Mar 29, 2011

More Info about Moisture/Protein Balance- Getting Deep Into it! Part C

For those of you just starting out on your journey to healthier head of hair, I recommend you begin with a more moisture friendly regimen before you incorporate the protein aspect. The reason being, many of us (before our hair care awakening) have naturally moisture deficient hair care routines and regimens- especially those with no regimen at all. Rarely have I seen a woman have hair problems that are a result of over-conditioning her hair and too much moisture. I can guarantee you that almost 99% of the time, poor moisturizing and conditioning are the issues that spawn our hair care interventions. 

When the Balance is thrown off by too much protein:

Hair that is shifted too far on the protein side will break easier, both wet and dry, because it lacks elasticity. Hair that breaks with very little tension or stretching is moisture deficient. Any type of stretching or tension will break it because the protein goes in and adds structure to the hair. Too much structure will make the hair rigid, decrease its elasticity, leave it brittle and prone to breakage. This was the issue with Kim�s hair. She was feeding her hair more protein than she needed to maintain a healthy balance. If this describes your hair at any time listen up! To correct this imbalance, you will need to go into a simple deep conditioning and moisturizing regimen. You may not be doing "protein treatments" per se, but you may be using other products that are protein heavy ingredient wise. I would watch out for protein in common products like leave in conditioners, moisturizers,gels, and instant conditioners like Suave and V05. Protein hides in alot of everyday products- so avoid those for a few weeks until your moisture balance is corrected. This will give your hair a chance to even out the protein/moisture balance.

Should I schedule my protein treatments in advance?
I do not advise "protein-ing" on a specific schedule, simply because our hair is seasonal. Setting aside a week or two in your regimen for protein conditioning is just not effective at addressing your hair needs as they arise. It doesn't know or understand our "schedules". It's needs and wants change from day to day, week to week. The only product you must adhere to a schedule is the Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair because it can only be used every 6 weeks or so because of its strength. The other treatments in between that one should only be done as you need them. Sometimes that might be weekly, other times it may be every 2 or 3 weeks! Only your hair can dictate that to you. I'm sure you've seen the threads where I discuss how to tell when your hair needs more protein- or when it needs more moisture. There are very specific ways to tell =) Once you get to know your hair more and more, it will be like second nature! Scheduling is good for when you are just starting out and getting into the groove, but you'll soon start to see that your hair often has its own plan for when you need different things for it! Then, scheduling kind of becomes useless in the grand scheme of hair care things. It also prevents you from truly developing an understanding of your own hair because instead of looking for certain cues and signs, you are looking at the calendar. Protein-ing on a schedule can eventually lead to protein overload if you aren't careful! It is so much harder to bounce back from an overload of protein than it is an overload of moisture/conditioning.

How much is too much? 
I totally agree that relaxed ladies need more protein. If you are relaxed or color treated, those processes have compromised the protein structure of your hair--so you kinda need the supplemental protein. Not everyone needs protein though, some naturals can live without it... 

For the relaxed ladies though, It's like we've all sustained different degrees of "damage" from the relaxing processes. Some people's hair is more protein deficient by nature (from the coloring/relaxing) so they require more to keep the balance in tact. Relaxing and coloring breaks protein bonds so depending on the type and degree of relaxer and level on bond breakage you will need more or less protein than someone else. So you can't say weekly, daily, or monthly protein is too much or too little because we do not know the true condition and specific needs of your hair to start with. At the end of the day, you must experiment and get to know your own head of hair.
Some proteins are stronger than others, but daily or even weekly use of even the milder protein treatments may result in an imbalance between the protein and moisture levels within the hair strands in some people. But honestly, its almost too hard to even go by the "types of proteins". You never know the percent composition of these products so though it may have a specific protein down the ingredient list, it might not be as strong as if it were higher on the ingredient list(greater percent composition). The protein in question could be 30% of the product or 0.3%! Who knows! You have to play around with different products to know how strong it is on your hair. You can't really say "Oh this is wheat protein so its gonna very light!" Or "this is animal protein, so its gonna be very heavy." It would be nice if that were true all the time, but because the product percent composition really plays such an important role, label reading can only do so much. For example, every product with keratin isn't going to feel the same way across the board. Just like every product that contains glycerine or water isn't going to feel the same! You must experiment and find your hair tolerance and it will vary from product to product, not necessarily protein to protein.

For example, some people think Aphogee 2 minute is a mild to tough protein, but my hair tends to laugh at it and feel the exact same after using it. For me, I just experimented using different combinations of products to find out what my hair tolerance is. 

When the Balance is thrown off by too much moisture:

Yes! There is such a thing as �over-conditioning� the hair and Trina found that out the hard way. Hair that is shifted too far on the moisture side will be "super-elastic" and stretch more because it lacks a sound protein structure. Many ladies describe the feel of over-conditioned/over-moisturized hair as �mush-like� or �overly soft� when wet. It has almost a weak, limp spongy feel to it. Protein deficient hair will tend to pull and stretch along with the comb and then break. It will always stretch first then break which is the result of very low supplemental protein in the regimen. When this is the case, you will need some kind of protein to give the hair structure which will make it feel rigid (stronger) again. If your hair is stretching without returning, even if its not breaking you should use a light protein to correct this. When your hair stretches, the strand "thins" and becomes weaker across the cross section. It may not break right then at that very point in time, but stretched out of and beyond its shape, it is compromised and will eventually break at some other point. Your hair should be springing back to position. If its stretching and stretching without breaking it may be your hair's way of telling you, "Hey, I need a little structure (protein) here! I'm getting waaaay too elastic, but not yet enough to break-- so do something now!" This is where a preventive maintenance protein application would come in. You don't have to wait for breakage to act. Your hair is telling you now Start light, and work from there. You may not need a heavy treatment just yet. 

And, you don't have to get all of your protein from a "treatment" per se or conditioner either. You can always throw in protein based leave in conditioners like (Infusium23) or waterbased moisturizers like (Cantu's Breakcure/or Elasta QP mango butter) to help you maintain the balance within your regimen. This way you can get a little or a lot without relying on one product. 

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