Protein and moisture balance


Have you been facing the hair breakage problem lately? Let’s find out what could be the cause of hair breakage and how you can prevent it. First let’s clarify that breakage is different than hair fall. If the hair snaps off from somewhere along the hair shaft then it is breakage but if the hair comes out of the root (you can see hair bulb at one end of the strand) then you have a hair fall problem.

There are two important factors that tell you about the health of your hair. Moisture and Protein content. Moisture provides the elasticity to hair which makes it flexible and allows it to stretch. Protein gives the hair its structure and strength. Protein in your hair helps to bind the moisture inside. These two work together to maintain the health of your hair. If either of it is deficient in your hair then this leads to breakage due to lack of elasticity and strength when it undergoes stress through day today activities of combing, washing etc. So, it becomes very important to maintain the moisture and protein balance in your hair.

elasticity_test


How to make out which treatment hair needs

You can perform some tests on your hair strand to determine what your hair lacks. Hold a strand (dry or wet) in your fingers and stretch it. Make sure not to put strong pressure as ultimately the hair will break. The reason being your single strand of hair doesn’t go through such kind of pressure in your every day hair grooming routine.

If your hair:
  • Stretches slightly and returns to its original length without breaking, you hair is balanced.
  • Stretches a little more than normal then breaks, you need more protein in your regimen.
  • Stretches, stretches, stretches with no significant breakage yet, add a bit more protein to your hair care regime.
  • Experiences very little to no stretching, and simply breaks, you need to increase the moisture in your regimen.
  • when hair is dry, it feels rough, tough, hard, dry, tangled, brittle, you need more moisture in your hair.
If you are still confused how to make sure your hair needs protein or moisture. Then look out for signs. If hair feels very soft and mushy when it wet then it needs moisture. Also, if your hair has stop curling well and you already tried the clarifying then protein treatment might help.
If your hair is very dry and brittle, then you need to moisturize it which is the most common scenario.  
Too much of protein can lead to rigid hair which can cause breakage. So, follow the routine of deep moisturizing the hair every week and go for a heavier protein treatment (meant for damaged hair) once in a month or twice in a months depending upon your hair health. Chemically treated (colored, straightened etc) hair requires more regular protein treatment than virgin hair. Also, we loss a little protein every time we wash our hair so it is a good idea to replenish the hair with lost protein. You generally do not face problem of protein overload from day-today products meant for regular use that contains protein. Because not all proteins are same. Low molecular weight proteins penetrate hair shaft and also provide moisture to hair. So, protein and moisture sometimes go hand in hand depending on the kind of protein. 
Most deep conditioners are meant to moisturize your hair but some of them have added protein to provide the strength and moisture  to your hair. You can easily identify protein in your hair products, it is listed as protein of some type like hydrolyzed wheat protein, keratin protein, soy protein, silk protein etc.
Some deep conditioners which are meant for damaged hair generally have protein which works on outer surface of the hair and repair the cuticle layers.
Now you know how to keep a check on your moisture and protein balance.

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5 thoughts on “Protein and moisture balance

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      It depends on the mask that you use. Like, if your mask has more oil or have egg then use it before the shampoo. Market bought masks are meant to be used after the shampoo.

  • CJ

    I have to be very careful with how much protein I use in my hair products, so I separate my items in 1 box for protein based products, and a separate box for none protein based products, so I don’t use too much protein and end up in protein overload…uggg Again.

    I thought I had them all in the correct box until I actually ran across an ingredient that is a protein, but I was not aware it was a protein, and it didn’t have the word protein listed after it in the ingredients list either, and that ingredient is Sea Kelp. (Other types of kelps, other than sea kelp, are used in products too).

    Shea Moisture has a product called, “Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque” that contains the protein sea kelp in it. Needless to say, I discovered this the hard way after using it thinking it didn’t have protein in it, and by the next day my hair was so dry that it was close to breaking. (Any other time if I used a protein based treatment I would have combined it with a hydrating treatment that doesn’t have protein in it, or done a deep conditioning hydrating treatment afterwards to help counteract the drying affects of the protein.

    I agree that the majority of all products either list the word Protein after the actual protein, and I have seen some that doesn’t say protein after them but have the word Hydrolyzed in front of the name giving us a good indication that that’s a protein, but, apparently, that’s not always the case.

    A good rule of thumb is if the product says it restores, repairs, reconstructs, heals, grows, strengthens, or anything along those lines, odds are, it has protein in one form or another in it. I hope this helps prevent anyone else from making the same mistake I made.