Stop! You might be making this painful mistake of thinking your curls need moisture – when it could be this..

Don’t make this painful mistake of thinking your curls need moisture!

Do your curls need Moisture or Protein? 

Do you struggle with achieving that desired look when it comes to styling your hair? And that your hair feels extremely weak and breaks easily? And no matter how many moisturising deep-conditioning masks & hair treatments you do, you still can’t acheive that particular look?

Well, then I’ve got news for you; it isn’t moisture that you’re lacking – it’s protein. 

But it’s okay, you’re not the only one to make this mistake. Many curly girls (like myself) were once unaware of the difference between a lack of protein and a lack of moisture is and many of them make the excruciating mistake of incorparating more moisture-directed products into their wash-day routines.

The purpose of this article is to help you figure out if you’re making the common mistake of thinking you need more moisture; when it could just be a lack of protein.

Well what do you mean by ‘it lacks protein’? 

To simply put it; it means that your hair has lost its elasticity and is highly prone to breakage because of protein malnutrition and low levels of protein intake in your diet.

This is different to having dehydrated hair which means that your hair lacks moisture.

What are some common signs I can look out for when checking if my hair lacks protein?  

Think of it like this; your hair will tell you if it lacks protein. Here are some signs your hair lacks protein, so be sure to pay attention to them.

  • loss of elasticity
  • excessive breakage
  • hair feels too soft/gummy
  • high porosity levels

What does ‘loss of elasticity’ mean?

You may experience a loss of elasticity if your hair lacks protein.

By this I mean that your curls do not bounce back up into shape when pulled and are heavily stretched out.

This is a common sign of protein deficiency seen by many people with curly hair.

In an article written by Goluch-Koniuszy Z. S. (2016), loss of elasticity is said to be triggered by protein defiency;

“Protein or protein calorific malnutrition causes disturbed hair synthesis (hair fragility and brittleness), their weakness (they are in the form of lanugo) and hair loss.

Spirally twisted keratin fibers, present in the inside of hair shaft (cortex of hair shaft), are responsible for hair elasticity”.

Goluch-Koniuszy also proclaimed that “With insufficient supply of lysine (protein) hair becomes brittle, thin and limp”.

The reason for this is due to chemical bonds providing crosslinks, connecting various amino acids on a protein fibre and within protein strands in our hair.

These chemical bonds hold strands of protein in bundles and allows them to stretch to a certain limit and to spring back into their original shape.

Loss of elasticity is a good indication into seeing whether your hair lacks protein or moisture.

Excessive breakage means weak hairstrands:

Excessive breakage is another common sign of protein deficiency.

Excessive breakage is often described by others as excessive shedding.

However, let’s not get confused with shedding which is a natural process in which hair strands fall out of your hair and excessive breakage.

– excessive breakage is caused by protein deficiency as lack of protein causes weakness to the hair strands.

How to tell the difference between shedding and excessive breakage? 
  • If your hair is shedding; you’ll notice it fall out from the roots of your hair; meaning you’ll recognise the white bulb at the root. Shedding (mentioned above) is a completely natural process which allows your scalp to make space for newly growing hair.
  • if you are experiencing excessive breakage; you’ll notice that the hair strands have broken off into shorter pieces without falling from the roots. This is a good indication that your hair lacks protein.

What it means when your hair feels “soft and gummy” : 

A significant but commonly overlooked sign of protein defiency for your hair is that it feels to soft/mushy/gummy. This is because lack of protein leads to distress in the natural texture of your hair, causing it to go limp and weak which is also known as hygral fatigue.

In an article written by ’The Mestiza Muse’; hygral fatigue is explained as swelling of the hair from imprudent swelling and de-swelling of the hair cuticle when wet. It is associated with protein deficiencies which damages the hair fibre.

Make sure to pay attention to the natural texture of your hair and to watch out for any signs of over-soft hair.

Your porosity levels show if you need protein treatment. 

High porosity levels is a salient indicator that your hair lacks protein. (click here to find out whether you have high, medium or low porosity hair).

Yes, But I have high porosity hair naturally, how would I be able to tell? 

You’ll notice your hair drying a lot quicker and with more frizz. Eventhough you’re appying moderate amounts of product into your hair, you still manage to experience excessive frizz.

Luckily for you; you now know the cause of exaggerated high porosity levels and here are a list of protein treatments and products that you can use that will help your protein malnutrition for shiny, glossy and healthy curls.


This powerful Manuka Honey & Yogurt is my current protein treatment obsession on wash-day. Packed with proteins, I know that your curls will be very grateful to you for nourishing them. I would recommend using this treatment once a week as it strengthens and protects your curls, not to mentioned it smells delicious. I could go on all day about this blissful mask but I think you should try it and see for yourself. Free from harmful chemicals such as paraffin, sulphates and parabens, you dont need to worry about whether it damages your curls. You can buy it here from Amazon.




This Mielle Babassu & Mint mask from Mielle Organics is a fantastic addition to your wash-day routine as it protects, shines, strengthens your curls whilst providing protein nutrition for healthy curls. This powerful treatment is free from sulphates and works well enough to be used once every 2 weeks.  The Mielle hair brand focuses on helping nourish, protect, moisturise, hydrate and strengthen curls with a range of fantastically good hair products for all curl types, textures and demands. Possibly one of my favourite masks from their line, I have fallen in love with this protein mask treatment. You can click here to buy it from Amazon.





Another highly nourishing and replenishing product by Mielles Organic, the Avacado hair milk gives your curls the strength it needs to repair and cause effective protein restoration. Avacados are scientifically said to be more nutritious then any other fruit in regards to the amount of protein it has in it. The avacado milk strengthens and rebuilds hair after it experiences a lack of protein which causes it to go brittle and weak. Coat your hair in this nutritious milk by incorperating it into your curly hair routine and watch it strengthen. Applying it when your hair is still wet; the avacado milk can effectively penetrate your hair folliciles to strengthen the hair strands. You can click here to buy it from Amazon





This amazing Shea Moisture drop mask is a personal favourite of mine which nourishes your curls with a very rich protein source known as Jamacian Black Castor Oil. This mask has helped restore and replenish my hair after severe protein malnutrition. An inexpensive however effective hair mask to help with protein defiency that you can find here on amazon.

Here are the main differences in signs between a lack of moisture and a lack of protein: 

Some common signs that your hair lacks moisture are the following:

  • excessive frizz
  • dry
  • easily tangled
  • weak
  • lack of shine
  • split ends

In conclusion:

In conclusion: the differences between lack of moisture and a lack of protein can sometimes be confusing but this table should clear everything up :


disclaimer: this post is not sponsored however affiliate links have been used. This means that I get a very tiny percentage when you purchase at no additional costs to you. Note: all products mentioned have been tested and personally used by myself

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