Find out the importance of protein in black hair care
To understand why black hair requires protein treatments, you must first understand what the purpose of protein in the hair is. Hair is made up of Keratin a kind of protein. When hair undergoes any chemical service or is damaged by misuse of heat tools, protein is lost hence the hair loses some its elasticity or strength.
By using products that contain protein in them, you improve the hair’s elasticity and strength properties. Very curly and kinky hair tends to be dry and quite fragile even in its natural state. With the addition of relaxers or colour services, the hair tends to become weaker. Using a protein based conditioner improves the health of the hair immensely and should be applied to any regimen.
Depending on the kind of protein used in the hair product it can perform a variety of functions. Here are some examples:
Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin – This is the most potent of the proteins and matches the keratin in hair exactly. It keeps the hair pliable and strong.
Hydrolyzed Keratin Protein – The protein has been broken down so it can penetrate all layers of the hair better and as such is excellent for deep conditioning. It also keeps the hair pliable and strong.
Silk Protein – Silk is the strongest natural fibres and has very small molecules that can penetrate the hair shaft. It is excellent for deep conditioning as it’s known to soften the hair.
Animal Protein – This will generally just coat the hair shaft and repair damage on the outer layers.
Vegetable Protein – This absorbs more easily into the hair without leaving any build up on the hair shaft.
Wheat Protein – Used in many conditioning products, this is a moisturizing and strengthening protein which also improves the hair’s ability to maintain moisture levels.
Collagen Protein – This increases the elasticity of the hair.
Protein treatments range from relatively light to quite strong. The light proteins include protein shampoos and conditioners and protein reconstructors. They can safely be used weekly without adversely affecting the hair. A good light protein is Motions CPR Protein Reconstructor. Strong proteins on the other hand are neither shampoos nor conditioners. Their sole purpose is to impart protein to the hair so they are referred to as protein treatments. Good examples are Aphogee 2 Step Protein Treatment and Nexxus Emergencee. These should only ever be used when extreme breakage is being experienced or where breakage is anticipated e.g. before a chemical service. Their recommended use is every 6-8 weeks and should always be followed up with a moisturizing conditioner. See the article on how to choose a conditioner.