Ah protein you mysterious maiden. I don’t know about you, but I always struggled with the whole protein issue when it came to my hair. Did I need it? Did my hair like it? Was I sensitive to it? What is the protein-moisture balance? How did I even know if I was using protein anyway? I finally feel like I have gotten to grips with protein and how it affects curls and it’s actually not all that complicated. You can read the article explaining all the ins and outs of protein in the curl articles here.
I wanted to show you an example of the moisture-protein balance in action as I recently went a bit too far down the old moisture route and needed to re-balance. My hair was feeling soft, like really soft. It was flyaway and wasn’t holding its curl very well at all. I always use rich creamy conditioners as my hair is porous and coloured so it generally needs extra moisture. I had also recently started using a thicker leave in conditioner too and experimenting with some oils and deep treatments (all in the name of research) and it was really helping to soften up some of my coarser sections of hair. However, my hair had been starting to feel a bit too stretchy and soft and I incorporated what I thought was a light protein conditioner either once a week or once every two weeks. Turns out that conditioner had no protein in it. Good one. So I found myself with overly soft, limp, stretchy hair that was in need of some structure.
The above photo on the left is taken on my wash day after my usual routine and you can really see how the curls are failing to clump and hold their shape. The curls are really flyaway and limp and lacking their usual bounce. After realising that my protein treatment did in fact have no protein in it I used a simple gelatin treatment to give my hair some much needed protein. As you can see from the photo on the right my hair really responded to the protein. I styled my hair in exactly the same way with the same products as before but you can really see how the curls are holding their shape better and have their bounce back.
This is ultimately what the protein-moisture balance is all about. It’s about being able to adjust your products by observing your hair so that you have a good balance of both protein and moisture which will ultimately give you moisturised, strong, healthy hair.