5 Best Protein Treatments for Hair and How to Tell if You Need One

If you ever catch yourself staring blankly at hair protein treatments and wondering if you should get one – you’re not alone. Knowing whether your hair is thirsty for protein can be tricky – just like finding the best protein treatment for hair that does.

Which is why we’ve jam-packed this post with information about all-things-protein! We’ll tell you about the 5 warning signs to look out for, as well as the 5 best hair protein treatments.

Plus, we’ll answer many other protein-related questions we know you’re dying to know the answers to!

Signs that Your Hair Needs a Protein Treatment

Before you start looking for the most suitable hair protein treatment for your locks, you might ask yourself, ‘Does my hair need protein at all?’. That’s a great question to start with – a protein treatment isn’t always needed.

Many people think that having hair that’s dry indicates that your locks need more protein. However, dryness alone isn’t a good enough reason to treat your hair with protein. If your hair is dry, try an emollient-based conditioner first to try and bring back the moisture. Only if that doesn’t work, you should give protein treatment a go.

Here are 5 signs that your hair is crying out for a protein treatment:

  • Your hair has lost its elasticity. One of the clear signs that your hair may need a little protein help is the loss of elasticity. Try this little trick: take a small strand of your hair, and gently stretch it. If the strand doesn’t return to its natural state after being stretched, or worse – it snaps, chances are that you need to get yourself a hair protein treatment.
  • Your hair is color-treated. Chances are that, if your hair has seen an excessive amount of hair dye, it could use a little more protein. Hair that’s been colored is highly porous and even more susceptible to damage than natural hair. A protein treatment would help strengthen color-treated hair and help maintain healthy and strong hair strands.
  • Breakage and shedding. While losing up to 100 strands a day is completely normal and shouldn’t ring any alarm bells, excessive shedding can be a sign that your hair lacks protein. Particularly, if this hair isn’t from the root (doesn’t have a white bulb). This means that your hair breaks easily – and you may need to turn to protein treatments to help strengthen it.
  • Your hair is limp and stringy. Dealing with hair that’s flat, limp or stringy is another sign that it may need some protein love. Protein will help revitalise the strands and make your hair visibly less droopy.
  • High porosity. If your hair is highly porous, it’s likely that there are gaps and tears in the strands that make it more vulnerable. Because this type of hair often absorbs too much water, tangles and frizz may be a familiar experience. A protein treatment will help porous hair get the nourishment it needs and seal those gaps. Not sure if your hair is porous? Here’s a little test: place a strand of your hair in a shallow bowl of water. If the hair sinks, then it’s very porous.

If you’re still not sure whether your hair needs a protein boost, asking for advice at your local hair salon is a good idea. Getting a protein treatment for hair in salon is a great starting point for someone who’s entirely new to the protein game and may have doubts about needing one.

Once you’ve received a recommendation or a treatment from a stylist, you’ll have more confidence doing a hair protein treatment at home (although, some protein treatments are really intense and should be left to the professionals).

At Salon Proteine Traetment

Instagram / @eod77bc

What is Protein Treatment for Hair

Let’s clarify what a protein treatment actually is. To put it simply, our hair is protein. A protein called keratin makes up the majority of a hair strand, keeping it healthy, strong and full of elasticity.

But with damage caused by styling and maintenance, pollution, coloring and other things that don’t do your hair much good, the keratin starts to break down.

Certain lifestyle and diet choices can also lead to general keratin-deficiency in your body. Because maintaining a balanced, protein-rich diet is essential for healthy hair growth (some even claim that certain protein-rich foods can make your hair grow faster!), not consuming enough protein can contribute to hair loss.

The combination of poor diet and damage caused by styling causes your hair strands to break, making your hair look and feel unhappy. That’s when you may need a helping hand from a hair protein treatment.

A protein treatment for hair is a product loaded with a protein that hair can easily absorb, and it works to strengthen and repair the keratin. It can either be a treatment you purchase from a beauty store, or a homemade protein treatment.

What Does a Protein Hair Treatment Do

A protein hair treatment will work to repair hair strands by attaching hydrolysed proteins to the hair cuticle and hardening the cuticle layer.

If there are holes in the hair cuticle, protein treatment will patch up these gaps and place a barrier around the hair shaft to lessen future damage. This way, it works to strengthen and repair your severely damaged hair.

