I’ve spoken briefly about the moisture-protein balance before, which is a really important part of preventing breakage. If you can get this part right then everything else becomes so much easier. Here are few suggestions to help you on the journey to achieving that elusive balance.
- Firstly, check out ‘The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balancing for Black Hair Care’ by Audrey Sivasothy. This article really gave me a good insight into the science behind the principle and was a great starting point in learning how to maintain my balance.
- Invest in some regular one on one time with your hair as the balance doesn’t remain static and fluctuates frequently. Sometimes on a daily basis so you constantly have to be listening to what your hair is saying. The quicker you become familiar with what your hair feels and looks like at its optimal level, the quicker you’ll be able to identify when things are off.
- If your hair starts breaking, don’t immediately reach for your strongest protein conditioner. Investigate the breakage and try to identify what’s causing it before you start on a course of treatment. Dry brittle hair that’s snapping off needs more moisture not protein.
- If you’ve chemically processed your hair in any way, then expect to need more protein than someone with a natural unprocessed head of hair. You have compromised the protein structure of your hair and depending on the strength and type of chemical process involved; you will need to adjust accordingly.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, read the ingredients list on your products. Many ‘moisturising’ conditioners nowadays contain some sort of protein which if your hair is protein sensitive can tip you off balance without you even being aware of it. The most popular are amino acids and hydrolysed vegetable proteins such as wheat and soy. Whilst they are quite light and mostly act on the surface of the hair, regular use can cause a build up effect which could lead to protein related breakage
- Not all protein conditioners are made equal! There are different types of proteins which have different effects on the hair, check this article out for a breakdown. Use a light to medium protein for regular maintenance and a full on heavy intensive reconstructor for those emergency situations. Mixing up the two can have dire consequences. As a general guide when choosing a protein conditioner, light protein products have their protein ingredients lower down in the ingredients list and usually only use one or two types of protein which often take the form of a Silk Amino Acid or Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein. Stronger protein treatments usually use at least two types of protein which appear very early in the ingredients list (1st, 2nd or 3rd) and there will usually be an animal protein such as Keratin or Collagen kicking about somewhere.