Why DIY protein mask recipes are a waste of time on processed damaged hair

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If you have been chemically processing your hair either by dyeing it, using chemical relaxers, texturizers or perming it then your hair has probably been damaged by these chemical processes. Dyes and relaxers contain strong alkaline chemicals that raise the hair’s cuticle so they can perform whatever action they are designed to perform on the hair’s core, or inner part also called cortex. Chemical relaxers are designed to straighten the hair by breaking the hair’s protein bonds and restructuring them to make the hair straighter.

Hair dyes work similarly and work to change the colour of the hair by raising the cuticles and working directly on the hair’s cortex. These chemical processes cause inadvertent permanent damage to the hair which could lead to weak, damaged, dry and brittle hair. The more often the chemical process is performed, the more damage the hair is exposed to and over a period of time, the damage may become visible externally.

If you regularly use any of these chemical processes, it is important that you look after your hair properly. This means using hair care products that are designed to treat weak, damaged hair by replenishing proteins that have been destroyed during the chemical processing.

There are several ways that protein can be restored in the hair. Protein hair masks, shampoos, conditioners and treatments are now available in stores. Apart from what is available in stores, there are a multitude of websites that share do it yourself protein hair mask recipes using ingredients such as eggs. These online recipes may not be as effective as one might think. Why not? Surely we know that eggs contain protein and surely damaged hair needs protein right?

Not entirely. Eggs do contain protein, but how much protein does an egg have? The simple answer is an egg only contains 34% protein, which isn’t a lot really considering the size of an egg. Not only does it not have as much protein as one might have originally thought, but the structure of the protein may be useless on human hair. If the protein particles are too big to penetrate the hair’s core, then the treatment will just sit on the hair shaft and not be able to penetrate the hair’s core where the damage done to the hair by dying and other chemical processes occur. So what’s the best way to get around this problem? The best way to get round this issue is to use the best protein hair mask you can get your hands on. Not all hair masks are created equal, it is important to look out for a hair mask with hydrolised protein in it. Hydrolised protein particles are very tiny and small enough to be able to penetrate the hair’s core and therefore effectively repair the damage caused by chemical processes. Hydrolised protein comes in many forms, such as hydrolised keratin, hydrolised collagen, and hydrolised silk protein just to name a few examples. So the next time you are buying a protein hair mask, carefully check the list of ingredients and make sure it contains a form of hydrolised protein for it to be effective on your hair.

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