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May 09, 2023 5 min read

Proteins are an essential macronutrient found and utilized throughout the human body. They are small, but contain the magic that makes our bodies function! Our focus, though, is the proteins in our hair and why we love adding proteins in our solid hair care. Hair is made up of proteins, and while our nutrition plays a key role in hair health, adding in proteins through our hair care can have many benefits.

Let's explore what proteins are, how they work, and which ones we use in our solid hair care.

What are proteins?

Proteins are complex molecules made up of hundreds of amino acids, which give the proteins their numerous different properties. Proteins perform vital functions in the human body as well as make up the structure of our hair. They play a huge role in all three layers of the hair shaft; the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle.

In their complex form, proteins can be very large molecules that aren't readily used topically. We make them less complicated by breaking them down into smaller chains of amino acids using a reaction with water to create hydrolyzed proteins. This makes them smaller and better able to penetrate the hair shaft or combine with the outer lipid layer, depending on the specific function of the protein.

How proteins work and why we use them

Typically, the size of the protein is considered when choosing it for a specific purpose.

Smaller proteins will penetrate the hair shaft and replenish the inner layers like the medulla or the cortex contributing to the structure. When utilizing a small protein, we are honing its properties to nourish the structure of the hair shaft. This will help strengthen the strands and provide hydration deep within.

Larger proteins can either intermingle with the outer lipid layer or penetrate through cracks of damaged cuticles. When they are meant to work on the outer lipid layer, these proteins form films to hydrate, increase moisture retention, and aid in elasticity and strength. These help smooth the cuticle and increase shine. When larger proteins penetrate through the cracks of damaged cuticles, they help strengthen from within and repair split ends.

Proteins we use

We use four different proteins for very specific results. All of the proteins we use are hydrolyzed, so they have been broken down into usable forms specifically made for hair care.

Keratin Protein

Keratin is the main protein our hair is made from. Typically, keratin protein is extracted from animal sources, but we use a vegetable-derived keratin made up of Wheat Amino Acids, Soy Amino Acids, Arginine HCI, Serine, Threonine. This combination of amino acids increases hair strength and elasticity, while reducing breakage, frizz, and static. Generally, it makes hair look shinier and healthier by protecting the outer layer of our hair.

This is a larger protein, so for hair that is on the coarse side, or damaged to any degree, it can penetrate through the cracks in the cuticle to replenish the very structure of our hair shaft. It does wonders for enhancing any natural curl or wave pattern.

You can add this vegetable derived keratin protein into your hair care routine with the Aqua Aura Solid Conditioner, Aqua Aura Curl Cream, and Apple Aura Curl Serum.

Oat Protein

Hydrolyzed oat protein is a larger, film forming protein. It is intended to intermingle with the lipid layer along the cuticle to form a hydrating layer that keeps moisture in. This hydrating property boosts the function of conditioners by trapping moisture and nutrients while providing a silky feel.

This moisture nourishment also extends to the scalp. Oat protein provides a soft, cushiony feel to the skin as well, which will help soothe irritation and protect against flakes.

You can infuse your routine with oat protein with the Silver Aura Solid Conditioner.

Quinoa Protein

Hydrolyzed quinoa protein is a powerhouse, containing 17 amino acids. It is a smaller protein, penetrating deep into the hair shaft to replenish the hair strands on all levels and provides protection from damage.

Quinoa is great for color treated hair, not only by helping to repair damage, but by increasing color retention and the hair's ability to uptake more concentrated color. It has opposing forces, both positive and negative ions, which help it bind to the hair and attract any color deposits. This unique structure creates a scaffold around the hair to protect the strands and hair color.

You can add this deep protector into your hair care routine with the Spirit Aura Conditioner, Apple Aura Conditioner, and Apple Aura Curl Serum.

Rice Protein

Hydrolyzed rice protein has a lot of amazing attributes. It can add shine and increase flexibility and strength. The most intriguing of its properties, though, is it's unparalleled ability to increase volume.

It is a smaller protein, easily penetrating into the hair strand while also laying along the cuticle. Rice protein contains both positive and negative ions, while the charge of your hair is negative. These different charges repel each other, causing the hair to have more volume since the strands are not attracted to each other.

You can infuse volume producing rice protein into your hair care routine with the Angel Aura Solid Shampoo, Angel Aura Solid Conditioner, Apple Aura Solid Conditioner, and Apple Aura Curl Serum.

Bamboo Protein

Hydrolyzed bamboo protein is a rich source of silica, which helps support healthy hair growth and stregthening. It is capable of forming a bio-film along the hair shaft that prevents and repairs damage while providing a slip similar to that of silicones (without the build-up).

We use two different types of bamboo proteins and amino acids to access all of the positive attributes. To harness the natural strength of bamboo for hair protection and regeneration, we use a lipopeptide derived from bamboo protein. To act as a silicone replacement to smooth frizz, we use bamboo protein extracted with a ferment.

Infuse the strength of bamboo into your routine with the Apple Aura Curl Serum.

Other Enzymes and Amino Acids

Enzymes and amino acids fall under the hydrolyzed protein umbrella. These are the building blocks for more complex proteins.

Stearoyl CoA-desaturase (SCD-1): This enzyme improves the hair's flexibility and texture while enhancing curl retention by converting the saturated fatty acids on the hair to unsaturated fatty acids.

Tomato Bioferment: This contains a unique enzyme that converts serine into cysteine, which helps repair the disulfide bonds in damged curly hair. As naturally curly hair becomes damaged, it loses its curl as the disulfide bonds break. Protecting and restoring these bonds is a key compotnent of enhancing your natural curls

Infuse your curls with these enzymes and amino acids with the Apple Aura Curl Serum.

Proteins are small, complex ingredients that really hold a lot of magic. They are a great addition to our solid conditioners because they work with the conditioning ingredients to enhance the unique functions of each one.

If you want to learn more about our different hair care options, we have two articles that discuss the differences between the Aura Solid Shampoos and the Aura Solid Conditioners.

I hope you learned a little about the amazing qualities of proteins and how they can help your hair! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!

Angela Mayorga

Alchemist and Owner



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