Moisture VS Protein: How To Know Which One You Need

Posted on June 19 2019

Moisture VS Protein: How To Know Which One You Need


For our hair to grow, stay strong and succeed, you need to retain a certain amount of moisture and protein. Having too much of both can cause your hair to break. We'll help break things down and give you all the info on how to tell if you need more moisture or protein on wash day.


This can sometimes be tricky. In order for your hair to retain its elasticity, it needs moisture, otherwise, your hair will break. While dry hair does need to be moisturized to be manipulated, sometimes too much moisture can lead to hair becoming too 'mushy' or extra soft and in need of protein. Always using a moisturizing deep conditioner or moisturizing your hair too much throughout the week can also lead to excess moisture. Think of your curls like pasta. The pasta has been over cooked with too much water and becomes really soft and real easy to break. It doesn't hold its shape, and there is no elasticity, this is called moisture overload.

Water is the number one natural moisturizer, so when looking for moisturizing products, you want to make sure they are water based and should be the first, if not a top ingredient.


Our hair is made up of 80% - 90% protein, Keratin to be exact. Protein gives our curls the strength and structure it needs. 

Having too much protein can cause the hair strands to be very stiff, often feeling brittle, dry and straw like. Making manipulation and detangling your curls near impossible. For example, we will look at uncooked pasta. It is tough and if you try and move it, it will snap and is super strong without any elasticity. This is called protein overload. Although our hair is made up of protein, protein treatments are necessary to prevent any damage and will help the hair to stay strong.

The Perfect Balance

If your pasta is cooked perfectly, then it will stretch but not break, will hold its form nicely and not be too soft.
Your hair seems to have a perfect balance so carry on doing you girl, you got this!

Wash Day Steps

  • Clarifying your hair is a great way to cleanse the hair and scalp from product build up, oils and removing any left over protein that may be on the surface of your strands. This will allow the moisturizing treatment to take to the hair and penertrate the cuticles.
  • Taking a strand of clean hair can also help indicate which product you should use next. Gently pull the strand of hair, if it stretches long before breaking off and then breaks, then you are in need of protein deep conditioner.
  • If the strand of hair snaps immediately while pulling, then a moisturizing deep conditioner is best. 
  • Deep condition with heat (This is great, especially for my low porosity naturals). Using heat will help the cuticles open up and will allow the conditioner to penetrate the hair shaft. You want to look out for a conditioner that has humectant properties.

Tip 1: If you find your hair to be a perfect mixture, try balancing out your moisture and protein products on wash day. Start with a protein free shampoo, protein conditioner, protein free leave-in, and a protein styler. Then swap methods next wash day.
Tip 2: Alternatively using a deep conditioner which caters to both is another great option. Having a good balance is key for healthy hair.

Do you have any tips and tricks when deciding which treatment your hair needs on wash day? What methods do you use to help determine which deep conditioner you go for? 
We'd love to hear your thoughts.

~ Love Uniqurl ~


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  • Danielle Whitehead: February 25, 2021

    Which product is best for the perfect wash&go??

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