After having my fair share of post-keratin hair disasters, I decided to make a list of things you must NOT do after a keratin treatment.
And today, I’m going to share this list to help you avoid all the frustrations and enjoy all the benefits of a good keratin treatment.
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
What Not To Do After Your Keratin Treatment
Even though your hairstylist will probably provide you with enough keratin treatment after care instructions, I want to emphasize some mistakes that many of you are likely unaware of.
So here they are:
1. Do Not Buy Cheap Shampoos
This is the most important of all.
Make sure you get the correct shampoo and conditioner to start with.
You must not use a normal shampoo after your keratin treatment. At least for the next 3 months. That’s because regular drugstore shampoos contain many chemicals that can potentially interfere with the treatment, causing adverse effects.
Keratin-treated hair needs gentle shampoos (sulfate-free) with micro keratin that can progressively enhance the treatment to look fresh and hold on for longer.
The bad ingredients you need to avoid in your shampoos are:
- Sodium chloride (Salt)
Because sulfates are surfactants that strip the hair. They will gradually exfoliate and dissolve the keratin layer on the hair shaft.
Salt (Sodium Chloride) is gritty and abrasive. Primarily used as a thickening agent in shampoos, it can also flake away the keratin coating, color, and semi-permanent dyes.
For lasting results, post-treatment shampoo should be free of sulfates (sudsing agents that can strip hair) or sodium (a thickener that dissolves keratin) Emma Froelich
Vice president of marketing and personal care at Hain Celestial - Today.com
The products I recommend:
Arvazallia Hair Repair
The best shampoo and conditioner for keratin-treated hair. Sulfate-free and Salt-free.
Our customers also love LuxeOrganix for its pure ingredients and argan oil benefits.
2. Do Not Use a Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos can remove keratin treatment as they contain sulfates and stripping agents designed to break down dirt, buildup, and residues that cling onto the surface of the hair.
A clarifying shampoo also works at higher pH to open the cuticles and deep cleanse, which can potentially crack the keratin coating trying to bond to the hair.
3. Do Not Wash Your Hair Frequently
Keratin treatments are semi-permanent. So they wash out gradually.
The key to maintaining your hair after a keratin treatment is to wash it less.
I know this may feel gross, but I get by with dry shampoo easily.
Honestly, it’s the best way to keep your hair clean and refreshed without using water.
Spray the dry shampoo onto your roots twice daily in between your wash days. It saves you time, and it makes your hair smell heavenly!
Washing hair after keratin treatment – Everything you need to know.
Although you can wash your hair 3 days (72 hours) after a keratin treatment, freshly applied keratin is malleable and still needs time to set in properly into your hair.
The dry shampoo I recommend:
4. Do Not Touch Your Hair Too Much
Touching your hair too much makes it feel greasy. And when your keratin-treated hair feels greasy, you’re tempted to wash it more often, which is not good.
Plus, you risk kinking up your strands if you manipulate them too much.
So keep your hair down and straight, and let it be.
5. Do Not Style Your Hair Up for 2 Weeks
Do not do updos and ponytails; you’ll need additional hair accessories to hold your hairstyle together.
Putting any accessories in your hair can leave dents and lines of demarcation.
So DO NOT tie your hair up after a keratin treatment. Especially in the first 3 days. I’ll personally give it a week or two.
The key to prolonging your treatment is keeping your hair down and straight as much as possible.
6. Do Not Wear Headbands for 2 Weeks
Using headbands to keep your hair up will kink it into that style.
This will make it look patchy, straight in some parts, and curly in others.
As I said, keratin is malleable in the first week and needs time to blend in. So during that bonding period, any shape you whip your hair into will force it to retain that shape, which you may find hard to undo.
Leave your locks alone as best as you can for the first 2 weeks.
7. Do Not Hold Your Hair Back With Sunglasses
Sunglasses are not headbands, but most of us love to use them as such to hold our hair back or from getting in our faces.
Sure, a pair of sunglasses can rescue you from having a bad hair day, but it’s not an ideal hair accessory when you’ve just had a Brazilian. It will kink your hair and create uneven patches like accessories and headbands.
