Washing Hair After Keratin Treatment – First Wash and Beyond
By Camelia Smith
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Prepping for the first wash after a keratin treatment can be nerve-wracking.
- 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 settle in?
- Can I blow dry my hair after the treatment?
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 by not following the aftercare rules properly.
Trust me; I’ve seen a few who’ve messed up their keratin treatments using bad shampoos that made their hair look uneven and frizzy in parts.Read: Why is my hair still frizzy and curly after keratin treatment?
Too bad. Maybe they were too hasty.
I always say this to my friends and clients who seek advice on hair maintenance after their keratin treatments:
All you need is good planning and the right set of hair products.
It’s as simple as that!
I do keratin smoothing treatments pretty much every 3-4 months, and I can tell you that the first 3 days are always the hardest to get by.
I do not leave the house because my hair looks flat and greasy. But it’s cool.
I know that it’s totally worth the hassle once you get past that first shampoo.
In this article:
- First wash after keratin treatment
- Recommended shampoo and conditioner to use after keratin treatment
- How long after keratin treatment to wash hair
- How to wash keratin-treated hair
- How to take a bath after keratin treatment
- How often to wash hair after keratin treatment
- After keratin hair care tips
- Questions and answers
Prepping for Your First Wash After a Keratin Treatment
Preparing for that first wash after a keratin hair treatment is much simpler than you think if you plan it correctly and use the right products (more on this below).
You don’t want to be heading out with a greasy head hunting for a 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 products, but if you’re doing yours at home – PLAN your keratin treatment aftercare products in advance for better results.
Yes. Go and buy your sulfate-free and sodium chloride-free shampoo beforehand.Recommended: Best shampoos to use after keratin treatment.
Here’s the bare minimum you need for washing your hair for the first time after a keratin treatment – and for the next 3 months.
Arvazallia – The Best Shampoo to Use After Keratin Treatment
You must not use a normal (drugstore) shampoo after your keratin treatment. In fact, most hairstylists recommend avoiding them completely as they contain high amounts of sulfates that can strip keratin and color after a few washes.
To maintain your treatment for longer, you will need to invest in a good shampoo that protects and prolongs the treatment. A keratin treatment shampoo is formulated with complementary ingredients that do not strip but reinforce the treatment with every wash.
The Aquis Microfiber Hair Towel
Besides a good keratin aftercare shampoo, you also need a good moisturizing conditioner and a microfiber towel. The towel is essential because it does not disrupt the hair cuticles when drying, thus reducing frizz, split ends, and breakage.
The Aquis microfiber towel is much smoother than cotton towels. It won’t tangle your hair and it soaks up excess water to reduce drying time.
Products checked. Now let’s get to that first shower.
When to Wash Hair After a Keratin Treatment or Brazilian Blowout
Professional hairstylists recommend waiting at least 3 days (72 hours) to wash hair after a keratin treatment or a Brazilian Blowout.
Here are the reasons why you need to leave the keratin in your hair for 3 days:
- Your hair needs to absorb the keratin
- Keratin needs time to harden as it’s malleable in the first 3 days
- Keratin needs to bond with your hair
- Moisture can interrupt the process, allowing plenty of oxygen
- Washing too early may cause uneven patches in the hair
But having said that, the 3 days rule also depends on the product you use.
Older keratin treatments like the Brazilian Blowouts take longer to settle in because the keratin molecules are larger; therefore, they require more time to be absorbed and ingested by the hair.
The newer generations of keratin treatments are formulated with nano (micro) keratin molecules that absorb into the hair instantly. Also known as same-day wash keratin treatments or 24-hour keratin treatments, they can be performed and washed out on the same day or the next day.
To Summarize:If your keratin treatment mentions same-day wash, you can wash your hair within or after 24 hours. If not, be on the cautious side and wait 3 days to shower.
Now let me show you how to wash your keratin-treated hair.
How to Wash Hair After Keratin Treatment (Step-by-Step)
1. Have Your Microfiber Towel Handy
Before you wet your hair, make sure you have a microfiber towel handy.
A microfiber towel helps by soaking up excess water without the need to rub, which can inadvertently peel off the layers of fresh keratin. Rubbing the hair with an ordinary cotton towel can also lead to unwanted frizziness, forcing you to reach out for unnecessary extra products.
2. Set The Correct Water Temperature – Avoid Hot Water
Once you are in the shower, run your 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 (100° F) is the ideal temperature to wash hair.
3. Avoid Hard Water
Hard water contains harsh minerals that can strip the hair as well as create layers of deposits that make the hair feel greasy. If you don’t have access to soft water, consider buying a shower filter or using bottled water.
4. Avoid Saturating Your Hair With Water
Saturating the hair with water forces the cuticles open, and you do not want this to happen. Allowing the cuticles to flex can break the keratin coating.
My tip is to get in and get out as quickly as you can.
5. 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.
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.
6. 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.
Massage it gently along the lengths and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out.
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 friction and knots since the hair will not be slippery enough for the brush to glide. Use a wide-toothed comb instead to undo big knots, but ensure you’re not ripping through your hair.
8. Rinse The Conditioner Out
Rinse your hair thoroughly to make sure it’s not feeling greasy.
9. Do a Final Rinse with Cold Water
A quick blast of cold water helps the hair cuticles to shut. It also makes the hair smoother, shinier, and less prone to developing frizz and tangles.
9. Wrap The Microfiber Towel Around Your Head
Use your microfiber towel to gently wrap your hair and leave it in for about 3 minutes. Allow it to absorb all the water from your hair, then unwrap it.
10. Do Not Blow Dry – Air Dry Instead
Heat is bad for keratin-treated hair in the first 2 weeks. Like hot water, blow drying hair after keratin treatment can also melt the keratin coating.
