By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom

Near­ly all nat­u­ral hair web­sites will have an arti­cle on bal­anc­ing pro­tein with mois­ture. There are also debates about whether hair can be ‘pro­tein sen­si­tive’ or not. Today is a slight­ly dif­fer­ent but relat­ed ques­tion to help you gain an under­stand­ing of pro­teins in hair con­di­tion­ing. The ques­tion is if your hair con­di­tion­er con­tains pro­tein, do you real­ly have to fol­low up with a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er or risk ‘hard hair’?

Def­i­n­i­tions : For this dis­cus­sion pro­tein means amino acids (includ­ing wheat, silk, ker­at­in etc) and hydrol­ysed pro­teins (includ­ing wheat, collagen/gelatin, ker­at­in etc).  Exclud­ed from the def­i­n­i­tion is may­on­naise and whole eggs or any oth­er pro­tein that is not hydrol­ysed .

So, do you real­ly have to fol­low every pro­tein con­di­tion­er with a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er?

Quick answer — Yes and No

The long answer : Yes

You may need to use a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er if you meet BOTH of the fol­low­ing con­di­tions

1.  Your pro­tein is in a con­di­tion­er that looks main­ly like a light brown liq­uid, it is like­ly to be most­ly a water solu­tion of hydrol­ysed protein/amino acids. Exam­ples of this type of pro­duct include liq­uid amino acids, aphogee two step and komaza pro­tein hair strength­en­er.

2. You intend to use the pro­duct direct­ly on your hair with­out mix­ing it into a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er (i.e one that con­tains  soft­en­ing or emol­lient ingre­di­ents  e.g cetyl alco­hol, stearyl alco­hol, behent­ri­mo­ni­um chlo­ride, nat­u­ral oils). 

Expla­na­tion : Using a dilute solu­tion of pro­teins in water is not like­ly to leave your hair soft. This does NOT mean that it is not mois­turised  because pro­teins are able to hold on to water in the same way that humec­tants such as glyc­er­in or aloe vera do. The hair lacks soft­ness only because the con­di­tion­er does not have ingre­di­ents that can coat the hair to cre­ate  that soft­ness. There­fore if you want soft­ness, fol­low up with a con­di­tion­er that con­tains the­se soft­en­ing ingre­di­ents)

The long answer : No

You do not need to fol­low up with a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er in either one of the fol­low­ing con­di­tions

1. You are adding a few drops of a liq­uid pro­tein con­di­tion­er (see the expla­na­tion in the yes sec­tion) to a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er which does con­tain soft­en­ing ingre­di­ents (see above for exam­ples).

2. Your mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er con­tain­ing soft­en­ing ingre­di­ents also includes in the ingre­di­ent list­ing some pro­teins (com­mon­ly glu­tam­ic acid, silk amino acids and wheat pro­teins).

Expla­na­tion:  Some­thing that is not well known is that amino acids actu­al­ly aDsorb and pen­e­trate hair bet­ter when in a con­di­tion­ing for­mu­la as opposed to in water (J Cos­met Sci pp 347–357, 2007). There­fore adding a few drops of ‘con­cen­trat­ed’ pro­teins like aphogee or komaza to a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er may in fact be more ben­e­fi­cial than using it straight on hair. As pro­teins help to mois­turise hair, there is noth­ing wrong with doing the same even in a creamy leave in. Some man­u­fac­tur­ers will place some use­ful pro­teins in hair con­di­tion­ers and com­mon­ly the­se pro­teins will not be list­ed in the top 5 ingre­di­ents (the high­er up in the list, the more there is).  Small amounts of pro­tein are all that are need­ed for most hair and just adding a lit­tle will not com­pro­mise the soft­en­ing effect of a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er.

How do you fol­low up your pro­tein treat­ments?

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15 Comments on "The Best Way to Follow Up a Protein Treatment"

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Ramesh Kadyan

Nice Arti­cle

You can also take one of you most soft­en­ing hair con­di­tion­er and add 1/3 of a cup to 2 cups of con­di­tion­er (hydrolized wheat pro­tien) if you hair has a high purosi­ty or if its low u can use 1/6 of a cup to 2 cups of con­di­tion­er thats a real pro­tien treat­ment and the hydrolized w pro­tien can be found on ama­zon watch for size there The 1/3 and 1/6 is (hwp) not con­di­tion­er But 2 cups of con­di­tion­er u can test ur hair purosi­ty by putting a strand of hair in water for 10sec if it sinks iys low…if… Read more »

Nutress Hair Pro­tein Pack Con­di­tion­er is great ! I LOVE it. It doesn’t make my hair feel dried out after I use it and I can see the results imme­di­ate­ly. I use the Nutress Hair leave-in con­di­tion­er after I do the treat­ment and it gives amaz­ing results ! :)

bee amazing
Hel­lo, I real­ly enjoyed this arti­cle. I’ve been a nat­u­ral for about three years now, and with the help of your blog, I now know I need to incor­po­rate a pro­tein con­di­tion­er in my reg­i­men. I recent­ly pur­chased a pro­tein pack from Sally’s called “Nutress Hair Mois­tur­iz­ing pro­tein pack”. While I didn’t notice any imme­di­ate ben­e­fits, my hair did feel some­what stronger with less break­age. Should I fol­low up with a mois­tur­is­ing con­di­tion­er although the pack­age doesn’t advise to do so? Here are the ingre­di­ents: Aqua (Water) , Cetyl Alco­hol , Cetri­mo­ni­um Bro­mide , Glyc­er­in , Stearic Acid , Steapyri­um… Read more »
Jo Somebody

Great info! JC, may I ask, do you believe in ‘pro­tein sen­si­tiv­i­ty’?

Online Protein

I real­ly like for­gath­er­ing utile infor­ma­tion , this post has got me even more info! .


Thank you for the infor­ma­tion. I have been ter­ri­fied of pro­tein because I wasn’t sure how to use it. My mom used straight ker­at­in on her hair at the begin­ning of the year and all of her edges broke off! They are back now and she is far more cau­tious now but still. I will let her know about this arti­cle! Thanks again!


I com­plete­ly agree with you about the pro­tein treat­ments being fol­lowed up with a mois­tur­is­ing on. I found that my hair became brit­tle and broke when I did not fol­low the sec­ond step. 

Good arti­cle :-)


I do pro­tein treat­ment with nat­u­ral prod­ucts «avocat+eggs+a lit­tle bit of mayo). I’m not sure if it’s a low or high pro­teint treat­ment, but would it needs to be com­plet­ed with an hydrat­ing treat­ment ?


I’d like to know the respon­se to this too, as I use nat­u­ral ingre­di­ents as Ang­ie met­nioned


What do you think about using gelat­in as a pro­tein treat­ment?

Kris Dawes

Very good infor­ma­tion! Thanks for this. Pro­tein con­di­tion­er real­ly gives my hair a silky and straight hair that’s why I’m very care­ful with the prod­ucts that I’ll be pur­chas­ing so that my mon­ey won’t be wast­ed for noth­ing.


Thanks for the infor­ma­tion. What do you think of hydrol­ysed rice pro­teins? Are they as effi­cient as wheat pro­teins? I usu­al­ly add a few drops of rice pro­teins in my con­di­tion­er and this make my hair pret­ty soft.

The Natural Haven

Yes any hydrol­ysed pro­tein is per­fect.


Great infor­ma­tion! I use a pro­tein con­di­tion­er with mois­tur­iz­ing ingre­di­ents and I fig­ured out not too long ago I don’t need mois­ture after. I could have used this info soon­er so I could stop wast­ing prod­ucts and mon­ey lol.