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Have you ever wondered, "is my hair protein sensitive”?
The whole protein sensitivity thing can be confusing as ALL OUTDOORS, ya know?
Well sis, look:
If you've ever read the book titled: "The Science of Black Hair" you already know...
That the truth is:
You can DRAMATICALLY improve how your hair looks, holds moisture, maintains health and avoids breakage by understanding the 3 main causes of why you might feel that your hair is protein sensitive, when actually...
...it's really not protein sensitive at all.
And in today's post:
I'm going to show you exactly how to identify your SPECIFIC protein issue whether you're concerned with low porosity protein needs or high porosity...
... and how to solve it in a step-by-step, smart way.
So let's first answer the question: "Is my hair protein sensitive?"...
I'm bouta drop straight BLACK HAIR SCIENCE on ya' and...
...you're gonna get better hair. Period.
Let's DIVE IN and find out if your hair protein sensitive or not...
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Many naturals seem to have problems with protein and even begin to wonder, “Does natural hair need protein?”.
The answer is yes.
The reason why it does is neeed it is because your natural hair can never reach its full beauty potential if your hair care regimen does not have real protein in it.
It's very important that both your protein and moisture levels are at balance because an overload in either will cause your natural hair to break.
You should always have the goal of being proactive with your kinky natural hair, do not wait until it becomes weak or starts to snap, crackle and pop.
That aint the life I'm tryin'to be about girl, haa...
I often hear about natural hair honeys having fewer wash days and slapping on layer after layer of new hair products in an attempt to look good and feel better about their hair.
Hear me out though, sis:
That's very common, and if that's you, don't feel bad hun...
We all know the feeling, those long uncomfortable detangling sessions can make wash days a whole struggle, right?
And let's keep it 100:
When your gorgeous natural hair is coated in your favorite natural hair products nothing feels better.
I ain't even mad at you.
The thing is:
It's very easy to fall into the trap of skipping out on wash days and relying more and more on those "holy grail" natural hair products...
...but if even the best natural hair products like TGIN for 4C hair isn't washed out properly, all those layers and layers of product will eventually pile up and dry on the surface of your hair.
And depending on how much product build-up you have, and how long you had it, it may take multiple washes to get rid of it, or even a really strong clarifying shampoo to do the job.
How To Know When You Have Product Build-Up
Old product build-up can be hard to spot because it tends to build up gradually over time and have you wondering "Is my hair protein sensitive?".
It just sneaks up on you.
A clear giveaway of product build-up on natural hair is when your hair stops responding to the way it used to for hair products that used to do wonders for your look...
...even your favorite protein treatments and go-to hairstyles don't work or look right anymore. Aaaaargh!
I know the feeling.
Here's the biggest problem:
Product build-up doesn't just block moisture, it also blocks your hair's ability to soak up critically important protein treatments that your hair absolutely needs.
This build-up just causes another layer of cuticle-blocking product to stack on top of the other, making your hair strands underneath dryer and dryer and unable to recieve hair-saving nutrients..
[ Learn More About 4C Hair HERE ]
Product build-up isn't always the reason why some customers are asking “ is my hair protein sensitive?”
It might not be too clear where your so-called protein sensitivity is coming from because the problem could be coming from multiple culprits.
So the quickest way to get to the bottom of things is to test all possible issues.
And don't worry, we teach you EXACTLY how in this article...
Sometimes you're tricked into thinking that your natural hair is protein sensitive is because you're using the wrong type of protein.
Proteins molecules come in different formations and sizes...
Some are proteins are too small for your hair, which means:
And then, other proteins molecules are too big, which means:
The overly-large protein structures create a think a less flexible layer that covers the surface of your hair.
That's the reason why you'll never get any TRUE benefit from egg protein treatments for natural hair, the same goes for...
Don't hate me, it's science sis...
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These protein types do not have the molecule structure small enough to penetrate your hair strands.
Yes, they might give the illusion of strength at first and...
...nutritionally-speaking, they ARE proteins.
Yet and still:
They have zero long-term positive impact as an effective protein treatment for your natural hair.
That's the main reason why I suggest using proteins that have the correct molecule size, because when the protein molecules are the right size...
... they complete 2 necessary functions:
The results are stronger, more vibrant hair that grows and doesn't see alot of breakage. See, the problem was never "too much protein in hair".
So you may be wondering...
What to know one of the best products for protein and natural hair?
The answer is hydrolyzed wheat protein, because the protein molecule size in hydrolyzed wheat protein is small enough to soak into your hair strands and protect the inner layers all while large enough to create a flexible and breathable coat on the outside of your hair.
And the best part is:
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is also very water-soluble so it's easy to get rid of any build-up with just ONE wash. This one's a no-brainer!
Let's talk about protein overload for a quick second, because:
Don't get it twisted sis…
Many natural hair honeys ask, “what is protein sensitive natural hair?”