Is Protein Good for Your Hair

There are many benefits of using a protein treatment on your hair. It can be a fantastic way to temporarily repair damaged hair by filling in the gaps on the hair cuticle, caused by styling or heat damage. They are also effective in reducing breakage and making your hair smoother, stronger and shinier.

But, if you’re about to ask, ‘Can protein treatments damage hair?’, the answer is that overuse of these treatments can have some ‘side effects’. Adding an excessive amount of protein to your hair can make it feel dry, brittle and stiff, therefore your first step should be checking how often your protein treatment needs to be applied – and sticking to it.

Plus, most protein treatments should always be accompanied with a deep conditioning treatment to restore moisture and avoid your hair strands getting stiff and crunchy.

The most important thing to remember is that most types of hair protein treatment are to be used on damaged hair, not hair that is healthy (but, maybe a little dry) or minimally damaged.

How Often Should a Protein Treatment Be Used

How often to do a protein treatment will depend on the type of treatment you choose, as well as your hair type. Some gentler types of protein treatments can be used more frequently (for example, once a week or so), while more intense protein treatments should be used less often (every 4 to 6 weeks) and with extra care.  Before you apply a protein treatment, do read the label to see how frequently it should be used – you’ll do your hair a favor!

5 Best Protein Treatments for Hair

There’s an abundance of protein treatments for hair out there, from protein oil for hair to deeply conditioning protein masks. But how do you know which products are worth investing in? So that you don’t have to spend hours binge-watching videos on YouTube, we have stepped up and done the research do you.

#1: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

It must be the best protein treatment for damaged hair you could find. A little of it goes a long way, as it has a light yet super-moisturizing texture. It effectively detangles, smooths and makes dry (even chemically-treated!) hair feel silky soft. As it is gentler than other treatments out there, you can use it weekly, washing it out after 5-10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at the difference before and after the treatment.

Briogeo Deep Conditioning Mask

Instagram / @briogeo

#2: Alterna Caviar Repair Re-Texturizing Protein Cream

If your hair is particularly coarse, porous or heavily damaged, this is the product for you. By filling in the gaps and tears in the cuticle, this deeply restorative leave-in treatment transforms coarse hair into soft, smooth and manageable, as well as protects it from future damage. Use it 1 to 3 times a week, depending on damage – but it can be used more frequently than that on very coarse and severely damaged hair.

Alterna Texturizing Protein Cream

Instagram / @alternahaircare

#3: Aphogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

A concentrated blend of amino acids and keratin, this reconstructor will give your hair a deep conditioning protein treatment. If your hair is a victim of chlorine and hard water, this product will be the relief it has been waiting for. Apply it as often as you like – even after each wash, until your hair is restored.

Aphogee Keratin Reconstructor

Instagram / @aphogee

#4: Bumble and Bumble Mending Masque

This luxurious, wheat protein weekly mask does wonders with damaged hair – and is perfect for dyed hair, as it doesn’t strip color. Those who regularly color, perm or straighten their hair will love this product, because it restores strength, increases elasticity and manageability. While some protein treatments can leave hair feeling dry, this mask is formulated with Pro-Vitamin B5, which helps maintain moisture balance.

#5: Palmers Deep Conditioning Protein Pack

If you’re after a quick and light protein fix, this protein pack for hair is the treatment to go for. Palmers Deep Conditioning Protein Pack helps strengthen and repair weak, fragile or damaged hair. It isn’t a leave in product, but because it’s gentler than many other protein treatments, you can leave it on overnight for an extra protein boost.

Palmers Deep Conditioning Protein Pack

Instagram / @palmersme

The Best Homemade Protein Treatment For Hair

You may be keen to give your hair a protein boost, but unsure about buying a full-on protein treatment yet. Before you snap up a professional product, how about trying natural protein for hair? Egg protein treatment is considered to be the most effective natural protein conditioner for locks that are crying out for a bit of protein love. In addition to protein, eggs are packed with biotin and sulfur, which contribute to shiny, healthy hair when applied as a hair mask (or eaten!). It’s a quick DIY remedy which you can give your hair using stuff you already have in your cupboard – without committing to something more professional.

The method is simple:

  • beat two eggs;
  • apply the mixture to dry, clean hair;
  • wait 30 minutes;
  • rinse out with lukewarm water, following with a shampoo.

There’s often an overload of information when it comes to protein treatments, but we hope that our advice will help you identify whether your hair needs one – as well as more confidently choose the treatment that works for you.

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