Too Much Protein: How to tell and how to fix it

A proper balance of moisture and protein is essential to maintaining healthy hair. I previously talked about how too much moisture can be harmful to your hair. Now onto protein.

Hair is predominately made up of protein (keratin), and the hair’s surface is really great at absorbs proteins.

Many manufacturers of hair products add protein to their products. This is done with the intention of keeping hair healthy and strong. If using too many products that contain protein, it’s possible to get a protein overload. Luckily, there are ways that you can figure out if  you’re experiencing protein overload at home.

What is Protein Overload?

Protein overload is when the moisture and protein balance in your hair isn’t so balanced anymore and the hair has more protein than it needs. Too much protein in your hair your hair causes the hair to feel brittle and become less elastic. This causes breakage and excess shedding in the hair.

Detecting Protein Overload

There are a specific things to check for and test to identify whether you have protein overload:

  1. Dry/brittle
  2. Hair is lifeless and stiff
  3. Less shine and luster to the hair
  4. Excessive shedding
  5. Easily tangles
  6. Strands feel like straw
  7. Change in texture
  8. Hair Breakage

Protein adds strength to the hair but the more the hair has, the more inelastic the strands become. The loss of elasticity caused by protein overload causes the hair to snap and break easily. However, breakage itself does not necessarily equal protein overload since it can also be due to damage from manipulation, chemical treatments, dryness or heat styling.

The feeling of your stands are also an important indicator of too much protein. If they start to become more tough, straw-like and hard, this can be due to protein overload.

Different hair types have different degrees of shine and luster. Since this can be a difficult symptom to spot it’s important to pay close attention to your hair long term.

Of course, all of these symptoms individually do not indicate protein overload, and even some in combination as they can be due to other factors like stated above. First it is important to indicate if other damaging practices have been done to the hair and eliminating other causes. If you come to the conclusion that your hair is suffering from protein overload, then you can follow these steps for hair recovery:

How To Recover: 

It’s important to know the difference between protein treatments and moisture treatments. Identify what is protein within your products so that you can eliminate them from your regimen.

Recovering from protein overload takes time and a whole new routine. The time it takes to recover all depending on how bad your overload is. It can take anywhere from weeks to months.

The first step is to identify the proteins within your products. Even if the product doesn’t state that it contains proteins, still check as many times it still might. Proteins within hair products come in different names and categories. Here are some proteins:

  • Keratin
  • Hydrolyzed collagen
  • Amino acids
  • Quinoa protein
  • Wheat protein
  • Rice protein
  • Silk protein
  • Soy protein
  • Oat flour

It’s time to Cleanse. Use a cleansing/clarifying shampoo. This will get rid of the excess buildup of protein that is on the surface of your hair.
Deep Condition. Adding moisture to the hair is important to restoring the balance to your hair.
Leave In Conditioner. More moisture!
Style. Go for styles that are low manipulation and avoid more damage. Since the hair is easily broken and brittle, treat your hair with the most care.
Seal. The moisture added needs to be sealed into the hair for the maximum effect.

When sealing the hair, it’s best to avoid using coconut oil until your hair is balanced. Coconut oils prevents the loss of proteins from the hair, this can amplify the damage from protein overload in the hair.

When it comes to fixing protein overload, it may take some time and investigation but it’s worth it.

The BaldEagle (1)

Have you ever experienced protein overload? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

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