You have your washday routine and regiment down to a fine art. You’ve figured out what products you need and those that work best for your hair. However, you’ve heard about protein treatments and apparently, they can revive hair.
OK, you have your staple shampoos, conditioners, and moisturizers, but life has been crazy busy for a while. And you’ve not had the time to take care of your hair. And now it just doesn’t feel, style or look the way it used too.
Is it soft, mushy and breaks? Do the ends break when you comb or brush it? Do you have split or bushy ends? Or each time you comb you get handfuls of hair and it’s not normal daily shedding?
Aargh what’s going on and how can you fix it?
Let’s get some of these questions answered, as they relate to protein treatments.
What is protein?
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, and each strand of hair is approximately 91% keratin. Consequently, when your hair lacks protein it’s missing its DNA.
As hair grows out of the hair follicle it becomes keratinized and dies. Whilst both the cortex and the cuticle layer of hair are made up of keratin, and are not living cells it’s essential to protect and maintain their integrity.
What does your hair look and feel like when you have enough protein?
Protein strengthens hair and makes it more structurally resilient to breakage and split ends. If there is no breakage, shedding or split ends, and your hair has sheen and feels strong there will be no need for a protein treatment.
How do you lose protein from your hair?
Color or chemical processes and poor maintenance can lead to a breakdown in the chains of amino acids these are the building blocks of protein. A lack of protein can lead to dry, brittle hair.
How do I know when I have enough protein in my hair?
If you are regularly applying protein through moisturizers and conditioners that have keratin as an ingredient, this may be adequate to maintain your protein levels without having to apply a concentrated deep protein treatment.
After a course of treatments and protein rebuilding, your hair will be at a point of being strengthened, but too much and hair will become dry, brittle and stiff.
Badly damaged hair can be treated with hair reconstructors which are keratin-rich conditioners that will rebuild protein.
Natural ingredients e.g. Aloe Vera, Amla, Neem contain protein and can be applied topically. When protein-rich natural ingredients are applied regularly they support the strengthening of hair.
Another way to determine if your hair requires protein is the stretch test take a strand of hair and stretch it. If after stretching it breaks immediately or stretches greater than 50% this is an indicator that the hair strands are in a weakened state due to a lack of protein.
Can you apply too much protein?
Short answer: Yes, if you determine that protein is required and you treat your hair, assess how your hair feels and determine when it has strengthened and thus no longer requires protein. This may be after 1-3 treatments. It really is dependent on how weakened the hair is initially. You will get to a point when your hair has built up enough protein, any more and the result will be hardened hair that will break ………yes it’s a balancing act!!
When do I need a protein?
Protein treatments should be applied as needed. If you are attaining protein through diet and you have keratin in your moisturizers, conditioners and shampoos and your hair is healthy there will be no need for specific protein treatments.
But the follow-up question is:
How does your hair feel now?
How your hair feels or looks will be an indicator of when a protein treatment is required.
Answer – Hair is soft, mushy and breaks!
If hair feels soft and mushy does not hold a curl, or it appears stringy, a protein treatment is required to rebuild and strengthen hair strands.
Answer– Hair is dry and coarse and doesn’t appear to soften!
Potentially your hair is not weak and therefore a topical protein treatment is not required. However, moisture may be needed for your hair. When moisture and protein levels are balanced hair will have sheen and when stretched will not break.
Answer – Hair is shedding and you have breakage!
Hair shedding occurs when you comb or brush your hair and clumps of hair come out. A protein treatment may be required to rebuild healthy strands of hair.
The list above is not conclusive there may be other reasons your hair is not in a good condition e.g. hormones or poor diet however before seeking a solution determine the problem, the cause and the reasons behind it so you can enact the appropriate method for correction.
As stated above too much protein is not a good thing either, hair will become dry and coarse. So it really is a balancing act to get your protein levels right. The idea is to get your hair to optimum health and back off protein until it is needed again or alternatively if protein is in your products and diet this may be adequate for you.
Know when your hair does not feel the way it should and assess what could be required. You can include protein in your diet the foods listed below are rich in protein, it’s a really easy way to do double duty. They are good for your physical health and the health of your hair.
Luxju’s Nourishing Hair Creme has protein-rich ingredients that can support you in your healthy hair journey.
Do you have protein treatment recommendations let us know in the comments section below? Or let us know about your experiences with protein treatments.