What is Keratin Conditioner?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Keratin conditioner is a beauty product that is used to help improve the health of the hair. Keratin helps to improve the elasticity of the hair. This means that the hair is stronger, more resistant to damage, and often more manageable.

Ask a salon stylist for recommendations on a keratin conditioner.
Ask a salon stylist for recommendations on a keratin conditioner.

Keratin conditioner also helps to repair hair that is already damaged and helps reduce breakage in the hair. For these reasons, this type of conditioner is often used by people who have especially dry hair. It is also often used by people who have hair that has been damaged by chemical processes such as perming and coloring or by repeated use of heated styling tools such as hair dryers and flat irons.

Keratin shampoo and conditioner is believed to improve the strength and durability of hair.
Keratin shampoo and conditioner is believed to improve the strength and durability of hair.

There are two types of keratin conditioner — One that is intended to be used after shampooing and then rinsed out before the hair is dried and styles, and another that is intended to be left in the hair until the next shampoo. The first kind of conditioner is the most common. The second is called leave-in conditioner and is often used by people with very dry hair that needs extra moisture. Leave-in conditioner can also help to protect the hair from sun damage. Sometimes people use leave-in conditioner just once or twice a week, swapping it out with regular conditioner.

Keratin products may help restore elasticity and strength to damaged hair.
Keratin products may help restore elasticity and strength to damaged hair.

There are many brands of keratin conditioner sold by numerous hair product companies. They range in price but are usually a bit more expensive than generic brands of conditioner that do not contain keratin. The ingredient keratin is commonly used in hair products and many pharmacies, drug stores, and grocery stores that carry hair products carry at least one kind of keratin conditioner. There are also some upscale hair care products that include keratin. These kinds of products are often sold at salons and spas.

Many companies that sell hair care products sell entire lines of keratin products. In addition to keratin conditioner, they may also sell keratin shampoo as well as styling products made with keratin. Styling products may include hair gel, hair spray, and smoothing cream for the hair. In fact, there are some sprays made with keratin that help to thicken and replace hair fibers in order to make hair look fuller, especially for people who have thinning hair. For people who benefit from the used of keratin in their hair, using a complete line of products including this ingredient may be a good choice.

Keratin conditioner may be used by individuals who have particularly dry hair.
Keratin conditioner may be used by individuals who have particularly dry hair.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


I have never tried keratin hair conditioner, but really any hair conditioning product is going to leave buildup in your hair over time, which will in turn take away shine and other elements that people want conditioner to do for them.

I am something of a nay-sayer on cosmetics of any kind, but I would say really look into these treatments and types of conditioner with keratin. Since many over the counter conditioners are toxic, it would be a shame to spend so much money on something even less safe.


@kylee07drg- That sounds pretty gross to me. It is amazing the stuff people will put on themselves in the name of beauty. As nice and healthy as her hair looks, the fact that your friend is doing something which requires her stylist to use a mask means it is anything but healthy.

Many cosmetics have toxic components, and this sounds like a pretty powerful example. I worry about what will happen to women in 10 or 20 years' time who got these sorts of treatments for years.


I started using Coppola Keratin conditioner after my hair received too much damage to survive on its own. I had put it through two perms, a straightener, and multiple highlights. I cut it off to my shoulders and treated the remainder with the soothing product.

Keratin conditioner is to hair what aloe vera is to sunburned skin. Like aloe soothes the sting and keeps you from peeling, keratin smoothes the broken edges of hair and silkens the rough texture. I thought my hair would never feel soft again, because it had turned to hay. The conditioner helped it feel like real human hair once more.


I have a rich friend with naturally curly hair who went straight. She told me that she goes to her stylist and gets a Brazilian Blowout keratin treatment.

I mention that she is wealthy because the treatment costs $250 for her shoulder-length hair. It is the best quality keratin straightener on the market, but the catch is that it only lasts for three months! She also has to use costly keratin shampoo and conditioner to maintain the style.

Her hair looks as if she used a straightening iron on it and applied a shine serum. It really does look healthy. However, this salon treatment does contain formaldehyde, so it can’t be too safe. Her stylist wears a mask while applying the stuff!


@anon131881 - I know of two good keratin treatments. My best friend owns a hair salon, and she keeps these in stock. None of them are cheap, however.

Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Express Blow Out in a 4 ounce bottle will run you about $75. This bottle is only enough for one treatment, but it really does eliminate frizz and flyaways.

Brazilian Blowout Acai Anti-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner in 12 ounce bottles together will cost around $50. This keratin treatment is extremely smoothing and actually a bit less costly than the other brand my friend carries. You can get the same brand in an 8 ounce smoothing serum for $35.


I have long, blondish-brown hair that could easily become discolored by swimming pool water. So, I use a leave-in keratin conditioner to protect it from the chlorine, as well as the sun.

After I shower, towel dry, and comb my hair, I squeeze out some keratin conditioning cream. I work it through my hair from near the roots to the tips. I don’t actually coat the roots themselves, because that could make it look oily faster.

I haven’t had any problems with my hair turning green since I’ve been using the conditioner. Keratin also helps it retain its moisture, even though I’m out in the sun a lot.


What are some good brands of Keratin both upscale and low? Thanks.

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