Most of us probably reach for the same cycle of products on a weekly basis because they seem to work well. But there might be the odd occasion where the products that you normally love aren’t giving you the results you expected; this could actually be because your hair is over-conditioned.
Is your hair over-conditioned?
Typical characteristics of over-conditioned hair include hair feeling constantly damp, experiencing wet frizz, hair breaking easily, and curls not bouncing back to their normal shape.
If you’re experiencing this, you might want to consider using some protein-rich products to bring your curls back to life.
When to use a protein treatment
Hair is made of proteins and requires protein to be elastic. If curls aren’t provided with enough protein, they will start to feel weak and lack bounce.
Provided you have clarified and cleansed your hair well, it should happily receive a boost of protein and will likely return to normal in a couple of weeks of treatment.
There are several ways to incorporate protein into your routine including pre-treatments, deep conditioners and bonding oils.
Best protein pre-treatments
Pre-treatments aim to deeply penetrate hair strands and protect your hair before shampooing.
A couple of my favourite protein-based pre-treatments are:
Curlsmith Bond Curl Rehab Salve, £24
Not only does this protect your hair from further damage, but it also aims to repair all the different hair bonds to restore strength and structure. It has a slippery, lightweight consistency so can easily penetrate the hair shaft before cleansing.
Earth Kind Elasticity Bar, £12.50
This is made with elastin that deeply penetrates the hair cuticle to strengthen and nourish damaged hair and help it regain its flexibility. Not only is this beneficial for your hair but you’re also protecting the environment by using a plastic-free, cruelty-free, sustainable and ethically sourced product. Tick, tick, tick.
Best protein deep conditioners/masks
All deep conditioners tend to have a blend of hydrolysed proteins in them (I.e., hydrolysed wheat protein, hydrolysed oat protein, hydrolysed soy protein, hydrolysed collagen, amino acids, silk proteins, keratin and biotin). In protein-rich deep conditioners, these proteins will be higher up in the ingredients list than in your average deep conditioner, so take note of this when searching. Which proteins your hair enjoys is completely individual and just takes a little bit of trial and error.
Protein-rich deep conditioners are effective at strengthening hair but tend to have shorter term effects due to them being rinsed out. Therefore, it’s important to find the right one for you that sinks into your strands.
Virtue Labs Curl Conditioner, £40
A light-weight conditioner using Alpha Keratin 60ku® to strengthen curls, while also providing long-lasting hydration and moisture.
Trepadora Quinoa Repair Deep Conditioner, £25
A vegan treatment that softens and defines curls, Quinoa protein helps to form a protective barrier around curls. It has a long-lasting tropical scent and a soft, buttery consistency.
Imbue Restoring Intensive Mask, £12.99
Best protein bonding oils
Repairing and strengthening oils can be used throughout or following your hair routine to add shine and protection. The oil consistency means they easily penetrate the hair and can be great for colour-treated hair to prevent ends from drying out. I would however not recommend them as a replacement for getting a trim!
Umberto Giannini Curl Bonding Oil, £8.95
This helps to protect curls, reduce breakage and improve the appearance of split ends.
Curlsmith Bonding Oil, £24
A weightless oil formula targeting bonds to seal the hair cuticle, for softer and smoother curls.
Remember, protein is an important component to restructuring our hair but without cleansing properly and using lighter, thinner formulas such as mousses and gels, an increase in protein simply would not have so much of an impact.