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What is silk protein and what benefits does it have for your hair?

The history of hair care is a long one full of popular and obscure products to help keep it looking beautiful, healthy and strong. Just how long we’ve been experimenting with different proteins, dyes and more goes a long way to proving just how important we consider looking after our hair to be, and many people are still looking for their perfect hair saviour.

In this article, we’re going to be talking about one of the more popular hair treatments; silk proteins. Read on to discover exactly what silk proteins are, and learn how your hair can benefit from its miraculous effects, no matter your hair type.

What are silk proteins?

While most people would be able to tell you that silk is made from silkworms, and some may even know that the highest quality of silk, Mulberry silk, is made by silkworms that have been fed on a diet of Mulberry trees from China, there are fewer people still that understand the makeup of silk itself.

Composed of two primary proteins, the fibrous protein fibroin and the sticky protein sericin, silk has a unique protein structure that is responsible for the health and beauty properties silk is famed for. Luxuriously soft, wrinkle-resistant, moisture retentive and hypoallergenic, especially in the case of Mulberry silk, the amino acids in silk have been recognised for their incredible array of scientific, medicinal and cosmetic applications, many of which have been employed in countries such as China for centuries.

What does silk protein do for hair?

Among the long list of uses people have found for silk and silk proteins is the miraculous effect they can have on hair. A main ingredient of many hair treatments, silk amino acids are used for a multitude of purposes, the main one being to restore and rebuild the keratin of hair, reviving its natural strength, moisture and silkiness.

This hair revival is achieved through the silk protein’s ability to simultaneously boost the tensile strength of your hair, giving it an additional layer of protection against traditionally destructive styling techniques such as straightening, curling and blow drying, whilst not weighing your hair down. Because of silk protein's ability to repair damaged hair through increased keratin production and the incredible amount of water it can retain, silk protein is also able to boost both hair strength and moisture, both of which are common complaints. This leaves your hair strong, flexible and beautifully light, no matter whether it's naturally curly, frizzy, straight or wavy.

Silk protein hair treatments

There are three main silk protein hair treatments that you can get in order to smoothen, rehydrate and revitalise the strength of your hair. To help you decide which suits you best, we’ll go through the main pros and cons of each treatment, including sub-types, convenience and, of course, results.

Salon keratin hair treatments

One of the fastest ways to see staggering results in the strength of your hair, salon keratin hair treatments (also sometimes called a Brazilian blowout or a smoothing treatment) are intended to smoothen and straighten hair by rebuilding and coating the strands. Many of the men and women who choose these treatments are hoping to eliminate frizz, straighten unwanted curls and bring a glossy finish to their hair.

Unfortunately, this method of smoothing and strengthening has its downsides, many of which are considered too drastic to risk. Depending on the treatment you choose, for example, keratin hair treatments can be highly chemically intensive. Treatments that utilise formaldehyde can be especially damaging with repeated and prolonged exposure and, for a treatment that typically provides results for up to three months, repeated exposure is often required in order to maintain a look in the long term. Additionally, with COVID-19 throwing uncertainty over the salon industry, it may be time to find other keratin-rich treatments that can be done from the safety and comfort of your own home, to ensure your usual hair care routine is not interrupted.

Silk protein hair care products

A significantly easier way of reaping the benefits of silk proteins natural ability to strengthen and moisturise hair, specialist silk protein hair products such as shampoos, conditioners and hair masks can be used to create your own keratin-enhancing hair care routine at home. As with salon treatments, products will vary from brand to brand so some level of research is required to ensure your chosen product is safe and effective and appropriate for your hair type.

A major benefit of this type of treatment is that it can be a pampering activity that encourages time spent solely on self care and relaxation, which everyone can benefit from. Scheduling an evening for yourself to have a drink, do a face mask and treat your hair with silk protein can do the world of good, and not just for your hair!

Sleeping on a silk pillowcase

While visiting the salon for keratin hair treatments or performing the treatments yourself at home using silk protein hair products can be scheduled regularly to make a worthwhile hair care routine, there’s no avoiding the fact that they have the potential to be expensive and time consuming to maintain. The last method, sleeping on a silk pillowcase every night, has neither of these issues. A one time payment that will last for years to come, investing in a silk pillowcase is an incredibly efficient way to see that your hair gets the silk proteins it needs, all without even needing to be awake!

The hair related benefits of sleeping on a 100% silk pillowcase are twofold. Firstly, in choosing to rest using a silk pillowcase, you are actively choosing not to use the cotton alternatives that make up the vast majority of bedding sets. Cotton pillowcases can damage your hair as the rougher fibers cause friction that can result in split ends. Cotton is also a fabric known for its ability to absorb the moisture and oils naturally produced by your hair, leaving it dry and lacking the nutrients it needs, while silk is naturally non-absorbent, keeping your oils and hair products right where they belong - in your hair. Secondly, choosing to invest in a silk pillowcase will also see your hair benefit from strengthened and softened strands through contact with the silk protein during the night, reducing frizz and tangles.

Create your silk protein hair care routine with a silk pillowcase from Gingerlily

Do your hair a favour and create a silk protein enriched beauty routine by investing in some specialised hair masks and a luxury beauty silk pillowcase. With a wide range of colours to choose from including charcoal, blush, ivory and teal, you’ll find the perfect silk pillowcase for you at Gingerlily.