Basic info about the use of protein
Hydrolyzed protein (s) have been used in hair products for decades. Even in small amounts (0.5% to 1%), hydrolyzed proteins can create a noticeable difference in hair care products. You can see how many proteins there are in the product from the listing on the ingredients list. If there are proteins in the first 5 listed ingredients, it is a high protein product or a protein treatment. The further back in the list, it is a product with a lower protein content.
Hydrolyzed proteins are not whole, intact proteins like those in foods. They are broken into smaller pieces - smaller molecules - by treatment with acids or fermentation. Large proteins such as those in foods are not very beneficial for hair. But hydrolyzed proteins can do several things, such as forming a clear, flexible film over your hair that limits water loss. Some proteins penetrate under the outer hair cuticles to keep hair hydrated in slightly deeper layers. Proteins in products can also give a little extra support to the hair - which is great if your hair is fine or medium, but can lead to stiffness and breakage if your hair is quite coarse and you use protein rich products too often.
Why Use Protein?
Protein is used for strength, shine, hydration and to reduce breakage. It helps repair damaged areas of the hair temporarily by filling in gaps in the cuticle. And it keeps hair hydrated by limiting the loss of water from the hair.
Search for these words to find protein in an ingredient list: hydrolyzed protein, amino acids, peptides. These are all proteins. Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed (protein source - wheat, keratin, etc.) and Lauryldimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed (protein source) are proteins that have been modified to be better hair conditioners and adhere better to the hair, adding more softness. Yeast extract is a protein. Hydrolyzed oats or hydrolyzed seeds can also contain protein.
Which Hair Needs Protein?
Damaged Hair / Porous Hair: Sun bleached, pool damaged, wavy and permanently dyed, or semi-permanently dyed hair usually needs more protein. Hair with a lot of high-temperature styling often needs extra protein because it has lost some of the protective layers that retain moisture and lost some of its natural proteins. If you brush your hair vigorously and the ends are thinner than the center and appear lighter in color, your hair may need protein, especially at the ends. Protein balances porosity in damaged hair.
Dry hair - if you've tried deep conditioning, oil treatments (with coconut, palm, sunflower, avocado, or olive oil - let it sit for 4-8 or 12 hours) and those things aren't working, your hair's dryness could indicate a need for protein .
Fine and Medium Hair: Protein also provides support for fine and medium hair as it adds just that little bit of extra stiffness - protein supports your hair. People with coarse hair tend to find that using protein too often makes their hair feel stiff or brittle, dry or sticky, or possibly too soft and limp.
Before coloring or highlighting or after a lot of sun exposure or exposure to dry wind, hair can benefit from hydrolyzed proteins in products.
Break in your hair. See or hear a lot of fractures? If you've already tried deep conditioning or a long oil treatment, it's time to try some protein. Because protein helps to keep hair hydrated (it slows water loss!). Can it help reduce breakage in dehydrated hair by increasing hydration. Hair is less likely to break when it is flexible and hair is most flexible when it is well hydrated.
How To Use Protein In Your Hair:
Look for shampoos or conditioners that contain hydrolyzed protein. Until you know how well your hair handles protein, you don't need protein in both shampoo and conditioner - just one or the other.
Protein styling products and protein leave-in conditioners can be great for damaged or porous hair or fine and medium hair, are easy to use - try them once or twice, see how it works, then give the protein-containing products a pause. Maybe your hair can use them daily - or maybe it can only use them occasionally. Watch your hair and see how it reacts.
Try the product as the label initially suggests.
Protein treatment or products containing protein - which one to use?
Protein treatments are high in protein. They are usually marketed for damaged hair - "products or strengthening products. If your hair breaks a lot and oils and conditioners don't work or if you know that some or all of your hair is okay (like toddler hair), then you may go straight to strong treatments. with a product in a creamy base - a product that also contains conditioners If you are new to protein, you may prefer to use a conditioner with protein to learn how your hair reacts to protein.
Adjust protein usage:
Choose smaller proteins (all amino acids, all peptides or hydrolyzed: silk, keratin, collagen) if you are new to protein or have coarse hair. Larger proteins (oats, wheat, soy, vegetables, quinoa) tend to work well for fine and medium hair, and occasionally even coarse hair.
Deep conditioning after using protein?
After using a product containing protein or a protein treatment, some people find that their hair feels stiff or stiff. This is sometimes a sign that you have used too much protein, used protein too often, or used the wrong protein. But before making that conclusion, try 1) applying extra conditioner and leaving it on for a few minutes, or 2) applying a deep conditioner (a mask) and soaking it in with some heat for at least a few minutes. let it draw. If that gets your hair back to a flexible, less clumpy state, follow up on protein usage with additional (or deep) conditioning.
How to Time Protein Use:
If you get a result that you like from a product containing protein, there are 2 avenues you can take.
