Just as we need to include protein into our daily diet to feel healthy and strong, so is our need for protein in our hair routine. When we get into the nitty gritty of haircare, the word “protein” gets thrown into the convo alot. But what is protein and what does it really do for our hair? Let’s break it down…
What Is Protein?
Your hair is protein! Your tresses are primarily made up of protein filaments, called keratin, and chains of amino acids. Exposure to harsh chemicals and poor maintenance can break up the chains and lead to brittle, dull, and damaged strands. Protein strengthens and repairs the keratin, therefore giving hair structure and helping it grow longer and stronger.
How to Use Proteins to Treat Your Hair
DIET: Healthy hair starts from within. Good sources of protein are chicken, eggs, legumes, and fish. Salmon, for instance, offers enough omega-3 fatty acids that will support a healthy scalp and hair growth.
PROTEIN PACKS: A protein pack is a quick and convenient solution for hair breakage and damage. Go to your local drugstore and you’ll find a pouch of hair miracles on the shelf. You can use one once a month.
CONDITIONING MASKS: A hair mask is a lighter treatment and can even be used as a leave-in conditioner. This method can be used more frequently.
DEEP PENETRATING TREATMENTS: If you want a more intense treatment, this one may be for you. Deep treatments hydrate and stimulate the roots for optimum growth. You can use this treatment once or twice a month.
RECONSTRUCTORS: Hair reconstructors are protein-rich conditioners made specifically for chemically treated or heat damaged hair. Ideally, used when needed.
NATURAL: If you’re more of a DIY kind of person, opt for the natural route. Grab some eggs, mayo, and/or avocado and create your own protein mask. This treatment is great to do every other week, depending on your hair needs.
When to Use it
- Hair breakage
- Chemically treated hair
- Heat damage
- To treat highly porous hair
Too much of a good thing can be bad. Too much protein can leave your hair stiff, thus leading to breakage, thus bringing you right back to where you started. Use a treatment that works best for your hair situation and use only as often as your hair requires. When using different products, check the label for helpful add-ons like collagen, which improves hair elasticity, keratin, which strengthens strands, plant proteins, which help strands absorb moisture, and silk proteins, which help soften hair.