Uses of Shea Butter for Hair

Shea butter is a solid fatty oil that is extracted from the nuts of the Karite tree. The shea tree is most common in the western and central regions of Africa. Shea butter has been used in beauty regimens since ancient times. This versatile product has gained popularity in the last decade due to the increased demand for natural and organic products for Afro-textured hair.

Shea butter has a high content of beneficial fatty acids such as oleic, stearic, and linoleic acids. It is also a rich source of vitamin E, which is known as a powerful antioxidant, and Vitamin A which protects the skin against UV damage.

Thanks to its wide array of benefits, Shea butter has many uses. When used topically, this product can protect, moisturize, and heal your skin. It works great when used as a lip balm to keep chapped lips at bay. It also helps heal cuts, and scrapes and reduces wrinkles and stretch marks.

African-American woman with curly hair moisturized with shea butter

Shea butter is an essential ingredient in chocolates and a vegan-friendly substitute for regular butter. When used as a spread, it makes baked goods wonderfully brown. In many households, it is considered a staple that must be kept in supply. 

Those who struggle to protect and maintain healthy hair should consider adding Shea butter to their hair care regimen.

Benefits of Shea Butter for Hair

Unrefined Shea butter is loaded with healthy fatty acids and other phytonutrients that can provide many benefits to your hair and scalp. One of the greatest advantages of using Shea butter as a hair treatment is that it can be used in its most natural form without any further processing. Shea butter nourishes the scalp and hair without exposing your skin to potentially harmful chemicals. Many hair care products include Shea butter as an ingredient, but why not enjoy all benefits that unrefined Shea butter can provide? Here are several of the benefits that may come from the use of Shea butter for the hair and scalp:

1. Keeps moisture in the hair: People with curly and coarse hair textures use Shea butter as an emollient to seal in the moisture and keep it inside their hair. Afro hair is the driest hair type due to its curly texture. Shea butter soothes dryness and has restructuring effects on dry and fragile curly hair. When applied to the strands, it forms an outer protective coating that protects hair from moisture loss. It absorbs quickly without leaving the hair feeling greasy or heavy.

Shea butter acts as a sealant on the hair, not as a moisturizer. That means that moisture must be present so that the Shea butter can seal it in. If the hair is dry, applying Shea butter may result in hardness and dryness. Instead, be sure to wet the hair first. It is best to apply Shea butter directly after washing the hair, while your hair is still damp.

2. Supports hair growth: Studies have found that Shea butter possesses remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. It can penetrate deeply into the skin to help reduce inflammation. It helps restore weakened hair follicles, providing a healthy environment that supports hair growth. When applied to the scalp twice a week Shea butter has been shown to improve overall scalp health.

3. Tames frizzy hair: Dry and coarse hair tends to get frizzy, especially in humid weather.  Shea butter coats your strands, creating a thin, non-greasy film. This helps smooth down flyaway hair, reduces frizz, and gives your hair a mirror-like sheen.

The application to the hair is very simple. Just put a tiny amount of the product onto the palm of your hands and rub your hands together until it melts.  Then you can easily apply it to your hair.

A girl with curly hair nourished with Shea butter

4. Protect hair from the elements: Prolonged sun exposure can dry out your hair and reduce its natural elasticity and strength. Too much sun can also damage hair follicles and cause hair color to fade. The cinnamic acid found in Shea butter has the capability to absorb some of the harmful ultraviolet radiation. With its natural SPF of 6, it provides mild to moderate protection from sun damage. When applied to the hair before swimming, Shea butter protects your locks from the damaging effects of salt and chlorine. It also acts as a barrier against air pollutants.

5. Soothes scalp irritation: Unrefined Shea butter is loaded with fatty acids and phytonutrients that are needed for healthy hair and scalp. When applied to a dry scalp, it helps replace natural oils lost due to washing hair with harsh, sulfate-based shampoos.

Shea butter has soothing properties that provide relief from annoying scalp conditions such as dandruff, itchy scalp, dermatitis, eczema, and flaking due to dryness.

The product is easily absorbed into the scalp without clogging pores or leaving your hair greasy. Another convenience is that it can be easily washed off afterward.

Rub a quarter-sized amount of Shea butter on your hands and massage it into the scalp and hair. Cover the hair with a plastic shower cap and wrap your head in a towel to lock in the heat. Wait at least one hour before washing or leave overnight to refresh your scalp and keep it free from infections. Shea butter can be mixed with coconut oil and other hair oils to make this scalp treatment even more effective.

While shea butter is quite safe it is not recommended for people who are allergic to nuts.

How to Buy a Quality Shea Butter?

It is important to understand the difference between refined and unrefined Shea butter, as this greatly impacts the benefits received.

For maximum benefits, it is best to choose a natural product over the bleached and de-scented one. Raw or unrefined Shea butter is processed without using chemical solvents and it is preferred over refined one, regardless of intended use. Since unrefined Shea butter has been extracted by pressure, it is not deprived of bioactive nutrients and its natural healing properties. Raw Shea butter has a yellow or ivory color and comes either in blocks or in jars.

Unrefined Shea butter in a metal bowl

The refined Shea butter has been extracted using high heat and chemicals to make the color and texture more appealing and to eliminate its characteristic smell. The process often involves adding additives, such as perfumes or chemical preservatives to maximize product shelf-life. However, chemical processing affects some beneficial properties of Shea butter. The refining process adds chemicals while removing vitamins, fatty acids, and other bioactive nutrients.

Raw Shea butter has a strong earthy scent that many people find irritating. However, this characteristic smell is actually a sign of a good quality product. The product is categorized into grades labeled from A to F. Class A is the purest form of Shea butter, with a high content of healing ingredients, while class F is pure quality butter that may be also contaminated with harmful ingredients. To ensure that the product has passed proper safety and quality laboratory testing, purchase only certified premium A-grade Shea butter.

To receive all healing benefits, make sure that you use the product before the expiry date. The shelf life of raw Shea butter is about 24 months. Its healing power declines with time, so a very old product is not as beneficial as a fresh one. To avoid it going rancid, it is advisable to buy Shea butter in small quantities.

a beautiful dark-skinned girl with natural curly hair

Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoos

Frequent use of styling products can create buildup on the hair over time and make your strands feel heavy, dull, and unmanageable.

