As someone who perennially bleaches their hair, I'm pretty into all things keratin. I get the odd keratin treatment here and there, but to keep my hair looking silky and smooth between salon visits, I tend to reach for a keratin shampoo in the shower. There are a lot of keratin shampoos on the market these days, though, and not all of them are created equally. So, to help you on your search for the best keratin shampoos, I've compiled a handful of my favorites below, based on years of trial and error. All of them use the protein keratin (which, fun fact, is what hair is made of) to repair damage, fight frizz, and promote silkier, smoother hair — for a fraction of the price of an in-salon treatment. Also, because sulfates tend to exacerbate hair dryness, which can lead to more frizz and even irritation on the scalp, most of the shampoos (six out of seven, to be precise) featured here are sulfate-free, too.
Scroll on to shop seven of the best keratin shampoos at every price point. Then, if you're interested in even more smoothing and damage-repairing benefits, check out these heavy-duty keratin hair masks to use post-shampoo, about once a week.
1. Author's Pick
It's the priciest pick on this list, sure — but I've fallen in love with this VIRTUE recovery shampoo after trying it for the first time about a year ago, and I think it's worthy every penny. The keratin in question here is Alpha Keratin 60ku(R), which is the star ingredient in all VIRTUE products. It was discovered by a doctor specializing in regenerative medicine and is nearly identical to the keratin that makes up our own hair, which is what makes it so effective at repairing damage. Other good-for-hair ingredients in this formula include hydrolyzed quinoa, baobab seed oil, and antioxidant-rich grapefruit extract. The results? Stronger, silkier, more vibrant-looking hair, reduced frizz, stronger ends, and potentially even increased thickness (my hair is already super thick, so I can't speak to that last part — but I can attest to the rest of these claims). Consider picking up the travel-friendly 2-ounce size to try it out for yourself before splurging on the full-sized bottle.
2. Best Budget Keratin Shampoo
Looking to spend less than $10? Then go with this OGX Anti-Breakage + Keratin Oil Shampoo. Like most keratin shampoos, it works to repair damage (i.e. breakage and split ends), smooth flyaways and frizz, and enhance shine, so your hair looks (and feels) silky and strong. Pick up the matching conditioner for best results.
3. Best Keratin Shampoo For Curly Hair
Ideal for fragile, curly hair types (specifically 4C hair), this sulfate- and silicone-free shampoo from Vernon François offers a gentle way to deep-cleanse hair and simultaneously fight breakage using a plant-based keratin. Other key ingredients in the formula include scalp-strengthening botanicals like green tea, chamomile, tea tree, and pine bark, which may even be able to help with hair loss and/or thinning. This one also has a matching, keratin-infused conditioner with which you can pair the shampoo; my favorite part about it is its genius spray-nozzle bottle!
4. Best Volumizing Keratin Shampoo
If you have dry or damaged hair that's limp or tends to fall flat, pick up this volumizing shampoo from keratin experts, KERATHERAPY. All of their shampoos contain keratin, but this one focuses on promoting fullness and increasing elasticity by cleansing the scalp of product buildup and excess oils that may be weighing your hair down. In addition to the brand's signature Kerabond technology, you'll find moisturizing, damage-repairing ingredients like hydrolyzed silk, hemp seed oil, and sea kelp in this unique formula. Pair it with the brand's volumizing conditioner and root spray for even more enhanced body and bounce.
5. Best Purple Keratin Shampoo For Blondes
Full disclosure: This is the only shampoo on this list that contains sulfates. But it's also one of the only purple toning shampoos I've come across that contains keratin, so it's an allowed an exception. Use this shampoo to maintain a cool-toned shade of blonde and strengthen your hair with each wash; Nexxus's keratin protein and violet pigment complex does both jobs simultaneously. In short, with its brassiness-busting and damage-repairing abilities, it's ideal for people who have had serious bleach jobs — think dyed white or silver hair.
6. Best Smelling
If you've ever used an amika product before, you'll know what I'm talking about here. The signature scent that they use in all their products is absolutely heavenly — fruity, but not in an overly sweet way; it's the type of residual scent that'll have people drooling over the smell of your hair. But there's more to this shampoo than its delicious fragrance. Using hydrolyzed keratin and hydrolyzed wheat protein (as well as amika's hero ingredient, sea buckthorn berry, which is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants), it works to repair damage, restore moisture, and leave hair looking silky, shiny, and smooth. Amika also makes one of my favorite hair masks of all time, which is from the same line as this shampoo, as well as an equally amazing keratin conditioner.
7. The Best Affordable Keratin Shampoo & Conditioner Duo
The L'Oréal EverSleek Keratin Caring shampoo is one of my favorite drugstore shampoos of all time. Using ingredients like sunflower oil, olive oil, glycerin, and keratin, of course, it promotes strong, sleek hair without the use of sulfates, salts, or silicones — rare to find in a drugstore product. Considering you can get both the shampoo and conditioner for less than $15, it's a great value. I'm a big fan of their EverSleek serum, too, which I like to comb through my hair to prevent humidity-induced frizz.