How to Know If Your Hair Needs Protein and a DIY Hair Mask to Try

Farida Abdel Malek
6/28/20, 12:00 AM

Chemical treatments and heat styling are common causes for the hair's lack of protein, which you probably know can lead to hair loss and just really weak hair in general. So, how to know if you hair needs protein? First we have to understand a little bit of science...

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Hair porosity 

Hair is made up of proteins or keratin and amino acids. So what does lack of protein do to the hair? The hair is left with keratin gaps and so it becomes damaged and breakage starts to happen. There's also something called high porosity, which is when there are tears and gaps in the hair that allow it take in and release moisture way too quickly. This is when you'll start to notice things like frizz and tangling. If your hair is highly porous, it probably needs protein. 

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Does you hair need protein or moisture?

Before we get into determining if you hair needs protein, it is important to differentiate between lack of moisture and lack of protein. 

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If the hair needs moisture...

- If you have damaged, dry, brittle hair that feels crispy and snappy, it needs moisture. 

- An easy way to test it out is by trying the elasticity test: 

1. Dampen a couple of hair strands.

2. Take one strand and stretch it.

3. If it doesn't stretch and it breaks, then your hair needs moisture.  

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If you hair needs protein...

- If it's fine, weak, feels mushy, gummy, sticky, almost cotton candy like or it's too soft, it needs protein. 

- Also, try the elasticity test:

1. Dampen a couple of hair strands.

2. Take a strand and stretch it. 

3. If the hair stretches but doesn't spring back to its original form, it needs protein.

With healthy hair, the strand would stretch a little and then go back to its original shape. 

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- Your hair definitely needs strengthening and protein can help it hold moisture for longer. 

- Another important note is that when your hair is frizzy and in need of moisture, too much moisture can actually make the hair extra soft, with no definition and in need of protein. So, it's important to have balance of moisture.


Protein treatment for hair

We have a tutorial for a homemade protein hair mask that will give your hair more definition and help with any damage and weakness. However, it's important to know that if your hair really lacks protein, you need consistency and to keep treating it in order to see change. Try to have a routine and products that contain protein to help your hair improve and heal with every wash.

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But also keep in mind that using products that have way too much protein, although it doesn't happen often, can actually weigh down your hair. So, just like with everything else, make sure the the products you're using and your hair care routine is nicely balanced.

Main Image Credits: Instagram @koolkelsey


Even a bad hair day can be under control! Discover more haircare secrets and styles from our Hair section here.


Farida Abdel Malek

The first time she watched "The Devil Wears Prada" around the age of 12, Farida felt something that she couldn’t quite explain at that time. She was inspired. The clothes, the hair, the makeup and of ...

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