What is a Protein Treatment
This is a product that adds tiny protein molecules to your hair stands. The molecules fill up the gaps in the cuticle and penetrate the cortex.
Why use a Protein Treatment
Hair is made up of protein molecules. Chemical processing, heat, high manipulation breaks down the molecules making the hair brittle. The protein treatment temporarily adds protein structure to the hair strands. This strengthens the hair strand and prevents further breakage. If you use the protein treatment in the right way, your hair will have minimal breakage, reduced shrinkage and an increase in volume.
How to apply a Protein Treatment
- Wash hair with a shampoo
- Section hair into four or more sections using section clips
- Add protein treatment to each section. Do not comb as this may harden the hair. Smooth the treatment up and down the hair with your hands together in a praying position.
- Put shower cap and leave it in for 40 mins-1 hour
- Deep condition with moisturizing treatment or conditioner
- Style as usual.
Different types of Protein Treatment on the market
Whether your hair is relaxed, transitioning or natural it’s good to have a protein treatment every six to eight weeks. Commercial protein treatments have hydrolyzed proteins. i.e. proteins that have been broken down using water. They are smaller. They can penetrate the shaft-making the hair strand stronger.
This will reduce on the breakage. There are different types of protein treatments on the market. A genuine protein treatment label will contain some or more of the following magic words:
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Silk proteins
- Wheat protein
- Vegetable protein
- Animal protein
- Silk Amino Acids/Proteins
ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is one of the most recommended protein treatments on the market. It’s a good product for those transitioning to natural hair. When using it follow instructions in order to ensure good results.
For those with lighter protein needs, ORS Hair Mayonnaise and JBCO Protein Conditioner are available.
And you don’t have to break the bank to do a protein treatment. Protein packs are available at a lower cost.
DIY Protein Treatments
Whether Home-made protein treatments work is debatable. These treatments usually involve an egg. DIY Naturalistas swear by it. For the protein molecule to actually penetrate the hair shaft and reinforce the cuticle it has to be small. DIY egg treatments coat the shaft with the protein. They do not penetrate the cuticle. They are not small enough to do this. The shaft coating wears off fast. However do what works for your hair. If you have been using an Egg DIY treatment and have minimal breakage, then keep doing it.
While we are still on DIY proteins, coconut oil does not have protein-the oil is obtained from it’s flesh which is made up of healthy fats. Coconut milk does have protein however they are not hydrolyzed.
This is when your hair has more protein than moisture. Tell tale signs are dryness, stiff hair, hair that breaks off, hair that is dull and rough-in such a situation, cut down on the protein treatment.
Protein in Hair Products
Not everyone needs protein treatment. This is because there is protein in almost all hair products-shampoo, leave-in conditioners, moisturizing treatment…you name it, it has some protein. This is their marketing pitch ‘promise’ to strengthen hair, add volume etc. Key protein ingredients you will find in your hair products are:
- rice protein
- soy protein
- oat flour
- soy wheat
If your hair is still dry or brittle after using these other hair products it’s safe to say that you should try doing a protein treatment pack once every six weeks. As time progresses increase the time in-between protein treatments to once every 6 weeks.
Last words on Protein Treatments
At the end of day, it all really depends on how your hair feels after a protein treatment. If it is soft with less shrinkage then keep doing it. Balance protein treatments with moisturizing treatments in order to avoid dryness and breakage. The more damaged your hair is, the more you need an effective protein treatment. This is especially important for chemically-processed and transitioning hair.
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