Thursday, April 20, 2006

Beauty Q & A: Are Moisture and Protein Good for Overprocessed Hair?

Cynical Girl sez...

I have a two-part question:

I have over-highlighted my hair and it's fried. The salon recommended a Redken All Soft conditioning treatment and another Redken protein treatment.

1) Will any of these products really make a difference, or do I just need to cut off the damaged ends of my hair?

2) Is it possible to add too much moisture or protein to my hair? Any risks?

The Beauty Brains Respond:

Cynical Girl - it looks like you've committed the cardinal sin of chemically caring for your hair: you over-processed. But, rather than publicly berating you here on the blog, we'll give you some information that will help save your hair.

Your stylist recommended a couple of Redkin products. There's certainly nothing wrong with using those - the All Soft conditioner is a fine product that could mitigate some of the damage you've done to your hair. I'm not really sure you would necessarily need to use the protein treatment since protein aren't typically a significant active ingredient in conditioner formulas. Although your hair is made of protein (keratin protein to be precise), protein delivered from a conditioner doesn't really help that much. There are other conditioning and moisturizing agents that are more beneficial to your hair than proteins. Still, if you don't mind spending the money on those Redkin products they're certainly worth a shot.

You just need to be careful that you don't over condition your hair or else you might end up with limp lifeless locks. Which leads us to the second part of your question. Can you add too much moisture or protein to your hair? The answer is: "Not exactly." Let us explain.

One of the components of your hair is moisture - in fact your hair naturally contains between 8 and 14 percent water. But, and here is the tricky part, your hair naturally equilibrates to the humidity in your environment. In other words if it's very dry outside you will have less moisture than 8 to 14 percent in your hair and if it's very humid you'll have more. Think about your hair after you wash it or after you've gone swimming. It doesn't stay wet - it eventually does dry out.

On the other hand, you do need to watch out for adding too much moisturizer. A moisturizer is an ingredient that helps your hair hold onto moisture. Strictly speaking, moisture is water but moisturizers can be oils or silicones. And if you put too much of these materials on your hair you can get on build up or weigh down effect, which is not good, especially if you want your hair to look thick and full.

The Brain's Bottom line:

The Brains don't discourage you from trying the Redkin products, but you may find you don't like them. If this happens, you'll have to experiment with a few other conditioners to find one that gives you the right balance of moisture without weighdown. But at least now, hopefully we've given you have a better understanding of HOW your conditioner works. And by the way, don't you dare wash your hair without conditioning - at least for the next few weeks. You've got to protect your fragile, over-processed strands.

We hope this helps, thanks for asking The Brains!

Anybody else got a question? Email us at

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