Hair Protein Versus Moisture Treatments

by Sienna Fantozzi

Taking care of your hair is extremely important. However, you could have all the best intentions of doing so, but if you're doing it wrong, you could actually end up making your hair worse. And that's pretty counterintuitive, so it's time to learn the difference between protein and moisture treatments.

I'm pretty religious about my weekly hair mask, and I firmly believe it's what has kept my highlighted hair healthy and strong — however, not all hair is created equal, and my needs are probably different than yours. Just like you would treat oily skin different than dry skin, you have to use the right products for your hair depending on what it needs, and the two basic categories of treatments are moisture and protein. So let me break it down for you.


Wella Sp Luxeoil Keratin Restore Mask, $24, Amazon

Human hair is mostly made of protein (primarily keratin, a beauty buzzword you have probably heard). This protein makes our hair strong and able to grow longer. If your hair is lacking in protein (which it needs, because it's made of it!), you could experience breakage, damage, and hair loss. Replenishing this protein is important, but only if it needs it. Protein strengthens hair, but it does not moisturize it. Adding too much protein or adding protein when not needed will make hair too strong, brittle, and therefore cause breakage. So if you're trying to moisturize your dry hair, you could actually be damaging it. Yikes.


Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask, $35, Nordstrom

Products that add moisture help rehydrate, nourish, and soften dry/damaged hair. However, adding too much moisture will make your hair too soft, messing up hair's natural elasticity, making it difficult to style, and weakening it to the point that it will start to break. Talk about counterproductive.

The moral of the story: Too much of a good thing can be bad, so when choosing a hair mask or product, make sure you really know what your hair needs. Your efforts to care for it could be what's harming it.

Images: Moroccan Oil; Beauty Spin