Your First Wash After a Keratin Treatment: Tips and Secrets

Your First Wash After a Keratin Treatment: Tips and Secrets

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Considering a keratin treatment?

Don’t overlook the vital first wash after a keratin treatment.

Keratin treatments bestow silky, straight locks by infusing hair with natural proteins, but their success hinges on proper post-treatment care.

Learn essential tips and tricks to maintain your keratin-treated hair’s allure here!

Fast Facts

  • Keratin treatments require proper post-treatment care for success.
  • Waiting three to four days before the first wash is ideal to let the keratin set. Wait at least 12 hours if you must wash sooner.
  • Choose sulfate- and sodium chloride-free shampoos and conditioners designed for chemically treated hair to maintain the keratin treatment.
  • Washing hair less often, employing a hydration routine, and using a heat protectant can extend the treatment’s benefits.

Why You Should Be Careful When Washing Hair After a Keratin Treatment

When keratin is first applied to hair, it needs time to penetrate the shaft and work its magic.

As much as possible, you want to maximize the amount of time the keratin treatment spends on your hair, which is why the first wash is always the hardest. 

Fortunately, I have some tips to make sure your first post-treatment wash is a success.

When To Wash Hair After a Keratin Treatment

Ideally, you should wait three to four days after your treatment before washing your hair. This allows the keratin to set and bond properly with your hair. 

If you absolutely must wash your hair sooner than that, it’s best to wait at least 12 hours.

If you’re unsure, it’s always best to ask your stylist how long you should wait before washing your hair. This is a great way to ensure that you don’t damage your hair or ruin your treatment.

Related: How To Sleep After a Keratin Treatment

Preparing for Your First Wash After a Keratin Treatment

Preparing for your first wash infographic

Here are the steps to prepare for your first wash after a keratin treatment:

1. Invest in the Right Hair Care Products

Look for shampoos and conditioners that don’t have sulfates and sodium chloride as these ingredients can strip away the keratin treatment and leave your hair feeling dry and brittle. 

Instead, look for products that are specifically designed for chemically-treated hair.

Here are some products we recommend:

L'Oreal Paris EverPure Frizz-Defy Bundle

If you're looking to smooth things out and keep your first-wash post-keratin treatment on point, invest in good quality products that are designed for frizzy hair. 

Key benefits: Keeps hair hydrated; controls frizz and flyaways; helps maintain longevity of keratin treatments


  • Sulfate-free
  • Contains natural botanical oils
  • Vegan

The L’Oreal Paris EverPure Frizz-Defy Bundle is sulfate-free, and it controls frizz, resists humidity, and provides moisture.

These factors make it an excellent choice to maintain the results and overall health of keratin-treated hair.

Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Color Care Duo

If you have colored hair and underwent keratin treatment, this dynamic duo is ideal for you. The set includes the Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner. 

Key benefits: Protects color-treated and keratin-treated hair; ensures the keratin treatment lasts longer; maintains moisture and smoothness


  • Contains provitamin B5
  • Sulfate-free
  • Color-safe

If your hair is color- and keratin-treated, this product’s top feature is for you. The Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Color Care Duo helps maintain the vibrancy and longevity of hair color, plus it’s sulfate-free and hydrating!

Most importantly, the duo contributes to your keratin treatment’s damage protection benefits.

Alfaparf Milano Lisse Design Shampoo and Conditioner Set

The Alfaparf Milano Lisse Design Shampoo and Conditioner Set h0as everything you need to keep your hair hydrated, smooth, and frizz-free.

Key benefits: Keeps hair smooth; hydrates hair; prolongs effects of keratin treatment


  • Paraben, sulfate, and salt-free
  • Contains hydrolyzed keratin, quaternized collagen, and babassu oil
  • Ideal for normal and dry hair

The Alfaparf Milano Lisse Design Shampoo and Conditioner Set is free of parabens, sulfates, and salt, helping maintain the longevity of the treatment.

It contains ingredients like hydrolyzed keratin, quaternized collagen, and babassu oil, which keep keratin-treated hair hydrated, smooth, and frizz-free.

2. Get a Microfiber Hair Towel

The next step to properly washing your hair after a keratin treatment is to get yourself a good microfiber hair towel. 

Microfiber towels absorb excess water quickly, preventing frizz and ensuring your hair dries faster.

3. Have a Wide-Toothed Comb

You might be tempted to just use your fingers to detangle your hair after a keratin treatment, but this can actually cause more damage and breakage. 

Instead, gently comb through your hair with a wide-toothed comb to avoid any tugging or pulling.

