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Myths & Misunderstandings - Can I over-protein my hair?

November 05, 2021

Myths & Misunderstandings - Can I over-protein my hair?

Did you think that too? It’s a myth whizzing around the internet and popping up in forums, so let me explain.

Healthy hair is essentially 97% protein and 3% water. The protein provides the structural strength, the water gives flexibility and shine. Hair cannot be overloaded with protein but it can become so dehydrated with heat styling, colouring, and siliconised hair products that you end up losing the 3% water of fresh root hair, and then what is left of the shrunken hair towards the ends is 100% protein and too porous to hold moisture.

I think this is where people confuse 'overloaded' with protein, with what’s actually 'underloaded' with water. That, and possibly inappropriate protein molecules in products that aren't a good fit for hair. Beef steak has plenty of protein but it’s not much use directly on hair. Lady Gaga probably knew that. 😀

Just because an ingredient is labelled protein, is organic or came from a rainforest, doesn't mean it's any good for hair. Not all proteins are equal. Not all keratins are equal.

What’s important, is do they fit into the broken molecular structure of damaged hair? Are they bio-available and will the hair absorb them? Most ingredients sold as haircare are simply not absorbed by the hair. The majority of brands then rely on silicone additives to varnish over the damage they cannot mend.

Dehydrated and damaged hair has little shine or flexibility so people turn to more silicone to fill the cracks and give it shine. The damage is masked but continues to turn the good ‘root hair’ into brittle ‘end hair’. This brittle hair cannot stand the forces of styling and everyday living in the same way so breakage increases.

On the left, the hair below the shoulders is shrunken and broken. Only a hollowed-out protein shell is left which is too porous for water molecules to hold onto, so what remains is just protein. On the right the protein structure is more complete through to the ends so can retain water molecules. By following the system of care with LifeSaver Prewash Treatment, the hair doesn’t break down as quickly so retains its thickness, flexibility and lustre through to the ends.

The fine cashmere proteins in our products are almost identical to human hair molecules which is why they work so well. Proteins are long chains of amino-acids. Far too large for the hair to absorb. Firstly, we have to break them down through hydrolysis into small chain amino-acids and blend them into the natural moisture-retaining mix that makes up our Hydrabond Rx. It’s our unique active ingredient developed and refined over 30 years.

Some people say, “I’ve cut down on all the bad stuff for 6 months and the ends are still dry!”

But if the ends of 9" long hair are already thinned and destroyed through poor colouring, aggressive heat-styling and siliconised products, then a year of good habits will replace the first 6" with much healthier hair. It will have little effect on the last 3" which will take another 6 months to replace.

LifeSaver Pre-wash Family

Our family of Pre-wash Treatments are different. They were developed with the help of hair-doctors (trichologists), not marketing departments, so no smoke and mirror promises. They drive goodness deep into the hair shaft to help repair broken bonds, fill voids and properly hydrate the hair. Because it goes deep it isn’t removed by the shampooing that comes after.

The effect isn’t superficial or an illusion of health. It isn’t a mask. Transformations to hair quality over 3-9 months can be astonishing.

Michael Van Clarke





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