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Keratin is an essential protein building block for most animals (not just humans!) Keratin is the building block of hair and nails, as well as horns, hooves, tortoise shells, and even reptile skin. And as one of the single sturdiest animal materials, it's now made its way into the beauty industry.
The Brazilian keratin treatment (also known as a Brazilian blowout) is the salon treatment that first made keratin famous within the hair care realm. It lasts a few months and works miracles on frizz. Most of the keratin harvested for this kind of beauty procedure (straightening and smoothing treatments) comes from one of two places: chicken feathers or sheep wool. One of the two better resembles human DNA, making it the better choice. So, what makes wool-derived keratin so beneficial for the hair?
Get a sneak peek of all the perks with our hair care line!
How it Works
Keratin is durable and, therefore, a critical component for the mechanical strength of hair. It strengthens the strand both inside and out. Although we often think of hairstyling in terms of outward appearance, the inner hair shaft's health substantially affects the hair's appearance and performance.
While one of the primary goals in the beauty industry is to alter the outer layer (the hair cuticle) for styling, the inner layer (cortex) is often damaged during the process. Damage to the cortex can lead to long-term problems. One direct consequence of not taking good care of the cortex is the loss of color. This layer of the hair shaft is responsible for holding the hair's pigment. So, if the cortex suffers, hair color suffers.
Damage to the cortex happens in various ways, including (but not limited to) intense sun exposure, bleaching or coloring, and harsh chemical detergents used in conventional shampoos.
How does keratin help address the damage, keeping breakage, splitting, and fading color at bay? It fills in the cracks and gaps on the outer layer while simultaneously repairing the inner layers. Keratin penetrates the hair, reinforcing it from the inside and coating it on the outside, strengthening each strand from the outside in. This is great news for anyone struggling with damage, frizzy hair, or ‘washed out’ color!
That's right; keratin doesn't just repair 'invisible' damage. It also shows incredible smoothing and straightening capabilities. In the study previously mentioned, researchers compared bleached hair to a control group of unbleached, curly hair and discovered that keratin restores even chemically damaged hair dramatically. Bleached hair was repaired and thickened by nearly 49%.
The Pitfalls of Styling
Heat styling, such as blow-drying and using a flat iron, often causes breakage and dry hair as well as inflammation and irritation in the scalp. Over time, these symptoms can inhibit hair growth, contribute to split ends, and eventually cause hair loss.
The bottom line is that high heat, when blasted at the scalp, weakens both the hair and the skin on your head. Excessive heat can also cause frizz and fade both natural and artificial colors. All that to say, specific chemical processes (like coloring treatments with harsh chemicals) and styling tools can wreak havoc on healthy hair. We aren't saying you have to throw out all your styling tools and favorite treatments entirely. But heat damage is no joke! So if you're a daily user, we recommend cutting back and giving your natural, beautiful hair a chance to shine through!
We also, of course, recommend treating damaged hair with gentle, reparative ingredients. Keratin is a big piece of that puzzle, and, especially when combined with certain key ingredients, it can do its job even better.
5 Ingredients That Help Keratin Restore Hair Health
Nettle is an exciting and powerful partner for keratin. Nettle reduces inflammation, eases irritation, and helps the hair retain moisture. The vitamin A in nettle moisturizes skin, combats breakouts, and reduces wrinkles or splotches. Nettle is effective at prepping the skin to support healthier, thicker hair, and it also boosts natural volume and hair growth by regulating mineral buildup on the scalp. The short version? Nettle = more and stronger hair! The ingredient pair in our collection makes for quite an effective team.
Argan oil is a rare and somewhat scarce natural ingredient. Even a little goes a long way, hence its nickname, "liquid gold." It moisturizes, aids wound repair, reduces stretch marks, and is an anti-aging wonder. It contains allantoin and melatonin, which promote the growth of healthy tissue. And while keratin can help repair sun damage, argan oil protects the hair against UV damage in the first place.
The fat content in argan oil is the key to the delivery of vitamins; vitamins become more bioavailable when delivered alongside fat. Argan oil's fat content also helps administer the nutrients nettle offers to the hair and scalp. And because of argan oil's other qualities, it aids in protecting against breakage and dryness. It is a wonderful conditioner agent to pair with any protein treatment, especially if you're taking on the challenge of taming frizz.
Panthenol is a unique B vitamin with an extraordinary impact on hair. It is a humectant, emollient, and shine expert. With keratin and nettle thickening hair, you'll need more shine to go around and a way to retain moisture. That's where this provitamin comes in handy. How? Humectants are hydrating agents, and emollients retain water, improving the skin barrier function so that the newfound hydration is not lost to the air. This B vitamin is both. Along with moisture and shine, panthenol contributes to softness. So, as keratin and nettle thicken the hair, panthenol keeps everything smooth, soft, and under control.
Quinoa is a superfood that also belongs in your hair. It coats the hair, leaving a protective film on hair strands, like keratin. And like keratin, it contributes to new hair growth and strength. It is a second round of protein treatment your hair will love you for. Quinoa can aid color retention as well as combat breakage, and it continually increases that hair's resistance to damage over time.
Lavender is more than a lovely, soothing scent. It detoxifies the scalp, boosts hair growth, and calms the nervous system. Studies suggest that lavender's soothing effects are powerful enough to relax you even after consuming caffeine! Even better, lavender begins working its benefits into the scalp almost instantly. The essential oil absorbs exceptionally quickly into the skin, making it an excellent remedy for calming ourselves and detoxing our hair follicles.
Get All These Amazing Ingredients at Once
We use all these powerhouse ingredients and more in our all-natural Hair Care collection, and we sourced them all carefully and sustainably. We are a B Corp-certified company, meaning that our business practices adhere to the highest standards of ethics and sustainability. We care deeply about being a positive force in the personal care product industry, and we want to maintain an increasingly positive impact on both the planet and every loyal customer who uses our hair products. We've spent years carefully formulating these powerful, non-toxic hair care products that nourish your body from the outside in. We hope you love them as much as we do!
Basit, A., Asghar, F., Sadaf, S., & Akhtar, M. W. (2018). Health improvement of human hair and their reshaping using recombinant keratin K31. Biotechnology reports (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 20, e00288. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.btre.2018.e00288
Gong, H., Zhou, H., Forrest, R. H., Li, S., Wang, J., Dyer, J. M., Luo, Y., & Hickford, J. G. (2016). Wool Keratin-Associated Protein Genes in Sheep-A Review. Genes, 7(6), 24. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes7060024
Bragulla, H. H., & Homberger, D. G. (2009). Structure and functions of keratin proteins in simple, stratified, keratinized and cornified epithelia. Journal of anatomy, 214(4), 516–559. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01066.x
Wells, K. (2021, February 17). How To Get More From Argan Oil. Wellnesse. https://wellnesse.com/blogs/health/argan-oil.
Wells, K. (2021, February 17). The Effects of Lavender Essential Oil On Hair Growth. Wellnesse. https://wellnesse.com/blogs/health/the-effects-of-lavender-essential-oil-on-hair-growth.
Wells, K. (2021, February 17). Quinoa: Why this Superfood Belongs in Your Hair Too. Wellnesse. https://wellnesse.com/blogs/health/quinoa-hair.
Wells, K. (2021, January 22). Panthenol: How this Special B Vitamin Leads to Amazing Hair. Wellnesse. https://wellnesse.com/blogs/health/panthenol-hair.
Wells, K. (2021, January 6). The Unique Way Nettle Supports Hair Growth. Wellnesse. https://wellnesse.com/blogs/health/nettle-hair-growth.