The difference between protein and moisturizing conditioners
It’s so important to use conditioners on your hair to replace moisture and/or protein. Black hair is the driest of all hair types and needs moisture more than other hair types. If you live in a very humid environment like I do, you may not need to moisturize everyday. I usually go with the flow when I moisturize my hair. With that said, one important way of adding moisture back to is by deep conditioning it at least once a week with a moisturizing conditioner.
Proteins are an integral part of your hair structure and to maintain healthy hair, you also need to add protein back to it by ingesting adequate proteins internally and using protein conditioners externally. Simply put, a protein conditioner contains proteins while a moisturizing conditioner does not.
Common types of proteins found in hair products include:
- Amino acids
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein (this is actually more of a moisturizer. If you see this in your conditioner but there is no other protein, consider that conditioner to be a moisturizing conditioner).
- Rice protein
- Oat protein
The next question you might ask me is so how do I add moisture AND protein to my hair? How much protein or moisture do I need? This is what I call the ‘balancing act’.
It’s so important to balance the protein and moisture because excessive proteins lead to a condition called protein overload and excessive moisture causes extra soft, mushy hair. For black hair, I would say that you should tip the balance in favor of moisture if you don’t know what to do. It requires practice to learn how to strike this balance. When you start handling your hair personally, you’ll learn the difference.
You can balance your protein/moisture needs in different ways. 3 ways I suggest are:
1. Prepoo with light protein weekly
- prepoo with a light protein conditioner weekly (Light protein please)
- shampoo your hair.
- deep condition with a good moisturizing conditioner.
2. Deep condition with a light protein conditioner
- Apply your light protein conditioner. Leave it in for as long as you wish, maybe 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse it out
- Follow with a moisturizing (protein-free) deep conditioner (optional)
- Use a protein-free leave-in conditioner if you skipped using a moisturizing deep conditioner.
3. Use a moderate to heavy protein conditioner once a month
- once a week, deep condition with a good moisturizing conditioner
- once a month, use a moderate to heavy protein conditioner
- follow it up immediately with your moisturizing conditioner to soften your hair. Proteins make hair hard so don’t miss this step or you might end up with hard, unmanageable hair.
*Updated 25th November 2012*
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