How do you know when your hair needs moisture or when it needs protein? I've been struggling with this question for a long time because so many people have said "you will just know". That doesn't help at all, so I did some research and I FINALLY got my answer. Of course, I will share what I found so that you can know too.
Why do we need protein and moisture?
Before I tell you how you know when your hair needs what, you should first know why your hair needs it. Protein strengthens and structures the hair, which makes sense because hair is made up of 70% keratin protein. Note: if you have a relaxer or your hair is color treated, then you need more protein than those who do not; these processes break the protein bond in the hair which leave your hair weaker.
Moisture is what helps hair maintain its elasticity (how much it is able to stretch). The most important part of keeping moisturized hair is to remember to seal it using an oil. After washing your hair or applying a moisturizing leave in, do not forget to seal with an oil (castor oil, olive oil, jojoba, etc)
How do I know which one I need?
Since your hair needs protein to keeps its strength, you would do a protein treatment when your hair feels weak and brittle.
When your hair feels dry and crunchy, you need a moisture treatment.
Still don't understand?
I don't blame you, it is a little confusing but hopefully these next two examples will help:
1. If your hair is feeling dry and crunchy (think of a brillo pad) and you notice that when you comb your hair you see tiny hairs breaking off. Then you need a moisture treatment
2. If you hair looks weak, dull, and when you comb longer pieces of hair come out, or its really stretchy when wet, then you need a protein treatment.
Check out this article for more information, it gives a lot of examples
Moisture and Protein Article