Keratin Hair Treatment & Salt Water

Young woman floating in sea, eyes closed, close-up
Keratin and salt water don't mix. (Image: Maria Teijeiro/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Keratin treatments make frizzy hair sleeker and more manageable. While this may seem like an ideal summer style, maintaining keratin treatments is no day at the beach. Speaking of beaches, if you're planning a trip to one post-keratin, skip that ocean swim. Salt water and keratin are unfortunately a bad combination.

About Keratin Treatments

Everyone's hair already contains a certain amount of keratin proteins. Women with curlier locks generally have less keratin than those with straight hair. Keratin treatments apply and seal keratin onto hair, which leaves it straighter and more manageable. Frizz is reduced for about 12 weeks and styling is made much easier and quicker.

Salt Water

Salt water strips hair of keratin, which means that the treatment you just spent all that time getting will be ruined. Sodium opens up your cuticle, depleting your hair of keratin and moisture. If you think you'll just swim in a pool instead, think again. Unfortunately, chlorine does the exact same thing.

If You Decide to Swim Anyway

It's really best not to go swimming in salt or chlorine after a keratin treatment, but if you just can't help yourself, apply leave-in conditioner or douse your hair with regular water before taking a dip. This won't totally protect your hair but it can slow down the effect of the salt or chlorine. As soon as you finish your swim, make sure to rinse your hair again with clear water to rid it of as much salt/chlorine as possible.

Other Things to Watch For

Salt and chlorine aren't the only things that are bad for keratin treated hair. Many shampoos contain sulfates which aid in the cleansing process. Sulfates will also strip your hair, so be sure to lather up with a sulfate-free shampoo. Also, be extra careful for the first three days after your treatment. Don't wash it with any type of shampoo and don't pull it up in a ponytail. Shampooing too early will rinse out your treatment and a ponytail could cause your hair to kink. After three days, you're good to go.

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