The moisture-protein balance
What is a protein treatment?
What are the benefits of a protein treatment?
- strengthens hair cuticles
- smooths hair shaft thus promoting shine
- reduces breakage especially due to relaxers and color/heat treatments
- helps correct moisture overload due to over-conditioning/moisturizing
What are the different types of treatments?
- Protein pack (for slightly to really damaged hair)
- Reconstructor (for slightly to severely damaged hair)
- Deep penetrating treatment (for moderately damaged hair)
- Light protein treatment (for slightly damaged hair)
- homemade/food based (egg yolks, mayo, yogurt…products some women have claimed to have had great results despite not being hydrolyzed) #ymmv
What protein treatments are recommended?
Things to keep in mind:
- The frequency in which you do a protein treatment is dependant on factors such as chemical and heat use, color treatment, manipulation, protein sensitivity, and etc. If you do not use heat or color, a good rule of thumb is to start off doing light monthly treatments until you can get a better feel on your hair’s moisture-protein balance.
- Protein overload is more difficult to correct in comparison to moisture overload. If your hair is extra hard, dry, stiff, and brittle from a too strong or frequent treatment, your main focus should be moisture, moisture, moisture in order to restore elasticity and softness to your hair.
- Read your labels! If a product does not list a hydrolyzed protein within the first 5 ingredients in the list, the product is most likely not a strong candidate for a protein treatment. However, there are conditioners containing protein that are light enough to use on a regular basis (if your hair is not protein sensitive) to help keep things balanced. My favorite protein conditioner is Aubrey Organics GPB Protein Balancing Conditioner.
- Protein treatments do not stop shedding (a natural process denoted by strands with tiny white bulbs at one of the ends). For ways to help shedding, consider trying coffee/tea rinses.
- Follow the directions on each treatment especially on the stronger/harder ones to prevent breakage. It is highly recommended to follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner after a protein treatment.
I hope you have gained a better idea on what a protein treatment is and its role in the moisture-protein balance equation. I am just now exploring this realm of the equation after 10+ years of being natural and am quite sure there is more to learn about how the benefits of protein treatments on natural hair. Hopefully this information serves as a foundation to grow upon as we strive to keep our hair at its healthiest and balanced state between moisture and protein.
Do you incorporate protein treatments in your hair regimen? If so, how often? What is your favorite protein treatment for your hair?