Balancing the concentration of proteins, moisturising and nourishing are undoubtedly the prerequisites for taking good care of curly hair.
Let's talk today about how to use proteins and find out together when they are really good for our hair.
Pros of proteins:
Strengthen the hair shaft
Increase elasticity and “bounce”
Reduce hair breakage
Smoothing the cuticle, increasing shine
Proteins are essential for maintaining healthy hair: they make up at least 90% of hair and their surface absorbs them.
All stressful agents, both internal and external, contribute to deteriorating the appearance and therefore the performance of hair proteins, making them brittle, vulnerable and prone to falling out.
Protein treatments create a protective barrier on the hair fibre, making it stronger and more responsive to harmful attacks.
Hair proteins are able to release active ingredients into the hair shaft to repair any damage already present.
Proteins attract water molecules and bind easily with them. They help absorb moisture through the hair and penetrate the hair shaft to repair any damaged areas of the hair.
They also slow down moisture loss and can even thicken the shaft of finer hair, helping to give it body and hold.
The best source of protein for hair is our diet, but we can contribute to protein intake with:
Introducing protein-containing products such as masks, styling or sprays into our hair routine.
Rice water rinses
The products we love most that contain protein:
How to choose proteins for your hair?
Proteins have different molecular sizes and their size also determines the benefit our hair will enjoy.
Low porosity curls or thick hair can only tolerate smaller proteins, while higher porosity curls or fine/medium hair can often handle much larger proteins.
As always, these are just recommendations and one should not always follow everything as if it were a strict rule: hair is different and, in some cases, may not react well to proteins it does not like. So, as we always advise, try and experiment.
Very small = Amino acids and peptides
Small = Hydrolised silk, keratin and collagen
Medium - Large = Hydrolised wheat, oats, quinoa, soya, rice and other plant and vegetable proteins
Very large = Proteins that are not hydrolysed (e.g. those in foods such as eggs) - these will have limited benefits
Hair in excess of protein:
Excess protein will actually make your hair look like straw, lose its shape and tend to break more easily.
Protein overload is when the balance of moisture and protein in the hair is no longer so balanced and the hair has more protein than it needs.
Too much protein in the hair causes the hair to become brittle and become less elastic. This leads to breakage and excess loss in the hair.
How can we tell that we have protein overload?
There are specific elements to check and test to identify if you have protein overload:
1. Dry or brittle hair like straw
2. Shapeless hair
3. Hair with less shine
4. Excessive hair loss or breakage
5. Tangles and knots easily created
6. Change in texture