Clarifying shampoos are designed to deeply cleanse hair and scalp to remove product build-up and residue from regular shampoos and conditioners.

Ordinary shampoos are a mixture of surfactants, conditioning agents, and special care ingredients that should treat specific hair and scalp issues. Due to the high content of conditioning ingredients, ordinary shampoos can’t effectively eliminate mineral buildup, chlorine deposits, and polymer film created by styling products.

Clarifying shampoos contain a higher concentration of detergents than standard shampoos. They can thoroughly remove product buildup, without leaving any residues. To refresh your scalp and keep your hair shiny and healthy-looking, you need to use these deep cleansing shampoos.

How often you need to clarify depends on your hair care regime, the frequency of swimming, and the quality of water in your home.

Happy woman after clarifying hair hair

Advantages of Sulfate-Free Cleansing Shampoos

Commonly used primary cleaning agents in hair shampoos are sulfate-based surfactants. Sulfates are excellent cleansers that produce abundant foam. However, if you overuse them, sulfates in hair shampoos can irritate your scalp and strip your hair of its protective natural oils.

Sulfate detergents in hair shampoos also may cause hair color to fade.

Sulfate-free clarifying shampoos have a formula that balances the cleaning ability and other factors that include scalp irritation and overall product toxicity. The “Sulfate-Free” label means that your shampoo is formulated without harsh sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, or ammonium laureth sulfate.

Sulfate-free deep cleansing shampoos do not foam as much as sulfate-containing shampoos, but this does not mean that they are less efficient. The foam does not have cleaning properties, although it helps in spreading the shampoo over the scalp and hair. Knowing customer preferences, shampoo manufacturers often add foam boosters to their products to make them more commercially successful.

Is Clarifying Shampoo Safe for Color-Treated Hair?

This post contains links to Amazon. The publisher may get paid if You purchase something through the links without additional costs to You.

People with color-treated hair should clarify less often and they should only use a clarifying shampoo specified for colored hair. Color-safe clarifying shampoos are designed to remove product residue and other impurities without stripping hair color. They remove product buildup and color-dulling residue while preventing excessive dryness and color stripping.

Pureology Purify Shampoo for Color Treated Hair (available at Walmart) is a sulfate-free formula that uses a purifying blend of natural oils and organic botanicals to gently yet thoroughly cleanse and detoxify scalp and hair.

Verb Reset Renouveau Clarifying Shampoo gently removes the build-up from styling products and adds a glossy shine to your hair. The product doesn’t contain harmful sulfates, parabens, or gluten. It clarifies and soothes the scalp and doesn’t strip natural moisture or color out of the hair.

If your hair is color-treated, use a clarifying shampoo no more than once a week. Even the most gentle formulas shouldn’t be used regularly on colored hair. Also, make sure to use a moisturizing conditioner after each shampooing.

Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoos for Natural Hair

If you are looking for an alternative to chemical-laden clarifying shampoos, you will be impressed with Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Oil Omega-3-6-9 Rescue & Repair Clarifying Shampoo (available at Walmart). This shampoo uses natural ingredients to remove the buildup of styling products, leaving your locks clean, soft, and supple. It gently cleanses hair without stealing its natural moisture or being aggressive on your scalp.

Unlike most sulfate-free shampoos this shampoo creates a rich lather and easily spreads all over the hair. It also refreshes the scalp and helps with the dandruff issue.

This shampoo works great on dry curly hair and is suitable for daily use.

Scalp Cleansing Shampoos

Styling products you apply to the hair, as well as excess sebum and pollutants, can build up on your scalp. Such accumulated deposits can clog hair follicles causing inflammation and irritation to this sensitive skin area. Scalp cleansing shampoos are designed to thoroughly cleanse the scalp and keep it feeling refreshed and healthy.

Activated Charcoal Shampoo by Saragan is formulated with pure natural ingredients to thoroughly cleanse the hair and leave it soft and moisturized. It also de-greases the scalp, removes buildup from products and hard water, and relieves itching. The possible downsides of this shampoo are its intense black color and masculine scent.

Use your fingers to massage the scalp or use a shampoo brush to work the shampoo into your scalp. Such massage helps to remove the build-up and boosts blood circulation in the scalp area.

Clarifying Shampoos for Oily Hair and Scalp

Degrease Shampoo for Oily Hair and Scalp by Maple Holistics helps alleviate grease and hair buildup, and restores the pH balance of the scalp.

This natural clarifying formula uses a blend of essential oils to clean hair follicles and lift the roots of the hair prone to getting oily and flat. It also contains Jojoba oil which is known for its ability to control the production of sebum and keep the pores clean.

Cypress, lemon, and rosemary essential oils have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. These oils help fight infections and keep the scalp healthy and each-free. They also support blood circulation to the follicles, stimulating hair growth.

Hairdresser washes client's hair with sulfate-free clarifying shampoos

What is Chelating Shampoo?

While most clarifying shampoos are formulated to remove styling product residue that leaves a film on the surface of the hair, chelating shampoos are preferably meant to remove minerals, metals, and swimming pool chemicals from the hair.

Chelating shampoos are more potent than ordinary clarifying shampoos and can efficiently eliminate deposits from hard water and chlorine as well as product buildup.

When used as a post-swimming shampoo, a chelating shampoo prevents the build-up of chlorine and other pool chemicals and protects your hair from damage, dryness, and discoloration.

Chelating shampoos are also must-have products for people who struggle with hard water in their areas. If the water in your area is very hard and you don’t have a whole house water filtration system, you should use a chelating shampoo as a part of your hair care routine.

Sulfate-Free Chelating Shampoos

If you live in an area with hard water, Ion Hard Water Shampoo can help reduce the negative impacts of hard water minerals on your hair and scalp. This shampoo prevents hard water minerals and iron from coating your strands. It also reverses existing damage and discoloration and increases hair manageability and shine. Ion Hard Water Shampoo helps reduce hair loss caused by extremely hard water.

Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo is designed to prevent the build-up of pool chemicals in the swimmer’s hair. This gentle, sulfate-free shampoo is formulated with botanicals, antioxidants, and vitamins to get rid of chlorine and keep hair from becoming heavy, tangled, or discolored. It also helps get rid of the chlorine smell that tends to linger in the hair after swimming. Malibu swimmers shampoo is safe for all hair types, including color-treated and permed hair.

Smiling girl using a mild clarifying shampoo

Is a Color-Safe Shampoo Worth the Extra Money?

Hair color is made up of small molecules. Once the color is applied to the hair, a chemical alkalizer opens the cuticle layer to enable the dye molecules to penetrate the cortex and deposit a new color. Following this process, the hair is rinsed with cool water and conditioned, which helps the cuticle to close, keeping the color molecules inside the hair.

When you find the hair color that is your perfect type, you will want it to stay looking vibrant for as long as possible. Once your hair has been colored, it needs to be treated with special care. Artificial color pigments tend to gradually disappear and your hair may become dull and lifeless after a few washes. Hard water, harsh cleansers, heat styling tools, and prolonged sun exposure can take out the color pigments deposited in the hair, causing fading and dullness. To keep your color looking fresh and prolong its life, you need to use special products and take the proper care of your locks.

A woman with freshly shampooed red colored hair

Washing Hair After Dying

Before purchasing any color care product, make sure to follow a few basic rules when it comes to washing your colored hair.

1. Wait to Wash Hair After Coloring

The hair cuticle is the outside protective layer of a hair strand that helps prevent damage to the cortex and controls the look and appearance of the hair. When you dye your hair, the cuticles must first be opened, so that the color can deposit effectively. It takes up to 72 hours for the cuticles to fully close, sealing the color inside. Shampooing hair too soon after coloring will wash out color pigments. If you would like your hair to completely absorb and lock in the new color, skip shampooing for the first two days after dyeing your hair.

2. Avoid Frequent Washing

To prevent your vibrant color from being washed away, stretch out the time between washes. The shampooing process removes a little bit of color every time you wash your hair. It’s a good practice to shampoo only as often as necessary. If possible, shampoo your hair no more than three times per week. Protect your hair from the water in the shower on no-wash days.

3. Lower the Water Temperature 

When you wash your hair, it’s important not to expose it to hot water. Hot water tends to raise the hair cuticle, allowing the color molecules to escape. On the contrary, cool water seals the cuticle, which helps reduce color fading.

4. Avoid Using a Chemical-Laden Shampoo

It doesn’t matter if you have a temporary, semi, or permanent hair color: it is vital to avoid shampoos that can cause hair color to fade. Ordinary shampoos may contain strong detergents that will fade the brilliance of your color.

Read the label on the shampoo bottle before purchasing. Make sure that your shampoo is labeled “sulfate-free”. Sulfates are powerful detergents that will cut grease and create a nice, soapy lather but they will also reduce the vibrancy and sheen of your hair color. Hair cuticles need to stay closed, to ensure color longevity. Sulfate detergents rough up the cuticle layer, allowing color molecules to leak out. Stronger clarifying shampoos can even remove the color completely from your hair in a few washes.

The most common harsh sulfates in hair shampoos are sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate. Study the ingredients and go for sulfate-free shampoos and those that are labeled “color safe”. Sulfate-free shampoos use milder cleansers to carry out the cleaning task. You may see fewer foamy bubbles that are associated with cleansing action, but you will still get effective cleansing.

Color-safe products also shouldn’t contain alcohol, parabens, salt, and artificial fragrances.

Shampoo and Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair

Hair shampoos formulated for colored hair shouldn’t contain ingredients that can negatively affect the color. They are supposed to maintain proper pH balance and cleanse hair without stripping the color. There are three main benefits that color care shampoos offer:

  1. In addition to being sulfate-free, color-protective shampoos and conditioners are formulated with extra moisturizing ingredients that deliver extra hydration and protect your over-processed hair from breaking.
  2. Color-protecting shampoos contain antioxidants, proteins, and amino acids that help strengthen the hair cuticle which prevents the pigment from leaking out and provides long-lasting color retention.
  3. Color-enhancing shampoos also contain pH adjusters and sunscreens that provide color-treated hair with a radiant shine which helps the color stay vibrant.

Keep in mind that color-safe shampoos will help you slow down color fading, but they will not stop it altogether.

A conditioner specially formulated for color-treated hair helps keep the cuticles smooth to lock the color pigments deep inside the hair. These products contain UV filters to shield strands against UV rays and environmental pollutants that can cause damage and color fading.

There is also the category of color-depositing shampoos and conditioners available on the market. These products deposit a small amount of dye with each wash to revive color and help you go longer between touch-ups.

Dry Shampoos for Long-Lasting Color

Young woman applying dry shampoo to colored hair

A great way to save color and prevent premature fading is to keep hair dry as long as you can. Dry shampoos help reduce your hair’s contact with water which helps extend the life of hair color. These products soak up excess oil from your scalp and strands and give you more time in between your washes. Dry shampoos also add texture and bounce, making your hair look fuller.

a beautiful Asian girl with pastel hair color

How to Apply Keratin Treatment at Home

In-salon Keratin treatment is a fairly expensive service, so doing the treatment yourself at home can help you save money. However, to get the desired results you need to wisely select the product and carefully read the instructions included. It would be a good idea to ask for assistance from a friend who is more experienced. The complete application can take from 2 to 4 hours. The treatment cannot be rushed because the straightening product needs time to work properly. You need to be patient and work slowly.

Buy a Formaldehyde-Free Product

It is important to use a quality product to get the best possible results. Keratin hair products are available in some salons, but you can find them online as well. Knowing that Formaldehyde is harmful, choose a product that is 100% formaldehyde-free. Avoid cheap products because they will not give you lasting results. One of the keratin treatments that fulfill these criteria is Keratin Smoothing Treatment – Formaldehyde Free by Peter Coppola.

