As a naturalista it can be hard to find the delicate balance between moisture and protein in your hair regimen to help your natural hair thrive. We’ve discussed on end how important it is to moisturize and what you can do to increase moisture retention. However protein often gets ignored in the natural hair talk or is often feared. Protein is however important, and a lack of protein in your hair can be causing detrimental damage, hair loss, and preventing you from gaining/retaining hair length.
Hair is made up of 70 percent protein, which means our hair is mostly made of it! That is why it is so important to make sure we are replenishing, adding and balancing the protein in our hair with protein treatments/ conditioners as well as moisture rich conditioners. Usually for the most part deep conditioning with a moisture rich conditioner weekly and a protein rich conditioner monthly should help do the trick in balancing. But sometimes things can get unbalanced! Here is what you should look for.
1. No Bounceback: In simple terms your hair lost its elasticity. To test this when wet stretch a few strands of your hair. If your hair doesn’t revert back to its original shape/length and just kind of hangs there limp you are in need of a protein treatment. Also if you stretch the hair and it stretches & breaks… that is also a sign that your hair is in serious need of a protein treatment
2. Limp/Mushy: If your hair feels limp/ mushy or gummy (which I’m currently experiencing myself) then you need to add some protein to your regimen to help balance out the moisture and lack of sufficient protein presence in the hair.
3. You’ve recently colored your hair: If you’ve recently colored your hair there is probably a good chance you need to do a protein treatment. Why? Hair dyes or bleach lift the cuticle in order to change the color of your hair. This process can be severely damaging and strips the hair of its natural proteins. This is why many times you feel your hair dry and brittle after a coloring session. With the structure of your hair compromised doing a few protein and moisture treatments can fill in the gaps/holes created n the cuticle by the bleach in order to promote healthy strong hair growth.
4. Pre-Heat: Before applying direct heat the hair it is a good idea to do a protein treatment to strengthen the cuticle against heat damage. Even with the best of practices and heat protectants mistakes can occur, so it is always better to be safe than sorry. Protein treatments and heat protectants are still no use against improper direct heat practices. Always err on the side of caution when adding direct heat to your hair. Never skip steps or cut corners in order to save time. The health of your hair should be your main concern.
5. Increased breakage/shedding: If you are noticing an increased amount of shedding or breakage (on your combs/brushes/clothes…etc) your hair is sending out a sign that it’s protein levels are low. Doing a protein treatment will help decrease the amount of shedding and breakage. If you notice these signs do not decrease it may be time for a cut to alleviate some split ends/ and irreversible damage.
Protein treatments can be purchased in your local beauty supply store as well as protein rich conditioners that usually have keratin or some other form of protein as the main ingredient. However you can always go the natural DIY route and add protein supplements into your hair regimen during your pre-poo, co wash or deep conditioning steps. Using eggs, mayo, or yogurt are great sources of adding protein into your hair regimen without having to spend too much.
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