Figuring out whether your hair needs moisture or protein can sometimes be a little confusing, especially if you are just starting out on your natural, transitioning or relaxed hair journey.
Your hair needs moisture to retain elasticity, otherwise it will break off. Keeping your hair soft, supple and moist is needed for when doing any type of manipulation. For example: detangling or styling etc. Water being the only true moisturiser. Although moisture is needed to help retain length and strength, it is possible to have too much moisture. You may be moisturising too much throughout the week, applying too much product and always using a moisturising deep conditioner every wash day to name a few. This is called Moisture Overload which in turn can lead to breakage and split ends.
Protein Overload is when there is too much protein being applied to the hair. Our tresses are made up of 80% – 90% protein, Keratin to be exact. Although our hair is made up of protein, protein treatments are necessary to prevent any damage and making our hair stay structured in a more healthy way. Our hair tends to lose its strength from processes such as styling, perms/relaxers, hair dying or manipulation. A lot of this loss is from the cuticle. If the cuticle structure around our hair is not strong enough then it will help to protect our hair. The healthier your cuticles are, the more resilient your hair will be from styling and heat etc. Having protein overload can tend to make our tresses stiff and dry. Doing protein treatments help to reinforce strength into the hair.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
An easy way to tell the difference is by doing the hair strand test. Whether you have used a sulphate or sulphate free shampoo, you can take this simple test after freshly washing your tresses to see exactly what your hair needs.
- Are you experiencing dryness and a lot of breaking and shedding? Take a strand of hair and gently pull. If the strand snaps straight away, then you will need a moisturising deep conditioner.
- If the strand stretches really long before breaking off and then snaps, then you have too much moisture and you are in need of protein deep conditioner. Your hair may feel super super soft or have that mushy feeling. Your hair may also be hard at retaining moisture.
- If you pull your strand of hair and it doesn’t really snap unless you use a lot of force, then your hair is fine and you a pretty much able to use any conditioner of your choice.
TIP 1: After doing a protein treatment, it’s best to follow up with a moisturising conditioner as you then want your tresses back at a normal balance.
TIP 2: If your tresses are at the perfect balance then maybe try using a conditioner that contains both protein and moisture.
TIP 3: When going for a moisture wash day, always make sure your products are moisturising. From your shampoo and conditioner, to your leave – ins and favourite hair moisturiser.
Remember, having too much protein and too much moisture can break your tresses so creating a good balance is key.