DIY Protein Treatment for Hair

Using a protein treatment on your hair has many advantages. The first is that it strengthens your hair. If you have weak, brittle hair, the right protein treatment can fix this issue. Another advantage is that by strengthening your hair, it also makes the hair a lot softer and smoother. Yet another advantage of protein treatments is that they can make your hair fuller and healthier than before.

Protein in hair treatments can lead to the hair feeling stiff and hard when overused, but the hair DOES need protein, especially when damaged. Protein treatments are used to help “repair” damaged hair by filling in the hair shaft and giving it added strength and therefore longevity. Many women who use high-protein hair treatments report that some of the products made their hair feel “dry” or “hard”. This can sometimes be associated with breakage because the hair is more rigid. This is often due to the fact that the women often misuse the products in question. They think that they need a product when they don’t or the product isn’t suited for their hair type.

Jenell Twist Out after Protein TreatmentThe fact is, that too much of any “beneficial” styling product can have negative effects. Deep conditioning treatments using cholesterol are great for very dry, coarse hair types, but will make mildly-dry medium hair types feel oily and flat, and can make fine hair types just look greasy. Protein treatments are the same. They are meant to bolster the hair that has sustained damage, and generally are not used more than once a week in more severe cases of damage.

I decided to be a Mixtress in the Kitchen and try out a homemade protein treatment with coconut oil and egg.  It wasn’t a bad experience, the back of my hair didn’t respond very well to the treatment-it was hard-but the rest of my hair was fine  and my scalp was very very happy as showcased in the video below.  My hair was very bouncy and shiny following the protein treatment, as you can see in the picture above.

If I try this again, I would use egg, honey and fresh avocado because that just sounds delicious and I’m sure the protein in the avocado will help as well.


How often do you do protein treatments?

How do you make yours?

Share your recipes!

About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351011017 Natasha Jones

    What conditioner did you use after the protein treatment?

  • Tramelle Thomas

    I never know when I need a protein treatment so I just do them once every couple of months or when I think about it, whichever comes first. I was using the Aphogee treatment but I really hate how you have to sit under the dryer without a plastic cap and then your hair turns to darn near to a brick. So I thought I would just make my own. I used an egg, helman’s mayo and olive oil. It was ok, I’ll try it again to see if I really like it. I couldn’t really tell a difference. The pieces of egg left behind were the only thing that was annoying about the process.

    • lahill73

      Hi Tramelle, next time try honey n place of the olive oil & b sure to rinse w/ cool water b/c hotter water will cook the egg leaving u with eggs pieces. ( :

      • Tramelle Thomas

        yeah sitting under that dryer made those pieces show up. I did rinse with cool water so I know the dryer was the culprit. What purpose does the honey play in place of the olive oil?

        • queenbee9

          honey is a humectant (it draws moisture in out of the air and into the hair and helps to retain moisture) honey is also a conditioner and has antibacterial qualities. All oils are emoillients which is to say they are conditioners that also soften the hair–honey does the same but also helps to retain moisture and will not impart oil. the most needed attribute after a treatment like Aphogee is moisture–you can also do the LOCO method with your favorite deep conditioner, bag your head . put a warm cap on and sleep over night, rinsing in the morning

  • Dawn Culbreath

    Very interesting post!  My daughter is 2 (thick, coarse dry hair/ 4a/b) and any product I’ve used with any type of protein makes her hair dry, tangled or hard!?  So I don’t know if this means she is protein-sensitive or if her hair has enough protein already and don’t need the extra.  So for now, I am writing her off as protein-sensitive and staying away from any products that mention protein!  What’s your opinion?

    • hairforlife7

       If your daughter is 2 years of age and not chemically processed she does not need a protein treatment.  Many rinse out conditioners have a hint of protein which is enough for her hair.  If you do use hard protein make sure you use a deep moisturizing conditioner afterwards, ITS A MUST.

  • wendywe37@yahoo.com


    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Check out my KinkyCurly Curling Custard Tutorial. You can type in the “search” bar on the right.

    • JJ

      How long is your hair? At twa stage your definition wont really show unless you have 3-4a curl pattern ( that’s simply because their curls are looser). I have 4b/c hair and my curls didn’t appear 5 months after my bc, honestly twist outs are the best thing that work for me, I do it right after I wash n condition my hair, while I’m doing my twist I put my leave in conditioner and seal it with JA castor oil. Try it out.

  • Jasmine

    try 4 -6 tablespoons mayo, 2 eggs and a tablespoon of honey.  my hair comes out real soft,.  just rinse in cold water after keeping on head under plastic cap for an hour so the egg won’t cook.

