Protein treatments are a great way to maintain the strength and health of natural hair. If you’re experiencing breakage, weak strands, have heat-damaged or chemically-treated hair, protein treatments will be very beneficial to you. It’s important to use the right protein treatment for the state of your hair and be mindful of not using it too often. Read on to learn more about protein treatments and how to properly use them for your hair.
What Is A Protein Treatment And What Does It Do?
Protein treatments are formulated to create a layer of protection for your hair. They fill any holes or gaps within the hair’s cuticle which can be damaged from a variety of factors including heat styling, hair color, or constant manipulation. That said, protein treatments are a temporary fix which is why you may have to do repeated treatments throughout the year.
For natural hair, consistent protein treatments can help improve manageability and strengthen your curls which are more susceptible to breakage and dryness than other hair textures.
Key Ingredients To Look For In A Protein Treatment
Hydrolyzed proteins are the most effective forms of protein for your hair because they can absorb into your hair shaft and fill in those missing gaps within the hair cuticle. Most proteins are too large and cannot penetrate the hair shaft so hydrolysis helps to break them down for easier penetration. Key hydrolyzed proteins to look out for in a protein treatment include hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed silk protein, hydrolyzed keratin, and hydrolyzed baobab protein.
Amino acids have many benefits including aiding in hair growth, improving elasticity, and the texture of your hair. The best amino acids for hair growth include cysteine, lysine, methionine, and arginine. Textured hair types highly benefit from silk amino acids which bind to the natural keratin in the hair, repair hair damage, and protect against moisture loss.
Natural Protein-Rich Ingredients
Natural protein-rich ingredients are great for nourishing and fortifying the outermost layer of the hair shaft. Homemade ingredients like egg, mayonnaise, yogurt, and coconut oil all help to naturally strengthen the outside of your hair.
What Type of Protein Treatment Is Right For Me?
You must choose the right protein treatment for your hair’s specific needs. Depending on the condition of your hair, you may need a light/moderate protein treatment or an intense treatment.
Light/Moderate Protein Treatments
Light or moderate protein treatments are great for those who overall have healthy hair but want to routinely strengthen their strands without causing protein overload which can result in dry, brittle hair. These treatments do not harden your hair and can be found in deep-conditioning treatments, leave-ins, and balancing moisturizers. Lighter protein treatments should be used at most 2 times per month to help fill in any cuticle gaps. Try a protein/moisture balancing deep conditioner like Strengthen which has ingredients like hydrolyzed baobab protein and amino acids to repair hair damage and nourish your curls and kinks.
Reconstructors and Intense Treatments
Intense protein treatments are best for chemically-treated, heat-styled, or high porosity hair. If you color, texturize, or regularly heat-style your hair, try an at-home treatment like ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment or Olaplex Hair Perfector No 3 Repairing Treatment once every 6-10 weeks to halt severe breakage and weakened tresses. Be sure to follow with a moisturizing deep conditioner after an intense treatment to give your hair a hydration boost.
Final Advice On Protein Treatments
As you begin to introduce protein treatments into your regimen, make sure you are infusing your hair with moisture frequently, preferably weekly deep conditioning treatments to balance your hair’s protein/moisture levels.
If your hair is in very bad shape – your curls are very limp, your curls are severely damaged, or your hair is constantly breaking, use an intense protein treatment once every six to ten weeks. A light protein treatment can be used once every two weeks to strengthen hair.
Do not overuse these treatments as they can cause protein overload which leads to severe dryness and breakage.
Lastly, protein treatments are temporary – it’s important to avoid bad hair practices and continuously practice a healthy hair regimen that results in strong, hydrated natural hair.
Have you tried a protein treatment? Which ones are your favorite? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.