A keratin treatment is a great way to achieve smooth and frizz-free locks, but only if you follow the instructions correctly. For example, when can you wash your hair after a keratin treatment and what do you do if your hair accidentally gets wet? I’ve done the research and got the answers you need.
- Wait at least 72 hours before washing your hair after a keratin treatment
- Washing hair any sooner could affect the results
- Only use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner
- Wash hair 1-3 times per week
- Avoid coloring your hair for the first two weeks post-treatment
What Is A Keratin Treatment?
A keratin hair treatment, sometimes known as a Brazilian blowout, works by coating your hair in a thin layer of keratin to restore damaged hair.
Keratin is a protein found in your hair, skin, and nails. It makes up the majority of the structure of your hair.
Hair that is lacking in keratin tends to be weak, limp, porous, and more prone to damage. This can occur due to chemical processes, aging, and excessive heat styling.
A keratin treatment puts the protein back into your hair, adding a protective layer and helping to fill in the gaps where hair is damaged.
This will strengthen and relax the hair, leaving it smoother, more manageable, and easier to style with hot tools. It is also more humidity-resistant.
The treatment can be a long-winded process, lasting about an hour and a half, though this depends on the thickness of your hair.
Keratin treatments are not permanent and last about three months, depending on the texture of your hair and how much you stick to the upkeep.
When Can You Wash Your Hair After A Keratin Treatment?
In short, you should wait at least 72 hours before washing your hair after a keratin treatment. The keratin needs time to set and bond properly to your hair but if you are desperate to wash it out, 12 hours is the absolute minimum.
What Should You Wash Hair With After A Keratin Treatment?
If your keratin treatment is done in a salon, your stylist can provide you with the recommended aftercare products.
If you’re doing a keratin treatment at home, it’s a good idea to purchase a complete keratin treatment set. This will include:
- A pre-treatment clarifying shampoo
- Sulfate-free shampoo
- Sulfate-free conditioner
- Keratin shampoo
- Microfiber towel
- Keratin serum
- Keratin Oil
- Deep conditioning mask
- Boar bristle brush
You must only wash your hair with shampoo that is free of sulfates after getting a keratin treatment.
Microfiber towels are preferable to cotton towels because the material is smoother and softer, and will not cause frizz or static in the hair.
Regular cotton towels are rougher and can strip the keratin coating from your wet hair.
A boar bristle brush is natural and pliable and will gently smooth out tangles without damaging your hair.
It massages your scalp and helps distribute sebum from the scalp through the lengths of your hair, so you will need to wash it less often, which will help your keratin treatment to last longer.
How To Wash Hair After A Keratin Treatment
1. Check Your Water Temperature
First things first, you’ll want to make sure your water is not too hot. Aim for warm water, just above body temperature (37-38°C). Water that is too hot can melt the keratin coating of your hair.
It’s also a good idea to wash your hair as quickly as possible to avoid saturating the hair with water.
Saturating the hair forces the cuticles to open which could cause the keratin coating to crack.
So don’t take long showers, or wash your hair separately using a shower attachment if this is easier for you.
2. Lather Up
Apply a dime-sized blob of shampoo and lather up the roots only. Massage the shampoo thoroughly into your scalp then rinse out.
The rinse-out will wash the length of your hair as it travels down the drain.
3. Use Conditioner
Then apply a dime-sized amount of conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. Don’t apply conditioner to the scalp as this can cause buildup and hair to become greasy.
Leave the conditioner in for a couple of minutes then rinse out thoroughly.
4. Use Your Microfiber Towel
Wrap your hair up in a microfiber towel for a few minutes to absorb excess water.
Then you can leave your hair to air-dry. Do not blow dry hair for the first 2 weeks after getting a keratin treatment. Just like hot water, heat from a blow dryer can melt the keratin coating.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair After A Keratin Treatment?
Keratin treatments become less effective with frequent washing, even if you use a sulfate-free shampoo.
It’s better to wash your hair less often, to extend the life of the treatment.
How often you wash it depends on how greasy or dry your hair is, but as a general rule, try to aim for the following:
Greasy hair: 3 times a week
Dry hair: 1 or 2 times a week.
Using a boar bristle brush will help to distribute the oils from your scalp through the rest of your hair in between washes.
Can You Use Dry Shampoo After A Keratin Treatment?
