Should Keratin Treatment Come Before or After a Color Service?

Last Updated on December 18, 2022 by Gaga

Growing up there were so many little sayings my parents had. Probably the one that stuck with me the longest was “work hard play hard.” As a child, I’d try to skip outside unnoticed and get caught. I bet you can guess exactly what my mother liked to say each and every time. Working hard didn’t actually bother me. It was the order I couldn’t stand.

Why work hard, then play hard? Why couldn’t I play first? Of course, my parents knew that any kid who played first usually didn’t do their work after. What I didn’t understand back then was the order of things really matters. Like it’s an incredibly important part to make things flow in just the right way.

Can you Do a Keratin Service on Bleached Hair?

An elegant blonde woman with keratin-treated hair

It’s no different in the world of hairstyling where clients are constantly having to think through hair products, services, and what it is they may need next. I’ll let you in on a secret, the one you need next is formaldehyde-free keratin treatment. I know the word keratin has been a big buzzword for a while, but it’s for good reason.

Keratins are beautiful, restorative treatments that can actually fill in the little “holes” or damaged spots on every hair strand. You might be wondering, how exactly does this kind of damage occur? There are a lot of different reasons, which we can go over some time. For now, I’m going to look at a very significant one: Highlighting your hair.

Yup, you heard right. The service you love the most gets your chestnut-brunette locks to have the perfect sunkissed look, making you the bronde of your dreams. Or for you blondes, it’s that level of tone and brightness that screams “bombshell!” The upside is that you look and feel great after all that bleach has worked its magic. The downside is you need to take special measures to ensure the health of your hair.

Remember the little holes? Unfortunately, they can lead to dryness, brittleness, or even breakage. So what can you do? The classic answer is moisture. Get your foundation chalked full of moisture-encouraging products. This means your shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, and heat protectant (go for a cream one). It helps tremendously. But the better answer is to get keratin.

How does Keratin Treatment Prep Damaged Hair to Take Color?

You see the holes from the bleach deep inside the hair strand. Many surface products just can’t reach them. Now you’re starting to get why they’re such a buzzword. Keratins are designed to heal hair from the inside out. If you are looking to truly restore the amount of protein and strength in your hair, this is it. These treatments get right down to the damage that products just can’t heal. They make each strand stronger from root to tip, shinier, and less frizzy.

Another cool magic trick they do is actually help your color spread more evenly throughout the hair. If you think about it, what if you have one spot near your bang area that is more damaged than say the back of your hair? This is called porosity (think tiny pores all over the hair strand). By reducing hair porosity, keratin treatment helps you get more consistent coloring results. But, don’t hurry.

The color you apply then will affect these areas differently, providing different results at times when you are going for even and seamless. By filling in all the holes, keratins can help your hair take its color evenly, and guess what? It only yields more accurate results and really helps out your stylist!

A beautiful brunette with smooth hair

Can I Get Keratin Treatment Immediately after the Color Service?

I know what you’re thinking at this point, “I’m going to book keratin ASAP. I’m due for color anyway!” Before I can say hold your horses, you’ve already dialed your favorite colorist’s number. How are you this fast? You keep her number on the speed dial of course. “Hello,” she says. But before she can ask how she can help you, you have already squeaked at a rapid pace “book me the keratin right after my color appointment because I heard they are magic and I want the magic!”

She now can get a word in as you sit breathlessly waiting for her yes. But much to your shock, she says “no.” Not to your services, but to the order and the time frame you requested for them.

Why Can’t I Get Color and Keratin Service on the Same Day?

a woman with colored and keratin-treated hair

She goes on to explain, much like my mother, that the order of things matters immensely. It matters so much, I’m going to say ALWAYS book your keratin AFTER your color service. Why you may wonder? Well, each hair strand has this outer shell called the cuticle. The nature of keratin is that it seals this down after the proteins are embedded. This is why it looks so strong and shiny.

But the nature of the bleach your colorist uses to get highlights has a chemical partnered with it that blows open the cuticles for the bleach to get inside. As you can see, keratins and bleach services operate on the hair in exactly opposite ways and your hair needs some time to recover.

How Soon Can I Dye my Hair after Receiving Keratin Treatment?

So once the cuticles are sealed from the keratin, you’ll have to wait 2 weeks before getting a color or color-lightening service done. Once your stylist explains this, your breath returns to you and you say “Then book my color service before my keratin please.” And that’s when your stylist gives you one more small recommendation. Don’t book your keratin and color service on the same day. Why is that? Didn’t we just cover that it’s safe to do keratin BEFORE color? Yes. But there’s something called a clarifying shampoo that is used before each keratin service.

a woman with highlighted and keratin-treated hair

Does Keratin Treatment Lighten your Hair Color?

Clarifying shampoos are very strong and help open the cuticle in order for the keratin proteins to get inside the hair shaft. Let’s say you’ve just had your color put on or your demi-permanent gloss after your highlights. The clarifying shampoo can actually strip off the color that was just added! So, while the keratin complex is safe with color, the clarifying shampoo is a bit too strong. To recap: Get color or highlights before keratin. It’s recommended not to book the same day as the clarifying shampoo is strong and can strip the color.

How to Get Most of your Color and Keratin Service?

Not all keratin products are formulated equally.

Some straightening products (Express Keratin by Keratin Complex, GK HAIR Smoothing Keratin Treatment, and Silk Touch Keratin Treatment by Hair Bar NYC) don’t tend to strip your color. On the contrary, they work to enhance color vibrancy and shine. However, let your color set for at least ten days and then book an appointment for keratin service.

The results are simply lovely. Even lovelier when the first 3 keratins are booked 4 weeks apart, then they can be done seasonally or 4 times a year. Some do it as needed. Whatever way you go with your keratin, always remember that the order of things matters. 

To avoid possible disappointment, consult a hair professional about the product you are going to use and let your stylist do the job for you.

A beautiful woman with long straight blonde colored hair

About the author

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Gaga is a blogger and founder of the Softer Hair website. She often says that insomnia is to blame for her first blogging attempts. Being the night owl, she hated the morning alarm. She left her office job and returned to what she loved most - writing.


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