1) Increase protein. If you really love what protein has done for your hair, check out how often you can use it before experiencing any of the signs of too much protein. BUT - limit the number of products you use that contain proteins. If you use protein in shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in products, you may get a wrong "reading" of how much protein your hair can tolerate. Limit protein to a conditioner, or to a protein treatment initially.
2) Be careful with protein: Do not repeat the use of protein until the beneficial effects of the previous use begin to fade. This is the most careful approach. Good for people with coarse hair, or if your hair is having a bad protein experience, if your hair is less porous or tends to build up quickly. If you're using henna, this may be a better approach - for some people, henna also adds stiffness to hair which enhances the strengthening, supportive effect of proteins.
Signs of Too Much Protein:
Using protein too often, or using a protein-based product that is too concentrated for your hair, or using the wrong protein for your hair can cause negative effects that seem almost contradictory:
Hair can become stiff, sticky, sticky, brittle, the curl pattern can be affected, it can feel dry and have too much volume.
Hair can become too soft, limp, flat and lose hair wave or curl. Or overly smooth.
Doesn't that sound contradictory? It's true - and the same person can both have negative results under different circumstances.
Think of it as a balance of strength and stiffness versus softness. Strength / stiffness comes from protein, softness from oils and conditioners - collectively called “emollients”. If your hair needs strength and support, protein may be a good choice. If you're using too much protein and your hair gets too strong or stiff, you'll need more emollients to balance stiffness with softness. If you have used too many oils and conditioners in hair that needs protein, it can become too soft and need some strength from protein. But remember that too soft hair can also occur if you consume too much protein.
Signs Hair Needs Protein:
When wet, hair that needs protein tends to feel mushy and not dense, like an old cotton and poly blend shirt rather than a fabric made up of individual fibers. Once you add enough protein, the hair will feel like fiber again and you will learn that mushy, thin feeling means you need protein.
Hair that loses its bounce may need protein.
Hair that just isn't behaving, even though you've tried deep conditioning or used oils, probably needs protein.
Hair that breaks down while you use a lot of good (protein free) conditioner probably needs protein.
Hair that stays dry despite using oils and conditioners may need protein for hydration.
Hair that feels "smaller" when wet - and homogeneous or mushy - like a very old, soft undershirt has may need protein.
Hair should feel like individual fibers when wet - so if it feels soft and mushy and non-fibrous when wet, you may need some protein.
How often to use protein:
Porous hair that is not coarse can do well every wash day with protein in a conditioner or in a leave-in product - the protein is needed to control hydration and porosity. Or weekly protein treatments and use protein in your products in between.
Normally porous fine or medium width hair can potentially use a similar scheme.
Low and porous hair that is fine and medium can do just fine with a weekly protein conditioner or a protein treatment for support and hydration.
Smaller hair or those with thinner hair with a lower density, lower porosity, may also be able to use protein between weekly treatments for support and hydration.
People with coarse hair that is porous (dry, damaged, or chemically treated) can use protein from time to time - maybe once a week (harmful chemical treatments, smaller proteins) or every 2-3 weeks; but coarse, low porosity hair may only need protein in a conditioner every 1-2 months, perhaps if you spend a lot of time in the sun or your hair is wet for a long time.
Personalize protein products:
1) Choose proteins based on size.
Amino acids and peptides are the smallest and are likely to correspond to the widest range of hair types - fine, medium and coarse, porous, normal porosity and even low porosity.
Hydrolyzed silk, keratin and collagen are smaller and match a wide variety of hair types - fine, medium and coarse and low to high porosity.
Gelatin is between medium and large - better for porous or very damaged / brittle hair or fine / medium hair.
Hydrolyzed wheat, oats, quinoa, corn, soy, lupine, and other vegetable or vegetable proteins typically have components that are medium to large and best tolerated by porous hair, fine and medium hair, damaged hair, chemically treated hair. Irregular use recommended for coarse or lower porosity hair.
2) Select the timing, intensity and make a good assessment of the results
Allow protein products or protein treatment to work longer to (temporarily) adhere more protein to your hair for better hydration. This makes the treatment more intense.
Use heat with a protein-containing product or a protein treatment to encourage soft and light swelling of the hair, to improve the binding of protein to the hair and increase the area for protein to adhere to. This makes the treatment more intense.
Leave protein products on shorter or without heat for a less intensive treatment - for example, for coarse or medium-coarse hair, for frequent protein users or for porous hair.
Hair feels sticky and rough after using protein? Rinse very, very well. Apply plenty of rinsing out conditioner or a deep (intense) conditioner and leave it on for 3 or 5 to 15 or 30 minutes (with or without heat). If that rough feeling doesn't go away with this deep post-protein conditioning, then you 1) let the protein sit for too long, 2) the protein was the wrong protein for your hair, 3) your hair didn't need protein now or 4) it protein was too concentrated (too strong), choose a product with a lower protein content or dilute the product you have with water or conditioner to make it less concentrated next time.
----- March 2020 ----