Fine hair needs protein more than any other hair type. In this post, I will convince you why protein is an important element caring for fine hair, types of protein treatment you can use and how to incorporate it into your hair routine.
You may like wearing weaves as a protective style from time to time but wouldn’t it be nice to get your hair to a point where a weave is optional and not just a means to sport long hair?
Let’s face it. Having fine natural hair can make you feel like there’s no hope for growing your own long hair. Hogwash.
Fine natural hair is indeed naturally vulnerable but using protein in your hair regimen can do wonders. As a matter of fact, in order to grow longer strands, using protein is a requirement.
Now, before you either go out and start buying all the protein products you can find or you say something like, “I can’t use protein in my hair because it makes it hard,” let me shed a little light on the subject.
Protein is often misunderstood. Many people think they are “protein sensitive.” What they are actually experiencing is protein overload. We will save that for another post.
I’ve seen people buy the protein sensitivity myth hook, line and sinker – without bothering to do a thorough research on what protein actually is, how to use it, and why your hair needs it.
Why Use Protein on Fine Hair?
Every head of hair has different requirements but for those of us with fine natural hair, protein treatments are necessary to protect the integrity of the hair strand.
Protein strengthens and protects fine strands from breakage. It also helps to temporarily repair damage and puts an end to breaking hair. Therefore, the end result is length retention.
All of this is what makes protein a good hair habit to have.
Why Protein Sensitivity is a Myth
For one to say that they are protein sensitive is like saying they are allergic to blood or oxygen – each of which makes up a large part of the human anatomy.
Hair is approximately 90% protein. So, it stands to reason that the only substance that can bond to the hair is something of the same…protein.
OK. Enough about why you need protein and how protein sensitivity is a total myth. Let’s take a look at the types of protein that you can use to strengthen fine hair.
Types of Protein
Some protein can cause the hair to feel dry and brittle. That’s why it’s important to know what type of protein to use in your hair.
Using the right type of protein for your hair’s needs, in addition to balancing out any treatments with deep conditioning (moisturizing sans protein) treatments, will ensure your hair is strong AND pliable.
- Keratin – hair is predominantly made up of this substance and is the strongest of all proteins
- Collagen – also a natural part of hair, this type of protein helps to improve your hair’s ability to be more elastic
- Wheat Protein – penetrates the cortex and strengthens the hair shaft from within
- Silk Protein – derived from silk worms, this serves to strengthen and moisturize the hair leaving it with a silky feel
- Vegetable Protein – absorbs into the hair shaft and works by binding water molecules to the hair fiber, providing deep moisture
- Milk Protein – high in amino acids, strengthens and improves the condition of dry hair
- Soy Protein – strengthens and mends split ends while also smoothing the hair shaft
If you purchase products containing protein, look for the word “hydrolyzed” on the ingredient label. This means that the type of protein in the product has been broken down to be small enough to attach to or penetrate the hair shaft.
Commercial Protein Products for Fine Hair:
I don’t branch out and use many products. That’s because when I find what works, I don’t see a need to change it.
Here are four protein treatments (varying types and strengths) that I’ve used successfully multiple times:
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Masque
- Apogee 2 Step Protein Treatment (for when breakage gets out of control)
- Aubrey Organics Glycogen Protein Balancing Conditioner – I share 4ways to use the product.
- Tropic Isle Living Black Castor Oil Protein Conditioner
DIY Protein Treatments
There are a lot of great protein treatments on the market but what I’m here are some DIY protein treatments that I have used to maintain the strength of my fine natural hair:
– Henna Tea Spray (every 3 days)
– Full Strength Henna (quarterly)
– Goat’s Milk & Honey Treatment (every other week)
Now, the henna isn’t actually a protein treatment but it does strengthen hair with repeated use. Its said to “mimic” a protein treatment.
If you don’t currently use protein in your hair regimen and find that your hair is breaking or isn’t gaining in length, consider adding protein treatments to it.
My fine natural hair is regularly fortified with protein and strengthening treatments. Hence, it’s made all the difference in the strength of my hair which ultimately aids in length retention.
This post is a part of the series, “Sorting out a Fine Haired Natural’s Wash Day Step by Step.” Here are previous posts: