Hair Care

Does protein overload exist and when does your hair need protein?

Our hair consists of protein which is the most essential thing needed in our hair but, due to heat styling, bleaching, etc, the protein in your hair gets damaged. So you would think that if my hair is damaged it needs more protein.

But, it is very difficult to replace the damaged protein in your hair with a protein, because your hair has a very unique composition and that’s why most conditioning products contain ingredients that attach to the hair by another mechanism.

  1. Silicones attach to the hair because they are hydrophobic.
  2. Cationic ingredients are positively charged and they bind by electrostatic interactions. The hair is negatively charged, so it can easily bind to something which is positively charged.
  3. Most conditioning products focus on temporarily repairing the surface of the hair. These conditioning agents fill the surface gaps and cracks and smoothen the surface by forming a film or protection around it. (You can choose to go for conditioning products with proteins but hydrolyzed proteins are not the best film formers).

Protein overload doesn’t make sense, because other conditioning agents also attach to the hair surface, and they often have more affinity with the hair so they attach even better.

If a lot of ingredients are deposited on your hair, then it’s a good thing because it makes your hair stronger and won’t break easily.

Then why do you experience brittle hair after protein treatments?

Proteins might not be the best film formers. So if you use a product with only proteins as conditioning agents the product will lack other great film-forming conditioning ingredients and your hair is more brittle because it isn’t well-conditioned.