Protein Treatments for Kids with Natural Hair
As naturals, we are often taught that moisture is the single most important ingredient towards growing and maintain a healthy head of hair. However, in order to achieve optimum health, it’s important that there be a balance of both moisture and protein. Why is protein important? Protein can help maintain proper PH levels in the hair and keep it strong. When the PH is out of whack, naturals can experience mushy, limp hair, extreme shedding and breakage. That being said, protein treatments are not for everyone and they are certainly not required for every natural hair journey, especially if your child’s hair is thriving. However, if you’ve noticed that your child’s hair appears limp and brittle, then your child may need a protein treatment.
Hair is composed mainly of a very strong protein called keratin which is also found in feathers, claws, and fingernails. Hair is also made up of vitamins, metals, melanin and water. Any disruption in the composition of the hair can cause brittle hair, which can lead to breakage.
When you do a protein treatment on your child’s hair, the proteins in the product that you are using temporarily attach to the hair follicle and strengthen the cuticle by filling in any gaps. This prevents further damage to the hair strand and protects it from normal wear and tear.
When to Do Them
Understanding your child’s hair care needs can be difficult because as they grow, their hair texture is constantly evolving. Because of this, it is advised to wait until your child has reached the age of 5 before doing a protein treatment on their hair. Some protein treatments can be incredibly strong. So you definitely want to wait until your child is of an age where their hair can handle it. If you attempt to give them a protein treatment, as a toddler, it might not be a welcome experience for their fragile strands.
How to Assess
Before determining whether or not you should do a protein treatment, it’s important to ask yourself if you’ve done everything possible to make sure they have healthy hair. Have you been doing regular trims? Have you moisturized your child’s hair appropriately? Have you limited heat? Do you protect their hair at night while they sleep? If you know that you’ve done all of those things, then review this list to see if a protein treatment is needed.
- Strand Test: If you take a strand of your child’s hair, stretch it and then release it, do the curls spring up, or do they just stay stretched? If the hair continues to stay stretched and appears limp, then you may need a treatment.
- Feel Test: Is your child’s hair overly moist? Don’t get us wrong, moisture is a great thing, but when the hair is so moist to the point where it appears limp, and thin, then it may be time for a treatment. If the hair feels gummy, stringy, weak or limp, your child may need a protein treatment.
How To Do Them
Once you’ve decided to do a protein treatment on your child’s natural hair, please know that you do have options. You can go via the organic route, or the store bought route.
Organic- Do It Yourself Protein Treatment
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ squashed avocado
- 1 tbsp. of honey.
Note: you can also substitute coconut milk in place of the mayonnaise, or substitute a banana in place of the avocado.
Mix all of the ingredients into a bowl. Divide your child’s hair into medium sized sections. Begin to apply the mixture from root to tip, making sure you cover the strands thoroughly. Cover the hair. Let treatment sit on hair for 30 to 60 minutes. Rinse. Then follow up with shampoo and deep conditioner.
From the Store
We recommend steering clear of the heavier protein treatments, also known as reconstructors as they can sometimes leave the hair extremely stiff. Try to go for light protein infused conditioners like Aubrey Organics GPB, Hydratherma Naturals – Protein Leave In, or Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise. Apply the product to sections of your child’s hair from root to tip. Cover the hair. Let the treatment sit on hair for 30 to 60 minutes. Rinse. Then follow up with shampoo and conditioner.
If your little one’s hair is thriving without the use of a protein treatment, then doing one is completely unnecessary. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. But if you know it’s time, follow the method above, and you’ll definitely notice a difference and decrease in broken, brittle strands!
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