The good news is, you can use dry shampoo after a keratin treatment!
This includes those first three days when you’re not allowed to wash your hair.
However, make sure you apply it to the roots only and avoid brushing the hair afterward.
After the first three days, you can brush your hair.
Using dry shampoo is an effective way to extend the time between washes after getting your keratin treatment.
What Else Should You Do After A Keratin Treatment?
Avoid Clarifying Shampoo
It’s good to use a clarifying shampoo before a keratin treatment as it removes dirt and build-up from your hair and helps your hair absorb keratin faster.
However, avoid using it AFTER treatment as it might wash the keratin out from your hair.
Avoid Hairstyles For The First Three Days
Don’t put your hair in updos during the first three days post-treatment. The keratin coating is still setting on your hair, and doing so can cause kinks and unwanted curly areas to appear in your hair.
For the same reason, avoid clips, hair bands, and all other accessories.
You have to let your hair hang straight and loose for the first three days. Don’t even tuck your hair back behind your ear.
When sleeping, don’t tie your hair up but leave it loose. Sleep on your back for the first three days, positioned carefully so that your hair is flat.
Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase
Cotton pillows can absorb moisture from your hair and leave it frizzy and dry. They can also cause friction, causing knots and tangles to form.
Look for a 100% silk or satin pillowcase as these are smooth and reduce the friction between your hair and the pillowcase.
Don’t Touch Your Hair
You might be tempted to keep touching your hair after a keratin treatment because it feels so silky and soft.
But, try not to do this as touching your hair often can make it greasy, and you might be tempted to wash your hair more often.
No Sweaty Workouts
Avoid sweaty workouts for the first three days after getting your keratin treatment.
Remember, you need to avoid getting your hair wet so that the keratin can set properly, and this includes avoiding sweat as much as possible.
Don’t Color Your Hair In The First 2 Weeks
Avoid coloring your hair until at least two weeks have passed. This is because the keratin needs two weeks to penetrate deep into your hair.
Before that time, there will still be a thin layer of keratin on the hair which will obstruct the hair dye molecule and leave patchy, uneven results.
What Happens If You Wash Keratin Treatment Out Early?
If you wash your hair before the three days have passed, then the time and money you spent on the keratin treatment will quite literally go down the drain.
Your hair will lose the shine it had and go back to its normal texture.
You need to give the keratin time to bond with your hair properly in order to reap the results.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should try to avoid getting your hair wet in the first 72 hours. But, if your hair accidentally gets wet beforehand, blow dry your hair as soon as possible. Then, use a flat iron at no higher than 365°F to iron out any kinks that might have appeared in your hair.
There can be three possible explanations for this: The treatment may not have been applied correctly, your hair was too damaged before the application, or the keratin treatment was out of date. Wait 30 days before re-applying a formaldehyde-based keratin treatment.
It’s okay to flat iron your hair after getting a keratin treatment, but you may not find it necessary, as keratin will leave your hair smoother and more manageable. You will also find you don’t need to use styling products as the keratin will make your hair look smoother and fuller and it will hold styles better.
Using coconut or Argan oil on keratin-treated hair can help to bring out its shine and heal any damage as a result of the treatment. It can be applied as a pre-wash treatment, a mask, or used sparingly through the ends.
A keratin treatment is great for those who struggle with frizzy hair and want to make their hair smoother and more manageable. It also cuts down time on heat styling every day and reduces the need for products.
Washing your hair too soon may cause the keratin treatment to become less effective or not work at all. For optimal results, wait at least 36-72 hours before washing your hair.
You should avoid using heat on your hair after washing it for the first time post-keratin treatment. The heat may cause the hair cuticles to open up, which will make the treatment less effective.
The best way to dry your hair after a keratin treatment is to air dry it or use a diffuser on a low-heat setting.
The chemicals in the keratin treatment may cause your hair to smell a bit but don’t worry, it will soon go away after you wash out the keratin.
A keratin treatment can last up to six months if you make sure to take good care of your hair post-treatment. If your hair gets wet too soon after or you use sulfate shampoos or conditioners, the treatment may only last a few weeks.
You should use a sulfate-free shampoo after a keratin treatment as sulfates are very harsh on hair and will affect the results of the treatment.
For best results, you should wait at least 72 hours before washing your hair after a keratin treatment.
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Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she’s always happy to recommend you her favorites.