Hair strengthening products are an integral part of any solid hair growing regimen. These “hair strengtheners” help the hair withstand day-to-day damage and breakage so that the hair realises greater length potential over time.
Significance of Strengthening Products
Because our hair is approximately 91 per cent protein by composition, protein plays a vital role in determining the hair's overall tensile strength. Almost all strengthening products contain protein. Increasing the hair’s tensile strength with strengthening products directly translates into hair growth, because strong hair resists breakage. When breakage is reduced over an extended period of time, hair grows and flourishes.
Types of Hair Strengtheners
Hair strengthening products fall into two basic categories: protein-based and moisture-based strengtheners. When product companies advertise hair strengthening products, they are generally referring to protein-based formulations. Protein-based strengtheners rely on the action of large, reinforcing protein complexes that bind to the outer hair shaft for added strength. These heavy protein products add rigid strength to the hair and offer little in the way of moisture and conditioning. Moisture-based products also contain proteins and can also strengthen the hair; however, they are not formulated to add rigid strength to the strand. Rather, these products work by using light proteins and humectants to increase the hair's elasticity, or its ability to be stretched and manipulated. The greatest hair strength and health combination is achieved when both protein and moisture strengthening product methods are balanced within a hair regimen. This balance, maintained over time, will encourage hair growth.
Protein-Based Strengthening Features
Protein-based hair strengthening products are by far the most common strengtheners. They are sometimes called “protein reconstructors,” “protein packs" or "protein treatments.” These strengtheners tend to include heavier, shaft-coating proteins like animal protein and keratin that bind to the outer hair shaft like an invisible shield. These proteins are not washed out easily. Products like Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair, Aphogee 2-Minute Keratin Reconstructor and Joico-K PaK conditioners are examples of these protein-based strengtheners.
Moisture-Based Strengthening Features
Moisture-based strengthening products infuse the hair with moisture and enhance the hair’s elasticity and pliability from within. These strengtheners tend to include light protein ingredients like silk and wheat proteins, and their strengthening effects tend to diminish from wash to wash. Examples of these moisture strengthening products include Kenra Moisturizing Conditioner, KeraCare Moisturizing Conditioner and Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner.
Selecting the appropriate category of strengthener to fight breakage and improve hair growth and retention is important. Protein-based strengtheners should be used on the hair whenever the hair feels stretchy, gummy or limp-feeling prior to breaking. Moisture-based strengtheners should be used when the hair breakage is “dry” or “snappy” in nature.
Most hair strengthening products require heat to be applied while the hair is protected under a plastic cap for 10 to 30 minutes. Heat application ensures maximum penetration of the hair shaft and binding for longer lasting effects. Please be sure to follow all product labels and instructions for treatment steps.