Why Moisture-Protein Balance is Critical for Healthy Hair.
In addition to a beautiful protein treatment and texture service, it’s important to pamper your tresses and properly maintain your natural hair by striking a balance between moisture and protein.
It’s like a chemical equation, both sides must balance, meaning that neither protein nor moisture can work well without each other. Protein overload without enough moisture may cause breakage; The hair will feel dry, brittle and stringy, because it won’t have enough moisture to stretch and support elasticity. At the other end of the equation, moisture overload without enough protein causes soft, limp and dull hair.
According to Precious Rutlin, a virtual trichologist and hair loss expert, “Protein-moisture balance is when your hair texture has the proper hydration, nutrients, and strength to prevent breakage in your hair shaft.”
How do you check protein-moisture balance in hair?
You don’t want your hair to be too hard(protein) and you definitely don’t want your hair to be too soft, limp and mushy(moisture). It needs to be in the middle(balanced). So how do you check if your hair has the right amount of protein and moisture?
Start by taking a few strands of your hair to perform a stretch experiment. When stretched, a balanced hair will return to its original length without snapping. If during the stretch, it goes beyond a normal limit and breaks, you possibly have too much/not enough protein. At the other end of the spectrum, if your hair feels limp, weak, gummy or mushy when stretched, you might be experiencing moisture overload.
For deeper insight on what protein-moisture balance is, watch this video.
If you are still unsure about the current state of your hair, here are five indicators that your hair needs protein treatment. Or you can gain a deeper insight about protein by reading; protein treatment “A Time machine For Damaged Hair”
As seen in BYRDIE, anytime you apply an intense protein treatment, you must follow up with a deeply moisturizing conditioner. Rutlin explains, “You cannot have one without the other. This is why you see some people have brittle and damaged hair. The keratin in their hair is depleted over time due to a number of factors, like heat styling, chemical damage, environmental, health issues, etc. Their cortex (keratin filaments which hold the hair’s disulphide and hydrogen bonds together) of their hair cuticle has become exposed, creating porous spots in the hair follicle and making it susceptible to further damage. If you don’t moisturize, you run the risk of brittle, damaged hair, which is exactly what you’re trying to fix or prevent in the first place.”
Moisture Overload: How To Fix It
In the natural hair community, moisture overload is certainly a common problem. What is moisture overload? It’s simply when the level of protein and moisture in the hair is not in equilibrium. Hair breakage, frizz, and other problems can spawn from this imbalance.
According to Miche Beauty, “The main cause of moisture overload is leaving your hair wet for prolonged periods of time. Think back on all the times you have deep conditioned your hair and left it in all day or overnight. While we know this is more convenient sometimes, it’s just not good for your hair. It breaks down the bonds in your hair, wearing down your hair’s natural proteins, and leaving your strands weak and vulnerable.”
Moisture Overload can also be caused by the utilization of too many hair products with high moisture content
If you are experiencing moisture overload, it’s best you start with moisture clarifying products; It can be in the form of a shampoo or cream. The clarifier eliminates build-up and purifies your hair, giving you the opportunity to start your hair routine with a clean slate.
If you don’t want to eliminate the moisture completely, you can get a protein treatment to rebalance it.
“To rebalance overly moisturized hair, consider using a conditioner that has protein in it or using a protein treatment,” says Rutlin. You should do this at least once a month. Rutlin continues: “Be sure to take caution and do not over use the protein treatment, as it can dry your hair out and cause it to become brittle.”
Protein Overload: How To Fix It
If your hair feels dry, brittle, stiff, frizzy, and difficult to manage, you may be suffering from protein overload but the good news is that protein overload or is an easy fix.
“When you have too much protein in your hair, you can opt for a clarifying shampoo to help remove the protein. Clarifying shampoos are known to remove residue and product build up from the hair shaft. It is even known to strip your hair of its natural oils.” Rutlin advised.
So I will advise you to use a gentle clarifying shampoo because you wouldn’t want something to completely strip your hair of its natural oils.
Sometimes it may not be protein overload, it might just be moisture deficiency and you would need to rebalance protein with moisture by deep conditioning your hair weekly to help restore its moisture levels.
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