Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Great Protein Debate

Since I raved so much about Shea Moisture's Curl and Style Milk, I decided to research what it was about it that my hair liked so much.

And the magic ingredient is.. drum roll... Silk Protein. 

Yup. I said the P word.

When I first went natural, I did a lot of reading on the protein-moisture balance. Our hair is made up of the protein keratin. Chemical processes like relaxing break down the protein bonds so chemically treated hair requires regular protein treatments to strengthen it. Natural hair on the other hand needs more moisture than protein. Although the occasional protein treatments are helpful as manipulation breaks down the protein to a small extent, too much protein can make your hair feel hard and crunchy. Basically, protein overload. 

Still with me?

So I decided to avoid protein in products so there was no chance of accidentally overloading on protein; it takes a longer time to reverse a protein overload than a moisture overload. In fact, in the year I have been a healthy natural, I have only done two protein treatments. Makes sense right? WRONG!

It turns out that fine hair benefits from regular protein treatments. Say what?! The basic rule of thumb is, the finer the hair, the more protein you need. So for a fine-medium natural like me, using a conditioner with protein once a week would be beneficial... Is anyone else as surprised as I am?? Once a week?!  

I upped my moisture regime because my hair has been feeling hard and dry lately. Ironically, I should have done a protein treatment instead! Protein deprived fine hair can often feel dry and unmoisturised. So all that moisture was actually making my hair feel drier and harder! Ten ten teeeeeeen!

So what is the hype behind silk protein? There are a number of different proteins found in hair products but Silk Protein not only strengthens hair, it softens it too and aids in moisture retention. It is clear that my hair loves silk protein so it will now be a staple in my products but I need to experiment with how much I can use on my hair without overloading it. I will also experiment with more protein treatments and see how my hair responds. More shopping!! Yay!


  1. I have to agree totally with everything you said in this post, I feel protein is the most misunderstood part of the natural hair journey.
    When I returned to natural just like you,i figured -from reading countless blogs-that moisture was key and protein was just a by the way....after a henna treatment gone sooo bad and a series of unfortunate incidences I convinced myself that I was protein sensitive, AVJ, AVG, any product natural or commercial with any trace of protein was thrown out of my regimen even EVCO which mimics protein.
    My hair was always dry, ashy and had lots of breakage. One washday I used The Motions Protein reconstructor left over from my relaxed days.....and truly my hair was transformed. I use this product weekly now and follow up with a deep moisturizing treatment. My hair is softer, retains moisture better, less shedding and breakage and sheen galore.
    I read somewhere hair can't be sensitive to protein yet it is made of protein. Sorry for the long comment. :-)

    1. I love long comments :)
      Are you based in Kenya? Is the motions protein reconstructor available locally? I'm looking for a protein treatment.

  2. Yes I am,you know me as Wachu Wanjaria from other forums LoL...:-)

  3. Motions Protein Reconstructor is locally available. :-)

  4. This is a great write up. Thanks. Pls I have a 2mth TWA,it sheds whenever I comb with a wide tooth comb and I have challenge in styling it. I will appreciate any hair regimen that could help me in reducing shedding,how to style my TWA and also how to hve a Healthy growth. Thanks in anticipation of your quick response