Healthy Hair Care, Regimen Building

It’s all in the Ingredients: Protein

Demystifying protein-based/strengthening hair products can be tough some times because hair product labels can be confusing.  Even the list of ingredients can be misleading because protein ingredients will be list on intensive protein treatments, mild reconstructors, deep conditioners AND moisturizing conditioners.  If you use heat on your hair and/or perform chemical services (i.e. color, relax, etc).  You should consider incorporating some form of protein-based hair product(s) into your hair regimen because these processes will inevitability result in the loss of the moisture and protein naturally occurring in your hair.  Proteins are essential in maintaining your hair’s protein/moisture balance.  They restructure the hair shaft to add strength, structure and/or elasticity to the hair.  However, certain proteins are most often used for their ability to increase the hair’s absorption of moisture. Below is a list of the different types of proteins you will likely encounter on the ingredients list of your hair products.

Restructuring/Strengthening Proteins*:

Animal Protein — strengthens the hair shaft by depositing itself in the gaps on the hair shaft caused by heat styling and chemical services.  Very close to the hair’s chemical structure and therefore it’s long lasting.
Human Hair Keratin — this protein exactly matches the missing protein in your hair.  It is the most potent protein and of a very high quality.  The best match to the hair’s chemical structure and therefore it’s long lasting.
Keratin Protein — adds structure to the outermost layer of hair to strengthen the hair and make it more pliable.  Very close to the hair’s chemical structure and therefore it’s long lasting.
Vegetable Protein — works the same way as the animal protein, but is absorbed more easily by the hair shaft.  Close to the hair’s chemical structure and therefore it’s long lasting.

Gentler/Moisture Boosting Proteins*:

Collagen Protein — increases the hair’s elasticity.
Silk Protein — softens the hair for smooth results.
Soy Protein — improves the texture of hair, increasing its manageability and body.
Wheat Protein — moisturizing and strengthening protein that is most often used to increase the hair’s ability to receive/retain moisture.

*Some times you will see that the word “Hydrolyzed” will come before some of these proteins and/or “amino acids” in the place of the word protein.  It means that the protein has been broken down into its component parts for more effective/easier penetration into the all 3 layers of the hair shaft (i.e DEEP conditioning).

Shopping Tip: The higher the protein is listed on the ingredients list, the more of it there is in the product compared the ingredients that are listed after it.  Below are some products and their protein ingredient(s).

Strong Protein Treatments for Extremely Damaged Hair:

(Used Sparingly and should be followed with a moisturizing deep conditioner)
Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair – Step 2 (Hydrolyzed Animal Protein)
Dudley’s DRC 28 (proteins and amino acids)
Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor (Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin)
Kenra Platinum Shea Butter Reconstructor (Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin)
Nexxus Emergencee (Collagen Amino Acids)

Moderate to Mild Protein Reconstructors:

(Can be used more regularly – monthly/bi-weekly)
Affirm 5 in 1 Reconstructor (Hydrolyzed Collagen)
Aphogee 2-minute Reconstructor (Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Collagen Amino Acids)
Elasta QP Intense Fortifying Conditioner (Hydrolyzed Silk Protein)
Elucence Extended Moisture Repair Treatment (Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Silk)
Ion Effective Care Treatment (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein)
Ion Reconstructor (Hydrolyzed Keratin)
Jason Natural Lavender Strengthening Conditioner (Soybean Protein)
Motions Marula Natural Therapy Strengthening Conditioner/Balm (Hydrolyzed Collagen)
Nature’s Gate Biotin Strengthening Conditioner (Wheat Amino Acids and Soy Amino Acids)
Nexxus Keraphix Restorative Strengthening Conditioner (Collagen and Keratin Amino Acids)
Nioxin Intensive Therapy Weightless Reconstructive Masque (Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Wheat Amino Acids)
Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise (Hydrolyzed Collagen)
Silk Elements MegaSilk Intense Conditioning Mayonnaise (Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Silk Amino Acids)

Deep Conditioners with Gentle/Moisture Boosting Proteins:

