Does Your Hair Need Protein or Moisture?
Protein and moisture go hand in hand for healthy curly hair. While most curly girls tend to hydrate their hair, it is also important to replenish protein to create a balanced environment for your hair, which can be beneficial in increasing elasticity, reducing split ends, and repairing dehydrated hair. Especially for natural and curly hair, if your hair lacks protein, it becomes dull, dry, or brittle and prone to breakage. Then all the hair moisturizers in the world can't help your hair, but there is a case for too much protein. In this article, you will learn how to tell if your hair needs more protein or moisture and how to stay on top of protein overload for healthy hair.
What's the difference between moisture and protein?
Hair that lacks protein loses its elasticity, which increases the risk of breakage and reduces moisture retention. While most damaged hair can only be treated by using products made from protein, some damaged hair actually needs moisture. Moisturizing treatments usually have ingredients such as fatty acids, oils, and butters that penetrate the scalp and restore necessary hydration to dry hair. Protein treatments, on the other hand, are usually produced from plants such as wheat, soy, rice, or silk and contain hydrolyzed proteins that fill in the damage on the hair shaft, making it stronger and healthier.
Protein and its effect on the hair
Hair is made up of chains of amino acids or proteins called keratin. Over time, excessive manipulation, chemical treatments such as perms, relaxers, and coloring, heat styling, and environmental stress can cause keratin bonds to break and the cuticle (the outer layer of hair) to rise, exposing the innermost layer. This causes increased moisture loss, hair breakage, and possibly hair loss. If your hair is highly porous, there is a good chance that your hair needs protein.
Symptoms of protein deficiency in hair：
Your hair feels sticky, tacky, or gummy.
Your hair is clumped together.
Your hair is limp or stringy.
Your hair has very low elasticity
Your hair is prone to breakage.
Signs that your hair is lacking moisture：
Your hair feels dry or coarse.
Your hair tangles easily.
Your hair is prone to split ends.
Your curls or coils are weak.
Your hair doesn't hold heat styles well
Your hair looks dull and lacks shine
How do I know if my hair needs protein or moisture?
The easiest way to tell if your hair is dehydrated or lacking in protein is to do a hair test. Take a wet or dry strand of hair and gently stretch it. If it doesn't stretch easily, breaks quickly and feels dry, brittle or coarse, it means you need more moisture. If your curls stretch but don't bounce back into shape and the hair feels gummy or sticky, it means you need more protein. Also, try combing your hair. If you notice that your hair is shedding more than normal, it likely means you need protein as well.
Treating moisture loss in your hair
In order to treat moisture loss in your hair, you need to take good care of your hair. This includes the following:
Pre-poo:Apply a moisturizing treatment to the hair before washing. This helps make hair easier to comb as well as enhances the effect of conditioner to lock in moisture while washing.
Use the LOC method (liquid, cream, or oil) and apply moisturizing products from lightest to heaviest. This allows the liquid product to penetrate deep into the hair while the oil locks it in.
Use hair care products while your hair is wet. At this stage, more moisture can get into your cuticle. Use hair care products that contain moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin, honey, and agave.
Use a deep conditioner regularly. These products penetrate deeper into the hair shaft than regular conditioners, giving your hair much-needed extra moisture. Better results are obtained if you leave it in for 15-20 minutes and wear a shower cap or heated cap.
Treat protein imbalances in your hair.
Look for hair care foods with protein content, such as wheat, soy, silk, or rice. In fact, the main cause of protein deficiency is your food. Try dietary supplements like Biotin and make sure to track your protein intake by adding protein-rich foods like beef, chicken, salmon, eggs, lentils, beans, and Greek yogurt.
Depending on the porosity of your hair, it is important to balance your moisture and protein treatments. Hair with low porosity usually needs more moisture, while hair with high porosity usually needs more protein.
How do you know if you have too much protein in your hair?
While we tout the benefits of protein, there are times when there is too much of a good thing. In reality, if you have normal, balanced hair, you only need protein treatments 1-3 times a year. However, if your hair is highly porous or you have natural or textured hair, you will need more frequent treatments.
Here's how to tell if you have excess protein in your hair.
The hair feels stiff and straw-like.
Your hair breaks easily and appears to shed a lot.
Your hair looks dull and has lost its shine and luster.
Hair tangles easily and has no vitality.
As you can see, some of the symptoms of too much protein are similar to those of dehydrated hair or protein deficiency. That's why hair testing is important to help you know exactly what your hair needs.
Can hair need both protein and moisture?
Yes! Moisture and protein are the foundation for good, healthy hair. The best hair is a balance of protein and moisture for bouncy, defined curls, shiny hair, and strong strands. Without protein, moisture tends to escape from the hair, and without it, even the strongest hair will be dull and lifeless. Is your hair dehydrated or protein deficient? Are you still confused? If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below and we'll be happy to help you.
How do I know if my hair need moisture or protein?
Take an inch of your hair and stretch it, if it doesn't stretch or breaks, feels dry and rough, it is brittle/damaged and needs moisture treatment. If the hair stretches far and does not return and/or breaks, feels mushy, gummy or cotton candy-like, your hair needs protein.
Is my hair over moisturized or over protein?
Take a strand of hair and gently pull. If the strand snaps straight away, then you will need a moisturising deep conditioner. If the strand stretches really long before breaking off and then snaps, then you have too much moisture and you are in need of protein deep conditioner.
Can hair need both protein and moisture?
All hair needs both protein and moisture to stay healthy and strong. In fact, protein and moisture can't work well without the other. You need a strong protein structure in order for water molecules to bind with your strands and to keep the water locked inside.