That’s why air drying after a keratin treatment is better than using a hair dryer.
That’s how you do your first hair wash after a keratin treatment.
How to Take a Bath After a Keratin Treatment
It’s okay also to take a bath after a keratin treatment as long as you keep your hair away from water.
Just like hot water can melt away keratin on the outside of the hair shaft, too hot or prolonged exposure to hot water in a steamy bath can relax the keratin in the cuticles.
Ensure you keep the water temperature optimal, and don’t spend too much time in the bathtub.
One good tip to prevent hot steam from opening the hair cuticles is to apply a lightweight conditioner if you don’t intend to wash your hair on the day. The conditioner will saturate your hair and create a protective seal against the hot steam. Once you’re done with your bath, you can simply rinse it out and allow your hair to air dry in a well-ventilated space away from the bathroom.
Other things to note when taking a bath with keratin-treated hair:
- Do not tie your hair up. It may create dents.
- Wrap your hair loosely with a microfiber towel instead.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment?
Do not wash keratin-treated hair more than once a week.
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 feels too greasy or dirty, wash it 3 times a week at most.
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.
Use a Dry Shampoo in Between
Using a dry shampoo after a keratin treatment is highly recommended to avoid frequent washing.
In fact, most professional hairstylists recommend you use one in the first 3-days too.
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.Recommended: Best dry shampoo for keratin-treated hair.
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 essential, but I feel using this brush in between washes helps clean and soothe my scalp.Related: Can you brush your hair after keratin treatment?
A boar bristle brush also helps to distribute your hair’s natural oils evenly throughout, preventing your scalp from feeling too oily.
How Many Washes Does a Keratin Treatment Last?
A keratin treatment can last for up to 20 washes, based on the assumption that you wash your hair once a week. Given that the treatment lasts for up to 3 months (12 weeks), that’s 12 washes plus, give or take, another 8 washes as and when you need them during that period.
But obviously, if you follow the aftercare and maintenance rules correctly, you can stretch it longer than the initial 3 months.
Let me throw you some helpful tips to do that.
How to Take Care of Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment
Regardless of how often you wash your hair, keratin treatment will typically last for up to 3 months. To get more mileage out of your treatment, here are a few things you can do:
Sleep on a silk pillowcase
Silk is an ultra-smooth material that allows your hair to glide and stay tangle free when you sleep. Moreover, it’s also a good temperature regulator. It prevents your scalp from sweating if it’s too hot, therefore reducing moisture and frizz.
Unless cotton pillowcases, it also does not snag the hair when you move around, which can potentially smear the keratin onto your pillowcase.Read: How to sleep after a keratin treatment.
Avoid Heavy Workouts
Heavy workouts cause your scalp to sweat, and sweat is made of water and electrolytes like sodium chloride – both bad for keratin-treated hair.
Take it easy in the first week, and use dry shampoo as much as possible to prevent sweat from ruining your keratin treatment.
A good fragrant dry shampoo will also prevent the smell in your hair, which is common in the first few days after the treatment.
Brush Your Hair With a Boar Bristle Brush
A boar bristle brush will help keep your scalp clean by removing dust, lint, and buildup, therefore reducing the need to wash more often.
The brush also separates your hair to let it hang loose and straight, which is essential during the settling period to avoid tangles and sticky hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens If Your 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.
You can wet your hair after a keratin treatment in the first 3 days. You’ll be fine if it’s pure water and you’re not rubbing it with a cotton towel. But having said that, don’t do it deliberately.
How Soon Can You Wash Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment?
The soonest you can wash your hair after a keratin treatment is 72 hours (3 days). Unless the product states otherwise.
Premium keratin treatments can be washed on the same day if you’re willing to pay more for the convenience.
Can You Wash Your Hair 24 Hours After a Keratin Treatment?
Yes, you can only wash your hair 24 hours after a keratin treatment if the product is same-day wash and it states so. If it doesn’t, then you have to wait 72 hours.
What Happens If You Wash Your Hair 48 Hours After A Keratin Treatment?
Since the rule is to wait 72 hours in most cases, washing your hair 48 hours after the treatment can potentially remove some of the treatment or interfere with the drying process.
If your treatment is a same-day wash or 24-hour keratin, washing your hair after 48 hours won’t cause adverse effects.
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 using heat and use the simple air-drying method. You can also use a microfiber towel to soak up excess water from your water without rubbing.
Why Does Hair Smell Bad When Wet After a Keratin Treatment?
Keratin contains proteins and other chemicals. When the hair is wet, these chemicals, which are still attached to the surface of the hair, become soluble and start to dissipate until the hair is completely dry.
Just allow yourself plenty of ventilated space to disperse the smell, or mix essential oil with your shampoo to mask the odor.Related: How to get rid of smell after keratin treatment.
Can I Apply Heat to Keratin-Treated Hair After Washing?
For the first 2 weeks, refrain from using a flat iron or blow dryer on high heat.
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.
Can You Use Head and Shoulders Shampoo After Keratin Treatment?
No. Most Head and Shoulders shampoos contain sulfates, Pyrithione zinc, and selenium sulfides that are better suited for preventing dandruff and cleaning the scalp. Head and Shoulders shampoos are also used to remove hair color, indicating it’s not a suitable shampoo for keratin-treated hair.
Can You Use Hair Dryer After Keratin Treatment?
Yes, you can use a hair dryer on keratin-treated hair as long as you set it on low heat and use a diffuser to disperse the airflow evenly. Finish off with a cool shot to seal the hair cuticle layer.
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
- Use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
- Use 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
- When bathing, keep your hair out of the water
Learn to wash your hair less often. With some practice, patience, and the right products, it’s not so daunting after all.