A Guide To Choosing Protein and Moisture Products

In order to identify if a product contains protein, you need to read the ingredients.

It is important to always read the ingredients of a hair product as opposed to just reading the label.
Just because you see “ Moisturizing Deep Conditioner” doesn’t mean it only as moisture ingredients. Our hair needs protein and some protein types can improve the moisture level in your hair. Therefore, brands have chemists that understand different chemical reactions . They often incorporate protein in moisture products for the health of our hair. You know your hair better than anyone else. Too much of one thing can be bad. Do not fear protein! Simply, be aware of it so you know how to balance everything out.

Differentiating a protein ingredient from a moisture ingredient is great. However, this guide provides descriptions of the most common ingredients. A common misconception is that all protein is the same. They all belong to the “protein family” but they may have different roles.

Photo credit : Activilong

Although DIY hair treatments may offer some benefits, when it comes to effectively repairing the hair , the protein in eggs are just too large to penetrate the hair shaft.

Eggs and mayonnaise homemade treatments have always been popular. When I started my hair journey , I tried it the homemade egg treatment. I did notice that my hair was strong. Upon research, I found out that eggs have an amino acid called cysteine which can attach to the hair and make the hair strong. So it is clear that using eggs in your hair provides some strength. In fact, there are many things that have strengthening properties that are not protein.After thorough research, I would not equate a homemade egg treatment to a professional treatment. In my opinion, an egg is not sufficient to most people’s hair needs especially those with processed hair. Based on my research, I rather eat my eggs and use a protein product designed for my hair.

In order for the protein to effectively repair the damage in your hair, the protein needs to go through hydrolysis.
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction that breaks down the protein molecules into particles. The molecular weights of the particles are so low that can effectively absorbed by the hair.

Photo credit : A comprehensive presentation on Four levels of protein structure for MBBS, BDS, B Pharm

These smaller protein pieces can penetrate the hair shaft, replace the lost protein, and strengthen the hair from inside.

Hydrolyzed proteins help improve moisture retention and elasticity while giving hair softness, shine, and bounce.

Examples of protein to look for in the ingredient list :

Hydrolyzed keratin– It coats and penetrates the hair shaft. Our hair is made up of keratin so I find hydrolysed Keratin in a hair product a plus. “When you use hydrolyzed keratin on your hair topically, it helps fill the minor gaps throughout the hair shaft, including its three layers – the medulla, cortex and cuticle. It’s like pouring cement into a crack.”Advaitaa Ravi

Photo Credit : essential wholesale.com

Hydrolyzed wheat– Reduces breakage, helps with tangles and frizz. Great for overly porous and fine hair . The results are noticeable right after use and hair appears thicker.

Photo credit : Kima Tech Alex

•Hydrolyzed silk-Improves hair elasticity, fills in the gap in cuticle, provides lots of silkiness compared to other forms of protein. It also helps with water retention hence allows the hair to be moisturized and manageable.

Photo Credit: Earth Science Natural

•Hydrolized soy protein– It strengthens hair fiber, increases shine and moisture retention , smoothes the hair and also makes it more manageable.

Photo credit : Pinterest

Hydrolized rice protein– Increases hair volume , shine and tensile strength.

Photo Credit: Formulator Sample Shop

•Hydrolized oat protein – Boost the moisturizing properties of products. Also thickens hair according to cosmetic chemist Nicole Harmon.

Photo Credit: Zen Aroma

•Amino acid – Using amino acids can enhance the keratin which exists in your hair already. Result in stronger, smoother and manageable hair.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Peptides– Made of a chain of amino acids. “Peptides are in every cell and tissue in the human body. You need a certain level of peptides to achieve healthy hair.“ They stimulate follicle growth, and promote natural hair production and improvement of hair color.”
according to Modern Therapy.

Photo credit : Win-leader. Miljadaire.com

There are more but the ones I listed are very common.

The nice packaging and label get our attention. So if a product promises to be moisturizing and detangling and it doesn’t have protein whatsoever , it is in fact a moisture based product .


Listed below , are common ingredients to look for when buying moisturizing products.

This list isn’t the end be all . Just the ones we often encounter.

Water– Principal source of moisture. It is also a main solvent. It helps dissolves other ingredients.

Photo credit: Accenture.com

Humectants– they all have great moisturizing effects that draw moisture into the hair and skin.
Aloe Vera

•Of course water


• Hyaluronic acid


Photo Credit : Leslie Baumann MD

Emollients They lubricate and provide slip. They also lock in the moisture which protects the hair from the elements.

