You've gone ahead and done it: You splurged for the silky, smooth hair that you've always wanted, and spent hours in the salon getting a keratin treatment. But now what? What shampoo should you use? What about styling products? In order to get the most out of your new, post-keratin treatment hair (and keep it the longest!), take advice from these professionals on keratin treatment aftercare.
Is the 3-to-4-day wait with unwashed hair and no ponytails really necessary?
It depends on the treatment type. There are several new keratin options that stay in hair for just one day or even a few hours. "The shorter term option will make the hair straighter," says Charles Tripodi of Pristine Salon. "However, it doesn't last as long as the four-day. It's more for people who actually want straighter hair and can't deal with the gunk in hair for all that time." Just plan ahead—do the treatment at least four days before an event or special evening.
Do I really have to use only the shampoo and conditioner that the stylist wants to sell me?
"Any time someone says a treatment only works with their shampoo or conditioner, I'd be wary," says Emma Froelich, vice president of marketing and personal care at Hain Celestial. For lasting results, post-treatment shampoo should be free of sulfates (sudsing agents that can strip hair) or sodium (a thickener that dissolves keratin). Piet at Vartali Salon suggests Pureology ZeroSulfate SuperSmooth, L'Oreal EverPure Sulfate-Free Colorcare System, and Keratin Complex by Coppola Keratin Care.
And for longest-lasting results, Walt Winslow, director at Alberto Culver, suggests shampooing with tepid or cool water and following with a cool rinse.
Can I stick with my usual styling products?
You can use any leave-in serum or spray afterwards, Piet says, "but look and see if you have different needs."
For extra hair TLC, Winslow suggests three types of styling products to use post-treatment:
• Restructurers or leave-ins containing protein: Look on labels for keratin, collagen or polypeptides, which strengthen brittle bits and ends.
• Humectants: These enter the hair cortex and help retain moisture.
• Emollients: These silicones or oils lubricate the follicle, or the outside of hair shaft, which helps reduce damage and maintains shine.
Should I get my hair cut before or after?
Definitely after. Your newly textured hair will benefit from fresh new style.
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Maria Ricapito is a contributing writer for iVillage. Follow her on Google +.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.