If you’re one of the many people in this world who either have weak or damaged hair (raises hand), or could simply use a boost to help it look more shiny and smooth (also raises hand), you probably should get acquainted with keratin (especially keratin shampoos and conditioners, which is what this post is all about)—if you haven't yet already. For the uninitiated: “Keratin is a protein found in hair, skin, and nails,” explains celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein, who has worked with clients such as Gemma Chan, Jennifer Garner, and Sofia Vergara. “When you use a product with keratin, it strengthens hair as well as smooths it and makes it more manageable.”
While keratin is touted as an amazing treatment for those of us with overly processed hair, it’s the kind of thing that anyone can benefit from (yes, even those of you who are lucky to have healthy hair). As Rubenstein points out, most hair types will see an improvement from using keratin shampoos and conditioners. “Depending on how healthy the hair is to begin with will determine the impact on how dramatic the result will be. Weakened, overly dry, or desensitized hair can benefit from keratin greatly,” she says. A win for us all!
So, are there any downsides to keratin?
Overdoing it seems to be something you want to watch out for, but Rubenstein applies that warning to shampooing too much in general. “Mechanical damage from washing is a big contributor to what causes overall damage,” she says. “Personally, I love to alternate shampoo and conditioner so I would switch between a moisture-based and keratin-based set. Protein is important, but moisture and hydration are equally as important.”
It’s also fine to just use a keratin shampoo to experience optimal benefits, but Rubenstein says that shampoo and conditioners are created in balance with one another, so it makes sense to use them together “especially if delivering keratin to the hair is the primary goal.” Ahead, 18 of the best keratin shampoos and conditioners to try to rescue your hair from damage or keep it frizz-free.
The best keratin shampoos and conditioners
Alongside a powerful keratin amino complex, Keranique’s shampoo and conditioner contains biotin to help nourish and panthenol, which adds even more protection, hydration,and damage control. Talk about a triple threat.
Are limp strands keeping you from having the hair of your dreams? This Oribe shampoo is all about volumizing hair that’s on the fine to medium side so you can fake that ‘90s supermodel look. The Oribe Signature Complex is the secret to keeping hair from losing its luster as well the deterioration of its natural keratin. (FYI, this shampoo is more of a keratin protector than a keratin shampoo, per se.)
A great budget pick, Suave’s keratin-infused shampoo and conditioner will pump protein in your frizzy strands, ensuring a sleek, smooth, and healthy mane. This is thanks to the Keralock Technology, which cleanses hair while simultaneously infusing lost keratin within the hair fiber.
Whether you’re a strawberry or a platinum blonde, you should keep this keratin, non-pigmented shampoo in your arsenal to maintain tone and strength while making sure your hair looks healthy and soft. The formula cleans the scalp and hair without completely stripping it, and simultaneously creates new bonds in hair fibers, leaving strands stronger than ever.
When your hair is looking and feeling worse for the wear due to too much heat styling or bleaching, it’s time to break out the big guns, like this shampoo by L’anza. It contains plant ingredients like abyssinian flower for shine and softness, plus antioxidant-packed acai. Make sure to pick up the conditioner to get the full benefits.
If you’re a constant victim of split ends and breakage around your crown, this OGX Anti-Breakage Keratin Oil Shampoo is one way to give your tresses some support. In addition to keratin, the formula also contains a high dose of argan oil to help add shine and much-needed moisture. FYI, argan oil is packed with fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E that nourish your hair layers deep.
For anyone who wants to put some bounce back into their curls, consider this Vernon Francois Pure~Fro Shampoo on your wash days. Made for kinky and 4C curl patterns, this cleanser contains a “plant-based keratin” that helps to stop breakage in its tracks. Some noteworthy ingredients include green tea-extract for potential hair growth and chamomile flower for hair strength.
Best keratin shampoos and conditioners for color-treated hair
Anyone who has dyed hair knows how delicate it can be, which makes a keratin shampoo and conditioner all the more necessary. This one keeps product from building up in your strands and scalp, yet leaves color alone while it washes.
When it comes to color protection, you can’t go wrong with Joico. In addition to damage-repairing keratin, this shampoo contains nourishing African manketti oil and argan oil, which is chock-full of antioxidants, which help strengthen and protect hair follicles.
Do you constantly put your hair through a wild ride of dye and heat tools and need a bit of rehab for your strands? Amika’s shampoo is made with vegan proteins that mimic the benefits of keratin, as well as the trendy ingredient sea buckthorn berry, which is packed with omega 7, and a must for dry and tired hair.
With a formula that’s free of harsh chemicals like sodium chloride, you can expect ample protection and moisture to resurrect your damage locks while keeping things gentle for your color.
Made with a blend that contains triple the protein and keratin, your color-treated hair will look brand new (despite all that you put it through). It’s formula is gentle enough to really clean the dirt and grime from your scalp without compromising color, and leaves it shinier and stronger.
If you’re someone who falls into the trap of using a lot heat on your hair, this Biolage shampoo deserves a spot in shower caddy. It’s specifically designed to restore the elasticity and vibrancy of over-processed hair (aka, hair that has been damaged by the over use of hot tools or hair dye).
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