Many curly women encounter protein overload with their natural hair at some point in their lives. Proteins are essential to maintaining healthy hair.
It make up at least 90% of the hair, and the hair’s surface absorbs them.
Proteins attract water molecules and readily bond with them. Protein helps to draw in moisture through the hair, and penetrates the shaft to fix any weak areas in the structure.
Manufacturers add protein to hair products in a way to keep the hair healthy and strong. In this article, you’ll find the symptoms of protein overload, and how to defeat it.
What is Protein Overload?
Protein overload happens when you add too much protein to the hair. Several types of protein make up a hair strand, but the major protein that makes up the hair is keratin.
Keratin gives hair its structure and strength for health. However, it is not the only key ingredient required for hair.
Healthy hair needs water. Moisture and protein must exist in balance for optimal health.
Too much of either will compromise the integrity of the hair.
Protein Overload Symptoms
The following red flags indicate a potential protein overload, especially if they appear without warning when you’ve made no change in your hair regimen. Protein may not be the only cause of these symptoms, but if you have more than one symptom, you may have a problem.
Too much protein in hair signs include:
- Hair that has become unusually dry and brittle
- Excessive shedding and tangles
- Hair strands feel stiff like straw
- Hair Breakage
Signs of Protein Overload in Hair
Protein strengthens the hair but also makes the hair inelastic. Protein-burdened hair tends to snap and break when manipulated because of the loss of elasticity.
Breakage doesn’t conclusively suggest protein overload since hair that is dry can also break. What does protein overload look like?
Signs of too much protein include dull or dirty looking hair that has little or no stretching before breaking. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you have protein overload.
That’s why knowing the physical characteristics of your hair beforehand is key. When you pay close attention to your hair, you can better diagnose problems that arise.
Natural hair has varying degrees of shine and luster and hair types like 3c hair, 4a hair, 4b hair or 4c hair, so there is no one-size-fit-all diagnosis. It is important to pay attention to your hair as this is the only way to spot the signs of protein and moisture overload.
Protein Overload VS. Moisture Overload
What Causes Protein Overload?
Hair needs protein to be healthy and strong, but using to much of a good thing can be bad for your hair. Manufacturers place protein in hair care products to fill the gaps of damaged hair so it ca be strong again. However, too much of this can cause your hair to become stiff, brittle and inelastic. Using too many products with protein listed in the ingredients can cause overload.
Protein Overload Recovery
To start the process of protein overload recovery you will need to add moisture to combat the excess protein and re-establish balance. The severity of your hair’s protein overload determines how long it takes to undo the damage.
It also indicates the extent to which you need to avoid protein. Your regimen needs to consist of hair products without protein if your overload is severe.
This means you must review your entire product stash to identify products that contain protein. Your whole product line should be moisturizing and free of all protein.
You may even want to avoid using coconut oil until your hair is healthier. Coconut oil helps prevent the loss of proteins from the hair, serving to amplify your protein overload damage.
It can take weeks or even months to correct protein overload.
How to Remove Protein from Hair
Your hair will recover in time if you make sure to avoid protein-added products. You might be wondering how to purchase products for protein overload.
Look for conditioners without protein such as
Protein and moisture must be in balance for your hair to be healthy. Moisture overloaded hair is extremely elastic, while protein-overloaded hair is brittle.
However, protein overload takes much longer to correct. A single protein treatment is usually enough to restore the balance for moisture overload hair.
You can use a mild protein treatment or a strong one, depending on the extent to which your hair is moisture overloaded. Be sure to follow strong protein treatments with moisturizing deep conditioning treatments to make hair softer and less dry.
You must restore elasticity or the hair will break during manipulation and styling.
How to Treat Protein Overload in your Hair
1. Check all your product labels and do not use them if they contain protein.
2. Use a clarifying shampoo for protein overload, like Kinky Curl Come Clean to remove buildup. Buildup hinders your attempts to moisturize your hair.
3. Use a moisturizing shampoo such as TGIN Moisture Rich sulfate free Shampoo on the regular basis, or try co-washing with your favorite conditioner.
3. Deep condition with heat once or twice weekly depending on the severity of the problem. Use moisturizing deep conditioners that are protein-free. Apply heat during the deep conditioning process to help the moisture penetrate the hair shaft.
4. Use the LOC method on your hair daily, focusing on your ends.
There is a hair protein overload remedy that some naturals and women with relaxed hair have had success with.
The first step in treating protein overload in natural hair is to identify the problem. Pay attention to your hair and this will make it easier to diagnose and solve issues before things get severe.
With patience and knowledge, you can undo the damage and return balance and health to your natural hair. What has been your experience?
Have you ever had protein overload in natural hair?
Hey Curl Friend, I’m Patrina Haupt the creator and author of Natural Hair Queen. I hope you find my healthy hair care tips helpful in your hair journey. Healthy hair care practices are definitely, what helped me to achieve waist length hair.
Want to receive my weekly hair care tips and free natural hair care guide? Click Here.