Protein plays a vital role in maintaining healthy hair and problem-free skin. Our hair is comprised of almost 90% keratin which is a protein. The hair goes through a lot of wear and tear daily which leads to the depletion of protein from the strands. Therefore, our body needs an adequate amount of protein to compensate for the loss. So in your journey towards healthy hair, you should ensure that your body and hair are well supplied with protein.
It is interesting to note that there are 2 types of proteins- plant protein and animal protein. Protein derived from plants such as peas, legumes, and beans is known as plant protein. Protein that is derived from animals such as dairy products, and meat is known as animal protein. These proteins affect our hair in different ways. Animal protein forms a coating on the hair shaft leaving product buildup whereas plant protein hydrates and nourishes the hair without product buildup. In this blog, we will be discussing plant-based protein and how it is beneficial for hair growth.
What is plant protein?
Protein that is derived from plants is known as plant protein. To utilize protein for haircare benefits, you need to hydrolyze them. Hydrolyzing is a process of breaking down large protein molecules into smaller ones with low molecular weight which can be absorbed easily into the hair shaft. Plant-based protein is differentiated into 3 categories:
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: Wheat gluten is hydrolyzed by acid or enzyme to obtain hydrolyzed wheat protein. This plant-based protein is used to stabilize cosmetic emulsions.
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein: When large molecules of soy protein are broken down into smaller constituents i.e amino acids by a chemical process, it is known as hydrolyzed soy protein.
Due to its hydrating, nourishing, and healing properties plant protein is used in many cosmetic products which work in conjunction with other natural ingredients enhancing the texture of your hair.
Benefits of plant protein for hair
Chemically treated damaged, fine and porous hair gain maximum benefit from hydrolyzed protein. Let’s talk in detail about the haircare benefits of hydrolyzed plant protein.
1. Add strength to your hair
Hydrolyzed plant proteins can penetrate the hair shaft easily, replace the damaged protein molecules and strengthen the hair, thereby reducing hair fall.
2. Keeps your hair hydrated
Hydrolyzed protein treatment for curly hair can prove to be beneficial as it reduces the porosity of the curls, making it easier for the hair to receive and retain hydration. Regular application helps eliminate dry and dull hair.
3. Improves elasticity
It keeps hair strands well-hydrated increasing the elasticity of your hair, and reducing hair breakage.
4. Controls frizz
Hydrolyzed protein conditions the hair, eliminates frizz and makes hair soft, smooth and more manageable.
5. Repairs damaged hair
Chemical treatment, exposure to sunlight and extreme climatic conditions can damage your hair. Hydrolyzed protein has the ability to repair damaged cells.
How to use hydrolyzed plant protein for hair?
There are many ways to incorporate hydrolyzed plant protein into your hair care regimen. In the store brought haircare products, hydrolyzed protein is generally found in the concentration of 0.5-4%. Raw hydrolyzed protein can also be applied to the hair. As per our experts, though hydrolyzed plant protein can be used as a topical treatment for hair, it should not be used if you have gluten or wheat sensitivity. Perform a patch test to check for sensitivity.
1. Customize your shampoo
Hydrolyzed wheat or soy protein can be added to your regular shampoo. You can customize your shampoo depending upon the concentration and formulation of your hydrolyzed protein and your haircare needs. Curlvana’s Fortifying Curl Cleanse Shampoo, is enriched with the goodness of plant protein, and happens to be one of the best shampoos for curly hair.
2. Enhance your deep conditioning treatment
You can use hydrolyzed plant protein in conjugation with your deep conditioning treatment. Experts recommend applying the deep conditioning treatment on your hair, avoiding the scalp as it can clog the pores, making it greasy which can lead to various scalp conditions. This deep conditioning protein treatment for curly hair is recommended to make your curls look more defined and structured.
3. Use hydrolyzed protein infused haircare products
Hydrolyzed protein-infused haircare products are available in the market for those who want hassle-free and ready-to-use products.
How to choose hydrolyzed plant protein infused haircare products?
Hair care products that contain hydrolyzed protein improve the texture of your hair by keeping it hydrated and nourished while repairing damaged strands. If you are looking for protein-infused haircare products look whether hydrolyzed plant protein such as wheat or soy is mentioned on the label. Experts prefer plant protein as compared to animal protein because it easily gets absorbed into the hair shaft without forming a film over the hair surface. Look for the term ‘protein treatment’ on your hair care products. If it mentions ‘protein treatment’ then the product has a high concentration (10-25%) of protein which is usually meant for chemically damaged hair and should be used in moderation to avoid protein overload. Other protein-infused shampoos and conditioners have a low concentration of hydrolyzed protein (0.5-4%)
Ingredients it is compatible with
Hydrolyzed plant protein is generally compatible with most of the hydrating and nourishing haircare ingredients.
Side effects of hydrolyzed plant protein
Hydrolyzed plant protein is generally considered to be safe for topical use. But anything in excess can cause an adverse effect. The same holds for plant protein. Overuse of it can cause protein overload which can dry out your hair and scalp, resulting in various haircare concerns.
Incorporating plant protein into your hair care regimen will revitalize and replenish your hair and make it stronger and more resilient.
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