Hair(y) Needs: Protein, Hydration and Moisture

Major categories of hair needs / Major contributors to hair health and beauty

Protein Hydration Moisture
Target area Inside hair shaft (hair structure) Inside hair shaft (hair softness) Surface of the hair
What does it do? Our hair is made up of over 90% of protein, best known as keratin, and chain of amino acids  To supply water in order to restore or maintain fluid balance / increase moisture content in hair strands


To supply water or other liquid to the surface of the hair for silky smooth finish and shine
How does it work? –          Hydrolyzed protein (protein small enough to attach itself and penetrate into the hair shaft)


–          Water

–          Humectants


Glycerin is nearly ever present ingredient in hair care products. It is not curly hair hero so try to find products glycerin free

–          Emollients (Oils,  butters)

–          Hydrophobic oils

Those substances act as anti-humectants and sealers

Be aware Adjust protein treatments to your needs: light treatment, deep treatment and reconstructor


Humectants can dry   out the hair in low humidity environment Moisturizing the hair will not achieve desired results if the hair strands are dehydrated

In many cases, hydration and moisturising of the hair are put together and labelled with generalised term “moisturising” and “moisture”. The ingredient list of the product will let you know whether you are looking at hydrating product (water listed as primary ingredient) or moisturising one (oil listed as one of the top five ingredients on the list).


How do you know what your hair needs?

Remember hair elasticity test? Yes, that one: Hair Assessment: Hair Types and Health. As you are learning about your hair’s needs, you can perform elasticity test every so often in order to ensure you are on the right truck. As you progress through your hair journey, you will have enough tacit knowledge to support your luscious hair efforts.

Hydration Deficient / Protein Overload Hydration Overload / Protein Deficient
Dry, brittle, stiff, straw like hair that breaks easily

No shine, difficult to detangle

Little to no elasticity

Mushy, dry, frizzy hair that stretches and then breaks

Dull hair that tangles easily

Overly elastic

Need: Hydration! Hydration and softness of hair depend on water content inside the hair shaft. Moisture is needed to seal the water Need: Protein! Protein creates structure and strength to support hair softness



Factors affecting level of hydration of the hair

You can access if your hair is well hydrated by observing following three factors: obvious shrinkage of the hair, pronounced definition of your hair pattern and pliability.

If you understand that your hair lacks water, you should consider following factors prior to administering hydrating treatments:

1)      Barriers

Conditioners, sealers and styling gels can contribute to product buildup which negatively affects hair’s ability to absorb water. As such, it is advisable to hydrate hair when you have very little or no product on it. Also, every so often you can detox your hair by using clearing shampoos or clays like Bentonite or Rhassoul.

2)      Duration of exposure to water

When hydrating your hair, you have to give enough time for the product to do its job. You should closely follow hydration product directions in order to properly hydrate your hair.

3)      Frequency of hydration

The intervals at which you hydrate your hair need to happen on regular basis. Frequency of hydration will depend on the needs of your own hair so make sure to access and monitor that carefully.

Please be aware that it is possible to over hydrate / moisturize your hair which will weaken hair’s protein binding structure and in turn will increase hair porosity.

4)      Cuticle anatomy

You have to consider your hair porosity when hydrating your hair!

High porosity hair will accept water easily and lose water quickly. Normal porosity hair will receive water easily and retain water for some period of time inside the hair shaft.

Low porosity hair will usually repel water so you might need to use products with higher pH in order to raise hair cuticle for water to be absorbed inside the hair shaft.


Speaking of water, I also wanted to mention that the amount of pure water you consume on daily basis has a huge impact on your overall health and as follows on appearance of your hair.


Factors affecting level of protein in the hair

Following are the factors that have negative effect on the level of protein in the hair

1)      Chemical treatments

2)      Heat styling

3)      Sun exposure

4)      Poor hair maintenance

Protein hair treatments no matter how strong are temporary in nature. They cannot fix hair breakage / loss caused by a nutrient deficiency (like protein or iron deficiency, etc).


The key to balanced hair care regimen

Overall, if you want to create hair care that supports growth and luscious appearance of your hair, you should ensure the following:

1)      balance of protein and water! Vary the ratios to keep hair balanced

2)      pH balancing your products



Thanks for reading,



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