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How To Tell If Your Hair Has Too Much Protein

We love giving our hair a little extra TLC with moisturizing deep conditioners and protein hair treatments. Protein is essential for your hair’s health and growth. In fact, hair is mostly made up of the protein keratin. Protein treatments can help to refresh damaged hair and promote healthier and stronger strands. If your hair has been bleached, dyed, or heat styled, adding a protein treatment to your hair care routine can help restore your mane's shine, elasticity, and overall health.
08 Nov 2021
Without the protein your hair needs, you may experience dryness, breakage, and more. However, as essential as protein is, too much of it can be a bad thing. Hair protein treatments and products can be a great addition to your natural hair care routine, but when you go overboard, it can have adverse effects. Protein buildup can lead to dry and dull hair that might feel stiff or break easily. In short, it can be a real problem. So what causes protein buildup, and how can you tell if your hair has too much protein? Read on to learn more, including how to treat it.

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What Causes Protein Buildup In Hair?

So what causes protein buildup or protein overload on your strands? The biggest culprit is the overuse of protein hair products. If you’re using too many protein products and not balancing your hair with moisture, you may worsen the condition of your hair instead of repairing it.

If you have overprocessed, fried, or dyed hair, you’re likely hoping that every product in your routine will help your hair look and feel its best. While products like protein shampoos, hair masks, and protein treatments can provide your hair some relief, using them all at the same time can cause major product buildup. Now, this doesn’t mean skip your hair treatments altogether but make sure you’re using products in moderation.

Even if you aren’t piling on protein treatment after protein treatment, it is possible to suffer from protein overload. Not keeping your hair properly moisturized while using a protein treatment can also cause overload.

What Are The Signs Your Hair Has Too Much Protein?

Now that you know what causes it, how can you tell you have too much protein in your hair? Hair protein overload symptoms are easy to spot. One major sign is a change in the look and texture of your hair. If you’ve used protein treatments to remedy your hair woes and it looks like not much has changed, your hair could have too much protein. Your hair may look and feel dry, brittle, dull, and stiff.

If you take a closer look at your hair, protein overload may also cause split ends and breakage. It may also shed more. If you’re noticing more strands on your comb or brush than usual, that could be a telltale sign of high protein hair. Lastly, be on the lookout for a change in your hair texture. If you’re dealing with protein overload your strands may feel coarse, and they may struggle to hold a curl. You may also have trouble styling your hair because of the condition of your hair.

How Can You Prevent Too Much Protein In Your Hair?

The easiest way to prevent protein buildup is to avoid it by using the products as directed and spacing them out in your routine. As a general rule, deep protein treatments are safe to use about once a month but can be used more frequently depending on the condition of your hair or with the direction of your hairstylist. If you’re unsure, try using protein treatments and products every four to six weeks and pay attention to how your hair reacts.

When it comes to choosing and using protein treatments, one easy way to avoid protein overload is to rely on kits or sets meant to be used together. These will often come with just the right amount of products to avoid overdoing it. Follow the instructions for usage carefully to keep your hair healthy. If you’d rather buy products on their own, be sure to read the labels carefully and use one product with protein in it at a time unless the instructions call for it.

It’s also important that you balance your hair with a moisturizing treatment following a protein treatment. While moisturizing should always be a part of your hair routine, it’s especially important when using protein products to counteract and prevent protein overload. Follow up with a deep conditioning treatment like the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie and the Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Pure Hair Oil to seal in moisture.

How Can You Treat Hair Protein Buildup?

So you know that you know to avoid and recognize hair protein overload. What are some steps you can take to treat it? There are a few, in fact. We’ve broken down what you can do to treat it.

Change Your Wash Day Routine

One way to deal with buildup is to use a clarifying shampoo like the Wash Day Delight Sulfate Free Shampoo for Curly Hair. You want to use a gentle cleanser that will remove buildup but not strip your hair of oils and moisture. Every few wash days, replace your regular curly hair shampoo with something clarifying and deep cleansing. Ideally, washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo should be done once a month to prevent product and protein buildup.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

Speaking of moisture, it’s also essential to keep your hair moisturized. As we mentioned before, it’s key to balance out the protein with moisture to keep the protein from drying your hair out. Dry hair can lead to breakage, split ends, which in turn leads to dull, lifeless curls. Not only will water be your best friend, but you’ll also need curly hair products to help seal it in. Be sure to use curly hair conditioners like Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Hair Smoothie and leave-in conditioners like Monoi (Repair + Moisture) Star Strength Leave In Cream.

Avoid Protein Products

Give the protein products a break for a while if you feel you’ve overdone them. If you’re not ready to give them up completely, try using them less until your hair is in better shape, so swap the protein treatments for moisturizing shampoos, conditioners, and deep treatments. Consult with your hairstylist on whether or not you should continue using protein products. They can be great in moderation, but you want to use them sparingly to avoid overload.

Now that you’re working towards getting your hair back in shape, it’s also time to give your scalp some care with the Ultimate Scalp Routine.

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