Keratin Shampoos: Ingredients, Benefits, and Tips for Buying

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Gaga

Keratin is a fibrous structural protein naturally found in our hair, skin, and nails. Human hair consists of keratin (up to 95%) and small amounts of lipids, water, and pigments. The middle layer of hair- the cortex– is made of keratin proteins that keep hair strong end elastic. Keratin protein in the outer layer protects the cortex from damage that may be caused by thermal styling, chemical processing, and prolonged sun exposure.

When the keratin in the cuticle layer is depleted, the cuticle is unable to provide protection to the inner layer of the hair. Plus, damaged cuticles increase friction between hair strands, causing additional damage during washing, brushing, and styling.  Damaged hair loses its strength and elasticity and becomes weak, brittle, and prone to frizz.

One of the simplest ways to make up for lost keratin is to use keratin-enriched hair care products. Switching to a keratin shampoo and conditioner is a good way to start as you don’t have to add any extra steps to your hair care routine.

a satisfied woman with healthy hair washed with a keratin shampoo

Benefits of Keratin-Infused Hair Shampoos

Replace missing keratin: Keratin-enriched shampoos are formulated to infuse keratin proteins into hair cuticles during the shampooing process. Keratin in hair shampoos binds to the strands and fills the gaps in the hair shaft to temporarily improve hair structure.

Make hair less prone to frizz: The keratin-infused shampoos help strengthen and align the cuticle, improving hair’s resistance to humidity. Keratin shampoos create a smooth finish on chemically treated hair and add natural shine. They leave chemically processed hair looking healthier and less prone to frizz.

Shield the hair from future damage: Keratin in hair products helps restore both the inner and outer layers of the hair. This way it protects the strands from further chemical and environmental damage.

Enhance the results of keratin treatments: If you have received a keratin smoothing treatment, a keratin shampoo can extend the results of your keratin treatment service. Keratin in your shampoo and conditioner helps to replace some of the keratin that has been washed away with each shampooing.

Does Keratin Shampoo Straighten Hair?

Keratin-replenishing shampoos are made for all hair types, but they are especially beneficial for chemically processed and damaged hair.

Keratin in hair shampoos will not change the texture of your hair. However, it has the capability to fill in the cracks and polish the cuticle layer, making the strands look, fuller, smoother, and shinier. It doesn’t straighten curly hair but it will soften your coarse and frizzy locks.

a beautiful brunette with shiny healthy hair

What Ingredients to Look for?

When buying a keratin-containing shampoo, check the label to ensure that the ingredient list includes at least one of the following terms:

Hydrolyzed keratin consists of smaller fragments of keratin that are able to rebuild disrupted bonds, repair the cuticle, and strengthen weakened strands.

Amino acids have a small molecular weight and can easily penetrate the hair shaft. They will work to repair damaged strands and create protection against further structural damage.

What Ingredients to Avoid?

Make sure to avoid sulfates and salt that can wash out keratin from your hair. Some brands of keratin shampoos may even contain formaldehyde. You should only consider products offered by reputable companies, that are committed to selling safe personal care products.

Select a keratin shampoo formulated with natural ingredients that are gentle on your skin and hair. Many drugstore keratin shampoos contain harsh sulfates. There are also several “low-sulfate” formulas on the market. If you haven’t received keratin treatment and looking for an inexpensive keratin shampoo, you may find that some of these low-sulfate formulas work for you. Just be aware that harsh sulfates and salt may diminish the desired effects obtained by keratin in your shampoo.

Quality Matters

Low-quality keratin shampoos contain larger molecules of keratin that can’t adhere to the hair for long enough to survive the rinsing step. So, go for a reputable brand if you want to see any benefits.    

Are Keratin Shampoos Good for Keratin Treated Hair?

If you’ve had a keratin treatment, it is not necessary to use keratin-containing shampoo for your post-treatment care. However, you can benefit from using keratin shampoo as long as the product is free of sulfates and sodium chloride.

To maintain the results of your keratin treatment, you can use shampoo and conditioner from the same line or any other brand of sulfate and salt-free shampoo. However, when the results of your treatment start to fade, it is advisable to incorporate keratin-containing shampoo into your hair care regimen. This will keep your hair smoother and more resistant to humidity. 

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

Related products: Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo, Keratin Rebuild Protein Structure, Smoothing Shampoo, by EMOLENT, It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Shampoo Plus Keratin, Sulfate-Free, Keratin-Infused SHAMPOO by ORGANICOLAB, Keratin Healing Oil Lustrous Shampoo by Lanza, and Keratin Enriched Shampoo by BELLISSO.

a girl with long hair washed with a keratin shampoo

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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.


2 thoughts on “Keratin Shampoos: Ingredients, Benefits, and Tips for Buying”

  1. Yes, it is free of salt and sulfates. It also contains hydrolyzed wheat protein, which is beneficial for chemically treated hair.

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