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Great suggestion. Thanks love.

  • Jasmine

    honey helps fight hair loss,  works as a natural highlighter for hair and helps hair stay moisturized..  if you use honey in your hair  once a week it will add highlights to your hair.  cold honey has a natural peroxide in it, if you warm the honey it negates the peroxide.  hope this helps

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Yea I know. This is why I don’t use honey ever. I love my rich dark hair.

  • Divine

    About Protein: Natural hair does not need protein as relaxed hair does. Relaxed hair need the protein  because of the perm stripping. Natural hair does not lose that. I would say once a month or  bi monthly. if you are a fish eater like myself,( i eat fish at least three times a week) so i don’t do protein treatments as often maybe every three months or less. there are protein leave in conditioners also that are good. oh the egg white has slightly more protein than the yolk, but we are not eating either so i take the yolk so i don’t bother with the white strands. 
    Mayo has egg in it so i don’t know if its needed if you put egg in your protein mixture using mayo.
    their is no need to use the whole egg.  

    • iya

       Natural hair  needs protein.  Chemically treated hair loses more protein than hair that is not; but natural hair still requires some kind of protein especially if you are trying to attain length and/ or your hair is porous. 

      • queenbee9

        Natural hair does NOT need protein –natural hair IS protein and benefits from ingesting protein not from applied chemical protein UNLESS the hair shaft and cuticle is damaged in some way. Thinking natural hair needs protein applied (which is NOT natural) just because hair is protein is like thinking if you eat sugar, you will become sweet. It does NOT work like that. Protein treatments used when not needed can actually damage hair to the point of hair loss. In salons (I am a cosmetologist) we are told to use protein treatments SPARINGLY because if they are applied too frequently or when they are not needed they are harmful. Protein treatments are for reconstructing the hair shaft–if you do not have damage, there is NO BENEFIT To such a treatment except in cases of really thin diameter hair it can make it stronger–on the other hand, the new weight of the stronger hair can also cause it to break as thin hair cannot structurally withstand such differences.

  • Steph

    Mayo, egg, castor oil, and honey

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      How does your hair feel afterwards?
      Have you notice any changes in the color of your hair since using honey?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1609698625 Toya Harris

    I condition my hair every 1-2 months with a mixture of: avocado, egg, shea butter, coconut milk and a little olive oil, avocado oil and sweet almond oil…tie a plastic bag around it for at least an hour and then rinse with cold water…my hair LOVES it!

  • Dr Peppercoke

    I just did a protein treatment yesterday with eggs, coconut oil, honey and yogurt left it in for 15 minutes and rinsed it out. I must say my hair felt sooooooooooooooooo wonderful. I was strong, shiny and bouncy.

  • Kesha Garrett

    I am going to add protein treatments between my washes and deep conditionings. Does the honey changes the color of your chair?

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Honey can definitely change hair color. Which is why I personally dont use it.

    • queenbee9

      honey lightens lighter colored hair (such a blondes and some reds) the effect on darker hair is negligible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363698471 Tiffany InspireMe Creatively

    I tried my own DC (castor ol, mayo, and coconut oil). It left my hair kinda hard. Should I have DC’d after or before I poo’d? In this case, I applied it before on dry hair. Was that a mistake?

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      If it made your hair, it’s most likely because your hair isn’t in needed of the protein.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001134060452 Latifah Spiffy Anderson

        hey i have mayo, oilive oil, coconut oil and eggs can i use all of that? and honey my hair is sandy brown and blondish i dnt might the honey changing my hair though

        • queenbee9

          be sure your water is not too warm and yes, you can use all of that though mayo is oil, eggs and vinegar.

    • queenbee9

      most protein treatments harden hair due to the shift in chemical reactions when protein is added. I pre poo before protein treatments and dc afterwards but my hair is very protein sensitive (I also always prepooed and washed my clients hair before a protein treatment–don’t want to bind dirt in when the protein binds to the hair.

  • symone

    I mix strawberries mayo or egg and olive oil. I usually do it every couple months as a prepoo. I spray water on my hair first and then apply. I detanfle after i wash it. It makes my hair soft.

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Strawberries? Oooooh! What made you try strawberries?
      What benefits does it give?

  • Ncosman

    Just an FYI there is no protein in Avocado.

  • http://twitter.com/Piscesgrl227 Leelee

    I just did a DIY protein treatment and I used avocado, egg, plain greek yogurt, coconut oil, olive oil and honey. I put all the ingredients in a blender and then put in my hair. Using a blender definitely helps with the texture of the mix.

