If you're looking for smoother, softer, and easier-to-manage strands, a keratin treatment is a fabulous non-permanent option. But let me tell you: If you make the jump and get one, you will want to hold onto the results for dear life. So, learning how to maintain your keratin treatment is essential.
"Keratins last anywhere from three to six months depending on the service," says Raphael Roque, senior stylist at Rob Peetoom Williamsburg and keratin extraordinaire. He explains that the life expectancy of your keratin treatment depends on your lifestyle and the products you use.
What I love most about keratin treatments is that they allow me to live my life without worrying that a humid day or sweaty workout will wreck my hair. However, many of the things that can break down a keratin treatment are things that you may interact with during your day-to-day life. So you may have to choose between making certain sacrifices or accepting that your treatment may fade sooner than you'd hope. Ahead, you'll learn the ins and outs of how to maintain your keratin treatment.
5 Things That Break Down Keratin Treatments
"Salt breaks down any chemical service, be it a perm, relaxer, or keratin treatment," says Roque. So, if you regularly swim in salt water, your keratin treatment will fade sooner. But, because keratin treatments help your hair blow-dry faster, the pros of getting your hair dry after a swim sesh with less heat may outweigh the risk of the treatment fading sooner.
When you exercise, you sweat, and sweat is made of salt. So, if you exercise a ton, it can make your treatment fade faster. For me, this is an issue I'm willing to accept. I'm a barre instructor on the side, and I exercise on my own regularly. A keratin treatment allows me to wear my hair straight without the fear that one Pilates sesh will ruin my silk press. If that means I'm shortening the life of my treatment, then so be it.
I love to use a good pre-shampoo scalp treatment that's made with exfoliating agents like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), but Roque notes that as these ingredients break down dead skin and debris, they'll also break down your keratin. So for a deep cleanse, I'll be sticking to clarifying shampoos instead.
Parabens are — wait for it — salts! TL;DR, salt + keratin = bad. Most anti-paraben rhetoric is based on an unproven belief that parabens will give you cancer, so I've always felt like paraben avoidance was overhyped. But Roque is concerned only about what the salt will do to your keratin, which is, TBH, the only thing I've ever heard that would make me wholly avoid parabens.
"Salt really is the biggest culprit," says Roque. "I always tell my clients to read all of your ingredients for products that you use as far as your styling products, leave-in conditioners, and shampoos and conditioners." Because these items can come in contact with your hair daily, using ones with parabens means you're getting regular salt exposure.
And sulfates (a cleansing agent found in many shampoos) are a salt, too. But, out of all the salts on this list, sulfates are the least of Roque's concerns. "I don't necessarily worry too much about sulfates just because, in reality, our clients are not washing their hair every day," he says.
How to Maintain Your Keratin Treatment
Get Root Touch-Ups
Because keratin treatments rely on extreme heat to bond the solution to your hair, you shouldn't get them often. However, as new hair grows in, it's not chemically treated. So you can work with your stylist to figure out a cadence to touch up your new growth without going over any of the previously treated hair.
Use Keratin-Infused Products
"Using keratin-infused products helps to prolong the keratin in your hair," says Roque. "I do recommend them, but it's not a necessary thing." One of his favorites is the davines Naturaltech Nourishing Keratin Sealer. "It's a blow-dry solution that you can spray in and then blow out," says Roque. "It helps to deflect humidity." Even if you don't have a keratin treatment, it will help to mimic the effect until you shampoo next.
For day-to-day styling, I've personally been loving the Kerasilk Taming Balm. You can use it on wet or dry hair, and it will leave your strands super smooth and shiny. On wash days, Kérastase has fabulous options, too. The Nutritive Hydration Essentials for Dry Hair Gift Set is a great way to try out its shampoo, conditioner, and blow-dry cream.
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Article written by Kara Jillian Brown