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How to Know if your Hair Needs Moisture or Protein

Figuring out whether your hair needs protein or moisture can sometimes be a little confusing, especially if you are just starting out on your natural hair journey.
Protein V Moisture
Your hair needs two things to be healthy, Moisture and Protein. While it may seem simple, getting the right amounts and not overloading your hair can be a difficult mission. Here is the key difference between moisture and protein:
  • Moisture helps your hair to retain its length and shine.
  • Protein on the other hand helps your curl elasticity and to strengthen your hair.
Here is how to know if your hair needs moisture or protein and if its got too much of one and not enough of the other.
Protein Overload
Our hair is made up of Keratin which is a type of protein so when our hair is damaged from processes such as styling, perms/relaxers, hair dying, and manipulation, it is often necessary to try protein treatments to restore our hair to health. A lot of this loss is from the cuticle. If the cuticle structure around our hair is not strong enough then it won't help to protect our hair. The healthier your cuticles are, the more resilient your hair will be from styling and heat etc.

Having protein overload can tend to make your hair stiff and dry because it has built up too much strength essentially. A tell-tale sign is that all the efforts you make to moisturise seem or have no effect, (or even make it worse, depending on if the moisturiser you’re using contains protein).

When you are struggling with protein overload, try and balance it out by using moisturising products like our Moisture Cream Hair Butter which will help to soften the hair.

Our customisable products like our Custom Cleanser and Conditioner can allow you to choose whether you need moisture or protein in your hair products.
Moisture Overload
Your hair needs moisture to retain its elasticity, otherwise it will get dry and break off while detangling or styling etc. Water is the basis of moisture and when your hair is soaking wet, your hair swells which is why it is in its most stretched state. However, although moisture is necessary for retaining length and strength, it is possible to have too much moisture.

You could be having a moisture overload by having product buildup from moisturising your hair too frequently or deep conditioning for too long or too often. This is called 'Moisture Overload', which in turn can lead to breakage and split ends.

When you are struggling with moisture overload, try and balance it out by using strengthening products like our Green Tea conditioner in our Hydrate and Define Collection which contains Keratin and Green Tea to give you a boost of protein.

Our customisable products like our Custom Cleanser and Conditioner can allow you to choose whether you need moisture or protein in your hair products.
Maintaining a Balance
When washing your hair you should ensure that your products are balanced with protein and moisture. If the signs are also difficult to determine then I do the wet stretch.⁣ It’s a quick and simple way to determine the proper treatment plan for your hair.

The results of the Wet Stretch Test are indisputable and very clearly demonstrate what products you need to achieve and maintain healthy hair, and why.⁣

How to do it:⁣

  1. Separate about 10 strands of wet hair. For best results, make sure the hair is well saturated with water⁣.
  2. Hold the hair firmly between both hands.⁣
  3. Gently but firmly pull the section of hair away from your head. Ensure you pull with enough tension to assess if the hair strands stretch. Observe how the hair stretches and returns.
  4. Repeat this with tiny sections from different areas of the head⁣.


  • If your hair is balanced and healthy - Your hair should stretch to around 30% of its length and then return healthy, like an elastic band, showing no signs of damage.⁣

  • If your hair needs protein - Your hair with stretch out but doesn’t return to its previous length.

  • If your hair needs moisture - Your hair will feel stiff and struggle to stretch into an elongated state. ⁣

  • If your hair needs protein and moisture - Your hair breaks when you attempt to stretch it.⁣

Using the correct products will help protect your hair from the daily damage it gets. It will also help in keeping your hair healthy as it grows.⁣

If your hair does not respond as normal, then your first step is to clarify your hair. When you find out what my hair is missing e.g protein, start with a deep conditioner that contains protein. If that makes no difference then switch to a strengthening treatment like a gelatin treatment. Always follow up with a moisturising deep conditioner, after a strengthening treatment, to get the right balance back. ⁣

Doing this often helps you begin to learn how your hair behaves on a regular basis. When your hair begins to behave differently, you will automatically pick up on it as you know what is ‘out of the ordinary’ for your hair.⁣