We get asked A LOT- How can you tell if curly hair needs protein?


At one point or another along your journey to embracing your naturally curly hair the subject of protein will pose itself to you if it hasn't already.  Not only is it important to be knowledgeable when it comes to the relationship of our curls and protein but being able to apply the knowledge is where the real power lays. So in this article, we're going to breakdown what our hairs protein is, and how to identify if your hair is asking for some protein love. 

Knowing what your curly hair's anatomy is critical to every part of your curl care. When it comes to protein we are most concerned with penetrating the hair shaft which is the part of the hair that sticks out of the skin. The Hair shaft is composed of 3 layers:  In this diagram, take note of the Cuticle, Cortex and the Medulla. About 95% of the makeup of hair is simply keratin, which is housed mainly in the Cortex.

The cuticles are the outer flaps which ideally open with the assistance of body heat or artificial heat to allow absorption of proteins as well as hydration, moisturization, and essential nutrients to be absorbed into the cortex during our deep treatments. Ideally, these cuticles when healthy will close with a cool water rinse once our treatments have absorbed for 15-30 minutes. The closing of the cuticle is to lock in the nutrients into the strands. Now that we have identified your curly hairs anatomy and what keratin protein is. Let us get a little more specific, this Keratin protein consists of a long chain of amino acids that are fibrous and essential to reducing frizz, promoting growth, healthy curl pattern/structure of your curls, elasticity, and manageability. Protein in your hair is vulnerable and compromised especially when your hair has experienced ongoing and excessive long-term damage from heat and chemical treatments.

So here's the million dollar question every curly girl wants to know. How can I tell if my hair needs a protein treatment?
Here are some characteristics of protein deficient tresses:
  • Hair feels limp or weak
  • On the porosity spectrum, you tend to gauge on the side of high porosity: Hair with high porosity often has tears and gaps on the cuticles and inner layers {Cortex & Medulla} of the strands and make it more susceptible to protein, moisture & hydration deficiencies. These gaps and tears on the strands allow the hair to absorb too much water, which can cause frizz, tangles, and even color loss on color-treated hair. A protein treatment will assist in strengthening your strands. The treatment works by nourishing the hair with vital proteins that help seal those gaps and create a stronger strand for styling.
  • Visibly your curl pattern seems to be much looser than normal and no matter how much you moisturize, hydrate or deep condition nothing is helping:
  • Your hairs elasticity is minimal meaning there's not much bounce in your curls.
  • Your hair feels either super smooshy or super dry like straw to the touch: This is usually a key indicator that your hair’s internal support system is pretty damaged. This is often seen with severe over chemically processed hair.
  • If you fall on the spectrum of low porosity. Your hair may be sensitive to protein. However, if your curls or waves seem to have any of the mentioned characteristics you may benefit from a mild protein treatment which is usually recommended for slight damage and routine application.

So my dear curlies just like your body needs proper nutrition so does your hair! Protein is essential in maintaining your hair's health and for true hair health, the hair shaft must take in the protein. At Embrace the Curl we carry a complete line carefully and precisely made. Our strengthening protein blend will leave hair healthy, moisturized and defined. From our gentle shampoo that cleanses buildup to our luxuriously hydrating with emollient-rich conditioning formula to our avocado hair oil promoting thicker, fuller and healthier you have exactly what you need to wash, treat and style. Once you have treated with our Strengthen My Uniqueness Protein-Rich Mask for at least 30 minutes you can then style with our organic beeswax and coconut leave-in hair cream. The Embrace the Curl Line is optimal for promoting the moisture to protein balance naturally.

You can also find more pictures and testimonials of happy curly customers on our Instagram page. 


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