African-American girl with curly unmanageable hair

Tools You’ll Need for Keratin Straightening

The necessary tools for performing keratin hair treatment include               

  1. Clarifying shampoo
  2. Towel
  3. Smoothing product
  4. Tint brush
  5. Tint bowl
  6. Latex Gloves
  7. Hair clips
  8. Fine-toothed comb
  9. Processing cap
  10. Blow-dryer
  11. Round brush and paddle brush
  12. Flat iron

Keratin Smoothing Treatment – Formaldehyde Free by Peter Coppola

This semi-permanent keratin hair treatment is formulated to reduce frizz, add shine, and relax curls without involving toxic formaldehyde. It is safe to use on all types of hair but works best for people who want to get rid of frizz and just soften their curls.

Keratin proteins and amino acids seal the outermost layer of your hair to smooth away frizz and reduce the appearance of split ends. Your hair will be, straighter, more manageable, and more humidity resistant for up to 60 days.

This treatment is more convenient for users than traditional keratin treatments because there is no annoying downtime. You can shampoo your hair or go to the gym immediately after the treatment.

In-salon keratin treatment would provide you with better results than DIY keratin treatment at home. However, it is possible to do it yourself as long as you follow instructions and have an extra pair of hands to help with flat ironing. Make sure you watch the instructional video on the Peter Coppola website.

If your hair has been chemically treated, make sure to consult a hair professional because you should be careful with putting chemicals in your hair, or using high-temperature flat irons. The consultation is important to make sure that your hair is in good condition to withstand the straightening procedure.

You can get 1-6 treatments from one 12 oz bottle depending on how long/thick your hair is. For very thick and long hair you may need one 12 oz size bottle to do 1 treatment.

Peter Coppola Keratin Treatment Steps

Keratin Treatment Video by Peter Coppola

1. Clarify: Each kind of treatment will work better on clean hair. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo before starting the straightening procedure. A clarifying shampoo will remove product build-up from your hair, and make it ready to absorb the treatment. If your hair is saturated with styling products, shampoo it twice. Rinse the hair thoroughly. Do not apply conditioner.

2. Towel-dry: Towel-blot your hair to remove excess water. Your hair should be approximately 70% dry.

3. Part the hair: Divide your hair into 4 sections using large clips. Make sure that all necessary tools are easy to access. Shake the Keratin Treatment bottle well and pour 2 oz of product into the tint bowl.

4. Apply the product to the hair: Put on latex gloves and use a brush to apply the straightening product. Start from the neck pulling down 1″ sections of hair and working upwards. Apply the product with a tint brush and use a fine-tooth tail comb to ensure even distribution from root to tip. Make sure that your hair is completely covered with the product.

5. Process: Leave the treatment in the hair to process. If your hair has already been compromised by chemical treatments such as bleaching and relaxing, leave the treatment on for 20 minutes. Very resistant, coarse hair, needs more time to absorb the treatment than processed, high-porosity hair. If your hair is virgin, very thick, coarse, or very curly, leave the treatment on for up to 50 minutes. Comb your hair every five minutes of processing.

6. Rinse: After the time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water until the water runs clear.

7. Blow-Dry: Blow-dry your hair into the desired shape, using a round brush or paddle brush until it is completely dry. If your hair is very curly, use a round brush and apply more tension to ensure a smooth result.

8. Flat iron: Flat ironing is the most important step in the process. Use a high-quality flat iron with titanium plates that can reach and maintain high temperatures. Section the hair in 4 sections and secure it with clips. The flat iron temperature should be set between 350-430 F, according to the condition of your hair. Don’t use very high temperatures if your hair is fine, damaged, or chemically processed.

Flat ironing stage of keratin hair treatment

Take a 1/8-inch section of hair, starting from the back of your neck, and go over each section 3 – 8 times at a constant speed. Keep the iron in motion to avoid burning and breaking your hair.  

It is important to iron your hair meticulously to ensure that the keratin solution is sealed into your hair. Continue the process, gradually releasing hair sections down, until your whole head of hair is smooth and sleek.

It is advisable to color your hair before Keratin Smoothing Treatment or wait at least 2 weeks after the treatment before the color appointment.

Recently, a variety of gentle smoothing products has become available on the market. Many of them are suitable for use at home and some products can be used without a flat-ironing step. Before you take the plunge, also consider some of those gentle and easy-to-use smoothing products.

Five Shampoo Brands for Keratin-Treated Hair

After spending tons of money and time to smooth and shine your locks, you want to ensure that such a sleek look and silky feel lasts as long as possible, right? Well, check the “5 Alive” Top Shampoo Brands for Keratin-Treated Hair. These “5 Alive” products will make your hair and self-esteem thrive!

Because your after-treatment products are your keratin-treated hair lifesavers, be picky to avoid most commercial shampoos that use harsh detergents and keratin-dissolving ingredients to avoid stripping your hair’s special treatment. Read on to discover easy tips to extend your keratin-treated hair with sexiness and flair!

young beautiful woman with keratin-treated hair

Shampoos Without the Boos: Choosing Your Post-Keratin-Treatment Shampoo

While you don’t have to use shampoo and conditioner from the same line as your keratin treatment, you can flexibly aim for shampoos with the books. Select keratin-friendly products, regardless of brand, to effectively meet all your aftercare needs. Cheers to that freedom of choice!

When purchasing your products, carefully read all labels carefully to ensure no harsh ingredients that will ruin your treatment.

Steps when choosing your aftercare shampoo are 3-fold:

1. Don’t Date Sulfates: Avoid Sodium Chloride and Sulfates. To maximize the longevity of your treatment, choose only shampoos free of harsh sulfate cleansers such as sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Shampoos with sulfates can remove straightening chemicals from your hair.

Sodium chloride is a thickening agent that dissolves keratin and can undo hair straightening results. Make sure to only use a shampoo that says “sayonara” to sodium chloride!

Be the best version of yourself, not a lab rat! Beware of hidden chemicals in your products. Because your hair has already undergone a chemical treatment, you don’t need additional chemicals to impose additional harm. Scan your brands to avoid parabens and formaldehyde—both dangerous chemicals—so beware!

