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.”
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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, 15 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
Oribe Shampoo for Magnificent Volume — $46.00
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.)
Suave Keratin Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioner — $16.00
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.
Blondeme Keratin Restore Bonding Shampoo — $10.00
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.
L’anza Keratin Healing Oil Lustrous Shampoo — $42.00
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.
Best keratin shampoos and conditioners for color-treated hair
Joico K-PAK Color Therapy Color-Protecting Shampoo — $39.00
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.
Amika The Kure Bond Repair Shampoo for Damaged Hair — $18.00
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.
Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo & Conditioner Duo — $22.00
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.
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