Does Your Hair Need Protein?
Protein isn’t probably the first thing you think of when it comes to haircare ingredients, but protein makes up keratin which is the foundation of hair. Protein is essential for the development of healthy hair.
When it comes to adding protein to your ritual, it can be complicated to know exactly what you need. Too little protein and your hair can be lifeless and stubborn, even after conditioning. Overload on protein and hair can be brittle and stiff. Because we love education and the science of hair, we’re breaking down all things protein.
Why Protein For Hair?
Protein works to strengthen and reduce breakage by giving the hair elasticity, which in turn makes your hair shinier, softer, and easier to manage. If your hair is damaged, protein will help temporarily repair the breakage by filling in gaps in the hair cuticle to fortify and smooth strands. Protein can slow water loss to keep strands hydrated by forming a clear, flexible film over the strand.
How Do I Know If My Hair Is In Need of Protein?
Coming off of summer, most of us will need some extra protein. If you’ve been swimming a lot, your hair has been weakened by chlorine and needs strength. If you have bleached or permanently dyed your hair, the bonds in your hair have been broken and need to be strengthened. If you use a lot of heat tools, you’ve probably stripped off the protective layer on your strands and need protein to fortify the cuticle.
Generally, if you find that your hair is still dry even after using deep conditioning treatments, protein can help. If you have fine or medium density hair, protein is always a good choice to add rigidity to strands so your hair has that bounce you crave (this will make it much easier to style!). Finally, if you’re seeing a lot of split ends or if you’ve noticed that your ends look thinner than the middle of your hair, you’ll want to treat the ends of your hair with a protein-packed formula and a good haircut to avoid further damage.
How Do I Know If A Hair Product Has Protein?
Check the ingredient list. If it says “hydrolyzed ____ protein,” that’s a pretty sure bet there’s protein in it. Hydrolyzed means that that the protein has been broken down into smaller molecules, which aid in the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and work magic.
Also look for “amino acids”, “peptides”, and anything that says it’s a “hydrolyzed seed or oat.” To gauge how much protein is in the formula, check where it’s located in the list. If it’s near the top, the formula has a good amount; if it’s closer to the bottom, less. You can also almost always be sure a formula contains protein if it’s labeled as a “repairing” or “strengthening” treatment for “damaged” hair.
Protein overload is real. Signs your strands are on protein overload are stiff, tangly hair that either has way too much volume, feels completely lifeless or won’t hold a curl.
The key to ensuring you’re using the right amount of protein is to balance your ritual evenly with protein and moisture. You want to get strength and protection from protein but you also want to moisturize with oils and butters. Thankfully, we have an arsenal of products that make it easy to achieve this balance.
The easiest way to add protein to your ritual is to look for it in your shampoo. Our Shampoo is a sulfate- and silicone-free formula that contains both amino acids and hydrolyzed oat protein to reduce breakage, smooth and fortify hair cuticles, and add luster.
To complete the aforementioned balance between moisture and protein, reach for our Conditioner. Formulated with babassu nut oil to intensely moisturize and murumuru butter (which is known as a super emollient) to restore shine and softness. Your hair will receive a completely balanced infusion of protein and essential fatty acids.
When it comes to styling products and treatments, take it slow and steady. Your hair may be able to use a protein-infused product every day but it also might be overload. The best bet is to try one protein product once a week paying close attention to how your hair reacts and then gradually build up usage if you feel like your hair needs more.
Here are our product recommendations for different concerns:
- If your hair is color-treated, extremely dry or visibly broken even after conditioner, try Eros Resurrection Mask. It hits hair with a dose of protein through hydrolyzed sweet almond protein while also deeply conditioning with a blend of oils, including crambe abyssinica oil, which is clinically proven to improve hair elasticity by 191%.
- If you’re dealing with frizz and hair that just won’t stay in your desired style, try our bestselling Milk Leave-In Nourishing Treatment. With a balance of amino acids and hydrolyzed sweet almond protein, this formula helps strengthen and soften hair while imparting a beautiful shine.