How To Fix Keratin Damaged Hair (Easy Guide)

Keratin treatments are designed to give you smoother, stronger, more manageable hair. Or at least, that is the principle. But sometimes hair can be damaged as the result of a keratin treatment. So how do you fix keratin damaged hair?

How To Fix Keratin Damaged Hair

Quick Answer To How To Fix Keratin Damaged Hair

The four best ways to fix keratin damaged hair are:

  1. Trim the ends
  2. Use moisturizing hair repair products
  3. Use a nourishing shampoo and conditioner
  4. Avoid heat styling

What Is A Keratin Treatment?

A keratin treatment, also known as a Brazilian blowout, is a procedure performed in salons that can make your hair straighter, smoother, and shinier for up to 6 months.

Your hair is coated and sealed with a layer of keratin – the protein that makes up your hair and nails – which repairs broken hair fibers by filling up cracks and fissures in the hair shaft.

This leaves you with stronger and healthier-looking hair. It is especially good if your hair is thick and frizzy, as it will make the hair easier to manage.

How Can A Keratin Treatment Damage Hair?

Despite the potential benefits of a keratin treatment, things don’t always go to plan, and damage can be done to your hair.

This can be the case if you work with an inexperienced stylist, use sub-par products, or don’t take care of your hair after the treatment.

Here are the main reasons why your hair may be damaged as a result of getting a keratin treatment:

1. High Heat is Used To Seal Keratin Treatments

To seal a keratin treatment into your hair, the stylist will use a flat iron which will be heated to a minimum temperature of 230˚C (450˚F).

Keratin treatments require high heat to seal the formula into the cuticle of the hair.

While this is okay if your hair is strong and has no history of damage, it can be a problem for those with fine or over-processed hair.

If your hair is weak and brittle, it’s likely that some of your hair will break after getting a keratin treatment.

2. Protein Overload

A keratin treatment can cause protein overload. This means there is excess keratin in the hair, which can leave hair stiff, brittle, and sometimes sticky.

This happens when too much keratin is applied to hair. So, the total opposite of what you want can happen: hair becomes dry, dull, and brittle.

3. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is often found in keratin treatments.

It is a strong chemical that rearranges hair bonds. While there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims that formaldehyde can cause hair loss, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that it can do so.

In addition, formaldehyde can cause irritation to the scalp which could potentially result in hair loss.

4. You Play With Your Hair Too Much

After a keratin treatment, it may be tempting to constantly run your fingers through your newly smooth and flowing hair.

However, try to resist excess manipulation of your hair as this can lead to breakage. After any kind of chemical treatment, your hair needs time to recover.

Fiddling with your hair and creating tension on the hair fibers can cause weaker parts of the hair to snap.

How To Fix Keratin Damaged Hair

How To Fix Keratin Damaged Hair

It can be devastating when the very procedure that was meant to leave your hair in its best shape ends up damaging your hair further.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to restore the health of your hair.

Trim The Ends

It’s usually the ends of the hair that get the most damaged, as they are the furthest from the nourishing oils of the scalp and therefore the driest.

Sometimes it’s easier just to have the ends of the hair cut off, even if it’s only by a couple of centimeters.

Doing so will automatically make your hair look healthier and thicker.

Apply A Hair Repair Product

There are many ways to damage your hair, from excessive brushing and styling to hot tools and chemical treatments. Fortunately, there is a wide range of hair repair products available.

Some of the options are:

Olaplex No. 3

While Olaplex No. 1 and 2 are designed to be used in a salon, Olaplex No. 3 is designed for use at home.

This powerful product is a favorite of stylists, customers, and beauty editors.

It repairs the broken bonds in the hair fibers, leaving your hair like new.

Use once a week for stronger, silkier, and restored hair.

Hair Oil

To help accelerate your hair’s recuperation, invest in a hair oil.

Many hair oils are multi-use, adding light conditioning, smoothing, and anti-breakage properties. They will help you to smooth flyaways and frizz and help with styling.

A versatile oil will prevent you from having to layer your fragile hair with too many products.

Natural oils such as coconut or argan oil also carries many benefits and can be used as a deep-conditioning treatment.

Moisturizing Hair Mask

Protein overload causes your hair to become too dry and brittle, leading to breakage. You need to balance out the protein in your hair with intensive moisture.

A moisturizing hair mask is one of the most effective ways to do this. You can use the mask as a deep conditioning treatment, or in place of your regular conditioner.

Unlike protein treatments, it’s okay to use moisturizing treatments every day.

