"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Breakage 101 series #3 : Protein Moisture Balance 2

In the part one of this series 3, I pointed out the importance of protein and moisture for our thirsty roots and how our hair regimens are supposed to be focused on balancing both out. Remember, the lack of any one of these important components could cause unnecessary breakage!

Here is the part to of the series :

What happens when I moisturize my hair too much?

Yes ladies, there is such a thing as over moisturizing your hair. This can happen by deep conditioning the hair too often, using too many moisturizing products, or by using them too often. This obviously tips the protein/moisture balance and of course, breakage will be the result of this. Mushy, limp and dull hair is an example of over moisturized hair. If your hair is mushy, limp and dull, try gently pulling on a strand and if it stretches too much then breaks, this means you certainly need to cut down on the moisture.
I myself have already been down this route and the best thing to do is to only moisturise after a wash then go from there depending on how your hair reacts. Remember, everybody's hair is different. Some divas need more moisture than the next woman so just observe, note and learn.

What happens when I treat my hair with too much protein?

This is the other scenario and it is called, a protein overload. For us naturals, it is easier to have too much protein in our hair than to much moisture. Sometimes, we feel the need to do a protein treatment and after successfully balancing the protein/moisture in our hair, we use another product containing a high dose of protein (maybe a conditioner), and then we use another one (a leave in conditioner for example) etc. and before we know it, we've added too much protein to our hair, thus tipping the protein/moisture balance.
The sure indicators of protein overload are :
- dry hair (due to the lack of enough moisture to balance out the protein)
- stiff/hard/rough hair (hair with too much protein is amazingly stiff)
- strands that do not stretch at all but instead snaps ( this is because there are too many amino acid polymers on one strand, this makes the strand stiffen and loose it's elasticity)
The consequences of protein overload is obviously breakage!
To combat protein overload, try using products with no to little (must be near the end of ingredients list) protein. At first, I advice totally cutting down on the protein, then going from there. Be observant, use the tips already mentioned to see when your hair really needs protein.
Some natural queens are protein sensitive, this means that their hair quickly becomes overloaded with protein even after using just one product that contains protein. These naturals already produce enough protein for their hair, meaning, they have a diet rich in protein. If you are protein sensitive, try staying away from products containing protein or little protein (depending on how sensitive you are) to avoid breakage. Other natural queens can actually afford to use products containing lots and lots of protein. Sometimes, these same naturals can feel the need to take it easy on the protein. Just because one day you need a lot of protein does not mean you can still use the same amount of protein weeks later and just because you are protein sensitive today does not mean you will be forever! It's all about being observant and looking out for what your hair needs so you can maintain the protein/moisture balance and so avoid breakage.

So how do protein and moisture work together to keep my hair healthy?

Healthy hair revolves around these two things (and of course other things such as vitamins etc. that also help the hair thrive). Protein and moisture do two different things for your hair but work together, in a balanced manner, to keep it all harmonious:
- Protein keeps the hair strong by adding amino acids on top of each hair strand (these amino acids take the place of any former amino acid that might have disappeared or that ha been damaged by rough weather, or over-manipulation).
- Moisture provides the hair with elasticity (making the hair pliable), (sheen to some extent), by adding moisture to each strand.
- Both work together to keep the structure of each strand of hair intact while keeping the hair strands soft and supple.

Well that's it for the series 3. Hope that helped somebody. What are your experiences with balancing out the protein and moisture levels in your hair?

Stay blessed and funky sisters!

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