The Truth About Excessive Hair Protein and How to Correct It
Human hair is made up of a long string of protein called keratin which is the same protein present in fingernails. Your skin is made up of keratin as well.
Keratin is important in hair because it gives inner and outer hair structure strength and elasticity.
But is it possible to have excessive hair protein? The answer is yes! Hair protein is a healthy way to enhance hair growth but the excess of it spells doom.
Karin of KarinHairBoutique.com provides some insights into the dangers of excessive hair protein and how you can know if your hair is healthy.
According to her, human hair is a tough fibrous protein consisting primarily of keratin. Protein makes our hair strands strong, enabling them to grow long and healthy.
Some people believe adding extra protein to their hair in the form of treatments will make it even stronger. Unfortunately, applying too much protein to hair can actually cause more harm than good as we shall see in this article.
Are You Overdosing Your Hair With Protein?
An equal balance of protein and moisture means a perfectly healthy hair. Protein helps your hair stay strong while moisture keeps it hydrated.
Protein overdose occurs when the amount of protein in your hair is more than the amount of moisture resulting in dryness and breakage.
People make the mistake of thinking protein moisturizes hair. It doesn’t. It strengthens it.
Even if you’re not specifically applying protein packs you may still be overdosing your hair without even being aware of it. How?
By using products heavily infused with soy protein, silk amino acids, wheat protein and keratin. Hair Products containing any form of protein add protein to your tresses. The more protein you apply, the higher the likelihood of overdosing.
The problem with too much protein is that it can throw off the natural balance between protein and moisture making hair more prone to breakage, frizz and damage.
Just like what happens when you over-hydrate your hair. You might have the reverse problem of causing hair protein imbalance.
Over-hydration occurs with overuse of products with humectant ingredients such as Shea butter, vegetable glycerin, jojoba and similar oil.
5 Signs of Protein Overdose
- Unusually dry and brittle
- Sudden change in your hair texture
- Experiencing breakage and excessive shedding without any direct cause like a change in hair regimen
- Your hair is lacking its natural shine
- Snaps easily when you do the hair strand test
How Do You Determine If Your Hair Is Unbalanced on the Protein/Moisture Scale?
It is important to note that dry and brittle hair could be signs of several other hair problem and not just protein overload. You can experience dry and brittle as a result of improper diet, chemical treatments like coloring, straightening, humidity, medical condition, or even medication.
Before you conclude your hair is suffering from protein overdose because it is dry and brittle; it is advisable you do a simple protein/moisture imbalance test.
A good method is the traditional hair strand test.
- Start by capturing a strand of hair which has fallen naturally from the scalp. It should still have a little white bulb attached.
- Wet the strand with water.
- While holding the wet strand between two fingers, gently stretch it.
When the strand of hair stretches slightly, returning to its original length without breaking, it signifies a balanced moisture (and/or) protein levels.
If the hair stretches more than it should and then breaks, it’s likely your hair may need more protein. When the hair has very little stretch and breaks easily, you need more moisture.
Ideally if the wet strand stretches just a little and returns to its normal length without breaking your hair is most likely perfectly balanced between moisture and protein.
When Strand Test Doesn’t Provide Clarification
When the strand test doesn’t give you clarification of whether your hair has a good protein/moisture balance, monitor your hair closely for a few weeks.
If your hair feels gooey, gummy, sticky, stringy, limp or doesn’t dry easily, it needs more protein. abundance of protein in the hair may also cause hair to feel hard, tough and prone to easy breakage.
Conversely, if your hair feels brittle, hard, excessively dry, tangled, weak, it needs moisture.
If your hair needs protein, do a protein treatment and a deep moisturizing treatment if your hair is lacking in hydration.
How to Correct Excessive Hair Protein
five ways you can correct excessive hair protein….
1. Cleanse: To effectively deal with protein overdose you need to steer clear of products with protein. Not adding any more protein into your hair will help bring up the moisture balance in your hair. Protein in hair products come in different names like :
- Hydrolyzed collagen
- Wheat protein
- Quinoa protein
- Soy protein
- Rice protein
- Silk protein
- Oat flour
- Amino acids
Always be careful. Some products may claim to moisturize hair but has hidden protein that will continue to cause damages to your hair.
To effectively deal with protein overdose, using cleansing/clarifying shampoo will help get rid of the excess protein build up.
2. Deep Condition: Always follow your cleansing with a deep conditioning. A better option of a deep conditioner will be a DIY moisturizing recipe: Avocado+EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)+ Honey. Honey is a good humectant it will help draw moisture into your hair. Avocado on the other hand helps rejuvenate and moisturize scalp. Alternating between a steamer and a hooded dryer will improve the health of your hair.
3. Leave In Conditioner: Using a moisture base leave in conditioner will stop dryness and breakage. For an overnight regimen or LOC method, moisture base leave-in conditioner is crucial and necessary. Also, to keep up your moisture all through the week try adding a leave in conditioner between wash periods as well as a quick steaming session with Q-Redew.
Q-Redew is a hand-held hair steamer that helps you quickly and naturally rejuvenate, enhance, hydrate, and add moisture, detangle, and stretch your hair.
4. Styling: With protein overdose your hair is now super sensitive. Because of the sensitivity, your hair is prone to snap and break easily with too much manipulation. Your best bet is to go more hands off and reduce manipulation styles for at lest the first few weeks.
In addition, make sure any stylers or creams you use are protein free.
5. Moisturize & Seal: As you work on restoring moisture back to your hair it is important that you seal the moisture in especially on the ends that are more fragile. A oil to avoid during this time of detox is coconut oil.
Even though coconut oil is known to help soften hair, add moisture, luster and prevent hair breakage; however during protein overdose coconut oil use will leave your hair looking dry and brittle to touch.
Coconut is high in lauric acid. Lauric acid is a powerful fatty acid attracted to natural protein in hair. Coconut oil helps reduce protein your hair lose.
Instead of coconut oil, apply alternatives like mango seed, avocado, aloe vera gel/juice or honey.
Consult a Hair Professional
When appropriate, consult a hair professional to get advice on how to address the protein/moisture imbalance.
Not only can a professional recommend the best treatment for your hair type, texture and current condition.
They can help you work out a treatment schedule.
Depending on the results you achieve either with the help of a professional or DIY, you may not need to continue with regular protein and/or moisturizing treatments.
It is always good to experiment with how often you need to re-apply treatments.