A woman checks the temperature of the water in the background of the bathroom

How To Wash Your Hair After Hair Treatment

Now that you’re prepared, here are the steps to washing your hair:

1. Check the Water Temperature

Check the water temperature infographic

Use lukewarm water (around 38 to 43°C) to prevent scalp dryness and ensure effective product removal.

Additionally, avoid hard water since it also contains chemicals that can interact with your hair. If you have hard water, use a water softener or store soft water in bottles for your first wash.

2. Don’t Wet Your Hair Too Much

Don't wet your hair too much infographics

Avoid fully submerging your head or getting your hair too saturated with water. Water can strip away the treatment before it’s had a chance to work its magic.

3. Maximize Your Shampoo and Conditioner

Maximize your shampoo and conditioner infographic

Apply shampoo mainly to the roots, massaging it for a minute before rinsing. As for the conditioner, you can apply it all over your hair but focus more on the ends. Leave it in for about three to five minutes before rinsing out.

Remember to rinse your hair just enough to get the product out. You don’t want to overdo it and strip away all the benefits of the treatment.

Important Hair Care Tips for Keratin-Treated Hair

After your first wash, here are important hair care tips to keep in mind for taking care of a keratin-treated mane:

A cropped view of a woman with long brown hair is posing for a photo.

Keep Your Hair Down

Avoid tight hairstyles for the first three days after treatment, and don’t tuck hair behind your ears as these can lead to creasing.

If you have to put your hair up for work or other obligations, try loose styles like braids or low buns instead.

Avoid Other Chemicals for the First Few Weeks

Let your hair soak in the keratin treatment for the first few weeks. Give it a break from hair dyes, perms, and straighteners. 

Exposing your locks to these chemicals can reduce the treatment’s effectiveness, especially when you just had your hair treated.

Have a Hydration Routine

Getting a keratin treatment or Brazilian blowout can disrupt the balance of protein and moisture in your hair. This treatment smooths the hair shaft by adding protein but can also make your strands feel dry and brittle.

A hydration routine should include the following:

  • A hair mask or deep conditioner
  • A leave-in conditioner or nourishing treatment
  • An oil or serum

Use a Leave-In Heat Protectant

On top of hydration products, you also need a leave-in heat protectant to shield your hair from damage caused by the sun and heat styling.

Exposure to heat can damage the keratin in your hair by causing it to break down and become frizzy. 

Wash Your Hair Less Often

Fact: Keratin treatment gradually fades after each wash. But the rate of fading can vary based on factors such as the type of shampoo used, the frequency of washing, and hair care practices.

Typically, the effects last for three to five months with proper care, which includes using sulfate-free shampoos and minimizing exposure to factors that can strip the treatment from the hair.

FAQs About Washing Keratin-Treated Hair

What Happens If You Wash Keratin Treatment After 24 Hours?

Washing too soon can cause the treatment to become less effective and may even strip it away completely. It’s best to wait at least 48 to 72 hours before washing your hair.

Am I Using the Right Shampoo?

If you’ve just had a keratin treatment, you may be wondering what kind of shampoo you should use to wash your hair. We highly recommend using a sodium chloride and sulfate-free shampoo to prolong the life of your treatment.

Related: 5 Best Shampoos for Keratin-Treated Hair You Have To Try

Can I Apply Heat to Keratin-Treated Hair After Washing?

No, you cannot apply heat to your hair after washing it for the first time following a keratin treatment. 

This is because the heat will cause the hair cuticle to open and compromise the treatment. It’s best to air-dry your hair or, if you must, use a diffuser on low heat.

What Is the Best Way To Dry Your Hair After a Keratin Treatment?

The best way to dry your keratin-treated hair is by blotting it with a towel and then letting it air-dry. Avoid using a hair dryer as the heat can damage your keratin treatment. 

If you must use a hair dryer, make sure to keep it in the lowest setting. If it has an air-only setting (without the heat), then all the better.

Why Does My Hair Smell When Wet After a Keratin Treatment?

It’s normal for hair to smell a little funny when wet after a keratin treatment. This is because the chemicals in the treatment can cause your hair to release an odor. 

The good news is that the smell will dissipate once your hair dries. In the meantime, you can try using a leave-in product or an essential oil to help mask the scent.

The smell should dissipate within a few washes. If the smell persists even after two weeks, make sure to consult your stylist. 

Give Your Keratin-Treated Hair the Best Care

Give the keratin treatment ample time to penetrate your strands and scalp. Depending on your stylist and the treatment you received, your ideal first wash can be anywhere from three to five days. 

When you wash your hair, make sure to use a shampoo free of sulfates and other harsh chemicals that can strip away the treatment. 

Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner to help keep your scalp hydrated and your strands healthy.

Want To Learn New Ways To Care for Treated Hair?

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