by: Ajia N. Eberhart
There’s a plethora of curly hair advice and information for topics like moisture, texture, and density--while proteins tend to be the black sheep of natural hair conversations. Most naturals still don't understand how crucial protein is for the strength of our tresses.
Performing regular deep protein treatments is incredibly important to aid in retaining length as well as helping with moisture levels. In between the 3-4 month gap of each deep protein treatment, the protein balance of our hair needs to be maintained in order to minimize breakage.
Maintaining an appropriate protein level in your hair comes from a number of things such as a balanced diet and applying products containing hydrolyzed proteins. First, let's work our way from the inside of the body, outward.
Protein from the Inside Out
When we exercise and work to build muscle, we know we should eat eggs, meats, and veggies with a high concentration of protein to build that muscle. The same protein we ingest after workouts helps form strong and sturdy hair strands that continue to grow. If our bodies lack protein, that new growth has a weak foundation, is fragile, and is much more prone to breakage. Simply applying a topical protein treatment would help but will not provide hair strands with optimal levels of protein internally that can withstand weekly manipulation from styling.
Protein from the Outside In
Over time, the hair follicle chips away, increasing the potential for breakage. This happens over time with the wear and tear of excessive styling and manipulation. Applying products that contain hydrolyzed proteins allows hair to maintain the results of the deep protein treatment for a longer time.
What are hydrolized proteins?
You may be asking yourself, “What are hydrolyzed proteins?” Hydro=water, meaning that proteins such as animal, wheat, and silk that are broken down by water infusion are small enough to penetrate the shaft of the hair. Hydrolyzed proteins are found in leave-in conditioners, styling products, and other hair care products. Choosing the right hydrolyzed protein for you is based on individual hair needs and hair preferences.
How to find the protein you need
- Keep a schedule: Performing deep penetrating protein treatments on a regular basis is much better than waiting for breakage to occur. Much more length will be retained if the issue of breakage is caught prior to it actually beginning
- Know your proteins: Try two or three products that have different proteins, i.e wheat protein, silk proteins, etcetera; examine which type of protein your hair prefers.
- Know your balance: Get an idea for how your hair feels when it's at an appropriate protein and moisture balance. Many naturals don’t know how their hair feels in its strongest state which can cause the misleading of diagnosis of potential hair problems
- Be fearless: Don’t be afraid to incorporate salon-grade protein treatments into your regimen; a little goes a long way. They’ll provide all the nutrients and ingredients necessary to bring your hair into its best condition.