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Protein in Shampoo: Is It Bad for Your Hair?

For some individuals, their hair is treated as a highly valuable and delicate possession. They take measures such as trimming the ends every four months, avoiding hair coloring, applying a weekly mask, allowing it to air dry after showering, and refraining from using devices that manipulate its shape. On the other hand, there are those who provide their hair with only the bare minimum care by simply washing it daily. Regardless of your chosen approach to hair care, the act of washing plays a vital role in maintaining its health. Additionally, any product used for hair care should be considered carefully since many contain an ingredient that claims to promote healthy hair but can actually cause damage over time and make it more prone to breakage
blonde letting her hair down

The silent killer of hair

Even if you cleanse your hair daily using a moisturizing and refreshing shampoo, it is possible to still experience dry, brittle hair, particularly at the ends. Experts have provided an explanation for this phenomenon. They suggest that protein, which is a key ingredient in hair products meant to maintain hair health, may be the primary culprit. While protein can strengthen the hair and repair keratin bonds, excessive amounts of it can have negative effects on the hair's fragility. This means that using too many protein-based care products may actually make your hair more vulnerable than it would be without any treatment.

Is every hair affected by protein in the same way?

The good news is that every strand of hair, regardless of its color or texture, is unique on a cellular level. The main factor that sets them apart lies in the size of their pores. This pore size determines their ability to absorb and retain moisture. Hair with smaller pores tends to be more resistant to moisture and therefore more sensitive to protein, while hair with larger pores often lacks sufficient protein. Typically, hair becomes more porous due to damage from chemicals, coloring treatments, environmental changes like weather fluctuations and air pollution. In such cases, it is actually recommended to incorporate protein into your hair care routine.
However, if you have natural hair without any significant damage or porosity issues caused by external factors like air pollution or excessive chemical exposure, your hair likely has healthy levels of protein naturally present in it. In this situation, using products containing high amounts of protein can potentially cause unnecessary harm.
מרכיב מזיק לשיער בשמפו: אישה מנפנפת בשיערה ומחזיקה תכשיר לשיער בידה

How to determine if a particular product contains enough protein for your needs

One way to determine if your hair products contain a substantial amount of protein is by examining the label for specific keywords. Typically, products that promote strength, repair, reconstruction, or restoration of hair are rich in protein. It is important to pay attention and search for terms such as keratin, casein, panthenol, cholesterol, and collagen among the ingredients listed in the product.
Avoiding products that contain protein can be challenging, since many hair products incorporate some form of it. To determine the protein content, carefully review the ingredients list and note their placement. If protein components are listed towards the top, it indicates a higher concentration in the product. Conversely, if they appear towards the end of the list, their concentration is lower and therefore safer to use. However, some products may list ingredients in alphabetical order, making it harder to gauge concentrations accurately.
So how can we tell if your hair is getting too much protein?
To determine if your hair is experiencing an excess of protein, the initial step is to discontinue using hair products that contain high levels of protein for a duration of three months. Following this, conduct a test on a small portion of your hair with one product that you previously used. If you observe that your hair becomes dry and fragile, it indicates sensitivity to the protein present in the product.
Bear in mind that restoring moisture and achieving balance between moisture and protein in your hair is not an immediate process; it may take up to six months. During this period, it is advisable to utilize a clarifying shampoo which helps prevent build-up of substances on the hair strands, consequently enabling better penetration of moisture.

It's worth noting that your diet also plays a significant role in providing your hair with the necessary protein. It could be possible that a deficiency in your diet is the main cause of your perceived need for protein-rich hair products. During the cleansing phase, it's important to incorporate foods into your diet that promote hair recovery and growth. These foods should be rich in iron, vitamin C, niacin, biotin, and zinc.

To make it easier for you, here is a list of specific foods containing these essential nutrients:

- Iron: Include red meat, spinach, broccoli, lentils, beans nuts and dried fruits.
- Vitamin C: Incorporate broccoli Brussels sprouts cauliflower shrimp spinach sweet potato and citrus fruits into your meals.
- Niacin: Add liver salmon tuna turkey anchovies peanuts avocado mushrooms and brown rice to boost niacin levels.
- Biotin: Include eggs almonds cauliflower mushrooms sweet potato and spinach in order to benefit from biotin intake.
- Zinc: Incorporate legumes nuts eggs whole wheat products as well as dark chocolate into your diet.
By including these nutrient-rich foods into your daily meals during the cleansing period can help nourish the hair from within, promoting growth and strength. It is important to understand that when your body lacks certain vitamins or minerals, the first visible indication is usually in your hair. It is advisable to address this issue through proper nutrition rather than relying on products that claim to fix it.
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