Use A Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner

In addition to the above products, the shampoo you use is also important.

Use a high-quality nourishing shampoo to help restore your hair. Use a shampoo that is sulfate, silicone, and paraben free for the best results.

Also, look for shampoos that contain the ingredient panthenol. This common ingredient helps soften and strengthen hair, and restore elasticity.

Although these shampoos may be more expensive to buy, they will aid in the restoration of your hair, so are worth the investment.

Similarly, you should buy a nourishing conditioner to help heal and restore the hair.

Avoid Heat Styling

While your hair is in a fragile state, it’s best to avoid heat styling as much as possible, as this can only aggravate hair damage and breakage.

If you must use hot tools, try to use them at a lower temperature than normal – aim for a temperature between 200°F to 300°F.

How Can You Prevent Keratin Damage To Hair?

How Can You Prevent Keratin Damage To Hair

Of course, when it comes to keratin hair damage, prevention is always better than cure.

The most important thing to do to prevent keratin damaged hair is to make sure you get your keratin treatment done by an experienced and certified hair professional.

While an inexperienced stylist may be cheaper, you run the risk of them making errors during the treatment process and damaging your hair.

Do your research before choosing a stylist to do your keratin treatment – look at online reviews or ask family and friends for their recommendations.

If you’re planning to do an at-home keratin treatment, make sure you invest in a high-quality product. Never risk the health of your hair by using a cheap, low-quality product.

Keratin Aftercare Tips

No washing, brushing, or tying up for the first 24-48 hours

You need to give the keratin treatment time to ‘settle’ and absorb fully into the hair.

For the first 24-48 hours the keratin in your hair is still malleable and you could create kinks in the hair shaft by manipulating your hair.

Be Gentle With Your Hair

You need to continue to be gentle with your hair, even after the first 24-48 hours. Over-treating and manipulating the hair can lead to damage.

So, avoid aggressive brushing, blasting with heat, and pulling your hair into styles that are too tight, as this can lead to breakage. The hairs around the hairline are especially vulnerable as they are finer than those on the crown.

Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase

Cotton is rough and causes friction on the hair, which leads to frizz. It is also highly absorbent, meaning it can suck out moisture from the hair overnight.

Silk and satin pillowcases, on the other hand, are smooth and allow the hair to glide over their surface without tension.

They will help to keep the hair free of tangles and you won’t get any uneven bends or lines in your hair.

Silk is also non-absorbent, so your hair will retain its moisture.

Try Not To Wet Your Hair Too Frequently

Each time you wash your hair, the water causes the hair shaft to swell, encouraging keratin and moisture to leak out from the hair.

So, try not to wash your hair every day. Aim for 1-3 times a week, depending on your hair type.

Activities such as swimming, sweaty workouts, or going into a sauna also expose your hair to moisture, so try to limit these activities.

Protect your hair from chlorine or salt water by wearing a swimming cap, or saturating your hair with fresh water before a swim.

Use Intensive Moisturizing Treatments

It’s important to balance the moisture vs. protein ratio in your hair. Too much protein, i.e. keratin can cause your hair to become rough and brittle.

Using a weekly intensive moisturizing treatment such as a deep-conditioning hair mask is a great way to counteract this.

Use A Heat Protectant

Even though a keratin treatment makes your hair easier to manage, it’s still important to use a heat protectant before blow-drying or using hot tools.

Direct heat can break down the keratin in the hair and cause frizz.

Using a heat protectant will form a protective barrier around the hair, helping the results of your keratin treatment to last longer.

How Long Does A Keratin Treatment Last?

A keratin treatment can last for up to 6 months, providing you care for your hair properly.

Try to minimize the number of times you wash your hair to prolong the result, and try to prevent sweat, salt, chlorine, and sulfates from touching your hair.

Can You Get Rid Of Keratin In Your Hair?

Unfortunately, if you are not happy with the results of a keratin treatment, you cannot get rid of it overnight. However, you may be able to reverse its effects in about 4 weeks.

The key is to do everything you’re not supposed to do after getting a keratin treatment. So, wash your hair with sulfate shampoos as frequently as you can without damaging your hair.

Clarifying shampoo is even better, or look for shampoos that contain salt, as these have an abrasive quality that can break down the keratin in your hair.

Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.

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Nicola Sloan

Nicola is a freelance writer and researcher whose specialisms lie in health and wellness, beauty, and psychology. She has fine, wavy hair and is a big fan of co-washing every alternate day between shampoos (as dry shampoo makes her sneeze!)