8. Do Not Clip Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment
Hair clips or barrettes can leave dents and lines of demarcation in your hair.
Avoid them until the treatment has completely bonded in. Otherwise, you may struggle to style your hair after removing them.
9. Do Not Tuck Your Hair Behind Your Ears
Tucking your hair behind your ears creates unwanted creases, which require heat to straighten again.
So don’t let your hair bunch up at any point during the first 2 weeks.
10. Do Not Overdo It At The Gym
Heavy workouts and excess sweating will force you to wash your hair every time you get home from the gym.
Even if you get by with dry shampoos, sweating on the scalp will interfere with the keratin treatment.
That’s because sweat is made up of water and salt, both of which can contribute to dissolving the treatment.
To avoid all the hassle, plan to start your gym routine again after 2 weeks.
11. Do Not Sleep On Cotton Pillowcases
Cotton pillowcase creases up your hair, causing tangles and knots as it creates friction. It also absorbs moisture to leave your tresses frizzy and dry.
If you want smooth and tangle-free hair when you wake up, invest in a silk or satin pillowcase instead.
Satin and silk allow your hair to glide, leading to less breakage. Plus, they don’t wick away moisture, leaving your hair soft and glowy.
Related: How to sleep after a keratin treatment.
SLIP Silk Pillowcase
Experience the finest, creamiest, and shiniest seamless charmeuse silk that gives you a good night’s sleep without messing up your hair.
12. Do Not Use Heavy Oils Like Coconut Oil
Coconut oil, jojoba oil, and castor oil nestle deep into the hair to supply moisture.
While this is a good thing, the bad side of it is you’ll need a lot of shampoos to wash them out.
Be patient. Get through the first 2 weeks of transition – then you can try.
If you’re a big fan of oils, I recommend using a lightweight keratin infusion oil like the one below:
Lanza Keratin Aftercare Oil
The best lightweight oil with keratin infusion. Without sulfates, parabens, or salt.
13. Do Not Color Your Hair For 3 Weeks
You must not color your hair too soon after a keratin treatment. Wait for at least 3 weeks for the treatment to bond in properly, then do a hair color patch test to check if the hair dye reacts positively.
The best time to color your hair is before a keratin treatment. That’s because the keratin treatment seals the color and provides a protective coating to prevent your hair color from fading.
If you do it within 3 weeks after the treatment, the hair dye will struggle to penetrate. You may not get the best results from your color service.
Related: When is the best time to color your hair after a keratin treatment?
If you need to switch up your color for a party or festival temporarily, check out the products we recommend:
The best hair dyes and colors for keratin-treated hair.
14. Do Not Swim For 2 weeks After a Keratin Treatment
Swimming too soon after a keratin treatment is not advised. It will ruin your keratin treatment. Pool water contains chlorine (a bleaching agent), and seawater contains salt (sodium chloride), both bad for keratin-treated hair because of their ability to dissolve and strip color and keratin coating from the hair.
So do not let your hair get anywhere near chlorine for the first 2 weeks!
Chlorine will dissolve freshly applied keratin in no time. Just one dip in the pool is enough to see how your hair unfolds into a big mess.
14. Do Not Bleach Your Hair
Bleaching can remove the keratin treatment and leave your hair feeling dry and damaged. The reason why it’s not advised to bleach keratin-treated hair is that the chemicals create an alkaline reaction to soften and swell the cuticle layer, making the hair porous.
Bleaching effectively breaks open the cuticle layer, allowing hydrogen peroxide through the hair cortex. If you have color or keratin deposited onto the hair, the bleaching process will compromise the integrity of these treatments, making them less effective or removing them altogether.
I recommend doing your highlights and blondification well before your Brazilian keratin treatment.
A keratin treatment will make your highlights and blonde hair more radiant.
15. Do Not Use Beach Sprays (Sea Salt Sprays)
Beach sprays contain salt to give hair the beachy-waves texture.
