Last Updated on August 26, 2022 by Verna Meachum
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the best protein treatment for hair. I’ve tried a lot of them, and I’ve narrowed it down to 10 that are my favorites and that I’ve personally used.
I’m a woman with a lot of hair. I mean, a LOT of hair. And because of that, I’ve tried my fair share of protein treatments over the years in search of the Holy Grail: the best protein treatment for hair.
Spoiler alert: there is no such thing as the one best protein treatment that will work for all hair types.
EVERYONE’S HAIR IS DIFFERENT! But after trying many different ones, these are the 10 that have worked best for me (in no particular order).
Keep reading to find out which protein treatments made the list and which ones are worth your time and money!
Why You Need to Use a Protein Treatment and the Benefits of Doing So
Two more things before I share with you my favorites…First, I want to tell you about the importance of using a protein treatment for hair because they can make such a difference in how healthy your mane looks and feels!
Second, I want to give you some pointers on how to pick the right protein treatment for your hair.
Protein treatments are an important step in any hair care routine, especially if you have damaged or color-treated hair.
The main objective of using a protein treatment for hair is to rebuild the hair shaft for within thereby improving the mechanical strength of the hair as well as reduce breakage and improve hydration.
They do this by temporarily filling in the gaps in the cuticle that have been created in the protein structure of the hair as a result of chemical treatments, heat styling, mechanical stress, and environmental factors like the sun or dry wind.
In other words, they help to restore your hair’s strength, elasticity, and health that have been broken down by styling tools, heat, and chemicals.
This not only helps to restore the strength and elasticity of your hair, but also helps to reduce frizz and make your hair look and feel softer, smoother, silkier, and overall better-looking hair.
Types of Protein Treatments
There are three main types of protein treatments: light, medium, and heavy.
Protein-based conditioners range in protein content from extremely light to heavier protein concentrations. These types of conditioners temporarily rebuild the cuticle layer of the hair shaft by filling in areas of holes or gaps along the hair shaft. These tend to have a greater moisturizing element to complement their protein characteristics.
These formulas don’t usually need a second deep conditioning treatment to replenish the moisture within hair strands.
The strengthening effect of protein conditioners will vary from person to person and also depends on the condition of your hair.
It’s worth noting that hair with healthy cuticles and protein structure will not readily absorb extra protein molecules, but rather, it will accumulate on the outside of the hair shaft. Using too much protein on hair that doesn’t need it can cause the hair to become stiff, and may cause breakage.
Protein-based conditioner examples;
Protein-based leave-in conditioner examples;
Light to moderate reconstructors – these are a heavier concentration of protein than protein conditioners and are used to rebuild severely damaged hair from within.
They help to restore elasticity and softness to dry, brittle hair and are highly recommended for chemically processed hair.
Light to moderate reconstructor examples;
Heavy reconstructors – these are often more concentrated levels of protein than protein reconstructors.
These treatments are often more intensive and tend to require heat during the application for the greatest penetration or adherence of the protein molecules.
Most of the protein in these products is hydrolyzed protein meaning that the protein molecules have been broken down into smaller pieces that are more easily absorbed by the hair.
Heavy reconstructors, like the Aphogee two-step treatment should be followed up with additional moisturizing deep- conditioning treatment to restore the hair’s proper elasticity and prevent hair breakage.
Protein treatments of this sort are more effective on hair that is already highly porous and damaged.
They continue to work on the hair for 4-6 weeks.
Heavy reconstructor examples;
How to Pick the Protein Treatment, According to Your Needs
Now that you know a little more about protein treatments, how do you choose the right one for you?
Well, it depends on what your needs are.
No matter what your hair type is, all hair needs a balance of protein and moisture. Just like anything in life, you don’t want to overdo it with either protein or moisture, so find a product that strikes the right balance for you.
If you have color-treated hair, you’ll want a treatment that contains ingredients like keratin or collagen to help protect your hair against future damage.
For hair damaged by bleach, the sun, chlorine (from the pool), high-heat styling, your hair will more than likely need a product with higher protein content.
If you have dry hair and have tried a deep conditioner or oils and they haven’t worked, you may need a protein treatment. Your hair’s dryness may indicate a need for protein rather than-or in addition to moisturizers.
Are you experiencing hair breakage? Then, your hair probably needs protein because protein is what makes hair strong and helps to keep it hydrated.
The bottom line is that you need to find a protein treatment that matches your specific needs because there is no one-size-fits-all product.
You should also always read the ingredients to see what’s in the product and how it can benefit your hair before making a purchase.
Now without further ado, here are my top ten favorite protein treatments.
