
How to Get Rid of Smell After Keratin Treatment?
Allow plenty of fresh air through your hair to help dissipate the smell naturally. Avoid staying in enclosed spaces, and use a scented keratin masque to neutralize the odor.
Can You Bleach Hair After Keratin Treatment?
No. It’s best not to bleach your hair until after the keratin treatment has faded completely. If you bleach hair too soon after a keratin treatment, the chemical reaction can result in an unequal, improper color that can damage the keratin. This approach to coloring hair may not give the desired results but increases the risk for frizz, severe dryness, and hair damage.
Can You Use Olaplex After a Keratin Treatment?
According to Olaplex, the No1 Bond Multiplier and No2 Bond Perfector are best used as pre-treatments to a keratin treatment.
It’s also best to wait at least 3-4 weeks before using Olaplex No3, as the solution won’t be able to penetrate the hair due to the keratin coating. (Proof)
Can You Oil Your Hair after a Keratin Treatment?
Yes, you can oil your hair after a keratin treatment. Use light oils like argan for best results as they are lightweight and don’t leave residues that make your hair greasy, increasing the need for frequent shampooing.
Can Keratin Treatment Cause Hair Loss?
Yes. A keratin treatment can cause reactive hair loss due to factors like stress, trauma, shock, and fatigue if not done properly. However, this type of hair loss or breakage is only temporary.
To ensure you don’t experience any such side effects, always consult a professional hairstylist, do patch tests, and evaluate the products carefully before committing.
What is the Difference Between Nano Keratin and Keratin?
The only difference between nano keratin and regular keratin is its size in molecular structure. Nano, which means microscopic, is the tiniest possible molecule of keratin, broken down into smaller pieces to penetrate the tiniest fissures of the hair and fill it with keratin. Nano keratin provides instant impact because the hair can digest smaller keratin molecules faster than regular keratin.
Is a Keratin Treatment Good for Your Hair?
Yes. A keratin treatment restores the hair’s health and vitality by strengthening the capillary bulk of the hair shaft and sealing the outer layer of the hair. A keratin treatment repairs, nourishes, and protects the hair by replenishing its vital nutrients.
In addition, it also makes the hair look radiant and easy to style and manage.
Is Keratin Treatment Good for Curly Hair?
Yes. Keratin treatment is good for curly hair because it strengthens the cysteine bonds and amino acid chains essential for maintaining curl shape and definition. A keratin treatment also fixes porosity problems, common in textured hair, to help the hair absorb and retain moisture.
It’s best to use a smoothing keratin treatment on curly hair rather than a straightening keratin treatment. Smoothing helps with curl definition and elasticity without altering curl pattern and texture.
Which Lasts Longer Keratin or Brazilian Blowout?
Keratin treatments typically last longer than Brazilian Blowouts.
- Brazilian Blowouts Life: Up to 3 months
- Keratin Treatment Life: Up to 5 months
Due to their intensity and composition, consisting of nano keratin that penetrates the hair more fully, keratin treatments provide a smoothing effect that lasts longer. In contrast, Brazilian Blowouts are customizable treatments that depend on the hair type and expected result.
Finally, it depends on how often you wash your hair and what product you use after the treatment to maintain their full effects.
Which Brand is Best for Keratin Treatment?
GK Hair is the best brand for keratin treatments.
With its innovative Juvexin formula, GK Hair has totally transformed keratin treatments that were once classified as high-risk into a safe and easy-to-use at-home treatment.
Is There a Permanent Keratin Treatment?
No. There are no keratin treatments that can give permanent results.
If you want permanent straightening or smoothing, you will have to ask your stylist for a customized treatment, which may include keratin and other chemicals.
Where to Buy Keratin Treatments?
Ideal places to buy keratin treatment kits are Amazon, the manufacturer’s website, or a local salon near you. Don’t buy on Facebook marketplaces, auction sites, and places that offer deals that are too good to be true. You may end up with cheap counterfeit products or even expired ones. Plus, these marketplaces may be difficult to deal with for returns, etc.
So There You Have It
A comprehensive guide to help you find the best keratin treatment that will work for you.
We aim to keep this guide updated as often as we can.
So if you’re into keratin treatments, bookmark this article to stay up to date with the latest info, and please share.
GK The Best Keratin Treatment
Camelia loves all things creative and glamtastic.
She can color hair, perform keratin treatments, bleach hair, and even cut curly hair. She is our go-to person whenever we have hair treatments and styling questions.
She's also currently training as a freelance makeup artist and is passionate about helping others feel beautiful in their skin. When she's not writing or doing hair, she's usually spending time watching British period dramas.