How to Determine if Your Curly Hair Needs Moisture or Protein

Curly hair is unique and beautiful, but it can also be quite challenging to manage, and can get unbelievably frustrating sometimes! We’ve ALL been there. One of the key factors in maintaining healthy and bouncy curls is knowing whether your hair needs moisture, or protein (or sometimes both!). Striking the right balance between these two elements is essential for keeping your waves, curls and coils looking their best. So today, let’s explore how to identify signs of whether your curly hair requires more moisture or protein, and how to add whatever’s needed into your hair regimen! 

Understanding Curly Hair
Before diving into the moisture vs. protein debate, it's crucial to understand the basics of curly hair. Curly hair tends to be more porous (having tiny spaces or holes through which liquid or air may pass) than straight hair, which means it can lose moisture easily and may be prone to damage. Curly hair types can range from loose waves to tight coils.

Ok, now that we have all that out of the way, let’s assess your hair's needs:

You might need moisture if:

  • Your hair looks dull: Meaning it is dry to the touch and lacks shine

  • Your hair is excessively frizzy: Overly frizzy is often a sign of dry hair.

  • Your hair is brittle: Brittle hair is prone to breakage, split ends, or just feels brittle. Well moisturized hair is more flexible.

  • Your hair is tangled and knotty: Dry hair is more prone to tangle and knots

  • Your scalp is itchy or flaky: Dryness can also affect your scalp. If you notice this it is important to address your hair AND your scalp’s needs.

  • Your hair lacks elasticity: Well moisturized hair is elastic. One way to test your hair's elasticity is by gently pulling a strand of hair. If it stretches and then returns to its original length without breaking, it has good elasticity, which is a sign of adequate moisture. If it breaks or doesn't stretch much, it’s not elastic, and may be too dry.

  • Your hair is overprocessed: If you've been using heat styling tools, chemical treatments, or coloring products frequently, your hair may be more susceptible to dryness. These processes can strip moisture from your hair.

  • Your hair is impacted by environmental factors: Exposure to sun, wind, and dry climates can also contribute to moisture loss in your hair. If you live in an arid or sunny area, you may need to pay extra attention to moisturizing your hair.

  • You hair is affected by the change in season: Winter weather and indoor heating can lead to drier hair, while hot and humid summers may require adjustments in your hair care routine to prevent excess moisture.

Your hair might need protein if:

  • Your hair has excessive breakage: (Yes, excess breakage can mean you need moisture OR protein) If your hair seems to be breaking easily, especially when it's wet or you comb it, it may be a sign that it lacks protein. Protein helps to strengthen the hair shaft, and a protein deficiency can make your hair more fragile.
  • Your hair has elasticity issues: (Again, problems with elasticity can mean you need moisture OR protein. No one said having curly hair was easy! LOL But it’s worth it!  )
    Hair should have some elasticity, meaning it can stretch without breaking and then return to its original state. How to test your hair’s elasticity: Take a strand of wet hair and gently stretch it. If it doesn't bounce back and instead breaks or feels mushy, you may need protein.
  • Your hair sack of curl definition: If you have curly or wavy hair, a lack of protein can cause your curls to become limp and lose their definition. Your hair may appear frizzy and lack the spring it once had.
  • Your hair is overly porous: Highly porous hair can be a sign of protein deficiency. Hair that's too porous can absorb too much moisture, called moisture overload, and start to break down and become frizzy, which also makes it harder for your hair to retain moisture. Your hair might start to feel dryer even after washing and conditioning your hair.
  • Your hair is color-treated: If you frequently color or chemically treat your hair, it may require more protein to counteract the damage caused by these processes.
  • Your hair has historical damage: If you've recently experienced hair damage from heat styling, chemical treatments, or other factors, your hair might benefit from a protein treatment to help repair and strengthen it.

How many signs from each list above (moisture or protein) do you notice most about YOUR hair? Tally it up! 

The big question: How do you get moisture or protein BACK INTO your hair!?

Moisture Sources:

Conditioners: Look for conditioners with ingredients like honey, glycerin (yes, this is good for your hair! Especially if you struggle with moisture, this will attract more moisture to your hair), or aloe vera. These ingredients provide deep hydration for your curls. Our Untie the Knot Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner would be a great way to add moisture back to your hair! This product is formulated to easily detangle, replenish moisture, and nourish hair from within, leaving hair feeling soft, manageable, and ready for styling. The lightweight conditioner blends a variety of high quality botanical ingredients, and gently sinks into waves and curls allowing hair to absorb the included nutrients, and providing you with the right foundation for your best curls. This can be used throughout the week as a leave-in or a rinse out! 

Hydrating Masks: Consider using hydrating hair masks once a week to give your hair an extra moisture boost! You can use our Soothe & Restore Ultra Moisturizing Deep Conditioner as a conditioning mask. This awesome product is formulated with plant-based ingredients and natural conditioning humectants to restore balanced moisture, while adding softness, strength, and flexibility back to your natural curls. You can use this monthly or as needed. 

Protein Sources:

Protein Treatments: Protein treatments with ingredients like keratin can help strengthen your hair and repair damage.

Protein-Rich Foods: Your diet plays a role in hair health too! Incorporate protein-rich foods like eggs, fish, and lean meats into your meals.

Protein-Infused Products: Some shampoos and conditioners contain added protein to help maintain the hair's structural integrity. All of our products in the 360 Collection  have protein in them! Look for keratin amino acids when looking at the ingredients in  products. Keratin amino acids are better for the hair than just keratin. It is a smaller molecule that is more likely to penetrate the cuticle and strengthen the cortex. It does not leave hair feeling like straw or overly dry like some protein-rich products can. 

"Always listen to your hair, and don't be afraid to seek professional advice if you're unsure about what your curls need. Healthy, happy curls are within reach with the right balance of moisture and protein."
-Kate Deane, Marketing Specialist at TréLuxe

Understanding and balancing your curly hair's specific needs for moisture and protein is essential for maintaining healthy, vibrant curls. Remember that maintaining the right balance of moisture and protein for your curly hair is an ongoing process! It’s all about trial and error, and finding what works best for your waves, curls and coils!

Oct 11, 2023

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