2. Pucker Up With a KISS:  Strive for KISS products, not the smooches or the rock bad, but KISS as in Keratin-Infused Shampoo Selections. Although you don’t necessarily need keratin-infused products exclusively, these products offer additional benefits to keratin-straightened hair. Hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed silk, and amino acids tame frizz and boost softness and smoothness.

When your keratin treatment starts to wear off, the higher hair porosity will allow for easier penetration of keratin particles into the hair cortex, delivering a shield for your shine!

3. Be Savvy Against Deceptive Labels. Some brands of “keratin-replenishing shampoos” aren’t sodium-chloride- and sulfate-free. Some manufacturers falsely advertise that their products are suitable for use after a keratin treatment, even though they still contain sulfates. Be savvy to read between the lines to keep your hair gorgeous and fine!

Five Alive: Best Shampoos for Keratin Treated Hair

This post contains links to Amazon. The publisher may get paid if You purchase something through the links without additional costs to You.

If you don’t have time to read product labels, review the list of MVP shampoos for keratin-straightened hair. These winning shampoos are keratin friendly and formulated with gentle cleansers to minimize the negative effect of shampooing on your keratin-straightened locks. Grabs these MVPs with glee!


1. Casablanca Cool: Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner by LuxeOrganics

Grab a bit of Moroccan spice! This shampoo and conditioner are made with organic ingredients that nourish your hair, making it look healthier and shinier. This shampoo doesn’t lather like most sulfate-based shampoos, but it cleans hair effectively without over-drying it. Both the conditioner and shampoo have a sweet, citrus scent. Indulge in Casablanca cool without any bull!

Great for:

These products will benefit all hair types, including colored and chemically straightened locks.

Key ingredients/benefits:

This set contains natural Moroccan argan oil, which is absorbed into your hair easily. In turn, it promotes a gorgeous shine and no frizz. It also contains UV absorbers designed to protect hair from harmful UVA and UVB rays and prevent color fading.

Light as a feather: Amino acids help repair hair damage and improve tensile strength, while vitamins and antioxidants nourish the hair, protecting it from styling damage. The rejuvenating Argan Oil Conditioner moisturizes, detangles, and adds volume, without creating buildup or weighing hair down. Let your hair be light as a feather! These products are formulated without sulfates and sodium chloride.

a brunette woman with freshly washed keratin-straightened hair

2. Milano Magic: Alfaparf Milano Keratin Therapy Lisse Design Maintenance Shampoo

Do you need some Milano magic in your life? Well, this gentle shampoo formula is developed to maintain the effects of Lisse Design Keratin Therapy Smoothing Treatment. It’s a beautifully scented shampoo that gently cleanses hair, without stripping keratin and natural oils. Bellissimo!

Great for:

It’ll keep your keratin-treated hair smooth, strong, glossy, and tangle-free. Grab your expresso and glow!

Key ingredients/benefits:

Enriched with Keratin and Bagasse Oil, these perks keep your strands smooth, soft, shiny, and easy to comb through. This shampoo is sulfate- and salt-free.


3. Smooth Operator: AG Hair Smooth Sulfate-Free Argan & Coconut Shampoo

See the price at Walmart

This shampoo is formulated with natural ingredients to restore the strength and elasticity of colored and chemically straightened hair. Sulfate-free surfactants are gentle on delicate chemically processed locks and safe for colored and keratin-treated hair. The formula doesn’t use sodium chloride as a thickener.

Other ingredients that make this shampoo ideal for chemically processed hair are argan oil, chamomile, wild cherry bark extract, nettle, rosemary leaf, and sage leaf extracts.

This shampoo maintains the health of your scalp and leaves your hair smooth, touchable soft, and shiny. Let your true light shine!


4. Salt & Sulfate Free Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner – Keratin Complex by Damila 

About the product:

This is another combo formulated to enhance the results and extend the life of your keratin treatment.

Great for:

The shampoo uses a mild surfactant to gently cleanse chemically treated hair, including colored and keratin-straightened hair.

Key ingredients/benefits:

The set contains hydrolyzed keratin, silk amino acids, and hydrolyzed silk protein to replenish lost keratin and rebuild the strength of chemically treated hair

Natural and botanical extracts nourish and hydrate the hair, leaving it soft, healthy, and shiny. This combo set is free of SLS and sodium chloride.


5. Anti-Frizz Daily Shampoo and Conditioner by Pure Brazilian 

This shampoo and conditioner set is formulated to deliver moisture and keratin to your hair to keep it smooth and manageable. This duo can be used on all hair types but is especially suited for calming thick/curly/coarse hair. The shampoo gently cleanses your scalp and hair without stripping keratin or hair color. 

Key ingredients/benefits:

The Anti-Frizz Shampoo It’s made with hydrolyzed vegetable protein to infuse your tresses with keratin and maintain optimal smoothness. It makes your hair softer, frizz-free, and shiny.

The Anti-Frizz Daily Conditioner is an ultra-moisturizing product formulated with keratin amino acids, mango seed butter, and hydrolyzed collagen to rehydrate dry hair and protect it from styling and environmental damage. When used regularly, it helps to seal hair cuticles, preserves hair color, and creates a healthy shine. This Anti-Frizz Shampoo and conditioner set is free of harsh sulfates and sodium chloride.


More brands to consider: Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo Sulfate Free for Normal Oily Curly Dry Damaged Color and Keratin Treated Hair by BELLISSO, COSMO9 KERATIN Shampoo + Conditioner, Keratin Care Moisturizing Shampoo by Keralove, Keratin Shampoo with ARGAN OIL by Gorgeous Beauty & Care, Shampoo & Conditioner Kit for Keratin Treated Hair by CARILDA BEAUTY, Lust Shampoo by Seven Sins Hair Care, Color Smoothing Shampoo by Keratin Perfect, Keratin Replenishing Shampoo by MAJESTIC KERATIN, Sulfate-Free Keratin-Infused SHAMPOO by ORGANICOLAB, Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo by Alin, and MarocVita Keratin Shampoo by Tion.


