Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Using Hydrolyzed Protein as a Hair treatment

  • Using Hydrolyzed Protein as a Hair treatment

    Posted by Heath0o7 on January 18, 2024 at 8:03 pm

    Hi there,

    I recently got into formulating to improve my hair. I wanted to reach out for some help with understanding how hydrolyzed proteins work.

    My hair is curly, dry, brittle and frizzy. I decided to use hair botox which helped tame the frizzness and dryness of my hair. I don’t think the hair botox did any repairing. I think it was just like what keratin treatments do, except it being less harsh. I now want to grow my natural hair as the only reason I used a hair botox was so i can style my hair and get rid off the frizzyness. It has been over 6 months since i stopped using the treatment, and I have tried different Moisturizing products from hot oil treatments (my hair like Baobab oil) to using conditioners with cationic surfactants and polymers. Unfortunately, I’ve only noticed very little improvements, but my hair is still brittle, dry and frizzy. I suspect I may need a protein treatment, because I can’t remember when was the last time I used one.

    What I’m trying to understand about using proteins as a treatment is what would be the best method to incorporate hydrolyzed protein in my haircare. I can either formulate a protein mask (I have Silk and rice protein at home) and use about 2-3% leave it on my hair for 5-10 minutes or formulate a leave-in conditioner and put the same amount and only use it from time to time? To avoid protein overload.

    I understand that protein has very little benefit in rinse off products, is that the same for hair masks even if you leave it longer in your hair? If so, I can just make a leave-in conditioner.

    My hair mask formulation is a 50g batch:

    Water 82.75%

    Hydroxyethylcellulose 0.5%

    Hydrolyzed Silk/rice protein 3%

    BTMS-80 2.1%

    Brassica alcohol 6.3%

    Demithicone-500 2%

    Polyquaternium 7 0.5%

    Microcare DB 1%

    Potassium sorbate 0.15%

    Verstatil preservative 1%

    Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate 0.3%

    Fragrance 0.4%

    Leave-in conditioner 50g:

    Water 84.8%

    Hydroxyethylcellulose 0.5%

    Hydrolyzed silk/rice protein 3%

    BTMS-80 1.5%

    Brassica Alcohol 4.5%

    Demithicanol and cyclomethicone 2%

    Polyquaternium 7 1%

    Microcare DB 1%

    Potassium Sorbate 0.15%

    Verstatil preservative 1%

    Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate 0.3%

    Fragrance 0.25%

    Also, would silicone compete with Polyquaternium 7, so I should use either or? And I wasn’t sure how much BTMS active is considered safe in a leave-in conditioner so I left it as 1.2%. I appreciate the help!

    Heath0o7 replied 1 month, 2 weeks ago 3 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Perry44

    January 18, 2024 at 9:36 pm

    There is so much marketing stories in hair care that it’s hard to keep up. Hair masks are nothing more than thickened conditioners. They don’t actually do anything different. Protein has very little impact on hair and the notion of “protein overload” is just made up too. There is no scientific evidence that it is even a thing. I’m sure there is lots of anecdotal evidence but you can’t demonstrate it in the lab.
    In your formula, you’ve got Dimethicone and Polyquaternium 7. With those two ingredients the protein will have no noticeable impact on hair.

    In truth, in the industry we add protein to hair care products because consumers believe that it does something and marketers like to talk about it. But if you try to demonstrate there is an effect, it’s just not there. At least, for rinse off products. Leave-in products can get a film formed but again, if you have dimethicone in there the protein film is irrelevant.

    • Heath0o7

      January 18, 2024 at 9:59 pm

      @Perry44 thank you for the clarification. If I was to remove the demithicone and keep the protein in the leave in conditioner, would it provide hydration?

      Also, what do you think would be the best solution to reduce frizzyness and brittle hair? Should I keep trialing by increasing the BTMS active till it tames my frizz?

  • Perry44

    January 19, 2024 at 8:09 am

    The term “hydration” is a marketing term with multiple meanings. What do you specifically mean when you say provide hydration? Hydrolyzed proteins can work as humectants and attract water to the surface of hair. But Glycerin can do that much more efficiently and for a lower cost. So for that effect, companies use a high level of glycerin and a tiny drop of protein so they can make the claim. Again, the protein isn’t doing much.

    A combination of a silicone and a cationic surfactant like BTMS should work best at taming frizz. You could also try a lower molecular weight ingredient like Cetrimonium Chloride.

    • Heath0o7

      January 20, 2024 at 5:52 am

      What I meant by hydration is, my hair feels dry and brittle and I was looking for an ingredient to put in a leave-in conditioner that will soften my hair and keep the moisture locked so once my hair dries after shower it remains feeling soft and minimally frizzy. I think to achieve this, I could add 2.5-3% Glycerin, BTMS and Demithicone-500.

      I do have couple of questions:

      1) to use BTMS in a leave in conditioner, what is the maximum BTMS active you can use? I know with Cetrimonium chloride, it’s no more than 0.25% because of skin irritation.

      2) how much Demithicone-500 or 350 should I use? I’ve never formulated with Silicone before

      3) Is there a difference between using Demithicone vs demithiconol and cyclomethicone? In rinse off and leave on products.

      Thanks, I really appreciated the input

  • ketchito

    January 19, 2024 at 8:13 am

    I’m sure @Perry44 will have a better explanation, but I wanted to chip in if I may 🤓. I believe Perry was more prone to use other type of polymers than proteins for hair. Actually, what you put in your formulas are not whole proteins (since they are mostly insoluble), but hydrolyzed forms. From there, you’ll have peptides of different sizes. The big ones can still form films, but the smaller ones won’t. Filme from peptides are brittle and inferior than for instance silicones. And small peptides are either too soluble to reach hair or just getting inside hair by chance without altering its mechanical properties. For hydration, the best hydrator of all times is water, hehe…what you need is something to lock in hydration, and that’s when film formers like silicones or mineral oil are good at.

    • Heath0o7

      January 20, 2024 at 5:56 am

      Thanks for your input, that was helpful! I do have Demithicone-500, 350 and a silicone conditioner (demithiconol & cyclomethicone), I could use either of them.

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