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The 10 Best At-Home Keratin Treatments For Stronger, Shinier Hair

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Sick, cut and healthy hair care keratin. Before and after treatment.
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In all honesty, you can’t do an at-home keratin treatment that’s comparable to one you’d get at a salon — nor is it recommended that you attempt one, according to Shelly Aguirre, Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, who spoke to Bustle for this article. “Keratin is the protein our hair is made from,” Aguirre says, and “over ‘proteinizing’ the hair can make it too strong and it can actually do more harm than good. The hair can become so strong that it will snap.” Rather, the best at-home keratin treatments take the form of hair masks, oils, creams, sprays, or shampoo/conditioner combos that include keratin as the main ingredient — often alongside other proteins, like biotin, soy, wheat, or silk — to rebuild hair that’s been damaged by excessive heat styling, bleach, dye, chemical processing, and the like. In turn, you’ll see an improvement in your hair’s softness and shine, and a reduction in split ends and breakage. And since “hair needs a balance of protein and moisture,” says Aguirre, these over-the-counter treatments also include plenty of nourishing ingredients, like jojoba, coconut, or baobab oils.

So, no, these options aren’t as long-lasting or intense than salon treatments. But they are a step up from your usual hair-care products — and they really, truly work to restore damaged hair. Scroll on to shop 10 of the best at-home keratin treatments, from scientifically formulated deep conditioners to luxurious hair oils and easy-to-use sprays.

1

The Overall Best Keratin Hair Mask

Like all Virtue products, the headlining ingredient in this deep conditioning mask is the brand’s proprietary Alpha Keratin 60ku(R), a keratin protein (discovered by a scientist working in regenerative medicine) that’s nearly identical to the keratin that occurs naturally in our hair, which means the protein binds and incorporates seamlessly into damaged areas. Brown algae, artichoke leaf extract, and baobab oil contribute their own softening and fortifying effects. Since that protein is so effective, this mask only needs to sit for about three minutes for it to work.

Rave review: “For me, this mask was a life changer for my hair. I use it once every couple weeks and it brings my hair back to life. Super smooth and silky.”

2

The Best, Less Expensive Keratin Hair Mask

This Keratin Intensive Hair Treatment from Paul Mitchel’’s Awapuhi Wild Ginger line is another excellent keratin hair mask, and a salon go-to. The formula contains not one, but three types of keratin, plus hydrolyzed vegetable protein for good measure. White ginger root extract is rich in fatty acids and encourages blood circulation, which in turn can promote faster and thicker hair growth. You’ll also love the scent, a sophisticated blend of jasmine, musk, wood, and spice.

Rave review: “The first time I used this on my hair was at the Paul Mitchell School, and it was like a miracle. I had what I thought would be irreparable heat damage on a section of my hair (from overuse of a straightener and from washing/straightening my hair every single day for an extended period of time). They put this intensive treatment on my hair, and when they blow dried it, it looked like normal hair again. We couldn't believe it.”

3

The Best Drugstore Keratin Mask

The rare drugstore product with keratin, these HASK keratin hair masks ring up at just about $28 for a box of 12 single-use packets. It’s a great option for those just beginning to experiment with at-home keratin products, or if you’d like to bring a deep conditioning treatment along with you on a trip (why not?). Considering its low price point, the formula is impressively potent: There’s hydrolyzed keratin, keratin amino acids, and hydrolyzed collagen, while jojoba and coconut oils leave your hair impossibly soft. Pro tip: You can actually squeeze several treatments out of one packet to stretch your dollar even further.

Rave review: “LOVE these masks. So much cheaper than keratin treatments (and frankly conditioner, I’ve completely switched to using this as conditioner instead). I get about 4 uses per package. My hair feels so soft after using, knots come right out, smells great, and doesn’t get too dry or too oily. Also, as someone who ALWAYS breaks out from hair products, this is one of the few products that doesn’t make me breakout. And this is a great deal.”

4

The Fan-Favorite Keratin Hair Mask

If you’ve spent any time perusing the beauty section on Amazon, you’ve likely come across the Vitamins Keratin Hair Mask; and with over 6,000 five-star ratings, it’s become a veritable cult-classic on the site. The deliciously creamy formula is packed with hydrolyzed keratin, biotin, and collagen — the Big Three of restoring ingredients — plus castor oil and rosemary leaf oil, which can both encourage healthier hair growth.

Rave review: “My hair was very dry, dull, and damaged due to some medical treatments that completely singed and thinned it. I was hopeless about my hair, I had already tried several things and it just looked so sparse and unhealthy. I’ve been using this mask for a week and my hair has almost completely recovered. It seems longer, has more body, and even looks a little thicker. The color looks more vibrant and healthy. It’s even shinier. This hair mask gave me a little self esteem back. I’m so happy with the results.”

5

Pro Pick: The Best Keratin Treatment For Blondes

Aguirre calls this keratin-infused treatment mist from Oribe a “game-changer” for blondes, and a must to extend the life of your color between dye jobs. “Not only will it instantly tone brassy hair, it will brighten those locks as well,” she adds, thanks to the violet pigments in the formula. Meanwhile, “restorative proteins” like hydrolyzed keratin, botanical oils, and the Oribe Signature Complex (a blend of edelweiss, lychee, and edelweiss flower extracts) “will treat existing damage and prevent future damage.” This luxe treatment is also infused with Oribe’s signature fragrance, an intoxicating blend of Calabrian bergamot, jasmine, and sandalwood.