Say “Hi” to Dry: Using Dry Shampoos After Keratin Treatment

If you’ve had a keratin treatment or a Brazilian blowout, you still can use a dry shampoo to keep your hair looking fresh. Don’t be shy to say “hi” to sulfate-free dry shampoos. They come in powder form to help absorb oil without interfering with keratin treatments. Those dry powders will be your best friend during the 72-hour phase when you must avoid washing your hair.

Stylists believe that it’s absolutely safe to use dry shampoo to refresh your style without water when your hair gets greasy, but you should choose a product formulated to help preserve your results.

  • Loma Dry Shampooicon: Loma products are paraben-, gluten-, sulfate-, and sodium chloride-free, so you can be assured that this dry shampoo is good for your hair and scalp. It will not harm your keratin treatment in any way and will leave your hair looking fresh and smelling clean.
  • Living proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo (Walmart) absorbs grease and sweat and eliminates odors, leaving the hair feeling fresh and clean. Patented Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA) technology helps to easily brush out the powder leaving your hair really clean. A time-released fragrance delivers a light, refreshing scent throughout the day. This dry shampoo is safe for colored and chemically treated hair. It can help to extend the time between hair washing, which prolongs the life of your keratin treatment.
  • Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal Biotin Dry Shampoo is designed to absorb excess oil, normalize oil production, and nourish your scalp. Unfortunately, this quality, naturally based, and cruelty-free shampoo powder comes in inconvenient packaging that can make it hard to control the amount you want to apply.

Keratin Shampoos vs. Keratin-Safe Shampoos

Keratin-infused shampoos are designed to strengthen hair and provide smoothness and frizz control by repairing and filling in weak areas inside hair fibers.

That sounds great, but these shampoos are not necessarily free of salt and sulfates. Some brands contain SLS or claim to have a “lower sulfate formula.” Examples include Tresemme Keratin Smooth Infusing Shampoo and Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Shampoo.

And then there are some sulfate-free formulas that still contain sodium chloride, such as Burgati Keratin & Argan Oil Professional Series Shampoo.

If you are skeptical about the ingredients of your post-keratin shampoo, consult a reliable hair professional or dermatologist to make sure that the product meets your needs.

Related Article

A fasion woman with straightened hair

Caring for Your Hair after Brazilian Keratin Treatment

Once you’ve had a Brazilian Keratin treatment done, you need to take special care of your hair to make sure that the treatment will last as long as possible. Keratin treatments wash away gradually over time, but with proper care, the results will last about 12 weeks or more.

Brazilian Keratin Treatment and Hair Coloring

If you color your hair, you can do so immediately before a Brazilian Keratin Treatment without damaging your hair or reducing the efficiency of your color or straightening treatment. However, you should wait at least three weeks after the treatment before dying hair with permanent color again. This is because the keratin treatment coats the hair shaft and reduces the porosity of your strands making them less receptive to oxidative dyes.

gorgeous young woman with keratin treated hair

Post Treatment Period

Avoid getting your hair wet for three days after receiving a keratin treatment. This means no washing, swimming, or sweating—and staying out of the rain. Make sure to give your treatment time to adhere completely to your strands.

Leave your hair down and unstyled for the first few days after receiving a Brazilian keratin treatment. The keratin is still malleable, so if you put your hair in a tail, or use a hair clip, this can leave dents in your hair. If you want to tie your hair up, wait until the keratin has been in the hair for at least three days, and then you can use a soft hair tie for short intervals of time.

You are not supposed to use any hair products during the 3-day waiting period, and if your hair does become twisted you need to use a flat iron to smooth it out.


young woman with long keratin-straightened hair

Blow-dry your hair after washing, but avoid using hair products after the first shampoo. You don’t need root lifting sprays, mousse, hairspray, or gels to style your hair after a Brazilian keratin treatment. Freshly applied treatment will keep your hair silky-smooth without the need for many styling products. Overuse of styling products could make your hair look dull and dirty.

Instead, just use a blow-dryer to dry your locks and use a flat iron to create a sleek finish. Most time you won’t need a hair straightener, but it is ok to use it if you need to obtain a perfectly sleek finish.

Beautiful model with keratin-treated hair

After Treatment Precautions

To maintain a sleek shiny look longer, it is also a good idea to wash hair less often because the effects wash out gradually. Avoid exposing your hair to chlorine or salt water and high levels of UV radiation, as these factors may reduce the longevity of your treatment.

Wear a cap when swimming because the salt from the ocean, as well as chlorine in swimming pools, can wash out your keratin treatment. If you don’t like wearing a cap, take a shower before you go swimming, and saturate your hair with a pre-swim conditioner. The fresh water soaks your strands and reduces the absorption of chemicals from pool water, while the conditioner provides an additional level of protection.

Keratin Aftercare Shampoos

In the months following the treatment, use a shampoo and conditioner free of sodium and sulfates. For maximum longevity, purchase a shampoo that is specially developed for keratin aftercare. This shampoo will complement the keratin straightening treatment making the results last longer.

Woman with blue eyes and dark straight hair

Deep Conditioning

Use a sulfate-free deep conditioning masque enriched with hydrolyzed keratin at least once a month. Deep conditioning works to nurture hair and helps extend the duration of keratin treatments. Once the treatment began wearing off a deep conditioning mask helps prevent the effects of humidity, keeping the hair less frizzy, smoother, and easier to style.

Nighttime Care for Keratin Straightened Hair

Sleep on a silk pillowcase at night. Traditional cotton pillowcases can create friction and disrupt hair cuticles as you move, making your hair frizzy and the treatment short-lived. By sleeping on a silk pillowcase, you’ll avoid roughing the hair strands when you toss and turn at night. Silk creates very little friction, which means a longer-lasting keratin straightening treatment.

Don’t wear your hair and avoid using hair accessories when going to bed. Instead, leave your hair down and try to keep it straight during sleep hours. Ensure your room isn’t too warm to prevent sweating and tossing which may cause friction.

When to Redo Your Keratin Treatment

On average, a Brazilian keratin treatment should last about three months. After that, your hair will return to its normal state, but it should be healthier-looking and softer because of the conditioning impact of the keratin.

