Reader Questions: Protein Conditioners
Here are some of your questions from the protein conditioner series Carole asks, 'Regarding protein conditioners, can you please let us know which proteins are from animals?' The main types of hydrolysed proteins are collagen, keratin and wheat. Of these, only wheat is strictly plant based. Keratin does tend to be sourced from animals (for example wool from sheep) and collagen has a variety of sources with cattle being a main source Didi asks, 'I use megatek rebuilder. It contains hydrolysed keratin and I think it is quite a heavyy protein but it says leave on for 5 mins then rinse - does this mean it gets washed out?' From the ingredient list for this product, keratin is very high up in the list which means it probably is a very protein rich conditioner. If the keratin has been hydrolysed to a good size then some of it will remain on your hair because it will form temporary bonds to it. A lot of the product would be washed out. This is not a bad thing because too much protein leads hair to feel and be very brittle so using protein rich conditioners is always a balancing act. Didi and Jan ask, 'I do not use heat with my protein conditioner does this make it less effective than say aphogee 2 step which requires heat and gets rock hard?' Not necessarily. Manufacturers design and test their products to perform best at specific conditions. Adding heat to a product which has not been formulated to be heated, may not be useful and even could be harmful. For example the ingredients may be heat sensitive or the preservatives used could be changed by applying heat. It could also be harmless, but the results would be unpredictable. In short, my view is that the manufacturer will produce a set of instructions for their product. They will have performed several tests in these conditions and end up with a formula (ingredients and conditions) which they believe to be most suitable. Deviating away from this means you are experimenting. If you like predictable results, stick with the instructions on the label. If you are willing to experiment, just be aware that the results could turn be good, bad or indifferent. KN asks, 'You did not mention following up a protein conditioner with a moisturising conditioner, is this necessary?' Good question. If the conditioner has hydrolysed protein as one of the first 5 ingredients, then yes it would probably be beneficial to follow up with a moisturising conditioner (see the natural hair shopping list). This is because as I mentioned before, high protein content can lead to a dry brittle feel to the hair strand. Applying some softening ingredients improves the pliability of the hair. However if the conditioner has a few amino acids or hydrolysed wheat thrown in towards the end of the ingredient list, then in all likelihood, it will behave more like a moisturising conditioner rather than a protein conditioner.