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What does Protein mean for a Curly girl?

The elasticity of your hair is an important factor in choosing the right hair products. Your hair elasticity determines whether you should use products with or without protein. But what exactly is protein? You can read all about it in this article! This will take you a step further in discovering your own Curly Girl hair routine.


Also read: Starting with the Curly Girl Method: a step-by-step plan

In this article:

In this article:

What is protein and why do you need it?

Protein, that’s what fit girls are always talking about, right? That’s right, but did you know that protein, also called keratin, is one of the most important building blocks of your hair?

It is in a certain equilibrium in the innermost layer of your hair along with moisture. Protein – also called keratin – is one of the most important building blocks of your hair

Hair is made up of protein and moisture, and the balance between them determines the elasticity of your hair. About 95% consists of protein, which makes hair strong and healthy.

It ensures growth of the hair and determines the elasticity of your hair. Elasticity is an indication of the health of your curls. It is the hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original shape.

As a curly hair ball it is very important that your hair has the right elasticity, you naturally want your curl to bounce back when you pull it.

By means of the elasticity test you can check whether your hair has too much, too little or enough protein. How do you do that?

You can read that in our article: Hair elasticity: what is it and how do you test it?

How do you lose her protein?

Your hair can lose protein by washing it with water that is too hot, cleansing with harsh shampoos, long blow-drying without a diffuser and on a warm setting, chemical treatments and combing.

Always protect your hair from the sun, even if it is not mid-summer. All of these have a negative impact on the structure of your hair as cracks can form in your hair, causing it to lose protein.

If your hair has been damaged by excessive heat it should help repair it by using products with proteins.


The balance between protein and hydration

If your hair loses protein, a protein deficiency can arise. A lack of protein can be recognized by hair that feels tacky, doesn’t bounce back when you pull it – lacks elasticity – and / or doesn’t retain moisture.

Your curls are limp and wispy. It makes sense that you then tend to use more conditioner. 

But this usually doesn’t solve the problem: it often makes it worse. How come? 

Probably because you unbalance the imbalance between protein and hydration even more. Protein and moisture must be in balance for strong and healthy hair. 

Compare it to a balanced diet.

Have you found that your hair lacks protein and thus an overload of hydration? So before your treatment, it is best to focus on adding proteins to your hair and less on hydration.

You can also use products with and products without protein. For example, a hair mask that contains proteins, and a leave-in conditioner without proteins. 

This way you keep your hair in balance. Does your hair still need a little more protein? Then you can use two products with proteins.

Tips for proper treatment

To treat protein deficient hair, simply use protein hair products. Examples of natural and Curly Girl-proof proteins are wheat, silk, oats, quinoa and some seeds such as flax seeds. 

The proteins penetrate into your hair and fill up the cracks that have arisen in it, for example as a result of over-treatment with the wrong products or styling tools. 

Your hair will regain shine and feel more bouncy.

Regular protein treatment can work wonders too! What is regular? 

For this it is important that you know your curl and hair type and know what your hair needs: it differs per person how often you have to treat your hair with protein. 

We would recommend starting with a monthly protein treatment, you will find out if you should treat more or less often.

Also read: DIY flaxseed gel recipe for beautiful curls

Common type of protein listed as ingredients in hair products

The ingredients listed below are forms of protein that may be an ingredient in a hair product:

  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed casein
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed collagen
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed hair keratin
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed keratin
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed rice protein
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed silk
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Cocodimonium hydroxypropyl silk amino acids
  • Cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen
  • Cocoyl hydrolyzed keratin
  • Hydrolyzed keratin
  • Hydrolyzed oat flour
  • Hydrolyzed silk
  • Hydrolyzed silk protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Keratin
  • Potassium cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen
  • TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed collagen
  • TEA-cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein

You can also recognize it by phrases such as “restorative”, “strengthening” and “firming” on packaging of hair products. Because that’s what it does to hair: it fills up “gaps” on the hair strand temporarily.

And now? Which hair products suit me?

Very nice of course that you now know everything about protein, but now you want to know for sure: which products are best for my hair and fit within the Curly Girl Method?

The long list of difficult terms for protein can also be quite intimidating. We’re happy to help you get started with some of our favorite products with and without protein.

Discover here: Our favorite masks & deep conditioners WITHOUT protein.And of course: Our favorite masks WITH protein

Just keep in mind that there is no ready-made advice. Every Curly Girl is different, so the best advice remains: get to know your hair, try out different hair products and find out what works for your curls. 

Also pay attention to your diet: if there is enough protein in your daily diet, this will also contribute to more beautiful and fuller hair.

Do you have any further questions about protein? Let us know in the comments below, we are happy to help!

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