Aphogee Balancing Moisturizer (Silk Amino Acids, Collagen Amino Acids)
Ion Moisturizing Treatment (Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein)
LeKair Cholesterol (Collagen Protein)
Motions Deep Penetrating Treatment (Hydrolyzed Collagen)
Motions Naturally You Deep Conditioning Masque (Silk Amino Acids)
Nexxus Humectress Moisturizing Conditioner (Hydrolyzed Keratin)
Organic Root Stimulator Replenishing Pack (Hydrolyzed Collagen, Amino Silk Acids)
Silk Elements MegaSilk Moisturizing Treatment (Hydrolyzed Silk)
(Visited 5,011 times, 1 visits today)

22 thoughts on “It’s all in the Ingredients: Protein

  1. I just joined your blog and girrrrrrl you got some good info! I've been researching more on proteins and this post took it home for me on my questions. I was just going to write a blog on proteins because it can be quite confusing and misleading with it comes to protein conditioners. Great post!!

  2. Thanks, I'm glad you found it helpful. Proteins were the hardest to get a grasp on, which is why I had to break it down like that for myself.

  3. Can an egg & mayo mixed together do the trick as a protein treatment?

  4. From what I've heard, yes it can. Some ladies mix the mayo or egg into their store bought conditioners. But I've never had any personal experience with it.

  5. hi ! thank you, i learn a lot!!! i wanna do a color but i don’t knowm what to buy what to do before or after the color can you help me??(i dont relax my hair)

    1. Hi, I’m glad you found it helpful. Preparing your hair for a color treatment is similar to preparing it for relaxer. In my post (Preparing My Hair for the Big Day: Relaxer day) I go over the steps that I take on the wash leading up to the color application.

      Once you’ve colored your hair you will want to use a sulfate-free shampoo (check the ingredients list) because suflates will strip the color from your hair causing your color to look dull. And because most color treatments have proteins in them, you’ll want to do a moisturizing deep conditioning treatment/mask to add moisture, elasticity and softness back into your hair. Good luck with your color!

  6. Where would you place Aphogee Keratin & Green Tea Reconstructurizer on the scale of protein products? How often would you say it should be used?

  7. My bottle of Aphogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer has Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Silk, and Hydrolyzed Keratin on it's ingredients list (all proteins). This is a moderate protein based product (definitely not a light/mild protein but not as heavy duty as the strong protein treatments either). I am able to use it almost every week with no problems BUT I have (1)fine and (2)relaxed hair that responds best to protein products.

    How often you are able to use it will depend on (1)your hair's receptiveness to proteins and (2)how many other protein based hair products you are using on your hair.

  8. Hi!
    Your blog is very informative and it's helping me a lot with my hair journey ^^
    I was wondering if I can do a light protein treatment (Aphogee 2 min reconstructor) and follow with a moisturizing deep conditionner that has protein in it? Will it add to much protein?

  9. Thanks! I'm happy it's helping you on your hair journey. The Aphogee 2 minute reconstructor is light enough to be used on its own. So as long as your hair is not protein sensitive you should have no trouble using the two on the same wash day (especially if the other product is marketed as a moisturizing deep conditioner).

  10. Hi, your blog is amazing it is definitely a great start for me to start my healthy hair journey! Like you recommended I'm try to try one treatment or regiment at a time so right now my hair has been really really dry and my ends as well keep shredding. I never really took care of my hair much , whatever moisturizing for African I saw I just picked up from the drugstore.I relax my every 12 weeks , no deep conditioning I n between just a sample shampoo from the ORS ! (I know I have beyond careless with my hair) I love my hair because it is nice and thick, now it needs some help getting healthier. So do you recommend I should focus on first my two major issues are dryness split ends and shredding. I'm not sure where to start !

  11. Hey Raissa, I think focusing your regimen on alleviating the dryness and split ends you are experiencing will be a great place to start building your regimen. Both ailments can be attacked with a lot of the same treatments (deep conditioning, using heat tools less often, and using a leave-in treatment or moisturizer). If you're looking for a deep conditioner I would start with something that is marketed towards dry and damaged hair. It will likely have some protein in it but also contain a lot of moisture boosting ingredients as well.

    Once you've got the dryness and split ends under control, then you can focus on shedding (although if the "shedding" is happening only at the ends of your hair, it's likely breakage and will be alleviated by addressing your dryness and split ends). Good luck to you! And thank you for commenting.

    Happy Hair Growing,

  12. That is exactly what I thought about starting a rigiment on first, dryness and split ends ! I will definitely take your advise into consideration to sart my hair journey! I love your blog, and thank you for responding 🙂

Comments are closed.