Is gelatine good for hair? Yes!

Here’s a DIY protein boost that you can do at home. Gelatine is a great source of protein for our hair and I’ll go through the steps below!

We know that our hair needs both moisture and protein to stay strong and healthy. 

Even low porosity hair will benefit from occasional protein treatments. Low porosity hair is still able to lose protein, just as sometimes it can lose moisture, so we need to make sure that these are both being accounted for in our current routine.

There are lots of treatments available to buy to increase protein levels, however, a quick look at the ingredients can be revealing.

When checking product ingredient lists, we are looking for hydrolyzed proteins. ‘Hydrolyzed’ means that the protein molecules have been broken down into smaller constituent parts. Unhydrolyzed protein molecules are too large to be absorbed through the hair’s cuticle. The process of hydrolysis breaks the molecules down so that the protein is small enough to penetrate the hair.

What’s the problem with regular protein treatments?

Protein is frequently one of the secondary ingredients. ‘Protein masks’ are often predominantly moisture masks with a little bit of protein.

It is worth checking the first 5 to 6 ingredients listed. These are the most potent, so if you are going to use a treatment to boost protein, check where the proteins appear on the list.

Some examples of beneficial proteins to look for include

  • hydrolyzed silk protein
  • hydrolyzed quinoa protein
  • hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • hydrolyzed rice protein
  • hydrolyzed keratin protein

A solution? DIY treatments!

A great alternative is to make your own treatment. This is effective, affordable and also quite fun (if a little messy)!

Today I wanted to share with you my DIY gelatin hair mask!

Why is gelatine good for hair as a mask?

The protein in gelatine is hydrolysed collagen. This form of protein is very effective at binding to the damaged parts of the hair and it is small enough to penetrate the cuticle. 

Just a quick note before we start – this recipe is not vegetarian or vegan. The gelatin and is derived from animals, so if this is one of your concerns this might not be the right treatment for you.

I do this treatment roughly every 6 weeks.  My hair is high porosity and has some some damage due to colouring so I am always trying to strengthen my hair. You can do it less frequently and you can also adjust the recipe to suit your hair if it is less damaged or low porosity.

What you will need

  • a sachet of gelatine powder for dessert making
  • apple cider vinegar with ‘the mother’. The mother is raw, unfiltered vinegar ferments. It is rich in protein, acetic acid and healthy bacteria. It is also what makes the vinegar cloudy
  • your usual conditioner
  • deep conditioning mask
  • plastic cap/shower cap
  • towel for drips!

(All ingredients linked at end of post)

gelatine hair mask ingredients

The method

1. Heat half a cup of water in the microwave so that it is hot, not boiling 

2. Add 2.5 teaspoons of gelatin (just a store bought a packet – one that you would use to make a dessert) and stir well

3. Add 5 drops of apple cider vinegar. This is to balance the pH level of the treatment

4. Now let the mixture cool and take the opportunity to wash your hair. When you do this, just shampoo don’t condition

5. This step isn’t necessary, but I like to add some conditioner to thicken the mixture. This makes it easier to apply to your hair. Without the conditioner the treatment is incredibly runny and easy to waste/hard to apply evenly. I add 2 big teaspoons of conditioner stir it well

gelatine hair mask mixture

6. Next apply it to your hair. It is quite messy, so I would recommend doing this over the bath and have a towel around your shoulders

7. Now put on a plastic cap or just an old shower cap. I then wrap a towel (or a towel turban) around the top to help with drips. Any drips will be a little bit sticky because you are essentially making jelly on your head

8. I leave the treatment on for 30 minutes. Using heat during this time is optional. I would recommend doing this if you usually use heat when you deep condition. If you use heat, the treatment will stiffen, so try not to touch your hair. This stiffness as the treatment sets can mean that your hair is brittle just while the treatment is actually on your hair

9. Next rinse your hair really, really well and try not to manipulate it too much as you rinse. It is important to rinse well because if there is any gelatine left in your hair, this can again create stiffness as your hair dries

10. Protein treatments should be followed by a moisture treatment/deep conditioning mask. I just apply this as I would usually. I leave mine on for around 15 minutes. Rinse well again and then stick everything in the washing machine! Your top and your towel will probably need washing because they will be sticky! Unfortunately, this is unavoidable but it’s part of the fun

To finish, style your hair as usual.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, you can adjust the recipe and the timings for a less intense treatment. You can add just 1 teaspoon of gelatine or leave it on for a shorter period of time – maybe 10 minutes. Experiment and see how your hair responds.

The protein will bind to your hair, but all protein treatments are a temporary fix. The protein will be lost over time.

It is recommended that you do the treatment every 4-6 weeks because this is typically how long it takes for the protein to be lost.

When I started researching gelatine treatments, I kept hearing that it smells absolutely awful and it should add some drops of essential oil to the mixture. You can, of course, but I actually don’t think it smells that bad. I was almost pleasantly surprised, maybe because my expectations were low! Having said that, this is another benefit of adding in some conditioner. 

The recipe I have used is originally from the Science-y Hair Blog.

This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you buy any of the products through the links provided. It doesn’t affect the price you pay and helps to run this website. Thank you x

Gelatine sachets

Apple cider vinegar

The conditioner I used (you can just use your regular conditioner)

Deep conditioning mask

I hope this explains why gelatine is good for your hair, and I hope you enjoy this treatment! Set aside a little time and don’t be afraid of a little mess. Your hair will thank you!

Lauren xx

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