The Best Keratin Treatments Without Formaldehyde
DIY treatments with salon-worthy results.
In-salon, professionally done hair-straightening treatments (such as Brazilian Blowouts) often contain formaldehyde, which is a chemical that many people prefer to avoid. The best keratin treatments without formaldehyde are, in actuality, keratin hair serums, oils, and masks, assuming that you’re looking for something you can use from the comfort of your own bathroom. First, know what you’re getting with a DIY keratin treatment, and then figure out which one best fits your hairstyling routine.
What To Expect From DIY Keratin Treatments
Though you won’t get the same dramatic smoothing results with an at-home keratin treatment, you will still experience sleeker, softer hair — and more importantly, you won’t be exposing yourself to formaldehyde. You’ll also be saving yourself a few hundred dollars, and several hours stuck in a salon chair surrounded by overwhelming fumes.
What To Look For In An At-Home Keratin Treatment
To figure out which at-home keratin treatment to buy, think about your current hairstyling routine. Where would a treatment fit in best — in the shower? Before blow drying? While puttering around the house with air-dried hair? There are also more practical things to consider, like your budget, and any existing brand loyalties you may have.
Ahead, you’ll find six great at-home keratin treatments to choose from, from $7 drugstore masks and luxurious oils to pre-styling creams and individually packaged capsules for travel — all conveniently available on Amazon.
Shop The Best Formaldehyde-Free Keratin Treatments
In a hurry? Here are the top picks for keratin treatments without formaldehyde.
- The Overall Best Leave-In Keratin Treatment: L'ANZA Keratin Healing Oil Treatment
- The Best Keratin Treatment Capsules: Remilia Hair The Cosmocap
- The Best Keratin Hair Mask Under $10: Marc Anthony Grow Long Repairing Anti-Breakage Mask
- The Best Luxury Keratin Hair Mask: VIRTUE Restorative Treatment Mask
- The Best Travel-Friendly Keratin Mask: Hask Keratin Protein Smoothing Deep Conditioner Treatments
- The Best Keratin Treatment For Styling: CHI Keratin K-Trix 5 Smoothing Treatment
1. The Overall Best Leave-In Keratin Treatment
- Also available on Ulta, $49
A favorite of Amazon reviewers, this best-selling keratin oil has been awarded plenty of five-star ratings thus far. It’s made with keratin proteins and several plant-derived oils to deeply nourish, strengthen, and smooth all types of hair while also enhancing shine. You just need two to three pumps of this oil, which can be applied to damp hair and then air-dried or heat styled as usual. You can also use this on dry hair anytime to smooth down flyaways and soften split ends. A little product goes a long way, so this one bottle will last you a while.
One reviewer wrote: “Absolute best for having silky hair! I've used the L'ANZA Keratin Healing Oil Treatment for years and has never let me down! [...] because it takes so little to remove frizz and soften dry hair this product will last you a very long time even if you have long hair. My last bottle managed to last a good 2 years at least. It's worth every penny!”
2. The Best Keratin Treatment Capsules
- Also available on Remilia Hair, $27
Each one of these tiny Cosmocap capsules contains the perfect amount of hair serum, which prevents you from doling out too much (and thus wasting any) product. The serum is made of keratin amino acids, hydrolyzed silk protein, and pro vitamin B5 to promote smooth, shiny hair, whether wet or dry. The capsules themselves are biodegradable and plant-based, and the non-greasy serum inside is suitable for all hair types. You can find plenty of creative uses for this bottle when it becomes empty, too.
One reviewer wrote: “After my first order, I decided to set this up for auto monthly delivery. I also gave my daughter a bottle, and she loves it. My granddaughter started using hers, so now i have to order some for her too. We all three have different hair types, but it works well on all three types. I would definitely recommend.”
3. The Best Keratin Hair Mask Under $10
- Also available at Walgreens, $9
For hair that’s damaged or dry, try the affordable Marc Anthony Grow Long Mask — at just $9, why not? It’s loaded with nourishing ingredients like keratin, caffeine, avocado oil, argan oil, and ginseng to strengthen weakened hair and reinvigorate its luster. Over 6,900 Amazon shoppers gave this mask a perfect five-star rating.
One reviewer wrote: “I’m obsessed with this hair mask. I have ordered this about 8 times now. I love this stuff. Lasts me about a month bc i wash my hair so often and use it everytime. Smells amazing, makes my hair super soft and silky. 10/10. My favorite hair mask.”
4. The Best Luxury Keratin Hair Mask
- Also available at Virtue, $34
VIRTUE’s Restorative Treatment Mask is perhaps as close as you can get to an in-salon keratin treatment at home. It’s made with the brand’s signature Alpha Keratin 60ku(R), which greatly resembles the type of keratin that we naturally produce, making it easier for our bodies to recognize (and thus welcome) it. When used on hair, it genuinely helps to repair it (meaning less split ends, thicker individual strands, and enhanced shine) — so this is another amazing treatment for people with dry, damaged hair. And that’s not the only powerhouse ingredient in the formula: it’s also rich in baobab seed oil, brown algae, and various botanical extracts to further protect and hydrate hair. While this 1.7-ounce bottle is pricy, buyers have called it “amazing” and the “absolute best” they’ve “ever tried.”
One reviewer wrote: “This is the best product I have ever used and gives me the texture I've been looking for. I have curly, dry hair. I shampoo weekly, condition daily and use a pea-sized amount as a leave in. Not greasy or crunchy, looks good after drying with no extra styling, and contains frizz, even in Atlanta summers. Totally worth the price.”
5. The Best Travel-Friendly Keratin Mask
- Also available at CVS, $3
You get 12 individual packets of Hask Keratin Protein Deep Conditioner with this purchase, so you won’t have to neglect your hair when you’re on your next trip. In addition to keratin, it’s rich in nourishing ingredients like collagen, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, which all work together to deeply condition and strengthen damaged hair. Just use it in place of conditioner after shampooing, leave it on for about 10 minutes, and rinse.
One reviewer wrote: “This was my first time purchasing and trying this hair mask and I am 100% satisfied. Not only does it smell incredible but it also works extremely well. I have really long hair and the ends tend to get pretty dry. I was assuming that I would need two packs for all of my hair, but it actually covers all of my hair with just one pack.”
6. The Best Keratin Treatment For Styling
- Also available on CHI, $21
If you plan on blow drying, straightening, or curling your hair, first apply the heat-activated CHI Keratin K-Trix 5 Smoothing Treatment to damp or air-dried hair. Made with jojoba and argan oils, keratin amino acids, hydrolyzed silk, and panthenol, it’ll help protect your hair and make it look smoother and silkier by keeping humidity out. Using it just once should keep your hair moisturized and smooth for up to five days.
One reviewer wrote: “Talk about a frizz eliminator, no more frizz. It's gone. Hair is so soft and looks amazing. Will continue to use. I have to relax my hair to get these results and that's damaging this is actually putting keratin in your hair which is healthy.”
This article was originally published on