  • http://www.facebook.com/clarissa.l.shaw Clarissa Lynn Shaw

    Hello I have curly hair that starts at the roots and straightens at the ends ,I used to perm my hair but now I’m going natural . I was wondering what I can do to help my hair grow out faster , healthier,stronger ,and fully curly or even just fully curly?

    • queenbee9

      cut off the heat damaged ends…. maybe an inch at a time if you do not want to BC, use curl defining products which will work only on the natural hair–take biotin for strong hair–if your hair is not colored, you may consider henna for strengthening your hair (instead of protein treatments which can be very damaging if you do not need one), you may also consider a vitamin supplement like hairfinity which has helped some grow hair faster-drink plenty of water and stay away from relaxers, blow dryers, heat, etc–your hair will never be natural if you constantly apply heat and blow dryers it will stay damaged–a sure sign of heat damage or training is hair that will not curl no matter what–you can also try a vinegar rinse (occasionally) to see if it can make some of your hair revert–be sure to deep condition after using vinegar

    • Nicholettie Woods

      Hey nothing really to make your hair grow faster that I know of yet. But for me I have been natural for two years now. I let my hair grow out for a year and then I BC. I don’t flat iron my hair at all and I keep my hair simple, two strand twist or roller sets. So I had chin length hair when I chopped off the relaxed ends now it’s past my shoulders. I do nothing special at all I will even skip a deep conditioner and protein treatment lol. Your hair is always grown just be gentle with it. Good luck. Oh FYI I took some hair pills for a year and nothing happened lol just my nails grew faster. It was one that claimed faster hair growth ha I didn’t see it at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/clarissa.l.shaw Clarissa Lynn Shaw

    In addition I get my hair blown out and curled every 3 days.

  • ex-addict

    So I’m actually white and my hair is a kind of chestnut colour from my dad’s side, but my mum is Trinidadian and has an afro so i’ve inherited very tight curls, as well as porous, vulnerable hair. I have been straightening it for years non-stop and now I want to cry because my curls have disappeared (not in a nice, smooth way, but a weird frizzy straw-like way). My roots are like spirals and the ends are just completely straight. It’s awful. At the moment I’m just working on repairing the damage, and I’ve done the following treatment 3 times, which has already drastically improved it:

    *half a jar of mayonnaise
    *a tablespoon of olive oil
    *a squeeze of lemon juice
    *2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
    *a dash of malt vinegar

    Because my hair is half-european (funny as that sounds) the vinegars and lemon are required so that the mayonnaise and oil comes out of my hair more easily, and it adds a lot of shine, whilst at a low enough level not to lighten it. In particular the apple cider vinegar balances pH, which is super important for damage!! If anyone has any more advice please let me know :)

    • queenbee9

      Hi–your mother was a white Trinidadian? From your description of your hair and your mom’s hair you sound like you are actually multiracial no matter what your actual skin color is–race is not the skin color, but the actual genetics and yours sound like they have a BLACK AFRICAN component. vinegar is a clarifier and will STRIP any hair–vinegar is acetic ACID and Lemon juice is Citric ACID hair is happiest in a slightly acidic state (6.0-6.5) You are using too much acid which like using too much alkalai can dry your hair. The mayo also has vinegar in it so you really are stripping your hair. It is almost impossible to advise you without seeing and feeling your hair.
      When deciding that vinegar balances pH, you have to know the pH of your shampoo, the water that you wash your hair with, etc. Too much acid and you have just put your hair into an acidic state which can be very drying. You describe a loss of natural curl–what products do you use? Do you flat iron? If so, how often? You may have heat damage. Lemons and other products do not actually “add shine to hair” if your cuticle is lifted, you will not have shine, if it is down, then some products can ENHANCE your natural shine.
      There are more things to hair health than pH and more ways to damage hair than having it too alkaline.
      To help you–what products do you use? I’d probably recommend that you give your conditioning treatments AND the vinegar a rest unless the water you wash your hair with is very alkaline.
      I’d recommend a moisturizing shampoo, a leave in conditioner that was not heavy or oily (like Oyin’s hair dew) and a deep conditioner at least 1 per month.
      It could be that the ingredients in the mayo are too heavy, I can guarantee that your hair is probably too acidic if you are using both lemon, vinegar and the ingredients in the mayo. If you have to do any corrective treatments in order to care for your hair on a routine basis–something is wrong with your routine. You cannot negate your black or African genetics–as a curly girl (regardless of race) your hair requires moisture AND a way to retain moisture–the hair dew is light enough to be used daily but will not weigh hair down with a lot of oil.
      Sight unseen, I’d say, try a shampoo like Pantene –frizz is a sure sign of a lifted cuticle (hair shaft damage) you need to figure out how that is occurring–are you blow drying a lot, or out in windy weather? Do you heat style or use a dryer? Please get a pH kit and check your water–almost all shampoos are pH balanced–if your water is not alkaline then you may find that backing off your “vinegar rinses or at least cutting down to just one acid” is enough for your hair–you are drying your hair out with so much vinegar (yes it IS drying) then you are weighing the ends down with mayo.
      Mayo that cannot penetrate the hair shaft will just coat your hair, it may make it appear softer to you but the proof of how unhappy ypur hair is is in the texture and frizz.

