Does your Natural Hair Need a Protein Treatment?
Protein treatments can be an excellent way to repair severely damaged and brittle hair that may be breaking or splitting at the ends. Like all hair types, natural hair depends on the proper proteins, oils and nutrients to thrive and grow healthier, longer and stronger hair while also retaining length at the same time. Breakage usually occurs when the hair lacks moisture and flexibility causing the hair strand to become dry, brittle and eventually break. Breakage can also be contributed to damage done to the hair by poor natural hair care and styling habits.
A protein treatment is simply a temporary repair that strengthens the hair follicle. It works by filling in the gaps of the cuticle layer and creating a barrier around the hair follicle to prevent further damage. It does all rthis while also adding nutrients that help to strengthen the hair. A very small amount of protein can also penetrate the cortex of the hair (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science, pgs. 69-87, 1993) to help rebuild damaged strands.
How can I tell if I Need a Protein Treatment?
If you natural hair seems to be fragile, dry and breaking severely then a protein treatment may be something you should consider adding to your natural hair care regimen. Protein treatments are also great for helping to treat split ends and hair that has been damaged by excessive heat styling, harsh environmental factors, and chemical hair coloring.
Choosing the Right Protein Treatment for your Hair
Choosing the right protein treatment is essential to the overall health of your natural hair. Not all protein treatments are ideal for your hair type and using too much can actually cause more damage and breakage of your natural hair strands. Protein treatments come in several forms including protein packs, protein conditioners, reconstructing packs, deep conditioning treatments, and light protein treatments. Choosing the one that will work best for you will all depend on your hair needs.
For Hair that is Slightly Damaged
For hair that may be lacking resiliency and seems to be very fragile, you may wish to go for a lighter type of protein treatment. Lighter protein treatments are ideal if you use color your hair with chemical hair dyes or if you occasionally use heat to style your natural hair. Protein treatments such as Aubrey Organics GPB, Hydratherma Natural Protein leave-in conditioner or Keraphix Restorative Strengthening conditioner contain lower levels of protein and are ideal for use for slightly damaged hair. You can add these products to your natural hair care regime once or twice a month without overdoing. Be sure to follow-up with a good moisturizing conditioner after your protein treatment to prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle because too much protein can have adverse results.
For Hair that is Severely Damaged
Hair that is severely damaged will require commitment to restore your hair back to its healthy state. You will need to pay close attention to the condition of your hair and choose the right type of protein treatment based on your hair needs. Severely damages hair can benefit from a protein hair mask, reconstructor or deep conditioning treatment. Whichever type of protein treatment that you select, follow the label instructions carefully in order to achieve the best results and prevent further damaging the hair. There are several deep penetrating protein treatments and reconstructors such as Aphogee 2-Step Protein Treatment, Crème of Nature Conditioning Reconstructor, and Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise.
How Often Should I use a Protein Treatment?
Most of the lighter protein treatments advise using no more than 2-3 times per month. However, you should use treatments designed for severe hair damage every 6-8 weeks. You should be able to determine how often you will need to use a protein treatment based on the condition of your hair. For hair that is severely damaged, adding a light protein conditioner to your regimen at least twice a month will greatly improve its condition and then a monthly treatment for severe damage. A protein treatment once a month should be enough to help restore hair that has less damage.
Finding the right protein treatment for our natural hair all depends on the condition of your hair and what your hair needs. There are ton of choices when it comes to purchasing the right protein treatment. Be sure to read the labels to make sure you are not using a protein based product that may be too harsh or weak for your specific hair type.