Naturally Occurring Proteins That are Great for the Hair

While it’s normal to shed hair daily, you will notice extra strands clogging your shower drain during this time of the year. Hair loss is typically attributed to iron deficiency, but it can also be brought about by lack of protein in the hair.

Protein is the building block of hair. Without it, hair can become weak and brittle, leading to hair loss.

The Wet Stretch Test

So how do we determine if our hair suffers from protein deficiency? The Wet Stretch Test will help you find the answer:

  1. Separate about 10 strands of hair and spray with water.
  2. Hold the strands tight with both hands and gently pull the hair.
  3. Hair that stretches in returns to its normal length is a sign of healthy hair. But if it doesn’t return to its normal length and breaks is a clear indication of hair lacking protein.

The good news is – protein naturally occurs in food and plants, and is available to consumers mostly in hydrolyzed form.

Hydrolyzed means it’s broken down into smaller units. Some proteins (such as the ones below) can be extremely large and needs to be broken down so the hair can absorb them better. Check out the 5 common naturally occurring proteins that you can incorporate in your client’s treatment.

Natural Sources of Protein

Hydrolized Wheat Protein

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein is a water-soluble protein derived from wheat that’s highly sought-after for its strengthening and moisturizing benefits. It helps reduce the hair’s porosity and increase its ability to retain moisture, resulting in smooth, shiny locks.

Present in: Oway Phytoprotein Mist

Hydrolyzed Silk Protein

Silk is one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, making it a popular source of protein. The hydrolyzed components of silk protein help improve the hair’s elasticity and increase its resiliency by forming a crystalline barrier on the strands. Silk is also credited for its ability to hold 10,000 its weight in water, thus increasing the hair’s ability to retain moisture.

Present in: Oway Hbleach Butter Cream Lightener

Hydrolized Soy Protein

Like Wheat Protein, hydrolyzed soy protein is water soluble. Due to its moisturizing and protective properties, this vegetable-sourced protein increases each strand’s ability to bind moisture, adding shine and manageability to the hair. It also contains cysteine, a proteinogenic amino acid that penetrates the hair shaft and help improve its tensile strength.

Present in: Oway Rebuilding Serum

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

This type of protein works like other popular animal-based proteins, only better. Due to its humectant qualities, it absorbs into the hair faster and more easily without leaving any build up.

Present in: Oway Color Protection Hair Bath


Keratin Protein

Formaldehyde-Free-Hair-Smoothing-TreatmentKeratin naturally occurs in the human body. It is the essential protein that make up our hair, skin, and nails. And while Keratin cannot be found in plants, we can always eat food that will help boost keratin production in our body. These are foods rich in proteins, biotin, and vitamin A. However, hair products containing Keratin Complex source this protein from animal hair.

Present in: Smooth Rituals Keratin Smooth Treatment (Keratin Complex sourced ethically, cruelty-free)


While these types of protein are readily available everywhere, using protein should be done in moderation. When used improperly and excessively, it can lead to over-proteinized hair – which also leads to hair loss and breakage. This is why we recommend seeking a hair professional’s opinion before sticking with a regimen.