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Reverse Keratin Treatment: How to Get Curls Back After Keratin Treatment

Keratin is a popular hair treatment to make your hair smooth and shiny. When you apply it to curly hair, it’ll either relax or completely straighten the curls, depending on what kind of treatment you got, how long you left the keratin in, and how tight your curls were.

While it’s usually used as a smoother, keratin is also applied to make hair shiny and frizz-less, without damaging curls. Sometimes this won’t go as planned, and your curls will become overly smoothed.

If you want your smoothed-out curls to bounce back, don’t worry, you’ll have a head full of curls again. We’ll show you how to get curls back after keratin treatment.


Types of Keratin Treatments

Types of Keratin Treatments

With Keratin, you can either smooth or straighten your hair (Keratin straightening treatment is also known as a Brazilian blowout). Depending on what hair treatment you’ve gotten, the process for reverting to your natural curls will be a little different.


Keratin Smoothing (also known as Keratin Express or Soft Keratin treatment)

Keratin Smoothing (also known as Keratin Express or Soft Keratin treatment) is usually much quicker than a full blowout and is used when you want to keep your curls intact.

Applied for only a few minutes, you’ve probably done this to get frizz-free and shiny hair without completely losing your curls.


Keratin Straightening (Brazilian blowout)

Keratin straightening (Brazilian blowout) is a chemical procedure usually done in a salon that can make hair look straighter for as long as 6 months.

It’s usually an hour-long process where the Brazilian blowout treatment is blow-dried into your hair then run over with a flat iron. This usually results in completely straightened or relaxed curls.


How to Return Curls after Keratin Straightening

How to Return Curls after Keratin Straightening

If you had fine or loose curls, it’s possible you completely straightened them out with a Brazilian blowout. If this wasn’t your intention or you’re missing your curly hair, don’t worry. You can get it back.

If you’ve recently had (and regret) your Brazilian treatment, the first step is to get rid of the keratin treatment is to wash your hair thoroughly. The chemicals applied during the Keratin straightening will wash out completely if it’s been less than 48 hours after your treatment.

Step 1: Washing

If it’s been longer than 48 hours and you decided that you’re unhappy with the treatment, you can still work to reverse the keratin treatment. You should wash your hair more frequently than normal. Even though this won’t completely wash out the treatment once it’s set, you will be able to strip the chemicals from your hair more quickly.


Step 2: Sulfate and Sea Salt

To help it along, you can break a few hair care rules. Use a sulfate shampoo (rather than the usually recommended sulfate-free shampoo) and mix it with sea salt. This will act to exfoliate and help strip your hair of the treatment.

You can apply this to your whole head or a section if you found part of your hair was overly-treated. Do not do this for an extended period of time. The sulfate and salt combination can remove good nutrients from your hair along with the chemical treatment.


Step 3: Moisturize

As anyone with curly hair knows, excessive washing is not ideal and can increase frizz. Be sure to combat the frequent washing with deep conditioning treatments.


How to Return Curls After Keratin Smoothing

Keratin smoothing enhances curly hair by removing frizz, increasing shine, and maintaining curl shape. However, it’s possible that the amount of Keratin or the treatment time was incorrect for your desired look.

If you wanted to keep your curls tight, leaving the treatment in for too long can relax the curls or even alter the texture of your hair. 

Step 1: Wash Your Hair

To get curls back after keratin treatment of this kind, you’re going to want to wash your hair more frequently. It should be easier to remove than a Brazilian as fewer chemicals are usually used and for less time.

You can follow the steps above, including scalp exfoliating and deep conditioning. If you’re very unhappy with your appearance, you can increase washing frequency with normal shampoo and conditioner (you probably don’t even need the salt).

But because of the potential for hair damage, the best option is to wait it out. If you got a smoothing procedure, these usually last for only two months anyway.


Step 2: Styling While Re-growing Your Natural Hair

Styling While Regrowing Your Natural Hair After Keratin Treatment

As your hair grows, the natural curls and texture will return. This means the new growth will look noticeably different from the treated hair. If you want to keep it looking good during this awkward phase, apply natural moisturizing treatments like Argan Oil or Hyaluronic Acid to your whole head.

Deep condition once a week, and only style your hair curly. If you feel comfortable, avoid blow-drying and allow your hair to dry naturally.

Because some amount of the keratin treatment will remain in your hair no matter what you do, you want to avoid doing too much of anything else to your hair.


Things To Avoid

You shouldn’t use anything more than a leave-in conditioner or styling cream. Not only can some products damage your hair, but you can help seal in the Keratin longer (especially if you apply heat often).

Avoid any additional chemical treatments, heat damage, or excessive styling like extensions, which will stress your hair more. While “stressing” your hair may not affect the Keratin, it can increase the chance for breakage. If you see your hair breaking and dry, you’re likely to over-correct with new treatments.


Before You Go

When well-applied, a keratin treatment can do wonders to enhance the natural beauty of your curls. But if you find yourself with a bad result or simply missing your natural hair, a Keratin treatment is not the end for your curly hair.

There are ways to naturally remove keratin treatment from your curls that won’t cause further damage. You can also maintain your look while simply waiting for new hair to grow in and for the keratin to fade from the treated areas naturally.

Don’t panic and over-correct by applying more keratin or even some other treatment. You’ll have your curly hair back soon enough with some patience and a little conditioner and water.