Balance of Moisture and Protein is key in any Curly Hair Regime

The secret to shinier, frizz free, perfectly defined curls is to achieve strong healthy hair that is adequately moisturised. It is easier than you think and all that is required is a healthy balance of moisture and protein.

Protein for strength and moisture for softness.

Too much or too little of anything is generally not ideal for your health or your hair. When your hair is not in balance, like in food, here are some tell-tale signs your hair gives you.

With curlyhair, cuticle layers are typically raised and do not tend to lay flat. Because of this unique property, it tends to shine less than straight hair and does not feel as smooth as straight hair.

In addition, because of the uneven cuticles, it also allows moisture to escape more easily, leaving your curly hair prone to dryness.


Human hair is made mostly of a fibrous protein called keratin. Chemical bonds stitch these proteins together, giving it strength and rigidity. In healthy hair, these bonds—known as disulfide bridges—are secure and unbroken.

But it does not stay secure and unbroken forever – everyday stress takes their toll on your hair including; heat, hair straighteners, bleaches, and dyes.

These all work together to break the disulfide bridges, making your curly hair brittle.

To rectify this, a combination of moisture and protein work like magic!

Why does my hair need Protein?

Proteins keep the disulfide bridges together and stronger, which in turn makes your hair stronger and less likely to break. See above for information on disulfide bridges.

Why does my hair need moisture?

Moisture hydrates the disulfide bridges, which is what keeps the hair soft and easy to comb, brush and style.

The 2-second moisture vs protein deficiency test for curly hair

If your hair breaks or snaps when brushing or styling, it is not strong and needs protein. If your hair looks limp, matte and dry, it needs moisture.

Keep reading to discover to understand what is really needed, why and how to bring your curls back into balance.

How to know when your hair needs more moisture?

Curly hair loses moisture a lot easier than straight hair, purely based on the curl pattern and how much more surface area of the hair strand is exposed.

Which means moisture is KEY for beautiful, shiny, frizz-free curls.

Curly Ellie Detangling Spray

A daily dose of our Detangling Spray is definitely one way to combat this issue. It contains Glycerin with literally absorbs moisture into your hair from the world around you and helps to hydrate the disulfide bridges and smooth down the cuticles.

Tell-tale signs to look out for that SCREAM “your curls need moisture “



The Moisture Test: If you try to stretch your hair and it does not stretch at all, your curls need moisture.

Your hair can also:

  • Feel dry
  • Feel rough
  • Be frizzy
  • Lack curl definition
  • Be dull and matte

A great way to get maximum moisture into your hair using the Intensive Mask is to coat the hair in mask, cover and steam.

CurlyEllie Hair Mask

If you notice any of these tell-tale signs, your hair probably needs regular deep conditioning treatments, such as the Intensive Treatment Mask to help moisturise the disulfide bridges.

Have a look at our post on the best way to use our Intensive Mask!


Too much moisture in your hair ?

With curls, moderation is the name of the game and over moisturising also has its own drawbacks.

How can you tell if you have gone the opposite way and over moisturised your hair?

Over-moisturising can lead to your hair feeling any of or a combination of the following:

  • Greasy
  • Sticky
  • Spongey
  • Mushy
  • Frizzy
  • Heavy/weighed down

To combat this, you can swap out some co-washes with our Gentle Shampoo.

Now you have your moisture balance, you may find that your hair is lacking in protein if your hair still seems fragile or is prone to breaking.

How to know when your hair needs more protein?

Protein, you may ask! Recap – remember that your hair literally is protein?

Hair is made up of protein filaments, called keratin, and amino acids. The proteins are the building blocks of your hair; they give strands strength and structure. If you do not have enough protein in your hair, you will notice that that your hair will look and feel brittle and fragile.

Tell-tale signs to look out for that SCREAM “Your curls need protein “

The Protein Test: Your hair feels squishy or marshmellow-like, stretches and doesn’t return to its original shape or breaks easily.

You will be able to tell if your hair needs more protein as it will become brittle and more prone to breakage.

Your hair can:

  • Look stringy
  • Feel sticky
  • Look Limp
  • Be weak and easily breaking
  • Have more than normal hair loss

However, you can add protein back into your hair with your hair products and through diet!

Curly Ellie Leave In Conditioner

I love the Leave In Conditioner, packed with protein goodness to leave your curls healthy and strong.

Very fine or thin hair can also benefit from added protein, which can help make strands look thicker and stronger.

In extreme cases, such as heat damage or chemical damage, weak hair (lack of protein) will cause breakage and a loss of curl pattern. Opt for our Leave-in Conditioner and Styling Serum.

A small disclaimer here is that, although curls have a memory, it is possible that the heat damage may have caused irreparable damage and you should moderate your expectations.

How to know when your hair has too much protein ?

Do you have too much protein? This is how to tell.

  • Your hair looks matte and isn’t shiny.

This is easily rectified. Simply wash off your products with a shampoo and start all over again with just a little less product on your hair.

The Strand Test for Moisture vs Protein Balance

The great thing about this test is that anyone can do it and it is super simple.

  • Step 1: Wet your hair until is soaking wet.
  • Step 2: Pull out one strand.
  • Step 3: Test out your hairs elasticity by stretching out the strand and wait for the results.


  • Does it stretch? Yes
  • Does it immediately snap? Yes

If your hairs elasticity is great, your curls stretch and does not immediately snap, letting you know that your hair is well balanced.

  1. If your curls are not elastic and they stretch and then snap, your hair is dry and needs moisture.
  2. If it does not stretch and then immediately snaps, your disulfide bridges are broken and no longer completely secure.


Here at CurlyEllie we get our protein in our collection from quinoa Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. All of this is essential for healthy hair!

Although our collection will provide your hair with protein, for long lasting protein restoration to your curls, it is best to address protein deficiency in your hair through your diet. The easiest, cheapest and most natural way is to eat more protein and wait for your hair to catch up to your new healthier lifestyle.

The CurlyEllie collections are designed to help your hair keep at that perfect balance, with some products containing more or less protein than others, leaving your hair perfectly harmonised with moisture and protein.  Well balanced hair feels smooth, stretches a little bit and then returns to its original state.

All curls are so different and unique that it is important that you find a routine and combination that works for you.

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