Saturday, January 23, 2010

To protein or not to protein...

Previously, in my list of Do's and Don'ts I talked about what kind of ingredients to look for in a shampoo, conditioner, or gel. I have learned since writing that article that it is necessary to be somewhat more discriminating when picking out the right products for your hair. It is not enough to just simply find the right ingredients, but to know which ones work best for your hair texture.
   How do you find out your hair texture? Easy. Separate a single strand of hair from the rest and run your forefinger and thumb over the length of it from scalp to ends. If, when you run your fingers over the strand of hair and you feel hardly anything or nothing at all, you have fine textured hair; if your hair feels like a strand of quilting thread then you have coarse textured hair; if your hair feels like it is somewhere in between, you have "normal" textured hair. Be warned, it is possible to have two different textures coexisting on the same head of hair. For example I have both normal and coarse hair mixed throughout my hair.

   What does it mean? Well, it tells you more adequately what the composition of your hair is. Those with coarse hair produces an abundance of protein but lack an equal amount of moisture giving it the characteristic wiry, thick texture. On the other hand, those with fine hair are blessed with a healthy helping of moisture but have a scant amount of protein which gives the strand a light and thin feeling. Normal hair has a balanced amount of moisture and protein allowing it to be more versatile than the other two textures.
   Why does your hair texture effect what ingredients you should look for? To put it plainly, you want your hair to be balanced. When you naturally have too much protein in your hair you don't want to add more because it throws off the balance even more, vice versa for overly moisturized hair.
    In conclusion, those with fine hair should look for products that contain proteins and stay away from moisturizing ingredients such as oils. Coarse textured individuals should steer clear of any kind of protein* in their hair care diet, while adding a healthy dose of moisturizing ingredients. Both protein and moisturizing ingredients are tolerated well by those with "normal" texture, so these curly heads can be a little less picky when looking for their products. This statement should be tempered by the reality that even these individuals can find that they have a sensitivity to either protein or moisture.
    Unfortunately, what this all means is that reading labels will seem to others to be your new favorite past time. :) However, I promise you that the extra effort will be well worth your time. Happy hunting.....I mean shopping.;)

*The only exceptions to this is immediately following a chemical service.
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