Do my curls need moisture or protein?

Do my curls need protein or moisture? It’s frustrating to not know what your curls need and how to fix it.

You might have heard some influences talking about the need to incorprate protein instead of moisture to their wash day routine and you’re probably wondering what on earth they’re talking about.

Or you’re trying to figure it out and you only understand a small percentage of what they’re trying to say.

Believe it or not, it’s suprisingly common to be confused about the whole protein-moisture debate.

Many curly girls (like myself) were once unaware of the difference between a lack of protein and a lack of moisture and many of them make the excusable mistake of incorparating more moisture-directed products into their wash-day routines instead of protein.

Luckily for you, the solution to finding out whether your hair lacks protein or moisture is easier than you think. As crazy as this sounds but in order to find out if your curls need moisture or protein, you must listen to it because your hair will tell you.

But first…

What does ‘lack of protein’ mean for my curls?

To simply put it; it means that your curls have lost their 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.

How to check if my hair lacks protein ?

Like I said previously, your hair will tell you if it lacks protein or moisture. 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

How to tell if my curls have lost their elasticity?

It’s pretty simple to tell how if your curls are expericening a loss of elasticity.

  1. Take a strand of your hair.
  2. wet it throughly.
  3. Once wet, pull the strand of your hair and check if it stretches.
  4. If it snaps instantly then it means you’re experiencing excessive breakage(see below).
  5. If it stretches and doesnt curl up (into your natural curl pattern), then your curls have also lost its elasticity.

A loss of elasticity is caused by protein deficiency.

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

Goluch-Koniuszy 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.

How to tell if my curls are experiencing excessive breakage?

Excessive breakage is another common sign of protein deficiency.

Using the test under the elasticity section, you can see if your curls are experiencing excessive breakage. This is because if you stretch your hair strand and it snaps, then it means your hair is too brittle.

This means that you lack protein not moisture.

Excessive breakage is often described by others as excessive shedding.

However, don’t 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.

Here’s how you can tell the difference between excessive breakage or natural shedding:
  • 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 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 does ‘soft & gummy’ hair mean?

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.

High porosity levels are sometimes a sign of lack of protein:

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 what if I have naturally high porosity – How will I 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.

Click here to read about high porosity curls.

The main differences between a lack of moisture and a lack of protein:

How do will I know if my curls lack moisture?

As a curly girl, you should be a pro at understanding when your curls lack moisture. But if not here is a list to help you see whether you need more moisture instead of protein

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

Now that you’ve understood the difference between moisture and protein here are some products that you can use to help you overcome protein malnourishment.

What to do if your curls lack protein:

By now you’ve probably understood whether your curls lack moisture or protein and so now is the time to read how you can add more protein into your hair:

protein treatment for curly hair

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.

Click here to find out about the best deep conditioning masks for curly hair.

Deep conditioning mask for lack of protein.

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 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.

Click here to find out how to put more moisture into your curls for a shiny, glossy, healthy look.

In conclusion:

In conclusion: the differences between lack of moisture and a lack of protein can sometimes be confusing but hopefully now you know if your curls need moisture or protein.

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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