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Do I need to Protein Treat my Hair?

We all want the best for our hair. Sometimes we say it, but don’t know where to start. Other times we try so hard that we over do it and actually end up doing more harm than good. It’s important to find a balance. When it comes to protein treating your hair, this is a process that can add bounce, shine and strength to your hair without too much effort. However, even this can be excessive if we get carried away.

First, a quick Biology lesson. Your hair is made up of the protein keratin. This protein is also found in your nails and skin. This doesn’t mean you need to find a source of Keratin to feast on in order to grow your hair. All proteins are made from the building blocks called Amino Acids, so as long as these are in your diet, as well as general protein sources your body can rearrange these amino acids and proteins to create the specific protein, Keratin. Obviously your hair shaft doesn’t get to be ‘born again’ once its grown and damaged or had a hard time so no amount of good diet can save hair that’s already grown out of your hair follicle. Your diet can however positively affect the hair that is being constructed in your hair follicle.

So how do protein treatments work?

There are a few ways to protein treat your hair. There are store bought products you can use. These vary in ease of use, how long it takes to work and effectiveness. There are even brands that specialise in protein treating hair specifically, hair dressers have their methods also, and of course there home made recipes. They all however work in the same way.

The hair shaft consists of cuticles which sometimes naturally lift but lift even more so due to wear and tear. If you have high-porosity hair, your hair cuticles are already slightly lifted.

These lifted structures causes gaps and weaknesses along the hair shaft, and due to the inconsistent structure, the hair can feel generally rough and these weaknesses are prone to breakage. Your hair shaft is only as strong as it’s weakest point. Protein treatments fill these gaps. Sounds like a hero right. Well it is! It’s like plastering over and sanding down a wall that’s a little patchy. But here’s the thing, it’s actually temporary. And most people who dabble in protein treatments know this, which is why protein treatments are repeated over short spaces of time, but actually, it really doesn’t need to be too frequent. Regular protein treatments can cause your hair to become coarse, wiry and brittle. You don’t want that. I recommend protein treating you hair every 4 – 6 months in general terms OR after the following.

When should I protein treat my hair?

After long periods of time in a protective style

Often after a long protective style your hair needs some TLC. It might be looking dull or limp and needs revamping.

Following colour damage or heat damage

These processes normally strip your hair of protein or at least cause those cuticles on your hair shaft to go crazy. That’s why its so easy for your ends to split when you use heat regularly or bleach your hair.

After long periods of dryness.

Even so, assess the situation. Maybe all you need is a deep condition or a hot oil treatment.

Not for protein sensitive hair

You know when your hair is protein sensitive if when protein treated only once, it becomes course, stiff and brittle. If you don’t know if your hair is protein sensitive or not, just protein treat a small section of hair to begin with and see how it goes. If you love the change compared to the rest of your hair then go for it. If the rest of your hair feels softer in comparison, it might be something to leave on the shelf.

Here's to happy hair!

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