How To Tell & The Best Products To Fix It

Again, your hair is made up of amino acid chains (the building blocks of the protein keratin), and when they become brittle—by heat styling, chemical processing, and other physical stressors—protein-infused products can help reconstruct those bonds, thus leading to stronger, smoother, and more defined strands. “We can’t recreate the exact protein that is in our hair [with topicals], but synthetic and naturally sourced proteins can repair and stand in place like a Band-Aid,” explains NYC-based hairstylist Matt Newman

As you coat the strands with these bond-building ingredients, you protect them from further breakage and strengthen their ability to withstand those aforementioned stressors. “Topical protein treatments such as keratin or bond-strengthening shampoos revitalize hair and promote stronger hair strands,” adds hairstylist Miko Branch, co-founder of hair care brand Miss Jessie’s. “Adding protein to hair is a terrific way to restore and nourish hair follicles, fostering hair health by protecting tresses and helping to prevent breakage. 

While protein-infused hair care can help rebuild broken bonds and strengthen your tresses, it is possible to go overboard. “Protein and keratin products are really popular right now, but too much of a good thing can leave the protein-moisture balance out of whack,” notes Branch. And that protein-moisture balance is a delicate one: To prevent breakage, your hair requires a proper amount of hydration and nutrients, and it’s easy to tip the scale one way or the other. Of course, everyone’s hair has different needs: Your curl pattern, porosity, and styling habits can all affect how much protein and moisture you should include in your routine. 

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