Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Protein. What is it and why is it good for your tresses?

If you have signs of split ends...hair is breaking off or just looks worn out, you may opt to do a moisturizing treatment to help revive your hair back. Most treatments can solve the problem but to really prevent hair from splitting and breaking, you will need to strengthen your hair with protein. Hair is a filamentous bio material, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Our hair is primarily composed of protein, notably keratin and reinforcing your hair from the inside out will keep those ends from breaking off and splitting apart.

Protein treatments contain various types of protein that attach to your hair in the areas that are weak to build up the strength in the hair. The protein hardens the cuticle layer and puts a protective barrier around the weakened hair. Hardcore reconstructors like Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair contain very strong protein to assist in rebuilding the most damaged hair. When using this type of treatment, a person should consult a professional or follow the directions thoroughly!! Deep penetrating conditioners or light protein treatments like ORS Hair Mayo are not as strong and are a little easier to use without the worry of misuse.


According to Del Sandeen at About.com "All protein treatments are not created equal. There's no need to overdose on the protein if your hair is in good shape. Even if you're experiencing some breakage and lack of elasticity, you don't need the same type of protein treatment that benefits someone whose hair is breaking off in clumps."

Types of Protein
Light Protein:

Look for protein-containing reconstructing treatments for routine care. You can apply these two to three times per month, but they must be balanced with moisturizing conditioners to prevent dryness and breakage. Too much protein will leave your hair feeling brittle and crunchy. A good at-home regimen for controlling breakage, particularly if you color, relax, texturize or heat style your hair on a regular basis, is to try:

* ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor, or
* Keraphix Restorative Strengthening Conditioner

Alternate either one of these protein treatments with a deep conditioner. If your hair is really breaking off, use a treatment after every shampoo until your hair has more elasticity and you're experiencing less breakage.

Intensive Protein Treatment:

If your hair is breaking off due to severe chemical damage, you'll need an intensive protein treatment to save what you can. This will probably require a salon visit, where a stylist may need to use a product like ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. For at-home protein treatments, try a product like Nexxus Emergencee.

These treatments are designed for severe breakage and should not be used more than once every six to eight weeks. This type of protein treatment may hold off the inevitable and prevent shedding all over the place, but eventually you should cut off all of your damaged hair. This is the only way to enjoy healthy hair over your entire head.


If you have any of these signs, try a protein treatment and follow a regular protein regimen right away:

* Loss of elasticity - Hair in good condition can stretch under normal conditions without breaking. If you're wondering about the elasticity in your hair, try this test: stretch wet hair and see if it easily snaps back without breaking. If it does, your hair is in good shape. If you stretch it and it breaks easily, you need to increase the protein in your hair.
* Serious damage - When hair has been over-processed with chemicals, it can feel and look like seaweed when it's wet. When dry, it may feel like a rough Brillo pad. This isn't regular dryness that black hair is prone to. Although black hair may not feel exactly like silk, healthy hair is soft to the touch.
* Severe breakage - This isn't the average hair shedding that everyone experiences on a daily basis. Regular shedding often comes out in a comb or brush. When your hair breaks due to weakness, you'll find strands of it everywhere; on your pillow, on the back of your seat, on your shirt. It may make a snapping or popping sound when you comb it.

Del continues to recommend not to overdo the protein because too much can be drying. Alternate mild protein treatments with deep conditioners to keep your hair healthy and prevent breakage down the line.


Proteins you may find in your products:
  • Collagen Protein--known for increasing elasticity in the hair
  • Wheat Protein--a moisturizing and strengthening protein. This type of protein is known for increasing the hair's ability to maintain & receive moisture.
  • Silk Protein--known for softening the hair
  • Keratin Protein--responsible for keeping the hair strong and managable. This is the strongest of the(hair product) proteins and is actually the one that hair is made from. This one re-structures hair that has been damaged or broken down by chemicals. It helps to replace the amino acid cysteine which is the main one lost during chemical processing.
  • Vegetable protein -- Vegetable protein absorbs into the hair shaft [easier than animal protein] and does not create build-up. It leaves the hair very shiny, lustrous and healthy.
  • Animal protein -- Animal protein breaks down into fatty acids, which coat the hair and create residual build-up.
  • Silk Amino Acids/Protein--Discovered in Japan; this protein has been used for centuries in all kinds of products that require durability. Silk has a tiny molecule that can penetrate the entire hair shaft deeper than all other proteins without adding any weight leaving the hair feeling clean and non-greasy
  • Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein or Keratin Amino Acids--this means that the Keratin molecules have been broken down and are small enough to go beyond the cuticle and penetrate the hair shaft. It will strengthen all 3 layers of the hair. That is why the term "deep conditioning" technically only refers to this kind of treatment using penetrating proteins.