Some Tidbits on Protein and Natural Hair

Details after the jump!

Answering a FAQ about protein. No, protein is not “bad” for natural hair. However, too much of a good thing will throw your hair off balance.

Wheat Protein: Strengthening/Moisture Retention
Silk: Softening
Collagen: Softening/Elasticity
Keratin: Strengthening
Oat: Moisture Retention (I have had issues with it when hydrolyzed though)
Soy: Moisture Retention/Strengthening

– Hydrolyzed proteins bind more to the hair fiber, which can contribute more to protein overload.

Just be sure to listen to your hair. If it feels hard, won’t accept moisture, and isn’t as pliable as it usually is, you may have protein overload.

17 thoughts on “Some Tidbits on Protein and Natural Hair

  1. Sharon says:

    Thank both of you ladies for your questions and answers. I recently got highlights about 2 months ago, and my hair has drastically changed. Similar to the same problems Divakurl has. This webpage has really been helpful for me.

    My hair is also half relaxed and half natural, more or less in different areas. So I have a couple situations going on. Should I use products for natual hair? My plan is to continue to trim hair until the relaxer is completely gone. Do you have any suggestions HB?


    • Elle says:

      IMO, there are no products “for” natural hair – there are only shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins, stylers, and pomade. If you think that your natural hair needs more moisture than your relaxed hair, get more moisturizing products. If you think your relaxed hair needs more protein, get protein, but focus on your ends. I use several products that I used when I had a relaxer (like Redken and Tigi conditioners). I also used KCCC on my relaxed hair as a natural gel and still use it today.

  2. Divakurl says:

    LOL at the smashed hair comment! My favorite description of my smashed hair is….I look like Kramer from Seinfeld when I wake up in the morning and didn’t wear a scarf. It never fails! LOL!!!!

  3. Divakurl says:

    Hey Elle! Thanks for all the great information you provide! I’ve been following your blog for some time because I truly believe my hair is a cousin (not totally twin) to Izzy.

    Now for my question/issue: I had my hair highlighted some months ago and noticed a change in my crown area. It’s no longer staying curled once my hair dries. It totally looks like a birds nest, however it’s not totally dry. I can’t figure out what has happened. I tried using AOGPB to try and heal it in case it was over conditioned. The result, with conditioner still in, were s-curls everywhere. Nice and plump. Mind you, I had slept in the condish because my hair is low porosity and either needs a heat cap or sleep with plastic cast and silk scarf to penetrate my strands.

    Here is my regimen/products:
    DevaCurl No Poo (1x week)
    DevaCurl One Condition (Cowash Daily)
    Leave in either some DevaCurl OC or CJ Rehab
    Just stopped using ArcAngel Daily (high Dews)
    -switched to Smooth N Shine Curl Activator Gel (softer/less crunchy hold)
    Apply CJ CIAB as a final step
    AOGPB is a once every two week PT
    DT with DevaCare OC (weekly/bi weekly when I remember)

    I haven’t been able to have 2nd day hair since I started in Oct 2010. The color was done in Feb 2011. Flat ironing is done once every few months for length check. Please let me know if you have ever experienced this, or have any suggestions to help with fixing the issue. Again, thank you for all the info you provide! I’ve learned soooo much from reading your blog.

    • HB says:

      Unfortunately, highlights can permanently damage your hair – did you use bleach? If so, that can kill your curl. I personally don’t like DevaCare…but if it works for you, keep it up. If your hair hasn’t bounced back after months, if could be color damage. Also, when you use heat…what protectant/precautions are you taking? And what temp are you ironing on? And how long is your hair? I didn’t start getting second day hair until my hair was longer and didn’t smash against my scalp when I slept.

      • Divakurl says:

        I’m not sure what she used, it was done at a salon. I’m thinking she used bleach because they are light. My hair has grown out some but I never went back for a color touch up.oh how I miss my cute curls. Now when you say “permanent damage” is that just on the part that is colored or is there hope for the new growth once the color is eventually cut off?

        When straightening, I used Fantasia IC Heat Protectant spray on each section. (i consider myself modified CG because any heat protection usually involves cones of some sort) The heat is usually in the high three hundreds. My flat iron is the sephora brand and it doesn’t show an exact number. Just that it can go up to 410. I try to keep it where I think it’s hitting about 375.

        I had my hair trimmed a couple of weeks after the color (End if March) and I’m thinking I may need to do it again because they feel “fuzzy” and I get SSKs/tangly when wet or dry. (I hope that makes sense, LOL”)

        Length: It looks like it’s at the end of TWA phase. Stretched, it almost hits my shoulder. I will send you a message on FB so you can see my pics/page. (I liked your page too). That way you can see pics.

        I’m not totally sold on DevaCare but the DevaTrained Stylist Recommended it. I’m using that until its gone and I’ve been searching for a substitute while trying to fend off my PJ ways (it’s hard…)

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly (I love it!!!)

      • HB says:

        Yea, you would have to cut the bleach out, but your new growth will be fine. However, if it is color damage, I’d be careful about flat ironing your hair at all, because it can increase the issue even if you are using protectant. And yea, when you have a TWA, I wouldn’t sweat not getting second day hair – I NEVER did when my hair was short (smashed hair), and it really only became easier when my hair started to hang and developed a shape. If you have enough hair to shake, you could try spraying with water in the morning and shaking it back out though.

  4. mz.mickee says:

    i was just looking for a protein list like this…thanks!! i do have a quick question if u dont mind..i usually use sulfate and paraben free shampoo and i occasionally use products with silicones or mineral oil that this shampoo cant cleanse. i recently got some nesxxus humectin shampoo on sale…it has sulfates..can that be used to clarify or do i need one that says “clarifying”?

  5. Micheal says:

    This information is helpful. Can you tell me any good protein conditioners I can use?

    • HB says:

      Great! My fave protein condishes are listed on my HG (Staples) list at the top row of the blog. hth!

  6. curlydream says:

    Thank you so much for this explanation. I didn’t realize there was a difference between what the different kinds of proteins did. I’m fairly new to your site and I love it more every day.

  7. Happynappy2009 says:

    Thanks for breaking this down!! I’m forwarding this posts to a few of my friends!!!!

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