Avoid them as much as you can.
Instead, use a keratin mist spray for light-hold hair styling.
CHI Keratin Mist
Light hold styling hair spray for keratin treated hair.
16. Do Not Use High Heat
You can use heat after a keratin treatment as long as it is below the recommended 365°F (185°C) and you are using a heat protectant to minimize its direct impact on the hair.
Using temperatures above 365°F can melt away the keratin layers from your hair.
Here are two excellent products I recommend:
GHD Platinum Hair Straightener
Best flat iron to use after keratin treatment.
Eva NYC Heat Protectant Sulfate-Free
Best heat protectant for keratin-treated hair.
17. Do Not Wash Your Hair With Hot Water
According to Dr. Debra Lin, Chief Scientific Officer at Better Not Younger, it is better to wash hair with lukewarm water, just above body temperature.
100°F / 38°C.
Hot water can melt away freshly applied keratin, and you need to avoid it as much as you can.
A cool rinse, on the other hand, shocks your hair cuticles to shut, thus preventing frizz and tangles.
18. Do Not Rub Your Hair With a Towel After Washing
A rough cotton towel will crease up your hair, creating dents and frizz.
Use a microfiber towel instead to gently dry your hair. Microfiber towels are absorbent and quickly remove excess water from your wet hair without rubbing.
And they don’t create crease and frizz in your hair as they are friction-free.
I also recommend air drying after keratin treatments. By leaving your hair down naturally and not trying to manipulate it makes the treatment bond in faster.
Aquis Microfiber Towel
The Aquis friction-free surface keeps your hair smooth while drying it. And it’s big enough to wrap around your head!
19. Do Not Overload Your Hair With Styling Products
When your hair is coated with keratin, you shouldn’t need to use mousse, gel, and hairspray to tame your hair into the right shape and style.
Styling products can cling on and leave residues. The fewer styling products you use on keratin-treated hair, the less buildup and the less you need to wash.
This ensures your keratin treatment stays fresh and strong for longer.
20. Do Not Brush Your Hair To Fix Kinks
There will be days when you wake up and your hair is all over the place.
Sometimes a bit bent and out of shape.
But don’t panic. And please do not reach out for your hairbrush to fix it.
Read: Can I brush my hair after a keratin treatment?
Just grab your blow dryer or flat iron (at medium heat), and try to straighten your hair back gently.
If you want to keep your hair tidy, use a soft boar bristle brush at night before you go to sleep and in the morning. The natural bristles gently detangle your hair and stimulate your scalp too.
Unlike regular hair brushes, a boar bristle brush works with the texture of your hair to keep it smooth and minimize friction.
Denman Boar Bristle Brush
The smooth, friction-free brush conditions your hair and detangles it without stripping keratin.
Here’s your quick list of what not to do after a keratin treatment:
- Do not buy cheap shampoos
- Do not use a clarifying shampoo
- Do not wash your hair frequently
- Do not touch your hair too much
- Do not style your hair up for 2 weeks
- Do not wear headbands for 2 weeks
- Do not hold your hair back with sunglasses
- Do not use clips in your hair
- Do not tuck your hair behind your ears
- Do not overdo it at the gym (Excess sweating)
- Do not sleep on cotton pillowcases
- Do not use heavy oils like coconut oil
- Do not color your hair for 3 weeks
- Do not swim for 2 weeks (Avoid Chlorine)
- Do not bleach your hair
- Do not use beach sprays (They contain salt)
- Do not use high heat (365°F recommended)
- Do not wash your hair with hot water
- Do not rub your hair with a towel after wash
- Do not brush your hair to fix kinks
So there you have it.
A useful combination of tips on how to take care of keratin treated hair – from my hairstylist and from my own experience.
If you think about it, all of them make perfect sense.
Shehnaz is the co-founder and the chief editor for Salon-Worthy Hair.
She combines an interesting background in cosmetics and copywriting, which fires her passion for this blog.
When she’s not busy trying out new hair treatments or editing, you can find her curled up with a good book or taking long walks with her cute dog.