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Do I Need a Protein Treatment in My Hair?

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Do I Need a Protein Treatment in My Hair?

Hair in need of strengthening protein

Michael Sugrue/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Question: Do I Need a Protein Treatment in My Hair?

You want healthy hair, so you make sure that you condition and moisturize it, as well as take care of your body to encourage healthy growth. If you've seen protein treatments sitting on the store shelf, promising to strengthen your hair, should you bite?

Answer:

The short answer is: It depends. A great deal of whether or not you can benefit from a protein treatment depends on how you wear your hair. Women who routinely do the following to their hair will gain a lot from regular protein treatments:

What if you do none of those things?

Properly administered protein treatments won't hurt, even if you wear your hair 100% chemical-free. You have to remember to balance protein with moisture, however, because too much protein will eventually dry out your hair.

For women who color and straighten their hair, protein treatments strengthen areas of the hair that are weakened by chemicals. They work to build your hair shaft back up because much of the daily care and "extras" you do to create a hairstyle chip away at your hair's cuticle, or outer layer. Even if you chemically treat your hair and it seems healthy enough, a monthly or bi-monthly treatment will keep it in tip-top shape.

If you have any of these signs, try a protein treatment and follow a regular protein regimen right away:

  • Loss of elasticity - Hair in good condition can stretch under normal conditions without breaking. If you're wondering about the elasticity in your hair, try this test: stretch wet hair and see if it easily snaps back without breaking. If it does, your hair is in good shape. If you stretch it and it breaks easily, you need to increase the protein in your hair.
  • Serious damage - When hair has been overprocessed with chemicals, it can feel and look like seaweed when it's wet. When dry, it may feel like a rough Brillo pad. This isn't regular dryness that black hair is prone to. Although black hair may not feel exactly like silk, healthy hair is soft to the touch.
  • Severe breakage - This isn't the average hair shedding that everyone experiences on a daily basis. Regular shedding often comes out in a comb or brush. When your hair breaks due to weakness, you'll find strands of it everywhere; on your pillow, on the back of your seat, on your shirt. It may make a snapping or popping sound when you comb it.

For severe damage, a protein treatment may hold off the inevitable and prevent shedding all over the place, but eventually you should cut off all of your damaged hair. This is the only way to enjoy healthy hair over your entire head.

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