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Is your Hair Stiff and Dry after a Smoothing Treatment? You may have too much of a good thing -Prote


3 min read

Oct 30, 2020



Protein overload in hair is an increasingly common issue, particularly for those with curly hair who have a need to fortify (strengthen) and smooth their hair frequently. Proteins are essential for the maintenance of healthy hair. Not only is hair made up mostly of proteins, but proteins are also readily attracted to the hair and are easily absorbed by the hair’s surface. Additionally, water molecules are also attracted to proteins and will readily bond with them. Protein not only helps to attract and bind water to the hair but will also penetrate the hair to fix any weak areas in the protein structure of the hair, keeping it healthy and strong. It is for these reasons that proteins are added to hair products. However, protein is not the only key ingredient required for healthy hair. Healthy hair also needs an appropriate amount of moisture (water). Moisture and protein must exist in balance in order to ensure that hair is optimally healthy. Too much of either and the integrity of the hair becomes compromised.

Protein Overload Symptoms

The symptoms of protein overload include dryness, hair breakage, changes in hair texture, and excessive shedding. These indicate a potential protein overload issue especially if they suddenly appear out of the blue with no change in your hair regimen. You need to be familiar with your hair and used to paying close attention to it or these issues and/or their causes may be difficult to pinpoint, particularly because protein overload may not be the only possible cause of any of the symptoms taken in isolation. More than one of these symptoms together, however, and it is extremely likely that you are dealing with protein overload. The symptoms of protein overload are: • Hair that has become unusually dry and brittle • Excessive shedding and tangles • Feels very straw-like and stiff • Breakage • Dullness Protein strengthens the hair, but it also makes the hair inelastic. Because of the loss of elasticity, hair that is overloaded with protein will snap and break when manipulated.

Protein Overload Recovery

To combat excess protein or protein overload in natural hair or even relaxed hair for that matter, moisture needs to be added to the hair so that the protein-moisture balance can be re-established. The extent to which your hair is overloaded will determine how long it takes to undo the damage. It will also determine the extent to which you need to avoid adding any additional protein to the hair. If your overload is severe, your regimen needs to consist solely of hair products without protein. This means that you must review your entire product stash in order to identify products for protein overload that are either moisturizing or at the very least won’t add more protein to the hair. Even the ones that are moisturizing must be protein-free hair products or you’ll only make matters worse. You may also want to avoid using coconut oil while your hair is overloaded with proteins because it helps prevent the loss of proteins from the hair which will only amplify your protein overload symptoms. It can take weeks or even months to correct protein overload.

Treating Protein Overload in Hair

If your hair has too much protein, take the following steps:

  1. Use a clarifying shampoo to remove the build-up. Build up will hinder your attempts to get moisture into your hair and restore the protein-moisturize balance. After the initial clarifying, use a moisturizing shampoo to gently cleanse your hair without over-drying.

  2. Deep condition with heat once or twice weekly depending on the severity of the problem. Deep condition using moisturizing deep conditioners that are protein-free. Use heat during the deep conditioning process in order to better help the moisture penetrate the hair shaft.

  3. Moisturize your hair daily paying special attention to the ends of your hair. Seal moisture in with oil or butter.

  4. Check all your product labels and do not use them if they contain protein. Remember that you’ll need to maintain a balance of protein and moisture in your hair, so why you should not use products with protein in your hair while you have protein overload, you will need them once your hair is balanced again so that you don’t end up with the opposite problem of moisture overload.

Common proteins to look for and avoid while your hair is in protein overload

  1. Collagen

  2. Soy protein

  3. Wheat protein

  4. Rice protein

  5. Quinoa protein

  6. Silk protein

  7. Amino acids

  8. Keratin

  9. Vegetable protein

Protein overload can be reversed. All you really need is time, patience and moisture.


3 min read

Oct 30, 2020



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