How Do You Know if Your Hair Needs a Protein Treatment?

In this article, we'll explain how to tell if your hair needs protein treatment and reveal the benefits of this type of treatment.
How Do You Know if Your Hair Needs a Protein Treatment?

Last update: 29 February, 2024

A protein treatment is a type of product that includes ingredients that help revitalize the hair cuticle to repair damaged hair strands, which may break for different reasons.

Most protein treatments include keratin, as well as glycerin, collagen, and argan oil, among others, in their composition. These are recommended when the hair shows signs of high porosity, breakage, fibrous texture, or dryness. Want to know more about it? Find out when and how to apply it.

How do you know if your hair needs protein treatment?

Hair fibers are composed of water, lipids, trace elements, dead cells, and proteins. Among the latter, the most important is keratin, which makes up almost 95%.

However, there are different elements that can cause damage to the hair; from pollution and the use of dyes, to the treatments and blow-drying themselves. In fact, lifestyle and diet are also associated.

So, when there are signs of weakness, the use of a protein treatment may be relevant. Its application revitalizes the strands and helps to achieve a healthier and stronger look. Consider it in case of the following symptoms:

  • Strands that break
  • A lack of shine
  • A loss of elasticity
  • Excessive hair loss
  • The air that has fallen out isn’t from the root (it does not show the bulb), but has broken off
  • Your hair has a stringy texture
  • Strands that tend to tangle
  • There’s a lot of frizz
  • The hair is very porous

In some of these cases, it’s possible that there are holes or breaks that make it absorb more water. Of course, this should be determined by a specialist, who in turn will indicate whether a protein treatment is indeed advisable.

However, dryness alone doesn’t indicate that you should apply this type of product. Perhaps you just need to restore moisture, so it’s best to first try conditioners containing emollients.

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Different types of protein treatments

Protein treatments for hair can come in different forms and presentations. Generally, products used by professionals come in ampoules. Most contain keratin and collagen; however, they are supplemented with other ingredients for every need.

Some of the most prominent are the following:

  • Natural oils, such as argan, castor, jojoba, or shea butter
  • Synthetic oils, including silicone and glycerin
  • Keratin amino acids
  • Silk amino acids
  • Collagen ceramides
  • Elastins
  • Natural proteins (pea or quinoa)
  • Green tea, fig, mango, honey, rice, aloe or sunflower extracts
  • Seeds of adansonia, shorea, macadamia, or argania

In addition to store-bought cosmetic products, it’s also possible to make protein-rich hair masks with natural products such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Coconut milk
  • Mayonnaise
  • Honey

The choice of one option or another depends on the damage to the hair, including the length and other factors (for example, if it is dyed). In any case, thekey is always to consult a specialist. Once the specialist has determined the needs of the hair, a better choice can be made.

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How are protein treatments applied to the hair?

Regarding the mode of application, there are some protein treatments that must be left to act more deeply for several minutes to better concentrate on the strands. This is done with those that come in ampoules.

In particular, these are recommended when the damage is greater – for example, if the hair is bleached or looks withered. Due to these characteristics, their application is suggested every 15 to 20 days. Sometimes, this can be complemented with a tip trim.

Other protein treatments come in the form of a shampoo or conditioner. These presentations can be applied more frequently, although without abuse. The key is to follow the directions on the package.

They are used during the bath and, some, after shampooing (no rinsing). The recommended procedure is as follows:

  1. Wash your hair thoroughly.
  2. Then, apply the treatment until all strands are covered. A coarse-toothed comb can be used to help spread the product.
  3. If necessary, leave it on for a few minutes and cover it with a shower cap.
  4. Using a hand dryer, dry with low heat.
  5. Finally, rinse, if necessary.

It should be noted that some products come in a kit containing the proteins and a moisturizer. Both must be used for it to work. Also, you must maintain a regular routine with the procedure to see the most benefits.

The benefits of protein treatments

Fortunately, hair fibers have a porous structure, which allows them to absorb nutrients. Hence, the application of protein treatments is considered beneficial.

In general, some effects that can be expected after using these products are as follows:

  • Hardening of the cuticle layer
  • Strengthening of the strands
  • Restoration of hydration
  • Increased hair diameter
  • Increased mechanical resistance in bleached or chemically damaged hair
  • Increased softness
  • Restoration of shine
  • Helps straighten curly hair
  • Protection of the hair shaft
  • Increased elasticity
  • Reduction of split ends
  • Reduction of hair loss

Precautions and contraindications

Protein treatments should be used when hair is damaged. Although it’s stated that they’re safe for any type of hair, the benefits are not appreciated when the hair is strong and healthy.

On the other hand, it should be noted that excessive use – or more frequently than recommended – can have undesirable consequences, such as alterations in the pH of the scalp, greasy sensation, and brittle hair.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to read the product’s instructions carefully concerning the amount and frequency of use. It should also be clarified that these don’t replace shampoo, conditioner, and other products you should be using regularly.

When reading the labels of these products, make sure that they are free of parabens and formaldehyde.

Complementary hair care

If the idea is to restore the hair, it’s essential to be clear that the use of treatments alone is not enough. It’s a good idea to take a closer look at your eating habits and increase your intake of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. This will nourish the hair inside and out.

You should also review other hair routine habits and adapt them to the needs of the hair (if it’s oily or dry, colored or natural, short or long, etc.). Also make sure to avoid excessive exposure to heat elements, aggressive chemicals, UV rays, and chlorine from swimming pools.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.