And the answer is:
There is no such thing as "protein sensitive natural hair" simply because hair is made up of dead keratin cells that generate daily and does not have nerve endings.
The real problem is protein overload.
Protein overload is 100% real. And...
...protein overload usually happens accidentally because we often are adding hidden proteins to our hair through the natural hair products that we use.
Here's the tricky part:
Proteins are in far more products than just protein treatments.
Trust and believe...
...they can also be in your shampoos, conditioners, rice rinses for hair, leave-ins, creams and even natural hair moisturizers (that's one reason why we invent amazing DIY moisturizers for you)..
So what often happens is:
You are unwittingly infusing your hair full of unnoticed proteins everyday without even knowing it and then you get hit with protein overload like a dang MACK truck.
While some proteins are much stronger than others, daily or even weekly use of some of the milder protein treatments could result in moisture and protein level imbalances within hair strands for some people.
This slows down your natural journey success because:
Protein overload can make you think and feel that you're hair is protein sensitive when it could simply be the products that you're putting on it.
Here's the truth:
Proteins are better off as a standalone product, when proteins are mixed into your normal natural hair products it can cause you to lose control over how much and how often you are adding them in your routine.
SO now you KNOW the 3 culprits and reason why you're wondering, why is my hair protein sensitive. And now you know that ít's not.
So let's START SOLVING THESE PROBLEMS NOW.
HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN Treatment [Video]
Sneaky Proteins - Weapons of Shaft Destruction
So to troubleshoot any issues you might be getting from your products sneaking in extra proteins...
...let's take a look at the ingredient list on all the products you use on your hair, including your shampoos.
If you notice ingredients with proteins within the first 6 ingredients on the list you need to stop using these products too much (outside of purposeful protein treatments).
If you want to be on the safe side, just stop using products with protein in them completely sis. For real...
So how do you know if a product has protein in it?
Well, apart from protein, look out for these ingredients:
If you see any of these within the first 6 ingredients, just know that they are different forms of protein, and they may be what has you asking "is my hair protein sensitive?".
Ruling Out Product Build-up As The Problem
To rule out the product build-up issue, here's what you need to do:
Swap out your thick emulsified cream hair products for a more water-based moisturizer and organic oil.
That's also the way to evaluate if you were ever wondering how to fix too much protein in hair.
Over the time period of 4 to 5 wash days you should switch out the thick emulsified cream hair products for natural oils, that will help you get rid of product build-up and the accompanying proteins that are added into many creamy natural hair products.
Always keep in mind that it is less likely for organic natural hair products to have any hidden ingredients that can cause hair damaging product build-up.
[Learn About The Best Dreadlocks Products for Black Hair]
Answering Your Questions...
Have question about this "Is my hair protein sensitive" article? Ask and we answer!
Question: Are you saying that conditioners can cause the problem?
What should I use instead since B/methosulfate (mixed with water) is the main ingredient that makes up a basic conditioner!
Answer: Yea, traditional conditioners can cause problems over time. Especially with all the additives.
You can incorporate more water washing instead of the normal shampoo and conditioning process, maybe every other wash day to prevent too much build-up from products.
Also, a great insider tip is to do more Hot Oil Treatments instead of a creamy conditioner.
I'm not telling you to stop using conditioners, just be mindful about the build-up so you can immediately identify when your hair is experiencing build-up issues.
Build-up happens, what's important is that you catch it early and remove it.
Question: Can you please share your opinion about Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol in hair products It tends to give my hair buildup.
Answer: Yeah, synthetic ingredients like the ones you listed are a huge problem with conditioners and creamy products.
They feel great at first but over time and for the long run they can be destructive.
That’s why I like to stick with liquid-based products and high-quality organic hair oils.
Listen and listen good sis.
You need to stick with these changes for about 4 to 5 wash days, which should give you enough time and enough washes to get rid of the excess protein or the excess product build-up.
After you have done this...
...you can now go back and try the same protein treatment or product that caused you issues.
If your hair feels good then you know you were experiencing product build-up or protein overload.
If your hair STILL feels bad or unhealthy after that:
You have now learned (YAYYY to Learning!) that your hair is sensitive to that particular protein. No more asking "is my hair protein sensitive".
And now you know FOR SURE that you need to change for a better option.
Do not destroy your natural hair journey by ruling out all protein treatments, go back to the water-based moisturizer and organic oil for another wash day or two then try another protein, as mentioned earlier you should definitely try wheat hydrolyzed protein.
Got it all? Still wondering "Is my hair protein sensitive"? Jump back to the education that will save your hair today...
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa Lee
Melissa Lee is a Contributing Editor to NHP and a former owner of the BlackhairOMG website. She formed 4C Trichology Growth Services, LLC., a US based hair care consultation service. She has also contributed as a writer and consultant for various hair and beauty websites. Melissa can be followed on Twitter here.