What Does Protein Do For Your Hair?
In our world today, people are becoming more and more empowered when it comes to hair care – not just in the way of reducing or eliminating chemical treatments for their hair, but also using natural sources to enhance their hair health. Your hair needs protein so let’s talk about protein and your hair.
What Is Protein?
According to Wikipedia, proteins ‘are large biomolecules, or macromolecules, consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, and which usually results in protein folding into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity.'
Wikipedia goes on to state that ‘proteins can be informally divided into three main classes, which correlate with typical tertiary structures: globular proteins, fibrous proteins, and membrane proteins. Almost all globular proteins are soluble and many are enzymes. Fibrous proteins are often structural, such as collagen, the major component of connective tissue, or keratin, the protein component of hair and nails. Membrane proteins often serve as receptors or provide channels for polar or charged molecules to pass through the cell membrane.'
SO, in as fewer words as I can write, your hair is made up of protein, amino acid chains, and keratin. It stands to reason that once the biological balance of you hair is compromised in any way, this can result in dry, brittle, and lifeless looking hair. Using protein treatments on the outside and eating a healthy diet with adequate proteins on the inside, will help make your hair the beautiful frame that it should be for your face.
Protein And Your Hair – The Sources
You can find protein from the plant world or from the animal kingdom. The body finds it easier to break down the protein from plant sources versus the animal sources. You can find a list of both sources below.
- pulses – red beans, peas, lentils
- whole grains – brown rice, noodles, couscous, whole-wheat bread
- seeds and nuts
- dairy – milk, cheese, yoghurt
- fish – rich in omega 3
- beef or red meat
How Does It Help Your Hair
So, you might be wondering, I know all the above facts – we all took a biology class! However, we are going to focus on the specific help that you can get from protein for your hair – internally and externally.
As you can see, eating protein from either source – plant or animal – is without doubt of great benefit to your body internally, which also help your hair, skin, and nails. As all these three things are fortified by your protein intake, you will see the difference. You will have stronger nails, supple skin, and strong, shiny hair. It is as simple as that – no frills. Life really is that simple.
We can always help Mother Nature along sometimes. Doing protein hair treatments are also a good way of enhancing and supplementing the protein that your hair needs. I will point out a few common protein hair treatments that are good for your tresses.
Henna is the lawsonia inermis plant that has been used for years, especially in the Indian culture. The henna plant is dried and then made into a powdered form. Although the powder looks green when dry, once it is mixed with water or any liquid its color will change to a deep-brown or reddish hue.
Some women like to keep the reddish hue and some women like to add the indigo powder – indigofera tinctoria (another plant) – whose color when mixed generates a dark-blue hue and once mixed with or cover the henna treated hair, will appear black or dark-brown, depending on the ratio of the mix. There is also natural henna, cassia obovata which is from another plant, senna italica, which has no color.
What henna does to the hair strand is simply fill in the little gaps in the hair strand and acts as a barrier protecting the cortex. With constant henna treatments, it will keep your hair strengthened and shiny. You can read more about the treatment here.
Henna gloss treatment
The henna gloss treatment is simply a slight variation on the henna treatment. You do not have to keep the henna paste on for 2-3 hours but at least 30 mins to 1 hour will be enough. The henna is also mixed with your favorite deep conditioner, which is why it is referred to as a ‘gloss treatment’.
You can purchase henna from the Morrocan Method website below which uses all natural products or 100% Pure & Natural Henna Powder on Amazon.
These are specially produced packs by various beauty manufacturers for those women who prefer a cleaner way to provide protein to their hair externally, as henna can be messy. I recommend Aphogee Trio Two-step Protein Treatment because I have personally used it and found that it does a nice job with my hair. You would have to experiment with it and see how it works for your hair.
Egg and Mayonnaise Mask
This is a great DIY mask. Simply beat one egg, add some mayonnaise, olive oil and whisk until it gets frothy. Apply to dry hair and cover with a plastic cap for about 30 mins. Cleanse the hair and then follow-up with a moisturizing conditioner. This is a great natural alternative as well.
Coconut Oil Deep Treatment
Coconut oil is another great natural hair treatment. Just warm the oil, add to dry or wet hair, and cover with a plastic cap. Allow to penetrate for 15-30 mins with a heated cap or warm towel wrapped around the plastic cap. Rinse or cleanse, then style as usual.
When To Use
You only need to add protein externally when your hair has evidence of:
- heat damage
- chemically treated hair
- highly porous hair
A word of caution…
Do not over treat. You can do a protein treatment once a month or as your hair needs it. Too much protein can leave your hair stiff, which might cause breakage.
As with anything you read, please do your due diligence. It is my task to provide information to help you on your hair journey, however, you have to decide what works best for you and your hair. I would love any feedback or suggestions on this topic.
Thanks for reading.
  Wikipedia