Anyone who has tumbled down the rabbit hole of platinum locks has probably come to the conclusion that A) their hair looks amazing, and B) it’s never felt worse. Any color or perming treatment has the tendency to damage your hair, despite making it the color or texture of your dreams. Chemical damage breaks the protein bonds of your hair, making it porous, weakened and more prone to breakage. Color die-hards can relate to the spaghetti-like texture of your wet hair after being double-processed—it just feels…sad.
Porous hair tends to absorb anything that comes in contact with it—water, other chemicals, odors, and pollution. If you’ve got very porous hair, you probably are annoyed with how long it takes your hair to air-dry after washing it. Since it’s so thirsty, when put in contact with a hydrating agent like water, porous hair doesn’t want to let it go and hangs onto it for a much longer period than healthy hair does.
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So what’s a girl dreaming of healthy locks to do? Turns out the one thing your hair’s been missing is protein. Just like a body-builder’s diet requires lots of protein, so too does your damaged hair. Enter protein fillers: while they may sound like a milk shake ingredient, protein fillers are the miracle product that will make your chemically-ravaged hair feel normal again. They work by filling in the pores of your hair with protein bonds so that the hair shaft looks and feels smoother. You can think of it a bit like the glue that’s holding your hair strands together, making them stronger and less prone to breakage.
You can find protein fillers in their most basic form at lots of beauty supply stores—they are generally used in color processes as either a treatment beforehand to even out your hair’s porosity so the dye can take to it evenly, or as an addition to the dye to fill your hair shaft with colored protein bonds. Either way, it fills the gaps in your hair shaft.
But now you can find them in sprayable formulas made to apply after washing and towel-drying your hair to protect from heat-styling and speed up dry time. Even if you prefer to air-dry, you’ll find that your hair does so much quicker and feels silkier and smoother once dried. You don’t have to be platinum to reap the benefits of a protein filler though—any hair that’s stressed out from coloring, too much heat styling or rough styling (like teasing) will love a good protein boost.