      • queenbee9

        You also sound like you have heat damage/or severe heat training from years of straightening so you may need to cut off the hair that is damaged to get back to your curls…

      • jeska

        Ok so my hair has the same issue as above. Definitely caused by coloring & using a flat iron a few times a month. My heritage is different though. German, English & Irish. Hair is wavy on top w/ med/sm curl around my neck. Looks like its thick but its actually very fine. I just have tons volume. Natural color is light brown. When dyed, any shade it tends to grab a lot of red tones.
        Any recommendations for treatments or daily care products. I know it needs a cut but I’m a long hair person its a little short for me already. Hoping to avoid a 3-4 inch cut!!

        • queenbee9

          Color treated hair is very porous and porous hair cannot hold moisture–it is like putting water in a bucket with holes–it all will just seep out. KEY is repairing your hair’s cuticles.

          Cuticle repair is very temporary. Use one with hydrolyzed protein and for color treated hair, you may need to apply one about every 4 weeks or sooner depending on how much you wash your hair.

          Great protein treatments are Affirm 5-1 reconstructor and Aphogee protein serum. Apply according to directions then use a Deep conditioner.

          You may need to use a Deep conditioner more than once.

          After you have applied protein and conditioner, apply a good leave in and then a moisturizer on wet/damp hair, after that, close your hair with an ice cold sprtiz of water or water with aloe vera (about 2 tablespoons to 16 oz water) This will help to close your cuticles–you can also apply a butter though your hair appears to be type 1 or type 2 and an oil or butter would weigh your hair down.

          You will need to repeat treatments like this about every 2-4 weeks (do more sooner if the results seem to fade by 2 weeks in)

          The BEST treatment would be to stop coloring with chemical box dye. If you truly wish to stop the processed dryness of your locks, you should stop coloring which is the most damaging thing one can do to hair besides chemical straightening–you can still color with henna which protects and coats the hair–but if you cannot give up the coloring, then the next best thing is an intense regimen.

          You an also try a prepoo of olive oil, honey, avocado and banana blended to a fine pulp as a prepoo, leave on for about 1 hour or longer then rinse out with luke warm water before going on to shampooing (do this about 1 per month but not more than twice per month.

          The goal is to apply intense moisturizing to the hair but that goal can only be met when hair cuticles are repaired and closed up (repair with protein or henna treatments* and close up with ice cold water and aloe)

          ** if you use box dyes, you may have to let them grow out before applying henna–henna can take over box dyes BUT it cannot have box dyes used over it except in certain circumstances

  • flychick99

    I use a diy mayonnaise deep conditioner.

    2 eggs
    Tsp. Almond oil
    2 tablespoons extra virgin cold press olive oil
    3 tablespoons of honey
    3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
    1/2 a cup of mayo

    Mix together, it should have a watered down conditioner look to it. Add more mayo if it doesn’t. It may smell because of egg. Bag your hair and leave in for an hour or however you want then wash out and add leave in conditioner. ;)

