The human hair is primarily made up of protein; in fact, it is 70% keratin protein. Protein is the key to hair’s strength and structure, thus the need for protein treatments. The aim of hair regimens is to maintain the balance of moisture and protein as these work together to make the hair healthy, retain length and easy to manage.
Regular handling of hair via shampooing, styling, color treatment and use of heat can lead to loss of protein in the hair, but this can easily be corrected via protein treatments. Protein deficient hair also has a reduced ability to retain moisture
Unlike deep conditioning treatments, protein treatments shouldn’t be done as frequently; once a month or once every six weeks is fine, depending on the hair. This is because too much of it can lead to breakage.
There are a lot of hair care brands that sell protein treatments; the key is to ensure that the product contains hydrolyzed protein. Hydrolyzed protein has been broken down into its component amino acids and this enables it penetrate the hair shaft and adhere to cracks along the cuticle layers. Also, ensure that the protein is in the first five listed ingredients of the product: the lower it is in the ingredients chain, the less of it is available in the product. Protein conditioners contain ingredients such as collagen, cholesterol, keratin, amino acids or panthenol.
You can either purchase or make your own protein treatment mask at home using mayonnaise, yogurt or eggs. If you have purchased a protein treatment product, follow the instructions on the bottle. Do protein treatments after shampoo (not co-washing) and follow up with your deep conditioning treatment after as protein treatments tend to harden the hair.