    Butters Natural oils
    Silicones(dimethicone, amodimethicone, cyclomethicone…etc) Mineral oil
Photo credit: Healing Harvest Homestead

Fatty Alcohols– These fatty alcohols come from plants and help keep the hair moisturized.

Photo credit: Indiamart.com
•lauryl alcohol
•myristyl alcohol
•behenyl alcohol


Natural Polymers -They have great conditioning properties and also provide slip.
One type of natural polymer is cellulose: •polyquaternium-4 or polyquaternium-10
Polysacharides: guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride.
Photo credit :Royal Society of Chemistry

Synthetic Polymers: they’re more common in skin care but can be found in hair care products.


Extracts: The ones listed below have moisturizing properties.

•Aloe or aloe Vera extract
Elder flowers or Sambucus nigra
•Flaxseed or linseed, Linum usitatissimum– provides great slip.
Marigold extract (Calendula O
fficinalis Extract
•Rose petals or Rosa spp
•Seaweed or Kelp

Photo credit: Viviscal

Order of Ingredients

Photo credit: booster.up

Last but not least is the order of ingredients. The first ingredients usually have the higher concentration.

A rule of thumb is to pay attention to the first 5 or 6 ingredients.

If protein is one of the first 5, then the product has high concentration of protein.

As an example , I’m going to use ApHogee Two Step Treatment.

Photo credit : Aphogee.com

Here are the ingredients : 1. Deionized Water 2.Hydrolyzed Animal Protein 3.Magnesium Sulfate 4.Citric Acid 5.Ethylene Urea 6.Dimethylol Urea 7.Cocamidopropyl Betaine 8.Magnesium Carbonate 9.DMDM Hydantoin 10.Fragrance

As we can see , protein is number 2 on the list so that tells you that it has a strong protein content.

The “ order of ingredients rule” is a great way to estimate the content of a particular ingredient . The manufacturer does not give us clues about the exact percentage nor do we know how exactly it is formulated . All we have is the ingredient list.So we better use it . Feel free to use the order of ingredients rule with any products.

How to know when your hair needs or moisture ? This answer is right here !!

I hope this article was helpful. Drop your questions below .

Thanks for reading!



1. Skinkraft Laboratories
Why Hydrolyzed Keratin Can Be Great For Your Hair?
Reviewed by Expert
Prutha B.Nawale (M.tech, Cosmetic Technology)
Evidence Based
2. Dragica Mitrovic, Serbia.
3. Rossano Ferretti
4. Do You Need Amino Acids And Keratin In Your Shampoo? by Berk Demirci July 15, 2019
6. Peptides for Hair Growth by Modern Therapy
7. https://www.humblebeeandme.com/project/hydrolyzed-oat-protein/

9. https://activilong.com/en/content/95-structure-composition-of-the-hair

10. https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/rohinisane/four-levels-of-protein-structure-153436341

11. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/475622410623386287/

12. https://zendesigns.co.nz/product/hydrolyzed-oat-protein/

13. http://earthsciencenaturals.com/ingredients_glossary/10005/Hydrolyzed-Silk-Protein.html

14. https://essentialwholesale.com/hydrolyzed-keratin-protein?gclid=CjwKCAiAlNf-BRB_EiwA2osbxSCJwtFRyD0z6EKcMmE1IU30dGiE7yUUVFbDkfS8XHLsxnZ1fAHAQBoCGsUQAvD_BwE

15. https://kimatechalex.com/product/wheat-protein-hydrolyzed/

16. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amino-acids-for-hair-growth/

17. http://www.win-leader.miljardaire.com/feature-products/ghk-cu-hair-re-growth-treatment

18. http://www.win-leader.miljardaire.com/feature-products/ghk-cu-hair-re-growth-treatment

19. https://lesliebaumannmd.com/what-are-humectants/

20. https://www.healingharvesthomestead.com/home/2017/12/12/20-best-oils-butters-for-your-homemade-skin-care-products-find-out-the-pros-cons-of-different-carrier-oilst

21. https://m.indiamart.com/proddetail/fatty-alcohol-4216363248.htmyy

22. https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/hair-and-polymers-click/3001906.article

23. https://www.viviscal.com/horsetail-plant-extract/


25. https://sciworthy.com/which-came-first-the-cysteine-or-the-egg/

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