Rave review: “I have never written a review on Amazon but I feel compelled to after using this product. Due to covid, I haven’t been in the salon for months and my hair was yellow and brassy. I used this on dry hair before I shampoo’d and conditioned and am absolutely blown away by how bright and white the blonde looks. I also love the smell and my hair feels amazing. [...] it’s pricey but this will definitely save you trips to the salon for toner or whatever else you do in between major color services.”

6

The Best Keratin Shampoo & Conditioner

Alternating your standard shampoo and conditioner for a keratin set once or twice a week is an easy way to infuse your strands with the fortifying protein. This Keranique set is one of the most popular on Amazon, earning over 3,000 five-star ratings thus far. In here, several types of keratin, silk proteins, and hydrolyzed wheat and soy proteins work together to restore strength and shine to damaged hair, while flower extracts — including chamomile and camellia — leave your hair feeling super-soft and moisturized. The set linked above, Volumizing, is by far the fan-favorite, and many customers with thinning hair report that it makes a noticeable difference in their hair’s regrowth and thickness. Though it comes in four more versions with other targeted benefits: Curl Enhance, Color Boost, Damage Control, and Deep Hydration.

Rave review: “I’ve been using this product for about a year. I feel it has helped slow down, and even stopped, my thinning and loss of hair. It adds volume, and moisture to my hair. A little pricey, but I feel it’s worth the price. Will continue to buy regularly.”

7

The Best Keratin Oil

Parched strands will absolutely drink up this hair oil from L’ANZA. In addition to keratin amino acids, the formula is made with an intelligent blend of four botanical oils (Abyssinian flower, acai fruit, coffee seed, and babassu kernel) that deliver essential fatty acids to damaged hair, resulting in better elasticity, shine, and moisture — one reviewer wrote that their brush ran through their hair “like butter” after raking it through their mid-shafts to ends, and it completely smoothed away unwanted frizz. This treatment oil also contains protective dimethicone, so it doubles as a heat protectant.

Rave review: “This oil is amazing. I put it in hair after blow drying and it really does wonders. My hair is shoulder length, over processed, dry, and brittle. I use about 4 pumps and my hair becomes soft and I can actually run my fingers through it. There is no oily residue and the scent kind of smells like candy. It makes my hair look so much healthier! Very happy with my purchase and I’m about to buy the 1.7 oz to keep in my bag.”

8

The Best Keratin Treatment For Heat Styling

The CHI Keratin K-Trix 5 Smoothing Treatment is another amazing heat protectant to consider, and a bargain, to boot. It’s infused with keratin, silk, wheat, and soy proteins to refortify your hair while you blast it with heat styling tools, while panthenol helps your hair retain moisture. (The formula is thermal-activated, so you actually need to blast it with heat in order for it to work.) Slow-release technology delivers those potent ingredients to the hair shaft gradually, so this treatment promises to last up to five shampoos.

Rave review: “Holy cow the stuff actually works!!! My sister got a Keratin treatment for almost $150 and I bought the stuff and it looks like the same exact way her hair does! [...] For the price, you cannot go wrong!!!! I will continue to buy the stuff rather than going to the salon, sitting there and paying that type of money for shiny, frizz free hair!”

9

The Best Keratin Spray

This keratin mist is beautifully lightweight, but a super-powerful blend of arginine, silk powder, and pro-keratin works wonders on dry, over-processed hair. Though this fine mist is an obvious choice for thin hair, reviewers with thick hair report amazing results, too. Spritz this on wet hair for use as a leave-in conditioner or detangler; on dry hair for an instant dose of softness and shine; or even throughout the day to revive your style or manage unwanted frizz.

Rave review: “life changing [...] Starts working on day 1. The ends of my hair have been dry & frizzy no matter what conditioner I put in or how many times i coated the ends in olive oil before bed. This stuff? Day 1, spray on hair after showering, comb through. that's it. My hair was not dry & frizzy at the ends all day. It keeps getting better the more I use it too.”

10

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Olaplex doesn’t contain keratin, but it delivers similar results to any of the at-home keratin treatments on this list: The brand’s patented molecule repairs broken bonds at a cellular level, resulting in stronger, smoother hair. Every Olaplex product contains that same technology, but the repairing treatment is the most intensive option for those with damaged or bleached hair. It’s the treatment my own stylist uses on my dyed-and-bleached hair, and I use it once a week to keep my hair strong and silky, and my color vibrant, between visits. Also worth mentioning? It’s earned 68,000+ perfect, five-star ratings on Amazon.

Rave review: “MAGIC!!!! [...] After some really harsh processing [...] my hair more closely resembled hay than it did actual hair and as the weeks went on, the breakage started getting worse. I tried this at my last feeble attempt to salvage my locks after a friend recommended it and I am BLOWN AWAY by the results! It really does work. I won't lie and tell you my hair is back to it's normal state, but it is SIGNIFICANTLY improved. It is smoother, softer, and even has some of the weight back!”

Expert:

Shelly Aguirre, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago