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How to Tell if Your Hair Needs Protein? Look Out for These Signs!

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How many times have you searched for secrets, tips, and DIY treatments by beauty bloggers to get thick, shiny, and luscious hair, but to no avail? To treat your hair, you first need to figure out the root causes of its problems. The quality of your hair depends on various factors such as age, genetic factors, the climate, how you take care of it, how often you style it, and many more. One of the most crucial factors that affect hair quality is your diet, a protein-rich diet often being the secret to healthy and shiny hair. 

First off, though, do you know how to tell if your hair needs protein? How do you know if you should go for a protein treatment? And, equally important, do you know how deal with protein-deficient hair?

Table of Contents:

  • What happens when hair lacks protein?
  • How do I know if my hair needs protein or moisture?
  • How can I add protein to my hair naturally?
  • Are there any hair products that can help me get protein-rich hair?

What happens when hair lacks protein?

As you already know, proteins are the building blocks of our body. Protein deficiency in the body can lead to brittle bones and increases the risk of infections and illnesses. Proteins are also essential for healthy hair growth. Protein-deficient hair becomes limp and weak, it loses its normal texture and becomes sticky and difficult to manage. 

The signs your hair sends when it lacks protein are: hair feels gummy, dry, damaged, dull, frizzy, and you may experience increased hair loss due to breakage. Protein deficiencies can also cause split ends and hair thinning. 

Hair that lacks protein becomes more porous, making it easier for the hair shaft to absorb pollutants and harsh chemicals. High porosity hair is brittle, frizzy and difficult to style. 

How do I know if my hair needs protein or moisture?

Hair that lacks moisture and hair that needs protein can have similar problems: hair feels gummy, it's dry, frizzy, and brittle. Therefore, it can get very confusing to figure out whether your hair needs more protein or you need to use products that help retain moisture in the hair shaft. To test whether your hair lacks moisture or protein, you can conduct a small experiment. Take some hair strands, wet them, and gradually stretch them, then release. If your hair does not bounce back to its original shape and instead breaks, it has lost its elasticity and this indicates that your hair probably does not contain enough protein. 

As we’ve seen, having high porosity hair is one of the signs your hair needs protein treatments. To test hair porosity, take one strand of clean, dry hair and put it in a glass of water. If the strand sinks, it means that you have high porosity hair. If the strand keeps floating on top, you have low porosity hair, which means that there is excess protein in your hair.

Moreover, if you frequently style your hair with heat-based tools, color your hair, use bleach, or creams and gels to relax your curly hair, there are high chances that your hair lacks protein, which makes it dull, damaged, dry, and brittle. 

How can I add protein to my hair naturally?

You can, of course, always go for a keratin treatment. However, if not properly done, this type of treatment can further damage your hair. Therefore, the best recommendation is to maintain a protein-rich diet. Include more eggs, legumes, dry fruits, and nuts, especially almonds, milk, broccoli, and other protein-rich foods in your diet. Within a few weeks, you should start seeing an improvement in your hair texture, and your hair will become smoother and shinier. 

You can also try applying a homemade hair mask with eggs and curd / yogurt. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off and shampoo and condition your hair as usual. 

Are there any hair products that can help me get protein-rich hair?

Besides going for a protein-rich diet and trying DIY protein hair masks, you can also try to include in your hair care routine a shampoo & conditioner that are rich in proteins and which can help improve the quality and texture of your hair shaft, giving you glossy, soft, and smooth hair. 

Here is my recommendation: 

WOW Skin Science Activated Charcoal and Keratin Shampoo

WOW Skin Science Activated Charcoal and Keratin Shampoo


This shampoo is an ideal product for protein-deficient hair. It contains keratin, a fibrous protein that is essential for healthy hair growth. Also, the activated charcoal gently cleanses the scalp removing all dirt, impurities, and build-up from the scalp. It also contains nourishing ingredients such as aloe vera extract, jojoba, argan and almond oil that penetrate deep into the hair shaft and help lock in moisture to provide intense hydration, leaving you hair soft and shiny.

For best results, pair it up with WOW Coconut Milk Conditioner

WOW Coconut Milk Conditioner


It contains hydrolyzed keratin, a protein derived from soy that can help strengthen and mend hair fibers back to health. It will also help your hair retain moisture, therefore preventing dryness and frizz. 

Sneha Chugh

Sneha is a law student and works as a freelancer. She has written content for various brands including upGrad, Bewakoof and more.

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