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Moisture vs protein for curly hair
4 minute read

Does Your Curly Hair Need Moisture or Protein?

New to curl-care or want to find out whether your hair craves protein or moisture? You’re in the right place. Understanding what your curly hair needs is key in creating a balanced routine. 


Here’s the lowdown. 


Curly hair needs both protein and moisture to stay healthy and strong, but there are occasions when your curls will need more of one or the other. 

  • Protein for strengthening and repairing breakage
  • Moisture for hydration and elasticity (curls that bounce!)

    Our hair is made up of 91% protein (keratin) but repeated straightening, colour treatments and other heat styling can break down the protein. 



    How to tell if your hair needs protein or moisture 

    woman styling her dark brown, wavy hair with Bouclème products


    Everyone’s hair is different, but when it comes to moisture and protein balance, texture tells you more than curl pattern. So how do you know what your hair needs? Take a closer look at your strands before washing or styling (and don’t forget that low moisture levels can be a knock-on effect of high porosity hair). 

    Measure your hair’s elasticity

    When your hair is wet, try separating out a strand and stretching it. If there’s no elasticity, the strand will snap with little effort - this is an indication of lack of moisture. Good elasticity is when the strand takes on a lot of tension and bounces back without breaking. If it doesn’t bounce back but doesn’t break, your hair may be absorbing too much moisture from products.

    Measure your hair’s porosity

    Porosity is all about how much moisture your hair can retain. Just as you may have combination skin, it’s possible to have a mixture of different porosity throughout your hair. For example, you can have low porosity at the roots and high porosity at the ends, particularly if they are damaged. Here’s how to recognise porosity levels:

    1. Low porosity hair

    Low porosity hair doesn’t allow moisture in easily because the strands have tight cuticles. Strands can be easily weighed down by products as they sit on the surface rather than being absorbed. So what does low porosity hair need? Moisture but not protein (not much repair to be done here!).


    Read our guide to low porosity hair for detailed information on our best products to cleanse, condition and style. 

    2. Medium porosity hair

    Hair with a looser cuticle allows for a steady, moderate flow of moisture in and out of the hair. This kind of hair benefits from both moisture and protein, especially if it’s not colour treated as it will have little damage to worry about.

    3. High porosity hair

    High porosity hair may feel dry and break easily because it has gaps in the cuticle. It absorbs moisture easily but then releases it quickly. Chemical treatments like colouring can also lead to high porosity. What does high porosity hair need? Moisture (and make sure you seal that with an oil) plus a good dose of protein!

    Read our guide to high porosity hair products for detailed information on Bouclème’s tips for cleansing, conditioning and styling. 

    Signs of protein overload in curly hair

    If you've got a protein overload, your hair will feel stiff, crunchy, and rough to the touch. And it will look dull. It will still snap and break despite treatment. The remedy? Pause any further protein treatments. Instead deep condition with a moisturising mask or do an oil treatment before clarifying.

    Signs of moisture overload in curly hair

    If you've got moisture overload, your curls won’t hold their shape and your hair will feel weighed down, or soft and fluffy. The remedy? Opt for a clarifying wash (our Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo is perfect for the job) and make sure you add in a protein treatment like our new Protein Booster.

    Woman with curly hair applying Bouclème's Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo

    Protein for curly hair - our recommendation

    The easiest and best way to get protein directly to your hair is adding a protein treatment specifically formulated for curly and coily hair like our Protein Booster, featured on This Morning.  

    Bouclème's Protein Booster as featured on This Morning

    The key ingredient is hydrolyzed vegetable protein which strengthens bonds and restructures to improve shine, texture and moisture levels. Hydrolyzed means that the protein is broken down into smaller molecules (which are more readily absorbed into hair), for a bonding hair treatment that can enrich hair from the inside out.

    Our Protein Booster is super easy to use and fully customisable. Add 6 drops to a small palmful of cleanser or conditioner (press the button at the base of the bottle to release drops).

    • If you’re using the drops with a cleanser, leave it on your hair for five minutes and then rinse. 
    • If you’re using with a conditioner, leave it on your hair for 10 minutes and then rinse. 
    • Or, if you want a more intensive effect, leave it in your hair and style as usual.


    Bouclème's Protein Booster for curly hair

    Simple steps for improved elasticity, stronger bonds (to protect against breakage) and increased moisture retention. That’s it! 

    What if I don’t need protein?

    If your hair simply needs softening and deep conditioning to keep frizz at bay, moisture is the main thing for you. Water is hydrating so make sure you apply your conditioners and stylers onto wet hair to lock all the moisture in.


    Look for products that contain humectants and emollients like aloe vera and argan oil, they’re moisture-retaining. Our Intensive Moisture Treatment, Curl Cream, and Curl Conditioner are all chock-full of moisturising goodness that can help you find the right balance specifically for your hair.


    Need more expert advice? Our team is here for you, just email with a picture of your hair and we’ll help you find the best routine for you.


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    • Scalp scrub deep cleanses and massages scalp, energises, removing product build up and promoting healthy hair growth.

      Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo


    • Use these powerful drops of protein booster to improve hair elasticity and to strengthen your curls.

      Protein Booster


    • A powerful, award winning deep conditioning treatment to strengthen and redefine curls.

      Intensive Moisture Treatment


    • Created to quench curls, coils and waves its hydrating, lightweight formula softens strands, enhances definition and increases shine.

      Curl Conditioner


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