The best keratin treatment

Ana Sanchez

Keratin treatments tame frizziness or unruliness for people with curly, wavy, or coarse hair.

Dry, damaged hair leads to bad hair days. With all we do to our hair -- the heat styling, the dye jobs -- no wonder our hair revolts. Fortunately, using a keratin treatment can soothe and strengthen stressed-out hair and return your locks to their shiny, healthy birthright. Keratin treatments are also popular for straightening hair along with other benefits.

To learn more about these, and what to look for in a keratin product, read this quick shopping guide. We've also included our top recommendations, like Keratin Research's salon-quality treatment, so you can perfect a Brazilian blowout at home.

What is a keratin treatment?

Keratin is a protein that we all have in our hair, nails, and skin. Our hair is actually mostly made of this protein. It protects the outer shaft of our hair and is also a structural building block of it.

When hair is damaged, a treatment containing keratin will help fill in those porous, vulnerable areas leaving hair smoother, softer, and thicker.

Professional keratin treatments require a visit to the salon, and while the results of these treatments may last months, they are pricey and may contain harmful chemicals. At-home keratin treatments are a more affordable and generally safer way to repair your hair.

Considerations when choosing keratin treatments

Types of keratin treatments to consider

Professional-grade keratin treatment: Some salon-grade keratin treatments are available for purchase for in-home use. Just like with professional treatments, these last for four to six months, so you only need to do them a few times a year at most. However, these require skill to apply. Many contain dangerous chemicals, so we strongly recommend opting for a formaldehyde-free formula or using protective measures when processing.

Keratin oil treatment: If you naturally have coarse or dry hair, a keratin oil that you can leave in your hair every day is ultra nourishing and calming to frizz. Once absorbed into the hair, the oils are very moisturizing and add a high level of shine. They can be used on wet or dry hair.

Leave-in keratin treatment: These gentle treatments can also be used daily and work best when applied to wet, clean hair. When left in the hair, they smooth, strengthen, and moisturize hair all day long. They can also be used on dry hair.

Deep-conditioner keratin treatment: Used like a hair mask or other deep-conditioning treatment, this type of keratin product is formulated to be used once or twice a week to restore moisture to the hair. Once applied to wet hair, deep-conditioner keratin treatments sit on hair anywhere from five to 15 minutes. Their keratin content also strengthens and smooths.

Ingredients featured in keratin treatments

Most keratin treatments contain other beneficial ingredients to enhance their formulas:

Oils: Argan, coconut, olive, and macadamia nut oils help hydrate the hair and add shine. 

Butters: Shea, mango, and coconut butters are all heavy moisturizing agents that also create a protective barrier to hair.

Humectants/emollients: Ingredients like glycerin or honey are included in some treatments to attract and retain moisture in the hair.

Keratin treatment prices

Expect to pay between $8 and $45 for a keratin oil, leave-in treatment, or deep conditioner. For professional-grade treatments, expect to pay between $30 and $100.


Q. How soon will I see results from using a keratin treatment?

A. If you're using a professional-grade treatment, you'll experience results right away. Be aware that these treatments take a few hours to apply and require blow-drying or flat-ironing your hair afterward. All other types of keratin treatments may take up to a month of consistent application to see results.

Q. What's the best way to distribute a leave-in keratin treatment into my hair?

A. If you're using an oil or leave-in keratin treatment, distribute one to two drops if you have short hair, or three to four drops if you have longer hair, onto your hands, then massage evenly through your hair, concentrating on the ends, until fully absorbed.

Keratin treatments we recommend

Best of the best: Keratin Research Brazilian Keratin Hair Treatment

Our take: A professional-grade keratin treatment for long-lasting results.

What we like: Smooths hair for weeks. Contains natural argan and coconut oil for extra hydration. Popular product for smoothing and straightening hair.

What we dislike: Contains formaldehyde.

Best bang for your buck: It's a 10 Leave-In Conditioner Plus Keratin

Our take: A moisturizing leave-in keratin treatment that won't break the bank.

What we like: Spray is easy to apply. Protects hair from damage from heat styling. Great for use in between salon keratin treatments to maintain smoothness and shine.

What we dislike: A little goes a long way, so use sparingly to avoid stickiness.

Choice 3: L'Anza Keratin Healing Oil Treatment

Our take: Keratin-infused oil that deeply moisturizes dry or damaged hair.

What we like: Contains several types of botanical oils. Paraben- and sulfate-free formula. Heals hair while also strengthening and boosting volume. 

What we dislike: Oil-based formula not ideal for normal or oily hair types.

Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.