Protein Hair Treatments: Intro

What are Protein Hair Treatments?

Protein hair treatments are hair products loaded with the kind of protein that can temporarily strengthen and repair hair by filling in the gaps along the cuticle. If the protein is small enough (hydrolyzed protein), it can penetrate the hair shaft.


What are the signs that you need Protein Hair Treatment?

There are two major signs that you need protein hair treatment:

1)      Low elasticity

2)      Limp and gummy feeling hair when it is wet

That said, the more you know your hair, the more you are able to identify if Protein Hair Treatment is applicable to your particular situation:

  •  You have highly porous hair. High porosity hair might be a natural state of the hair or it could also come as a result of hair coloring, bleaching, perm, relaxing of the hair or over – chlorination from the pool.
  • If you frequently style your hair using heat, your hair might be losing some of its properties. In this case, your hair might benefit from protein treatment.
  • People who have fine to medium hair strands could benefit from protein treatment as it will add strength and rigidity to the hair
  • Protein hair treatment is great for those people who are about to go for serious chemical service (blech, perm, etc) to the salon. Doing protein hair treatment before the chemical service will help to mitigate some of the damages caused by dyeing and perming.
  • Protein hair treatments can help to address excessive hair breakage (not shedding of the hair). That said, the reasons for hair breakage could be numerous. As such, it is best that you examine what causes hair breakage in your particular case: Is hair breakage cause by external (ex. rough styling / combing) or internal (ex. lack of protein in diet, anemia) factors?


What type of Protein Hair Treatments is right for me?

There are four types of protein conditioning treatments:

Type of Protein Conditioning Treatment Purpose of the treatment Remarks
Light penetrating treatments


Maintenance / Routine treatment
Protein packs


Lightly damaged hair
Deep penetrating treatments


Moderately damaged hair Understand the nature and severity of the damage. Sometimes protein treatment is not the answer and the only remedy for damaged hair is to trim the hair and let it grow back


Severely damaged hair


No matter what protein treatment you choose to use, please make sure to follow up with a good moisturizing conditioner in order to re-establish protein- moisture balance.

Frequency of protein hair treatments depends on the condition of your hair and the products you choose to use. The schedule of protein treatment application tends to go under heavy scrutiny and raise heated debates which is why I would suggest that you listen to your hair, learn about available options and act accordingly.

What type of protein should be used during the treatment?

You can choose products that use either animal- or plant- based protein. However, no matter what type of protein you choose (keratin, soy protein, silk protein, oat protein, etc), it has to be hydrolyzed for the treatment to be effective!

Hydrolyzed protein Non – hydrolyzed protein
What does it mean? Molecular structure of the protein is small enough for it to be able to penetrate the cortex of the hair


Molecular size of protein is too large to penetrate the cortex of the hair
Examples Hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed silk protein, hydrolyzed oat protein, hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed milk protein, etc


Eggs, mayo, Greek yogurt, coconut milk
Effect on the hair –          Protein bonds onto the hair

–          Protein penetrate the cortex of the hair


–          Protein coats hair strands
Verdict Effective protein hair treatment


The results last until first hair wash. If hair is not cleansed properly, this treatment contributes to product build-up



Examples of Hydrolyzed Protein Hair Treatments:

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein –          Reduce hair porosity

–          Increase hair’s ability to retain moisture

–          Add volume


Hydrolyzed Silk Protein –          Form protective barrier around the hair

–          Improve hair’s elasticity

–          Increase shine


Hydrolyzed Soy Protein –          Strengthen and mend hair fibers

–          Increase hair’s ability to hold moisture


Hydrolyzed Milk Protein –          Improve manageability of the hair

–          Improve texture

–          Add shine


Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein –          Rebuild strength and elasticity of the hair

–          Reduce damages due to harsh chemicals

Do’s and Don’ts of Protein Hair Treatments


Do’s Don’ts
Use only one type of protein hair treatment. You could opt for rinse – off protein – enriched products such as shampoo, conditioner or hair mask


Do not use protein – enriched products that will stay on your hair for prolonged period of time. In other words, your leave – in conditioner and styling products should be protein free


If your hair needs more protein, use the product of choice more often as opposed to using more products with protein


If you are planning to do strong protein hair treatment, make sure to clarify your hair first


If your hair feels still after the protein treatment (protein overload), you can follow up with a moisturizing treatment


If your hair needs protein, make sure to find a protein – moisture balanced hair care regimen. Do not overuse protein as you will have to deal with protein overload
 Always follow the instructions listed by the producer
Understand  if as well as why your hair lacks protein and make appropriate changes to address internal / external factors Avoid using protein- enriched products if you have low porosity hair


Thanks for reading,

1 thought on “Protein Hair Treatments: Intro”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s