Henna vs Protein Treatments: Which is Better for Strengthening?

Janelle (not pictured) says;

Thanks to the information on your site, I’m realizing that I need to do some kind of strengthening treatment on my fine strands. I know that protein treatments work by depositing protein on the cuticle, while henna works by binding to the cuticle and thus strengthening it. My question is, which is better for strengthening? I can’t decide which to choose. I’d love to hear your readers thoughts and experiences.

Great question Janelle! Ladies, which do you like better as a strengthening treatment: henna or protein? Share your tips, photos and advice below!

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast.

  • I say experiment around with protein conditioners first before you start using henna on a regular basis. If your hair thrives off of protein conditioners like Apphogee, then listen to what your hair needs and wants. And give it what it needs. However, if your hair is protein sensitive and does not care for much protein AT ALL, THEN USE PURE BODY ART QUALITY ON YOUR HAIR, IN PLACE OF PROTEIN CONDITIONERS, AND THE HENNA WILL WORK IN PLACE OF A PROTEIN CONDITIONER, STRENGTHENING YOUR HAIR, KEEPING IT HEALTHY AND STRONG, BUT STILL LETTING MOISTURE INTO YOUR INDIVIDUAL STRANDS. EVERYBODY’S HAIR IS DIFFERENT, YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR HAIR TYPE. PERIOD. SO MY ADVICE TO ALL NATURALS OR EVEN RELAXED HAIR WOMEN ON HERE WONDERING WHICH IS BETTER, HENNA OR PROTEIN; LEARN YOUR HAIR FIRST, THEN EXPERIMENT, LISTEN TO YOUR HAIR NEEDS, THEN GO FROM THERE. FOR ME, HENNA IS 100TIMES BETTER, I DON’T DO PROTEIN TREATMENTS, BECAUSE MY HAIR GETS ALL OF THE PROTEINS IT NEEDS FROM HENNA. BUT EVERYONES HAIR IS DIFFERENT SO FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

    • Anony

      Uhhh…. why suddenly go into all CAPS after three sentences

  • Darknlovely

    My hair is very protein sensitive and feels like straw when I use it. I just applied my first henna treatment2 days ago and I LOVE it! My hair feels softer and it seems to have loosened my curl pattern a little. The loosened pattern is fine with me because the back of my hair always had looser curls than the front. Now the front and the back are look closer in texture.

    • Lika564

      I realize you posted this 3 years ago but I wanted to tell you what I have learned through trial and error. Your hair is not likely protein-sensitive so much as moisture deficient. You HAVE TO apply a balancing moisturizer like Aphogee’s Balancing Moisturizer after an intense protein treatment like Aphogee’s Two-Step Protein Treatment. Your hair is made of keratin protein and I can’t imagine it being allergic to itself. It’s also difficult to find a conditioner or moisturizer on the market that has little or no protein in it. If your hair is fine after using those, it is not protein sensitive but does need a creamy moisturizer to balance it. The first time I used Aphogee 2-step for instance, I thought any conditioner would work afterwards. My hair felt fine while it was wet but when it dried, I nearly freaked out imaging balding from my hair crumbling like ashes in my hands. I went to a beautician immediately and all she did was rewet my hair and apply the balancing moisturizer and my hair was divine.

  • ailyah

    Henna made my 3b/3c curls extremely dry. I mixed it with coconut oil and water. I’m not too sure why this is so, I have another packet of 100g henna and I will mix it with coconut milk and conditioner next time and hope for better results.

  • NaturalEsq

    Henna and coconut cream are amazing. I follow the recipe from Minimalist Beauty, but use coconut cream (instead of milk) and use more coconut cream that prescribed in the recipe. My protein sensitive hair LOVES it!

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