What Protein Treatment is Best For Hair?

Your hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin. Strong, healthy hair follicles produce plenty of keratin, but numerous factors can disrupt keratin production and weaken your hair. This decrease in keratin production can lead to issues like breakage, split ends, and limp, lifeless hair.

So, what can cause your hair to get weakened and brittle? 

  • Nutrient deficiencies: In many cases, your hair can become brittle and weak if your body lacks the nutrients that it needs. Several vitamins and minerals play important roles in maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails, including biotin, niacin, iron, zinc, and more. If you develop a deficiency in any of these nutrients, you may experience numerous problems with your hair, including hair loss in some more extreme cases.

  • Hair dye: Sometimes, colored hair can become more vulnerable to breakage and split ends. If you are noticing that your hair has become weaker and more lifeless since you started dyeing it, you may benefit from using a protein treatment. 

  • Some hair products: Ingredients like sulfates, which are commonly found in many hair care products, may have a drying effect on your hair. Sulfates are not necessarily a problem for all hair types, but they can be especially problematic for people with curly or wavy hair.

  • Dryness and scalp irritation: If your hair isn’t properly nourished and hydrated, you can start dealing with numerous issues, including dryness and irritation of the scalp. These problems can lead to the development of dandruff, and they can also affect the volume and texture of your hair, making it look frizzy and lifeless.

  • Friction from fabrics: As you sleep, your head rubs against your pillowcase throughout the night. Depending on the fabric that your pillowcase is made from, this motion can generate friction, which can lead to frizz and breakage in some cases. This issue can often be resolved by switching to a bamboo or silk pillowcase instead of one made from more abrasive fabrics.

What’s in a Protein Treatment? 

Protein treatments for hair contain hydrolyzed proteins, which can attach themselves to the cuticles, or outermost layers, of your hair follicles. These proteins can provide strength and structure for your hair, repairing damaged strands and improving your hair’s overall texture and appearance. If you are dealing with any form of breakage, split ends, or just generally dry and lifeless hair, a protein treatment can be immensely helpful.

Protein treatments often also contain additional ingredients that are beneficial for your hair. These may include natural oils like argan oil, coconut oil, rosehip oil, and more. These ingredients are rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, making them nourishing and hydrating additions to your hair care regimen. Ideally, choose a protein treatment that includes high-quality, highly beneficial ingredients.

How To Apply a Protein Treatment 

It’s best to apply your protein treatment when your hair is wet. If your protein treatment is designed to be rinsed out after application, the treatment will typically need to sit in your hair for 5-10 minutes for best results. Leave-in treatments, on the other hand, can be applied and then left alone as your hair dries. 

When you apply a protein treatment, make sure to evenly distribute the product throughout your hair. A wide-toothed comb can be a helpful tool to keep handy during application. 

Most leave-in protein treatments are intended to be applied after you wash your hair with shampoo and use conditioner. Rinse-out treatments, on the other hand, can be used during or after a shower depending on your personal preferences.

Choosing The Best Protein Treatment For You 

If you’re working on narrowing down your options and choosing the best protein treatment to use, make sure to take the following factors into consideration.

  • Leave-in protein treatments can be low-maintenance, and they can often be used to style your hair. This form of protein treatment may also have moisturizing and conditioning benefits for your hair.

  • Rinse-out protein treatments can also be highly beneficial. However, these products may be too potent and heavy-duty to leave in your hair for longer than the intended timeframe. A rinse-out hair treatment may include highly concentrated ingredients, which may be great for damaged hair, but can cause problems if they are left in your hair for too long.

  • Pair your protein treatment with a deep conditioning treatment whenever possible. Some products provide both of these benefits for your hair, but others do not. Using a protein treatment on its own may leave your hair without the moisture that it needs to stay soft and voluminous. Using a deep conditioning treatment can help to keep your hair moisturized while you use a protein treatment.

Ingredients To Avoid

When choosing a protein treatment to use on your hair, it’s best to avoid any artificial ingredients like fragrances, dyes, and parabens. All of these additives can potentially irritate your scalp, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

How Often Should You Use A Protein Treatment? 

A protein treatment is not a hair product that you would want to use every day. Instead, you can apply the treatment once a week or once every few weeks depending on your specific hair concerns.

  • If your hair is severely damaged, you may benefit from using a protein treatment more often. On the days that you are not applying the treatment, you can opt for a leave-in conditioner instead.

  • When it comes to heavy-duty hair products like protein treatments, more does not necessarily always mean better. In addition, damaged hair is especially vulnerable, and using too much of a powerful hair product can have the opposite of the intended effect.

  • One of the best ways to tell if you are overusing your protein treatment is if your hair starts to take on a hard, brittle texture. You can typically deal with this issue by reducing the frequency of your protein treatment applications.

Can You Use a Protein Treatment On Thinning Hair? 

Yes! Protein treatments can be used by individuals who are dealing with hair loss. 

However, it’s important to consider that these products are not primarily designed for thinning hair. While strengthening, nourishing and restoring damaged hair can be helpful regardless of your specific hair concerns, a protein treatment may not be the first product to add to your hair care routine if you have thinning hair. 

Instead, it may be better to opt for a product that primarily works to prevent and reverse hair loss.

If you are dealing with thinning and also struggle with brittle and damaged hair, GroMD’s shampoo, conditioner, and follicle activator spray can be extremely helpful for you. Like many protein treatments, our products contain powerful hydrating and nourishing ingredients like biotin and argan oil. These ingredients work in tandem with our proprietary blend of DHT blockers to supply your hair and scalp with essential nutrients while inhibiting the primary cause of the most common form of hair loss in adults. 

If you want, you can also pair GroMD products with a leave-in or rinse-out protein treatment of your choosing.

If you have more questions about hair care, make sure to visit the GroMD blog. There, you’ll find plenty of helpful articles about assembling your own hair care regimen, as well as valuable information about hair loss and how to prevent it. You can access our blog by here!

Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.