As a curly hair girl, I realized from, a young age, that I enjoy researching and discovering new ways or products that make maintaining my hair easier. From different hair growth tips, like the rice water for hair growth, to trying out the latest curly hair products to researching what a protein overload is and how to fix it.
Now that was never a problem until I came across protein treatments. We know the basics, that proteins are essential in maintaining the health of your hair. But did you know too much protein can damage your hair?
Protein tends to be a key ingredient in many natural hair products. So when you apply all those different products to your hair, without properly washing your hair, it causes a product build-up. This leads to a lot of protein in your hair and that protein is then absorbed by the hair’s surface. This results in what we call a PROTEIN OVERLOAD.
What is a protein overload?
A protein overload is when the moisture and the protein levels in your hair are unbalanced. Not everyone’s proteins/ moisture levels are the same and the “balance” might vary from head to head. While some might experience a protein overload from having tons of proteins, others might be protein sensitive and just a little protein can be damaging.
What causes a protein overlaod ?
Protein makes up the majority of human hair.
The intrinsic structure of the hair strand is harmed when we use chemicals like hair color or heat tools like hair straighteners, as a result, protein is removed from our hair, and we must replenish it to repair the strength of each hair follicle.
It’s excellent to put protein back into our hair, but if we’re not careful, we may end up overdoing it. Hair requires a balance of protein and water to stay healthy, and if there is too much protein within the hair strand, water cannot pass through.
We might not have the same moisture/ protein levels but the symptoms of a protein overload are universal and they include:
- Dry and brittle hair
You may have too much protein in your hair if it has gotten dry and snaps off easily. Excess protein causes your hair to become weak and prone to damage by preventing water from adequately nourishing the hair follicles.
- In some cases, your hair can change the texture
Too much protein in your hair is the result of long-term use of improper products. If your hair’s texture has altered, you should investigate the products you’re using.
You might notice that your hair is coarser than usual. Hair strands become rigid and less flexible when they don’t get adequate moisture. This can leave your hair with a straw-like texture that no amount of deep conditioner can fix.
- Your hair will lack shine
An overabundance of protein in your hair is one of the most common causes of loss of shine, and it can happen quickly.
- Your hair will be more susceptible to shedding and breakage
Shedding can occur for a lot of causes, but the first thing you should look into is eating too much protein. Your hair isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy if the water/protein ratio is off. Your roots may grow weak as a result, resulting in more shedding than usual.
Now I know the symptoms sound scary but there is a way to fix it and prevent it
How to fix a protein overload?
A protein overload might be easy to get but it is difficult to fix. Not impossible but it can take weeks or months to fix, you just need consistency, patients, and the below steps:
- You need to clean your products, that means giving away or throwing away all products with protein in it. Now, this is not easy because it entails knowing the proteins but it is worth it.
A few proteins found in-store products are:
- Silk protein
- Soy protein
- Wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed rice protein
- Oat flour
- Hydrolyzed collagen
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Now that you removed all the protein-filled products from your cupboards, it’s time to invest in protein-free products. Products that are silicon, paraben, protein, and sulfate-free are perfect for curly girls.
- Clarify your hair, invest in a good clarifying shampoo. This will help remove the excess protein from your hair and product build-up.
- Focus on adding moisture back into your hair by using or trying the below methods. Moisturize and seal. After moisturizing seal your hair with natural oil. Practice hair stemming Apply a weekly deep conditioner to your hair, after cleansing with a clarifying shampoo.
- It also helps to know what type of porosity your hair has, you can learn more about hair porosity on this post understanding hair porosity
Have you ever experienced a protein overload? If so comment down below on what methods and products worked for you.