Protein and Your Curls: A Guide
Let’s talk about protein. It’s essential to a balanced diet, and an important part of your haircare regimen, too. Your hair is literally made of protein—primarily keratin. And if your hair is curly, feeding it with protein is even more crucial.
Why does curly hair need protein?
Each hair on your head has a protective layer of overlapping cells called the cuticle. Because of its corkscrew shape, curly hair’s cuticle is constantly lifted – its surface looks like ruffled feathers, with gaps in between each layer. These gaps allow moisture and nutrients to escape, which ultimately weakens the protein chains inside the hair.
Protein-based deep treatments replenish the nutrients and moisture that curly hair loses on a constant basis. This helps to reconnect the protein chains inside the hair to strengthen each strand. These types of treatments need to be applied with heat to penetrate into hair’s inner layer.
Can you use too much protein?
When it comes to protein treatments, it’s all about balance. If you overload your hair with protein and not enough moisture, strands can become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. That’s why protein-based treatments should be used occasionally – once or twice a month – and followed with a moisturizing conditioner. Stick to this regimen, and you’ll see a visible difference: your curls will feel healthier, have more bounce, and look less frizzy.
What about proteins in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products?
Shampoos, conditioners, and stylers often contain protein, but in much smaller amounts than you’d find in a treatment, so it’s fine to use them daily. For most curls, a little bit of protein and plenty of moisture on a daily basis is ideal. This combo keeps hair strong and healthy.
Are some hair types protein-sensitive?
Yes—low-porosity hair and fine hair should avoid protein treatments. Because low-porosity hair has difficulty absorbing moisture, too much protein can leave this hair type dry and brittle. (Kinky Curls that have not been chemically treated or colored typically fall into the low-porosity category.) And fine hair is more delicate by nature, so too much protein can lead to breakage.
If you have high-porosity or damaged hair, regular protein treatments can help your curls look and feel healthier. Ask your stylist to choose a treatment that’s right for your curls, or try our Deep Treatment Curl Restoration Therapy followed by Melt-Down Extreme Repair Mask for salon-quality results at home.