One of the hottest ingredients found in strengthening shampoos and conditioners today is hydrolyzed wheat protein. It’s been touted as an effective hair grower and thickener for those with hair loss or thinning hair. But is it really effective, and what does it actually do to our tresses? We’ll dive deeper into what hydrolyzed wheat protein is about in our post for today.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein What?
Pure hydrolyzed wheat protein is amber or brownish-colored liquid rich in amino acids (proteins) and peptides. This liquid comes from wheat germ and is extracted through the process of hydrolysis.
Basically, proteins have large molecules and wheat protein is no exception. Wheat protein needs to be broken down into smaller fragments so that it can be used in skin and hair products. Hydrolysis facilitates this, breaking the peptide bonds holding wheat proteins together through enzymes and water. The result is a nutrient-rich oligosaccharide liquid composed of small protein chains.
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is touted as a rich non-animal source of protein. It also has a low molecular weight, letting our skin and hair shafts absorb it easily from various hair care products. You can typically spot hydrolyzed wheat protein on many organic strengthening shampoos and conditioners.
How Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Works for Your Hair
Our entire hair structure is primarily made up of a protein called keratin. Specifically, hair parts that are filled with keratin include the following:
- Hair follicles – The hair roots underneath the scalp
- Cuticles – The outermost layer of visible hair strands
- Cortex – Middle layer of hair strands which holds water and pigments
- Medulla – The soft and fragile innermost layer of thick and large hair strands
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is similar to keratin being a protein at its very core. When hydrolyzed wheat protein enters the hair strands and follicles, it helps support hair’s natural structure by penetrating and coating your tresses and scalp. Amino acids from the wheat do the following:
- Nourish hair follicles, invigorating them and stimulating them to produce healthier hair strands
- Enters the hair cuticles, cortex, and medulla, filling them with moisture and hydration
- Coats the cuticles in a protective layer of proteins
Note that the amino acids from hydrolyzed wheat protein don’t replace the keratin in your tresses. It merely supports the protein-rich structure of the hair by filling in the voids left by damage to the keratinized structure of your hair.
Benefits of Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein for Hair
Here’s what you get from hydrolyzed wheat proteins based on how it acts on your hair:
1. Stimulates Hair Growth
Hydrolyzed wheat protein penetrates to the very roots of your tresses and breathes life back to static hair follicles. It stimulates the follicles to regrow healthier hair strands. This makes hydrolyzed wheat protein a potent ingredient to battle hair loss and thinning hair.
2. Gives a Thick and Full Appearance of Hair
When hydrolyzed wheat protein gets absorbed by the hair’s medulla and cortex (innermost and middle layers, respectively), the entire hair strand swells up with hydration. This leads to a thick and full head of hair, thanks to a large moisture boost. This benefit of hydrolyzed wheat protein is best enjoyed by those with hair loss, damaged tresses, flat hair, and thinning hair.
3. Makes Hair Strands Stronger
Weak and brittle hair sufferers rejoice! Hydrolyzed wheat protein can improve hair’s elasticity, thereby making your strands stronger and less prone to breakage and damage. In this way, the hydrolyzed wheat protein also lessens the chances of hair falling through traction alopecia.
4. Leaves Tresses Shiny and Silky
When the hair cortex (outermost hair layer) absorbs hydrolyzed wheat protein, a film coating is created over the hair strands. This is a result of the moisture infused by amino acids from the hydrolyzed wheat protein. The result? Hair that’s glossy, shiny, and silky-smooth to touch.
Is Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Safe?
Yes, hydrolyzed wheat protein is generally safe to use. Hydrolyzed wheat protein is all-natural since it is derived from natural wheat ingredients. You’ll also likely see the ingredient in natural and organic hair care lines.
Some conventional hair care products list hydrolyzed proteins in their ingredients, but these proteins are synthetically created and are usually not from wheat germ, so take note of that as well.
However, there have been cases of contact allergies in people who used hydrolyzed wheat protein-infused cosmetic products. If you’re allergic to wheat or have a sensitive skin condition such as seborrheic dermatitis, it’s best to avoid using products with hydrolyzed wheat protein to be on the safe side.
Speak to your dermatologist first and do a skin patch test to check for possible allergies before using a certain hydrolyzed wheat protein-infused hair care product.
Also, never use pure hydrolyzed wheat protein liquid directly on your hair and scalp as they are too strong and may do more harm than good. This product serves as an ingredient of prepared hair care formulations and is never meant to be directly applied on skin, scalp, and hair.
A Quick Personal Experience
Let me share actual photos and my personal experience with hydrolyzed wheat protein really quickly.
I’ve been using an all-natural organic shampoo and conditioner since I came across postpartum hair loss. It’s been 6 months since I started using natural strengthening shampoos and conditioners from a local organic hair care line. Lo and behold, my conditioner lists hydrolyzed wheat protein as one of its main ingredients!
Indeed, I’ve experienced a major boost in hair growth since I started to use this conditioner (and I pair it up with a shampoo enriched with rosemary essential oil extracts). I lost some hair from my side-part and my hairline, but I saw baby hairs sprouting back on my hairline 3 months into religiously using a hydrolyzed wheat protein conditioner every day.
Here's how my hairline looked like a month into using the conditioner:
Here's how it looks like now, six months after using hydrolyzed wheat protein conditioner. Notice the baby hairs?
My hair also appeared thicker, which is great since I have thin hair strands and flat-appearing tresses to start with. And I also love that the hydrolyzed wheat protein conditioner also made my hair softer, smoother, and stronger.
Luckily, I didn’t have any allergic reaction or skin/scalp irritation as a result of using hydrolyzed wheat protein conditioners.
The Takeaway and Your Turn!
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is a rising star in the hair care industry. It’s an all-natural protein-rich ingredient derived from wheat germ. And it’s got a number of benefits for your hair, including:
- Strengthened hair strands
- Stimulated hair follicles that lead to healthy hair regrowth
- Boosted moisture levels on the scalp and strands
- Fuller and thicker-looking hair
- Softer and silky-smooth strands
You can find hydrolyzed wheat protein in several organic hair care products, shampoos, and conditioners. It’s generally safe for everyday use, but those with existing allergies or sensitivities should do skin patch tests or seek the advice of their dermatologists before trying to use hydrolyzed wheat protein products.
Personally, I’ve seen remarkable growth in my hair thanks to regular use of organic hydrolyzed wheat protein-infused conditioners. I think I’ll be using my conditioner for the rest of my life now – and that’s no exaggeration!
Over to you! Have you ever tried hydrolyzed wheat protein hair products? How did it go? We’d love to learn about your personal experiences, so drop us your stories and suggestions in the comments section below.