Fall Is The Worst Time For Hair: dull, drywhen not even frizzy and prone to breakage, they pay the price of a summer in the sun and the return to the brush-hairdryer-straightener ritual with the arrival of the first cold weather. More generally, as you will have noticed too, hair becomes dull and difficult to comb when it is attacked by swimming pool chlorine, repeated chemical treatments such as straightening or even the daily use of curling or straightening devices.
“The stems dehydrate, the scales that cover them rise to absorb water and here they no longer reflect the light, they become opaque and, above all, frizzy”, he remarks Cosimo Mazzeo, hair stylist in Milan and expert in damaged hair. To overcome these drawbacks, you must always protect your hair from excessive temperatures with ad hoc products called thermal protectors and avoid brushing it too vigorously. Sometimes, however, it is not enough and the hairdresser recommends a cycle of shampoos and keratin masks. It’s not the same as the keratin treatment you do in the salon. The latter changes the structure of the hair to make it easy to comb, while home treatments bring softness and protection. In particular, the keratin shampoo (complete with conditioner or wrap from the same line ensures you faster and more satisfactory results) helps to find hair that is more resistant to breakage and shinier, wash after wash. In fact, its proteins sheath the stems and close the cuticles and, while protecting from external aggressions, make the hair even more manageable.
We screened 14 keratin shampoos and masks, selecting the 4 that we liked the most. Here are the factors we took into account.
«Keratin, naturally present in hair and nails, is a protein that makes the cuticles more compact: if present in a shampoo, instead of being rinsed off, it remains on the stem, with an elasticising and polishing effect. The most innovative is that of vegetable origin, obtained from amino acids and proteins of seeds and legumes with biotech procedures. In the INCI (the complete list of ingredients in descending order that all cosmetics report by law) you recognize it under various names: wheat amino acid, glycine soja seed extract, hydrolyzed corn protein or wheat amino acids, soybean extract or hydrolysed corn protein,” he explains Umberto Borellinicosmetologist and lecturer at various universities.
Classic keratin, on the other hand, is of animal origin (hydrolyzed keratin, keratin). We then considered the cleansing base, i.e. the type of surfactant used. “We have, therefore, excluding those that are too aggressive such as SLS and SLES (sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate) because they deplete the hydrolipidic layer of the skin and dehydrate the stems: if the problem is really dry hair, which breaks, it is essential to use a very delicate shampoo”, underlines the cosmetologist .
Another criterion was the presence in the formula of other active ingredients that increase the repairing action of keratin, such as moisturizing, emollient or strengthening agentsfor instance collagen, pool of amino acids and sugars, argan or coconut oil, panthenol (you can find them in the INCI under collagen, polyamino sugar condensate, serine, argania spinosa kernel oil, cocos nucifera oil, panthenol). Finally, we considered the most innovative formulas positively, which excluded controversial preservatives such as parabens and offered the best of biotechnology to make hair shinier and more manageable.
We washed our hair following the instructions on the packs, then keeping the shampoos on for the times indicated and applying the usual conditioner. The marks were awarded on the basis of the ease and pleasure of use, the clarity of the instructions, the perfume and practicality of the packaging, but above all the shine and ease of combing of the hair during the styling phase and in the final result. Price also had an impact: biotech formulas with vegetable keratin turned out to be more expensive, but worth the expense.
The final choice of the 4 favorites was difficult due to the high quality of the various products, but we found that the most popular shampoos were those offered by brands specialized in hair care.
“I suggest a 1-3 month cycle of shampoo followed by a mask or conditioner from the same line, for maximum results: keratin restores hydration, helping shafts to appear shinier and hair silkier. It is important to be constant: the results increase over time. Proceed as follows: wash with a little product for the first time, then proceed with a second shampoo, leaving it on for at least 3 minutes before rinsing. If you wash your hair often, one swipe is enough. Then apply the conditioner or mask according to the indicated times. Once the cycle is finished, change the brand, so as not to get your hair used to it», concludes Cosimo Mazzeo.
Absolue Kératine Restructuring Treatment Shampoo by René Furterer200 ml, €19.90, in pharmacies and parapharmacies
The selling point. The trio of repairing active ingredients.
We liked this innovative formula based on ingredients of natural origin, very sensorial and performing. Thanks to a biotech team made up of vegetable keratin derived from soy, strengthening agents such as arginine and camelina oil rich in Omega3 which nourish, repair and protect the stem during cleansing.
Use it like this. It has a light consistency, therefore it spreads well and forms a creamy foam, which can be left on for 1-3 minutes, as suggested in the instructions. To be used for cycles of 4-6 weeks, 2-3 times a week. It is a product that is right for you if you have very dry hair.
Refibrant Shampoo Repair Line of Cielo Alto500 ml, €9.40, in perfumeries and on SOCOstore.it
The selling point. The price ratio.
Here is a shampoo for damaged hair with a convincing formula: hydrolysed keratin to repair, elasticising collagen, strengthening panthenol and thermoprotective moringa extract. A blend of active ingredients that already in the cleansing phase ensures a refractory effect on the hair. The 500 ml pump bottle allows shared or prolonged use, at a competitive price. Pleasant fruity scent.
Use it like this. Shake the bottle, press the pump to dispense the right amount for medium hair, then distribute over wet hair and massage carefully for a few seconds. Rinse and apply the conditioner from the same line or your usual one. It’s for you if you’re on a small budget and have long hair.
After Sun Shampoo Sun Care by Sensùs250 ml, €18, in salons and online
The selling point. The richness of nutrients.
Conceived as a sun shampoo, it ensures from the first wash an extra protection against aggressions harmful to the beauty of the hair. Excellent for counteracting the effects of chlorine. Enriched with panthenol, coconut oil, monoi and a sunscreen, it contains vegetable keratin obtained from a mix of amino acids derived from wheat and soy. The scent given by the Tahiti gardenia extract is good, light and not too marked. Suitable for vegans.
Use it like this. A little is enough to cleanse delicately; then, keep it in place for a few moments and finally apply the conditioner from the line, which leaves hair silky. It’s for you if you go to the pool all year round or have bleached hair and wash it often.
Jungle Fever Keep Phyto Reconstruction Shampoo250 ml, 24 €, on amazon.it
The selling point. The innovative formula.
Professional quality for this biotechnological shampoo: a pool of amino acids and sugars performs a moisturizing action, while the vegetable-derived keratin obtained from cereals such as wheat and corn repairs the cuticles with a protective film. The delicate washing agents and argan oil leave the hair soft.
Use it like this. On damp hair, she massages from roots to ends and rinses after leaving it on for a few moments. Then he applies the vial of the same line on the lengths and proceed with styling. Use it 2-3 times a week for at least a month. It’s for you if you are looking for a product that ensures “professional” performance at home too.
Our Lab testers: Umberto Borellini, cosmetologist and professor at various universities; Cosimo Mazzeo, hair stylist; Laurence Donnini, journalist