Once the effects of the Brazilian keratin treatment wear off, you can apply treatment again. Repeating keratin treatment will enhance the appearance of your hair over time. The reapplication will be done on the entire length of your hair and in the same way as the initial treatment.

Beautiful model after receiving keratin service

You may also like:

8 Uses of Coconut Oil for Hair

Although commonly found in the kitchen, coconut oil is not only used in cooking and baking recipes. This thick, buttery oil has been used for centuries as a natural beauty treatment for skin and hair.

Coconut oil is a magnificent gift of nature, especially in its organic extra virgin form. Since organic coconut oil is free of synthetic chemicals, you don’t need to worry about any side effects if you have delicate hair or sensitive skin. People of any age can use virgin coconut oil without harmful side effects.

Woman applying coconut oil to her hair in the bathroom

How Coconut Oil Can Benefit Your Hair

Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of natural nutrients for healthy hair. It contains Capric acid, Lauric acid, Caprylic acid, and vitamin E that help promote a healthy scalp and hair. Studies have shown that due to its small molecular weight, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft better than other hair oils. Most hair oils would only sit on the surface of your hair and coat the strands. Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft and helps trap moisture and emollients inside your hair.

There is a number of ways to include coconut oil in your hair care regimen. Here are some of the benefits coconut oil can offer to improve the health of your scalp and hair.

1. Coconut Oil for Hair Growth

According to coconut oil is one of the best natural ways to help your hair grow longer.

One of the causes of hair loss is increased microbial activity that can lead to infection of hair follicles.

Anti-microbial fatty acids present in coconut oil penetrate the scalp to eliminate fungi and harmful bacteria that are responsible for the inflammation that causes hair loss. The small molecules of coconut oil sink deep into the hair follicles, providing the scalp with valuable nutrients and promoting hair growth.

One study from the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that loss of hair proteins can be minimized by applying coconut oil before or after hair shampooing. Healing fatty acids penetrate the hair shaft, and nourish and strengthen the hair strands from the inside, reducing hair breakage. Lauric acid in coconut oil binds to hair protein, reduces protein loss, and protects the roots. This results in longer and healthier hair.

Coconut oil helps restore and maintain your scalp’s natural pH balance, creating a healthy environment for hair growth.

Pour some slightly warmed coconut oil into the palm of your hand and gently massage for a few minutes to evenly distribute the oil into your hair and scalp. Use a hot towel to steam your hair or cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it for at least 2 hours. You can leave it overnight if you have dry hair. Then wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.

Massaging your scalp with oil helps improve blood circulation in the scalp area and increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles. Repeat this treatment at least three times a week.

For hair growth purposes you can also mix a small amount of coconut oil with your shampoo or conditioner.

Girl with beautiful hair holding the bottle of coconut oil

2. Anti-Dandruff Treatment

The most common causes of dandruff are fungal infections and dry skin. The potent anti-fungal properties of coconut oil will keep fungal infections away, tame itchy and irritated scalp, and keep dandruff under control.

Gently massage lightly warmed virgin coconut oil into your scalp using your fingertips. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let the coconut oil sit on your scalp for 15 minutes. You can also leave the treatment overnight. Wash your scalp and hair with a mild shampoo. For best results repeat the treatment three times a week. Regular application of coconut oil will prevent the fungus from coming back.

Coconut oil also keeps your scalp moist and healthy, reducing flaking caused by dry scalp conditions.

3. Coconut Oil Before Bleaching

Coconut oil is a great natural way to reduce the harmful effects of hair bleaching. Adding coconut oil to the hair before the bleaching session protects the hair from excessive drying and from protein loss. Without protein and internal moisture, your hair would be weak and brittle. That is why you need to apply coconut oil to your hair before a harsh chemical process such as bleaching.

For this purpose, use unrefined coconut oil and apply it to your hair before bleaching.

Divide your hair into sections to make application easier. Apply coconut oil to the scalp and the entire length of your hair and use a comb to distribute the oil evenly. Put on a shower cap and leave the treatment overnight or at least for a few hours.

Do not wash your hair before applying bleach. Coconut oil will not interfere with the bleaching effect, but it will protect your scalp from irritation and help avoid excessive drying and damage to your hair.

4. Lice Prevention and Treatment

Chemical products available for the treatment of lice can be damaging to the scalp and hair due to the presence of toxic components. Applying coconut oil is one of the most effective ways to get rid of lice. Coconut oil prevents the eggs from attaching to the hair which keeps lice from coming back.

For the following lice-eliminating homemade treatment you need unrefined coconut oil and raw apple cider vinegar.

  1. Remove all tangles and knots from your hair.
  2. Gently rinse out your hair with 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of filtered water.
  3. Let your hair dry without rinsing the solution.
  4. Saturate your scalp and hair with coconut oil, cover with a shower cap, and leave the treatment on for 12 hours.
  5. When the time is up, comb your hair thoroughly to remove the dead lice and eggs.
  6. Wash out your hair as normal with a mild shampoo.
  7. Keep this routine until the lice are completely gone.

For preventing head lice, you can use coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner. You need to apply a small amount and massage it into the tips of your hair after washing.

5. Deep Conditioning

Coconut oil is very effective as a deep conditioner because of its ability to penetrate the hair shaft. Virgin coconut oil works as an excellent deep conditioner for all hair types making the hair healthier, stronger, and shinier. This treatment is the most beneficial for dry, damaged, and over-processed hair. The fatty acids in coconut oil help replace the lost moisture and nourish your locks, making them silky and soft.

Use a quarter-sized amount of warm coconut oil into your hand and rub it into your hair and scalp. You can leave the oil in the hair overnight to really nurture your dry hair. Put a towel on your pillow to protect it from the oil. Wash your hair with your regular shampoo in the morning.

6. Easy Detangling

The lubricating effect of coconut oil reduces fiber friction which helps prevent hair damage from combing and brushing. This will also make your hair less prone to breakage.

Rub the oil between your hands and massage into the tangled areas of your damp hair, avoiding the roots. Use a wide-toothed comb to get rid of tangles.

Regular application of coconut oil helps minimize tangles.

