What are proteins?
Medical News Today defines proteins as large molecules consisting of amino acids that our bodies and the cells within them need to function properly. They are important to our existence that our body structures, functions, and regulation of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs could not exist without them! Proteins are made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are necessary in the body’s processes for healthy skin and hair, as they simply encourage the growth of stronger hair when in conjunction with a healthy diet.
How do you get proteins into your hair?
The best way is through a proper diet but you can supplement through hair products, especially if your diet is not up to snuff. Like I mentioned above, one cannot just slather some proteins onto your hair and expect absorption. Yolanda Anderson, M.Ed. (Chemistry) explains that proteins like keratin and collagen are extremely large and need to be broken down so they can be absorbed or rather stick to the hair. That process is called hydrolysis and cannot be done by you or me but in a lab.
What is hydrolysis?
Hydrolysis is a type of chemical reaction where one reactant will create at least two (or more) products and according to Ms. Anderson is a decomposition reaction. Water is used because hydrolysis literally means reaction with water. A larger molecule is cleaved into two or more parts by the addition of a molecule of water. Hydrolysis allows the hair to benefit from proteins by breaking them down so they can be adsorbed and aid the hair.
6 Proteins that need to be hydrolyzed
Here are some proteins that are able to support the hair because of hydrolysis.
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein will greatly increase the hair’s ability to retain moisture, add volume, and reduce hair’s porosity while improving its smoothness.
- Hydrolyzed silk protein forms a crystalline protective barrier because it is derived from silk, one of the strongest natural fibers in the world. It will improve your hair’s elasticity, resiliency, and increase the shine.
- Hydrolyzed soy protein is a water soluble protein derived from soy that will strengthen and mend hair fibers. It increases hair’s ability to hold moisture while adding shine and smoothness.
- Hydrolyzed milk protein is a hydrolysate of milk protein derived by acid, enzyme, or other method of hydrolysis that moisturizes, nourishes, and improves the manageability of the hair while adding gloss and texture.
- Hydrolyzed keratin protein revitalizes hair’s natural protective layer while rebuilding its strength and returning the elasticity to the strands. The damages from harsh chemicals are greatly reduced.
- Hydrolyzed collagen protein derived from bovine bone and cartilage, this protein will temporarily bond to the hair and increase its resistance to breakage under tension.
Most proteins are too large to be effective, so hydrolysis is necessary to allow them to be broken down and adsorb to your hair shaft, which is why the popular eggs and mayonnaise treatments may not do what you think. It sounds complicated but the work is done for you in the lab when added to your hair products. It is a safe practice and widely used and accepted, so when you see it on a label know it is helped to strengthen your hair.
Products with hydrolyzed proteins
Jane Carter Hydrating Invigorating Shampoo
Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment
Karen’s Body Beautiful Hold It Hair Gel w/ Argan Oil