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How Often Should You Do a Protein Treatment? A Complete Guide

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We get it: you love to experiment with your tresses. You love to change their color or texture. You’re too amazing to have “blah” hair! And we fully support that! Whether it’s colored, curly or natural, your hair must be the hair of a queen. So if you notice brittle, limp, mushy hair, if your locks shed a lot or tend to break more, you’re in desperate need to fix your crown. You must pay attention to the protein-moisture balance! How often should you do a protein treatment? What are the signs you need it? Can you do protein treatments at home? Here’s all you need to know!

1. Why does hair need protein? 
2. Does your hair need protein or moisture?
3. How often should you do a protein treatment depending on hair type?
4. How can I do a protein treatment at home? 
5. How often should you do a protein treatment?
 5.1 When should you do a protein treatment on natural hair?
 5.2 What are the benefits of choosing a protein treatment on curly hair?
 5.3 Should you do a protein treatment for colored hair?
6. Which protein treatment is best for your hair?
 6.1 Activated Charcoal & Keratin shampoo
 6.2 Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner Pack

Why does hair need protein?

Does protein help hair growth? Does keratin cause hair loss? Does my hair need protein or keratin? Well, your hair is made out of protein. And one such protein is keratin (it makes up about 85% of your hair). Keratin is tough, fibrous and it helps your locks stay strong. 

According to scientific research, our hair needs a healthy balance between protein and moisture to maintain a healthy growth cycle. 

No breakage & no damage = healthy, strong strands. 

One way to get that is to use protein masks and treatments. They create a barrier of protection against harsh environmental and chemical factors. Protein treatments also repair damage by filling in the gaps within the cuticle. The result: strong, flexible, luscious hair. Are you interested? Keep on reading!

Does your hair need protein or moisture?

Harsh chemicals, the constant manipulation of the hair, using high-temperature styling tools, environmental factors, all contribute to brittle hair, split ends, frizzy hair, and even breakage or hair loss. But when do you need a protein treatment and when do you need deep conditioning? When does your hair feel thirsty for hydration, and when is it starved of protein? Here are the signs to look out for:

  • Having mushy, limp tresses after washing is a sign of a lack of protein. Hair is clumped and looks lifeless.
  • Low elasticity, or a hair that doesn’t bounce back, but rather breaks, signals a need for protein.
  • If your strands shed more often or they break a lot, you may deal with a need for protein.
  • Using a lot of chemical processing and protective styles (braids, weaves, crochet braids) may make your hair dry and brittle. It needs protein and moisture.

How often should you do a protein treatment depending on hair type?

How often should you use a protein hair mask? How long does a protein hair treatment last? Pertinent questions to be asked before starting your new hair care regimen. Protein treatments are effective when done every 4 to 6 weeks. No, applying it more often will not give you more benefits; if anything, it can lead to damage and hair loss. Make sure to properly moisturize as well as add protein support to your tresses. 

  • Low and medium porosity hair resists moisture, but retains it well. It also has a flat cuticle; hence, using protein treatments too often is not recommended. Low and medium porosity hair needs more moisturizing conditioning than protein treatments. Actually, low porosity hair is also known as protein-sensitive hair. A protein treatment every 6 weeks and 1-3 deep moisturizing conditionings per month should work fine for these hair types. 
  • Moderately porosity hair stays balanced naturally. It retains both moisture and protein. Its cuticles are slightly raised so protein can fill in the gaps. A protein treatment once a month and the usual conditioning for moisture after every wash should be just fine for this type of hair.
  • High-porosity hair accepts moisture, but doesn’t retain it very well since the cuticles are open. You can easily notice it, since it feels rough and frizzy. This type of hair needs protein treatments consistently, to make it smooth, soft, and supple. Condition with protein twice a month and deeply condition with moisturizing treatments after every wash.
  • Damaged hair, no matter its porosity level, presents with split ends, breakage, and gaps. If chopping it off is not an option, make sure to use protein twice or three times a month to leave your hair smooth and flatten the cuticles, fill in the gaps in your hair shaft and enhance its elasticity and strength. Also, it’s important to deeply moisturize after every wash to boost hydration, keep the hair easy to manage, and prevent tangles and damage. 

