It takes protein and moisture to achieve healthy, balanced curls. And understanding your hair’s relationship with protein and moisture could be the very thing that helps your curls thrive. This crash course will cover everything on protein moisture balance for curly hair, including why curls need both, how to tell if your curls need more of one or the other, and how to add more protein or moisture to your hair.<br /> <br />Protein vs. Moisture<br />Protein and moisture are both needed for healthy, naturally curly hair. Your hair is made up mainly (80%-90%) of a protein called keratin, which strengthens and helps protect your hair against damage. This protein gives your hair its structure and helps it repair itself. However, regular wear — like styling, sleeping, heat tools, and hair ties — can break down the protein in your hair, and make it more vulnerable to damage. <br />While protein is a significant factor in the health of your curly hair, you can’t forget about moisture. Without moisture, your hair is left feeling dry and may become more prone to frizz.<br />Ultimately, you must find the right protein moisture balance for your specific hair needs. You don’t want too much protein or moisture, but you don’t want too little either. Remember that neither protein nor moisture will work well in your hair if it doesn’t have the support of the other. In fact, if you strike the right balance, protein can help your curly hair maintain moisture by temporarily acting as a filler for the space in your hair’s cuticle. <br />So, how do you know what that protein moisture balance is? There's a “stretch test” you can perform on your curly hair to determine if you’re lacking in protein or moisture. <br /> <br />Do My Curls Need More Protein or Moisturizing?<br />Now that you understand the importance of these two factors, you might wonder how to balance protein and moisture in curly hair. It's hard to have perfectly balanced hair, and if you're unhappy with your hair's appearance lately, it could be due to needing moisture or protein. <br /><br /><br />Hair that breaks easily and often might be in need of protein, moisture, or both.<br /><br />Hair that's extraordinarily elastic and limp could have too much moisture.<br />Brittle hair could be a result of too much protein.<br />Frizz and lacking curl definition could be the result of either excess protein or excess moisture. <br /><br />Still asking yourself, "Do I need protein or moisture for my curly hair?" Luckily, you don't have to guess what's happening with your hair balance — you can test it. Here's how to conduct a simple protein vs. moisture curly hair test. Stretch your hair strands apart from each other. You can stretch wet or dry hair and look for the following signs:<br /><br />Balanced curly hair will extend slightly before going back to its original curl length without changing or breaking.<br />Curly hair with excess protein will stretch, extend a reasonable amount and then typically break quite quickly. This type of hair needs moisture to balance out the protein.<br />Curly hair with excess moisture will continue to stretch excessively without breaking. This type of hair will feel limp and almost too stretchy. Adding in some light protein should help balance the moisture levels and result in healthier looking curls. <br /><br /> <br />How to Add More Protein to Curls<br />You've done the test and determined you need to add more protein to your curls. You'll need to invest in some protein-rich products and focus on using these products on wash days. <br />Use the Ouidad Curl Therapy Lightweight Protein Foam Treatment every wash day until you see an improvement in your curls. After this, you can lessen use to every second or third wash day. In addition to this product, use the Ouidad Ultra-Nourishing Intense Hydrating Mask once a week for an excellent deep-conditioning hair treatment. <br /> <br />How to Add More Moisture to Curls<br />If your problem is too much protein resulting in dry hair lacking in moisture, there are a few steps you can take. First, you'll need to clarify your hair and eliminate any product buildup that keeps your hair dry. We recommend the Ouidad Water Works Clarifying Shampoo for a thorough clarifying treatment that doesn't take away moisture. <br />Next, pause using heating tools on your hair. Try heatless styling methods, and keep heat away until you've fully rebalanced your curls.<br />Make the switch to adding products to your hair routine that provide moisture. Some of the best moisture enhancing Ouidad products are:<br /><br /><br />Ouidad Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment<br /><br /><br />Ouidad Curl Recovery® Whipped Curls® Daily Conditioner &amp; Styling Primer<br /><br /><br />Ouidad Botanical Boost® Curl Energizing &amp; Refreshing Spray<br /><br /><br />Lastly, make sure to avoid products that provide more protein to the hair. You don't need to avoid protein altogether, but your focus needs to be on rebalancing to get more moisture into your hair. <br /> <br />Balanced Hair Equals Happy Curls<br />You'll be shocked at the difference balancing your hair will make to your curls. With just a few changes to your hair care routine, you can have bouncy, healthy curls again. <br />It's easy for your hair to get unbalanced again as you go about your life and experiment with new products, color your hair, or style more frequently. That's why doing a balance test on your hair every few months is essential. This quick test can help you determine if your hair needs a few changes to get back into optimal shape. <br />And don't forget that Ouidad products help all curl types get the best hair they've ever had.