My Personal Favorites (in no particular order)
Now that you know a little more about protein treatments and their benefits, here my 10 favorite products.
- Reconstructs and reconditions without adding any weight to the hair.
- Adds immediate strength to damaged brittle hair.
- Contains Amino Acids and Arginine to strengthen and fortify the hair.
- This is NOT a leave-in treatment or a conditioner; it’s a reconstructing product.
- It comes in an easy to spray bottle. Follow the instructions carefully.
- I love this product and you’ll notice a difference after the first use! Worth every penny.
- This product is one of the best protein treatments I’ve ever used.
- It contains no silicone (for those who are CG friendly conscious)
- Great for hair that is chemically damaged, fragile, weak, brittle, and breaking.
- Very moisturizing!
- It has a light scent.
- This is for dry, damaged, or over-processed hair
- It contains Shea Butter, Soy Protein, and Macadamia Nut Oil to detangle, moisturize, rejuvenate, and help revive hair’s texture.
- It’s color-safe, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly.
- What I like about this one is that it has a lot of slip and it really made my hair feel soft.
- For damaged and/or dry hair.
- It penetrates hair to patch up the damaged areas.
- Safe for color-treated hair.
- It contains 1 protein only – organic hydrolyzed wheat protein.
- What I love about this product is that you control the amount of protein to use. This is a liquid formula that is to be mixed with a conditioner.
- This is a leave-in protein treatment.
- Penetrates damaged hair and infuses each strand with organic protein-enriched botanicals.
- It fuses the best parts of vitamins with the essential elements in protein to create soft, manageable, beautiful hair full of moisture.
- Vegan formula and cruelty-free.
- I like to use this if I need a little extra boost of protein between the more intensive protein treatments. It’s a spray-on treatment and I use it right before applying my styling products.
- This is a deep conditioner that contains protein.
- Great for dry, damaged, and/or color-treated hair.
- It contains Babassu Oil to help strengthen the hair shaft and reduce breakage.
- It contains amino acids that will help to strengthen your hair.
- This is one of my favorite deep conditioner.
- Mint Extract to refresh and invigorate the scalp. It has a light minty smell that’s so refreshing! I love the scent.
- Protein Complex to help fortify and rebuild the protein structure of the hair.
- This always leaves my hair feeling strong and super soft. Love this stuff!
- This is my HG protein deep conditioner.
- It is for those with dry, damaged, or color-treated hair.
- It’s been clinically proven to decrease hair breakage after two uses.
- It has also been clinically proven to boost hair strength, shine, and silkiness and improve the long-term health of damaged hair.
- Formulated with rosehip oil, B-vitamins, and algae extract, this hydrating, antioxidant-rich formula restores essential moisture to dry, brittle, colored, or over-processed hair.
- The strengthening protein in this formula is keratin.
- Formulated with 97% naturally derived ingredients.
- Safe for color-treated hair.
- It smells like freshness with a floral scent. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s a really nice smell.
- This is a silkening plant-based protein mask.
- It’s formulated to provide protein while moisturizing and softening your hair.
- It does not contain silicones, PEG, parabens, or mineral oil.
- It literally smells like chocolate chip cookies.
- I like to use this protein mask when I feel like my hair needs a little extra love. I like to leave it on for about 10 minutes. It makes my hair feel so soft and silky!
- Prevents breakage and split ends
- Restores the hair’s elasticity
- It has anti-oxidant green tea to protect hair
- It contains a blend of keratin amino acids, botanical oils, and vitamins to restore strength and softness to hair.
- It contains silicone and parabens (for those following the CG method)
- One of my faves. It’s quick and easy to use and only needs to be left on the hair for 2 minutes. I usually use this twice a month.
- If your hair is experiencing some serious breakage, you need this ASAP!
- If your hair is mushy or experiencing hygral fatigue, get this now!
- If your hair is over-bleached, you need this.
- This is a heavy and intense protein treatment.
- It is a liquid formula and it is quite sticky as it dries and hardens on your hair.
- It’s formulated with activated proteins and magnesium which fuse into the hair with the application of heat. So, you’ll need a blow dryer or hooded dryer to use with this.
- Rebuilds hair structure for six weeks.
- You will need to follow up with a moisturizing conditioner or deep conditioner right after using this.
- It doesn’t smell so good, so be forewarned.
Well, that’s it for today, my friends! I have given you my 10 favorite protein-containing hair products.
I hope you’ve found this information helpful and that you’ll give protein treatments a try in your own hair care routine.
Remember to always… let your hair be your guide!
Thanks for reading!
Do you have a favorite protein treatment that I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below!