How can I do a protein treatment at home?

You keep your scalp clean and follicles unclogged. You use conditioner to prevent tangles and split ends. You make sure to seal in moisture within your strands. Still, why does your hair look lifeless, weak and why does it lack volume? Why does it break? It could need protein. While you can always go for a salon protein treatment, you can also replenish your strands at home. Still, if your hair is severely damaged, it’s better to reach out to a specialist. If you’re trying it at home, make sure to:

  • Shampoo and then apply a protein conditioner, making sure not to manipulate the hair too much. Cover your tresses with a cap and leave the treatment on for about 15 to 30 minutes. 
  • Rinse with lukewarm water, not handling the hair too much.
  • Apply a moisturizing protein-free conditioner (if your hair type needs it) and leave it on for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. 
  • Rinse with cooler water.
  • You can also apply a leave-in conditioner.

How often should you do a protein treatment?

It’s important to do your own trial and error, taking into consideration all the factors we mentioned above. How does your hair look and feel? Does it feel thirsty or hungry? What is its porosity and damage level? Also, make sure to adjust the protein and moisturizing treatments keeping the following information in mind:

When should you do a protein treatment on natural hair?

The rule of using a protein-based treatment every 4 to 6 weeks applies here. Take into consideration the type of porosity and the level of damage to your hair. And be patient enough to adjust the frequency of the treatments according to your needs. 

What are the benefits of choosing a protein treatment on curly hair?

Protein treatments aid curly hair. They strengthen the locks. They repair hair damage. They restore its elasticity, and it shows. If you have curly hair, after using protein treatments, you'll notice more body and volume and soft, luscious, full of life locks. Curly hair benefits from protein treatments every 4-8 weeks, depending on how damaged it is. Pay attention to how the curls move and bounce to determine their porosity levels and adjust accordingly. 

Should you do a protein treatment for colored hair?

Yes! It’s quite necessary, actually. Colored hair tends to become dry or brittle, so it needs extra protein to make it stronger. It's ideal to use protein treatments prior to coloring as well to keep your locks healthy. It's also recommended you use a protein treatment after the coloring process. Two weeks after coloring should be just right.

Which protein treatment is best for your hair?

Make sure to choose natural, organic products for your hair care since harsh chemicals furthermore damage your hair. Look for ingredients such as:

  • keratin;
  • hydrolyzed protein;
  • wheat protein;
  • collagen;
  • amino acids;
  • oat flour;
  • soy;
  • silk.

Here are two hair care products I can highly recommend:

Activated Charcoal & keratin shampoo

Activated Charcoal & keratin shampoo


Plant-powered and rich in keratin, this shampoo helps fortify strands and nourish your hair with natural ingredients such as sweet almond oil, argan oil and aloe vera extract. 

Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner Pack

Coconut Milk Shampoo & Conditioner


This pack contains not only a nourishing conditioner which can be used regularly as a gentle protein treatment, but also a moisturizing shampoo for thirsty hair. It's ideal for frizzy, high porosity hair since it contains aloe vera, coconut milk, keratin, and plenty of vegetal oils known for deep nourishment. 

How often should you do a protein treatment? If only it were that simple, huh?! We're pretty sure you've considered all info. Before you leave, remember to always keep your hair satiated: well-nourished and hydrated. And again:

  • Too much moisture and not enough protein = limp, weak, lifeless strands, breakage due to lack of structure and support. Hair strands look dull and feel dehydrated.
  • Too much protein and not enough moisture = brittle, stiff, dry locks, lacking in flexibility. The strands feel heavy, but at the same time dry and straw-like. 

Iulia Claudia Dumitru

I feel happy when I get to tell meaningful stories. About people. About the world. About life. About what people need to feel good. Healthy food, a balanced lifestyle, a grateful approach to relationships with others and ourselves. That is how I keep myself grounded and purposeful. That is how I aim to contribute: striving to make ourselves the best we can. Creating life in the little things. Living every day with the joy, wonder, and curiosity of a child. Trying to #seeKbeauty. Inside and out.

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