  • queenbee9

    I am just going to come right out and say this: If you do not have damage to your hair shaft due to chemicals (like relaxers or colors or other chemical processes) you probably do not need protein treatments, In the salon, I often used protein or reconstructors on hair that was damaged due to the chemical process, but I rarely used any treatment more than 2X in a 6 MONTH period. Yes, hair is made up of keratin which is protein… but THINK about how a protein treatment works–it requires a lifted or busted cuticle–it gets in there and BINDS to the existing keratin within the hair strand to make it stronger. It does a GREAT JOB–once–it fills in gaps in the cuticle. Now after that–what does everyone think happens? The protein goes away and so needs to be done over and over again? NO–it binds and stays there. This means that when you get a true protein treatment, and lift the cuticle, barring more damage subsequent protein treatments are a WASTE.
    Now, I know how we women LOVE our products but a little bit of knowledge is dangerous here. Too much protein or attempting to put more into hair that is already healthy is just cruising for a brusing.
    Many products contain minute amts of protein but try to remember that hair is DEAD. You CANNOT feed hair protein–it does not EAT it. Protein when used by a cosmetologist is for structural REPAIR. If you routinely color or relax your hair, you may need regular protein treatments–if you have natural hair and do not color or use harsh chemicals at best you are wasting your money at worst protein treatments CAN damage your hair.
    The only part of your hair which is living is the hair follicle within your scalp–want to feed it protein? Take vitamins and eat protein, you do not feed the follicle when you apply a lot of protein treatments.
    The use of eggs or other natural proteins is relatively safe and impart other qualities like shine as they help to lay the cuticle down—the drying part of an egg is the albumen or egg white which can also be used as an astringent (oil grabber) the yolk is the cholesterol laden and shine giver–so use all the egg protein treatments you like as they tend to wash out if not needed in the hair.
    Synthetic or bottled protein concoctions are a VERY DIFFERENT ,matter–they often contain ingredients which help to lift the cuticle and to bind to the hair, hair that does not need protein will still get the cuticle lifted and protein will still try to bind–it is like trying to pour liquid into an already full glass–what do you think happens? OVERKILL–except in the case of protein, overkill can actually mean damage to your hair to the point of breakage–that’s right, you can use so much protein that you destroy your tresses.
    The reason cosmetology requires a license and is not able to be practiced by everyone is that it is not common sense or anecdotal–there is actually a lot of science as well as creativity to hair care.
    We CAN take care of our hair without salons and do a great job–but when we begin to cross the lines into ingredients or methodology but lack the background information to ensure safety and good results, we have to be careful. when people ask me about protein treatments, I do not glibly tell them how to do them–I first want to see the condition of their hair and find out how their hair got into that condition–used the wrong way, protein treatments can be as damaging as relaxers and WILL over time, destroy even the most protein thirsty hair.
    Hair is manipulated from the outside in–BUT hair is FED from the inside out (conditioners do not repair hair, they only smooth cuticles down and make it feel softer but if damaged, that hair is still damaged conditioners, buy time and protein treatment also buys time they are not panaceas)

  • Jolyne Richard

    I just did this treatment, but I substituted the coconut oil for castor oil as I’m on the challenge, and I added a little Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner to enhance the smell a little. My hair loves it!

  • My Hair Care

    Completely agree! Too much of even the products deemed good for your hair is never good. Such is the case with protein treatments. Sadly, not too many realize it and use such treatments more than they have to. They end up having rigid hair that is prone to breakage.

    I’d like to share a post we have on the blog that I believe your readers can find useful. You can check that here: http://www.myhaircare.com.au/blog/protein-treatments-and-what-they-can-do-for-your-hair/

  • http://www.facebook.com/afrostateofminedesigns Kameeka Burke

    I have 3 major protein treatments that i use.. a lighter treatment and then two homemade heavy treatments. I use when needed or once every 2 months or so or before long term protective styling

    1. For a light treatment I use ORS Replenishing Conditioner (my all time fave) it works wonders on my hair. When i notice my hair isn’t up to par after a regular washing, i use it and it feels so much better afterwards.

    2. For a heavier treatment i use a homemade mixture when i notice my hair is really dry and my ends are in need of a good cut/trim no matter what my moisturizing routine entails
    A. Mayo Masque: 1 Egg, 3 tbsp Mayo, 2 caps Bragg’s ACV, 1 oz Aloe Vera, 2 caps Oils
    B. Chocolate Hair Masque: 3 tbsp Cocoa Powder, 1 8oz Plain Greek Yogurt, 1 Egg,
    2 tbsp Honey, 1 cap Oils

    Oils: Castor, Horsetail, Nettle, Burdock, Saw Palmetto, Jojoba, Sweet Almond, EVOO, Grape seed, Tea Tree, Rosemary, Peppermint

  • disqus_y6PhDZdt5v

    I did a protein “treatment” (olive oil mayo) 7 weeks ago. It made my hair very shiny and silky for 4 weeks straight. In another 3 weeks I plan on doing it again. I think every 10 weeks is good on my natural (non color treated- non heat treated, chemical free) hair. Anyone else think different? Can I do it more frequently, or less?

    • eaglebelle2011

      How did you do the treatment? Did you use a plastic cap?

      • disqus_y6PhDZdt5v

        Yes, plastic cap under an electric heating cap for 30 mins on medium.

  • Nicholettie Woods

    I have not done a treatment in a while but when I do I use eggs and mayo. Then I put balancing moisturizer by ApHogee. My curls bounce right back. Hmm think I’m going to do it next weekend.