I blog, hair forum and social media hop weekly and it amazes me the number of times I see protein recommended to a struggling head. If I had a dollar for each time it was suggested, I’d be filthy rich! I truly believe every newbie should be made to study and understand all aspects of protein as a pre-requisite to starting a healthy hair journey (HHJ). Understanding the characteristics and proper implementation of protein is very critical to HHJ success, be it natural or relaxed. The absence of this knowledge can lead to a path of breakage, frustration and worst of all, setback.
My name is Jay and this is my story….
2010: When I first entered my healthy hair journey, I was easily influenced by healthy hair enthusiast recommendations — use protein! use protein! use protein! So what did I do? Yep, you guessed it, I used protein — I used Aphogee 2 Step deep into a stretch and protein overloaded something serious. Needless to say, I used little to no protein for the remainder of the year and NEVER used Aphogee 2 Step again.
2011: This year marked a new year and new approach although I could not get my breakage under control. My hair was dry and experiencing all sorts of issues. I reached out to hair forums and blogs for support and was told — use protein! relaxed hair needs protein! use a protein leave-in, your hair will love it! Those recommendations didn’t cure the issues and breakage continued to plague me for most of that year.
2012: I continued to struggle with understanding protein(s) to achieve moisture/protein balance. I did, however, come to have a better understanding of how various proteins work after reading The Science of Black Hair Care. Although I had a better grasp on proteins, my decision making didn’t improve. I opted to use a weekly reconstructor because I was totally brainwashed to believe our hair (especially relaxed hair) requires protein to thrive. Of course this did not work for my hair and of course breakage continued. Sometime during the course of the year, I had an a-ha moment and realized my hair is low porosity hair and low porosity hair is protein sensitive. All this time I was chasing protein when in fact my hair needed moisture, moisture, moisture — not protein like everyone recommended.
2013 to present: I’m now using protein on an as-needed basis rather than scheduling protein treatments. I use protein once or maybe even twice during a 10 week stretch period. Most would argue relaxed hair REQUIRES protein frequently (some even believe weekly) to flourish. While this may be true for some, it’s definitely not true for me. Having an understanding of what my hair requires enables me to make the right decision(s) for my hair.
The takeaway to this is: stay away from groupthink and random recommendations. Almost every article or hair forum response prescribes protein as the remedy for breaking hair. Don’t make the mistake(s) I made! Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean that you can or should. Do what works for your hair and just know, protein isn’t the cure for every type of breakage that you experience.