Protein Treatments for Hair Growth – 6 Things You Should Know
By Jacqueline Samaroo
There’s no arguing with the benefits of protein treatments for hair health and hair growth. They can improve the appearance of your hair and make your hair stronger, too.
But, what exactly is a protein treatment and how do you know if you need one?
Keep reading – we answer these questions and more as we look at six things you should know about protein treatments for hair.
1. Protein and hair
Strands of hair are mostly made up of protein fibers. These fibers form the structure of the strands, strengthening them and helping to prevent breakage and premature shedding.
There are many different kinds of protein in hair but the most abundant one, by far, is keratin. In fact, we describe the hair strand as being made up of dead cells that have been keratinized – hardened by keratin.
Your body makes keratin using protein and several other nutrients you consume in your diet. Some of these other nutrients are vitamin A, the B vitamins, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. You get these nutrients from a wide variety of foods, making a balanced diet a vital part of healthy hair growth.
The protein in the hair strands gets broken down or worn away over time. This damage can happen from manipulation of the hair, chemical processing, harsh ingredients in hair products, and color treatments.
Check out our post on protein and hair, here Natural Hair Care: Protein and Hair – 7 Questions Answered.
2. What are protein treatments for hair?
A protein treatment for hair is a reparative treatment that adds protein to the hair strands. It fills in the gaps in the protein fibers, effectively repairing any damage and making the strand of hair stronger. Protein treatments are a way to nourish your hair from the outside.
There are professional protein treatments for hair that you can have done at a salon. These are “heavy duty” treatments that are meant to repair hair that is the most damaged.
You can also do your own protein treatments for hair at home using commercially-made products or your very own protein treatment recipe.
3. Benefits of protein treatments for hair health and hair growth
- Hair elasticity is improved.
- The strands of hair are strengthened.
- Hair looks shinier, fuller, thicker, smoother, and healthier.
- Split ends and breakage are reduced.
- Hair is better at retaining moisture.
4. Who should get a protein treatment?
You should definitely use a protein treatment if your hair is showing signs of a lack of protein. These include hair that is
- Breaking easily
Protein treatments are also for anyone whose hair is chemically processed or color-treated as these tend to damage the structure of the hair.
If you have had your hair in a protective style for weeks (or months) then doing a protein treatment after you remove the style is a very good idea, too.
Textured hair with its coil, zig-zags, spirals, waves, and curls tends to be drier than straight hair and is more susceptible to damage. This makes protein treatment particularly helpful in maintaining the health of Black hair.
Anyone with high porosity hair can also reap the benefits of a protein treatment.
Find out more about porosity, here: Hair Porosity: What Is It and How Is Black Hair Affected?
NOTE: As beneficial as protein treatments sound, not everyone should use them. It is possible for hair to have too much protein. This makes it stiff and causes it to snap off easily.
If your hair is already strong, elastic, shiny, and healthy-looking, then you really don’t need a protein treatment.
Most likely you are already using a deep conditioner or hair mask as a part of your curly haircare routine. They contain plenty of nutrients (often including protein) and are a good way to give your hair and scalp a healthy boost on a regular basis.
Find out how much you know about maintaining the health of your hair. Read: Want to Grow Healthy Hair? Here’s a Fun Quiz and 5 Great Tips.
5. How often should you do a protein treatment?
At-home protein treatments can be done on a schedule that best suits your hair. Use them weekly or just once per month, as needed. Your hair will definitely benefit from the protein boost.
If you use your own protein treatment recipes, your hair will also get the benefits of the other nourishing ingredients DIY protein treatments for hair have to offer.
6. How to Do Protein Treatments for Hair at Home
These steps work whether you are using commercially-made or DIY protein treatments for hair.
Step 1: Apply the at-home protein treatment to your hair and comb it through.
Step 2: Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave the treatment in for at least 30 minutes.
Step3: You can use heat from a blow dryer on a low-heat setting to evenly warm your head. This helps to open up your cuticles and let the protein in. Or, sit outside in the sunshine and get your daily dose of vitamin D while the Sun does the job of warming your hair.
Step 4: Rinse your hair and then shampoo and condition as usual.
Do you use protein treatments for hair growth? Share any tips you have!