Understanding Protein/Moisture Balance | Please Share Your Experiences


Saturday, I went to the local beauty world store to pick up a few items including some aloe vera gel and a pump for my gallon size container of Giovanni Smooth as Silk conditioner which I am really stoked about! No more tipping over a huge bottle for me. :-)

Side note: I recently caught on a great deal on this particular sized bottle of conditioner at Massage Warehouse (.com) for $35 including shipping. Literally, I caught the last 3 minutes of this deal otherwise I would have posted it for others to take advantage if they like this particular conditioner (and some others on the site). Still, it is great to check there from time to time because they regular run some type of promo to use on their products.

Anyway, I passed by the end cap with all the little packs of deep conditioners, treatments, and enticing little goodies that always catch my attention. I decided instead of looking at them for 10 minutes and walking away, I would pick up a few packs to try out for once in my life. I read a lot about the Aphogee treatment and the 2-minute reconstructor so those were automatic for me to pick up and the third pack--Naturals by HASK Strengthening Masque--just seems to be filled with so much potential without the use of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, (and the rest of that stuff we are told is not good for our natural hair) that I went ahead and grabbed that too.

Now, here I am with three packs on protein treatments, perplexed In all the 10.5 years I have been natural, I unfortunately lack big the full understanding of protein/moisture balance. Ok, let me give myself some credit...I do understand the moisture component but when it comes to protein, I am somewhat at a loss.

From what I know based off my (quick) research:
  • Our hair is composed over two-thirds protein (keratin)
  • Under normal conditions such as washing, combing, manipulating, and styling, our hair gradually loses protein over time thus weakening it and making it more susceptible to split ends and "wear and tear" breakage
  • Protein treatments is a temporary solution to filling the gaps along the hair shaft
  • Key ingredient should be hydrolyzed protein
    • This simply means that the protein has been broken small enough to attach to the hair shaft
    • The protein in eggs is unhydrolyzed and the protein structure is too large to have any significant impact on the hair. Some swear by it so I guess your mileage will vary.
  • Depending on the hair condition and type of protein treatment, one should do a treatment every 1-6 weeks.
    • There are four types of proteins:
      • Protein pack (for slightly damaged hair)
      • Reconstructor (for severely damaged hair...I'm confused because the Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor is considered a light protein by some women ::shrugs::)
      • Deep penetrating treatment (for moderately damaged hair)
      • Light protein treatment (for slightly damaged hair)
    • Different hair conditions that may warrant a protein treatment:
      • Relaxed hair
      • Color/heat treated
      • Finely textured
      • 2+ year old hair
      • Damaged hair with severe breakage
      • Moisture overload: the hair does not snap back once stretched
This is pretty much the gist of what I understand so far. Oh, and that too much protein can leave your hair feeling really hard and brittle. Also, protein overload is harder to correct than moisture overload. Also, as the protein is applied, it supposed to make your hair hard until it is rinsed out, and it is critical to follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner to restore balance.

Whew, no wonder why I have been so hesitant!!! So many conditions to consider. Nevertheless, I am determined to understand protein and how it works for my hair and Z's. A part of that is trial and error (I know), but I like to be as informed as possible. Neither one of us have had any direct heat to our heads in 5 years (yes, never for her) and we have not experienced any noticeable breakage. 

Z has very fine hair so I believe she would benefit from a light protein treatment especially since I am planning on installing yarn wraps to her hair on Wednesday. My hair on the other hand is made up of many different textures but mainly thick, wiry strands. I will say that I have noticed some mid-strand splits in some of my shed hairs and this has been an ongoing issue for me ever since I have been natural (and never done a protein treatment ::sideeye::).  So to me, that signals I need a protein treatment. 

I am thinking about using the Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor on our hair Wednesday (since there are two applications per pack) and will report back later this week. The Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment might be too much for us right now so I will just hold on to it for another time once I have gained more insight on this protein business.

Before I conclude and solicit your advice and experience, I am considering picking up a bottle of the Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner to use as a light protein treatment particularly on Z's fine hair.

Here are the sources I used for this post: {Source 1},{Source 2},{Source 3},{Source 4}

Whew...I think I laid it all out. So here's your turn. Please share your thoughts about the route we should take starting off and share your experiences using protein as a part of your regular natural hair care regimen. What is your favorite brand? How often you use a protein treatment? I appreciate all responses in advance! :-)


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