Proteins are building blocks of life and the same goes with your hair because it is part of your body. Your hair is made up of a structural protein known as keratin which consists of a long chain of amino acids. Constant exposure to sun, dust, humidity, pollution etc. can damage these chains and thus your hair becomes brittle, thin and dull. The contemporary solution to this problem is protein hair treatment which consists of different types of proteins for different types of hair problems.
Here we will discuss these proteins, their nature, and their characteristics:
What is protein treatment?
A protein treatment is used to treat various hair problems and protect the hair from further damage. The protein which has been used in this treatment attaches them directly to the hair follicle and hardens the cuticle. Thus it makes a shield around the follicle which protects it from any further damage. This treatment is categorized into four types which are:
- Protein packs – for slight damage and routine application.
- Reconstructors – for severely damaged hair.
- Deep penetrating treatments – moderately damaged hair.
- Light protein treatments – slightly damaged hair.
How to find if your hair is lacking protein or not?
Here is a simple method with which you can determine if you need moisture or protein. Perform this test after washing your hair when your hair is in wet condition. Grab an inch of your hair between your fingers and stretch the hair strands.
- If your hair doesn’t stretch and break away or it feels rough and brittle then your hair needs moisture.
- If it stretches to its full length and then break away or doesn’t break away or it feels extremely thin and gummy then your hair needs protein.
- If your hair stretches a bit and then rebound to its normal length without breaking then you neither need protein nor moisture as their amount in your hair is well balanced.
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What are the different proteins included in protein treatment?
There are various proteins which are part of protein treatment and they are used according to the hair problem. The different proteins are:
Hydrolyzed wheat protein
The protein needs to be broken into small units in order to attach itself to the hair strand and this breaking of a large chain of amino acid into smaller ones is known as hydrolysis and the product is known to be hydrolyzed. Hydrolyzed wheat protein is water soluble wheat protein which is derived from wheat and it affects the hair by penetrating into the cortex of each hair strand. Thus, it makes the hair strong and moisturized as well as it enhances the moisture receiving capacity of the hair strand.
Hydrolyzed silk protein
This protein is derived from the strongest natural fibers in the world i.e. silk. Silk is known for its ability to hold ten thousand times its weight in water. This protein forms a crystalline shield over each strand and thus improves the resiliency, elasticity, and luster of hair.
This protein is made of up of sugar (carbohydrate) and protein which helps in making the hair strong and smooth. It is derived from the shells of oysters.
Milk protein or lactalbumin
This protein is known as a perfect protein because lactic acid contains eight essential amino acids. This protein is derived from milk which acts as a moisturizing agent and it is best suitable for dry and damaged hair.
Hydrolyzed soy protein
Soy is known for its protein-rich content and this protein is derived from soy which strengthens your hair while mending the hair fiber. It makes your hair glossy and smooth as well as enhances its moisture retaining capacity. This protein is water soluble in nature.
This is a structural protein and generally found in the matrix of the cell. It helps in restoring the strength of the hair while increasing its elasticity. This makes it strong and bouncy.
This protein has more absorbance than any other animal protein thus it gets into the hair shaft more easily. It moisturizes the hair without leaving any build up. It works very effectively in case of porous or damaged hair and split ends.
This protein works on hair by breaking down into fatty acids and getting into the hair shaft to fill the gaps which are caused by chemicals and heat. It coats the hair to repair the damage but it leaves a build up on the hair. Thus, it makes the hair strong and shiny.
Since the hair is made up of keratin, therefore, the addition of more keratin to it makes the hair shaft stronger and thus it prevents further breakage. Keratin treatment removes the frizz and makes the hair strand soft and shiny. It works on hair by coating the cuticle and increasing its elasticity.