7. Coconut Oil for Frizzy Hair

If you have curly hair prone to dryness and frizz, coconut oil can replace your anti-frizz serum. Coconut oil prevents moisture from entering the hair shaft and creating frizz. To tame frizzy locks, use a tiny bit of oil and rub it into your hair. Lightly run your fingers through your hair, paying special attention to the ends. Coconut oil helps smooth strands out without leaving hair looking greasy. Make sure to avoid the scalp area.

For frizzy or dry ends use a small amount of oil and rub it into the ends of your hair.

8. Pre-Shampoo Coconut Oil Treatment

Coconut oil is a hydrophobic substance. When used as a prewash conditioner it coats the hair surface and protects hair from absorbing too much water during washing. This decreases swelling of hair fibers and protects the cuticle from damage, which in turn helps to increase protein retention in the hair.

Rub the oil through your hair and leave it on for 1 hour before shampooing.

How to Purchase a Quality Coconut Oil for Hair

Look for pure, unrefined organic coconut oil that is processed without chemicals, dyes, and other harmful substances. Processed coconut oil may contain trans-fats and additives to prolong its shelf life. Nobody wants chemicals on their skin and hair.

Cold-pressed coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat and contains all its phytonutrients and health-giving ingredients.

Woman applies coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment

Unwanted Side Effects of Brazilian Keratin Treatments

Keratin treatment has become very popular over the past decade due to its potential to dramatically improve the appearance of frizzy and unmanageable hair. A keratin straightening treatment is known for its ability to turn frizzy and curly strands into glossy and pin-straight hair. It makes hair more manageable and gives it a healthy and sleek look for up to four months. Keratin treatments are typically performed in a salon by a certified hair professional. However, a substantial number of at-home smoothing treatments have entered the market in recent years.

Is Keratin Treatment Bad for you?

To make hair straight, the formula– along with keratin – must contain chemicals that bind to the keratin in the hair. Many straightening systems use formaldehyde or its derivatives for straightening purposes. However, these chemical ingredients can cause both acute and long-term health problems. Your biggest concerns as a client are the short-term effects, which may include eye and skin irritation, and itching in the nose and throat.

A dark-skinned woman with black smooth hair

One of the main problems with keratin treatment products is that manufacturers don’t stick to the regulations that determine the concentrations of formaldehyde. The information on the label may not be completely accurate or may miss to include the correct hazard warnings. In such cases, even hair salon owners might don’t know that hair straightening products contain formaldehyde. Some of the formaldehyde-containing products may even be labeled as “formaldehyde-free”. An air test performed by Federal OSHA has shown high formaldehyde fumes levels in salons using Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, which has been labeled as “formaldehyde-free”.

Dangers of being exposed to the chemicals during and after the straightening procedure include

  • Dizziness
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin irritations, particularly on the scalp
  • Ears and nose irritation
  • Coughing and difficulty in breathing
  • Hair loss
  • Allergic reaction

Allergic reactions can be in the form of itching, skin irritation, burning eyes, burning throat, and asthma attacks. Your dermatologist will give you advice on substances you should stay away from. Make sure to inform your stylist if you have any history of allergic reactions.

Many salons take special safety precautions during the procedure, such as proper ventilation and protective masks and gloves for their workers. However, continuous exposure to chemicals could pose health risks and cause long-term health problems for the stylists.

The Risks of Exposure to Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is present in many products as a preservative, embalming agent, or disinfectant. Formaldehyde can also modify our hair proteins, causing the hair to return to its original, smooth state. Formaldehyde is classified as a suspected human carcinogen, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It can cause acute and long-term health problems in sensitive persons, including breathing difficulties, nausea, and bloody noses. Formaldehyde levels above 0.1 ppm in the air can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs. If formaldehyde levels go up, the symptoms will get worse.

You can be exposed to formaldehyde by:

  • Breathing it in through your nose or mouth
  • Getting it on your skin
  • Getting it in your eyes or mouth
  • Being used on other customers in a saloon
black woman with long straightened hair

Is there a Formaldehyde-Free Keratin Treatment?

There are many formaldehyde-free formulations that are now available due to raised awareness of the problem. As public awareness grew, salons began offering “no-formaldehyde” and “low-formaldehyde” treatments. However, some hair-smoothing products listed as formaldehyde-free actually contain ingredients that break down into formaldehyde during the heat application stage. These formaldehyde-producing ingredients may be listed as formalin, formic aldehyde, methanol, methylene glycol, methylene oxide, paraform, oxomethane, and oxymethylene.

Other products that claim to be formaldehyde-free, were found, when tested by the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to contain significant levels of formaldehyde. The low-formaldehyde products, while not as toxic as the original formulations, still carry health risks.

What are Alternatives to Keratin Straightening Treatment?

If you want smooth, frizz-free hair without possible side effects, there are some highly effective alternatives to formaldehyde-based straightening treatments.

To get quality, long-lasting straightening results you need to invest in high-quality flat iron. An effective straightener should go at least up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperature helps smooth the cuticle and infuses hair with intense shine. Other features to look for are tourmaline and ionic technology. Ionic flat irons use negative ions to make hair shiny and frizz-free.

Other options to get straighter, shinier, and more manageable hair include Botox hair treatment and gentle amino acid-based smoothing treatments. Some of these mild smoothing treatments you can do yourself or with a little help from your more experienced friend.

The following is the list of keratin treatments that are known to contain formaldehyde or formaldehyde donors.


Brazilian Blowout Smoothing Solution by Brazilian Blowout 8.4 %
Brazilian Keratin Treatment by Marcia Teixeira 1.8 %
Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Treatment by Copomon (Coppola) 1.8 %
Global Keratin Taming System Strawberry by Global Keratin 3.0 %
Global Keratin Taming System with Juvexin Strawberry Resistant by Global Keratin 4.4 %
Pro-Collagen RX Keratin Treatment 2.8 %
IStraight Keratin (Advanced Keratin Treatment) by IBS Beauty 2.3 %
Brazilian Thermal Reconstruction by Cadiveu 7.0 %

fashionable young woman with keratin-straightened hair