Is Protein Bad For Your Hair?

One of the building blocks of the hair structure is protein in the form of keratin. Protein helps keep the hair strong and resilient to stress, but too much protein can make your hair feel dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. However, protein has its rightful place into a healthy hair care regimen.

What is the protein/moisture balance?

The idea is that in order to achieve healthy bouncy hair, it is important to alternate strengthening (protein) and moisturizing treatments. Protein will help hold the structure of the hair together preventing it from being limp and lifeless, while moisture will prevent the hair from getting too stiff and easily breakable. You need protein in order to help moisture hold on to the hair. The issue starts when there is unbalance between both. You might notice you have been using a product for quite a while with no issue, and then it seems to not be working anymore. Your hair might feel dry or just different, not as moisturized. You might have protein overload, and that means it is a time for you to go through all your products ingredient list in the back and check which ones contain protein and which don’t. Check below for protein ingredients:

  • Hydrolyzed protein
  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Silk protein
  • Keratin
  • Amino acids
  • Wheat, soy, quinoa protein
  • Oat flour

To maintain the protein/moisture balance it is recommended to have protein treatment every 4-8 week and regular moisture treatments the rest of the time. A lot of haircare products contain protein, so it is important to go through all of them to determine which ones have protein in them, especially if you have noticed a change in your hair texture. Reversing the effect of too much protein is doable by staying away from such products for a while and by using only moisturizing products until the balance is reestablished. Then regular protein treatment can be resumed every 4-8 weeks.

Protein treatments are particularly beneficial on low porosity hair because it helps replace the missing structure and therefore helps in retaining moisture more efficiently than without protein. The right balance varies greatly from person to person. Part of being natural is finding what works best for your hair. Is protein an important part of your routine? 



Photo by Leighann Blackwood on Unsplash