The idea of silky hair might seem like an elusive myth to some but promise us you won’t give up just yet without trying one thing: hair products with actual silk in them.
Yes, we’re talking about the same stuff that your most luxe pillowcases and headwraps are made of. By now you might know how beneficial it is to put your hair in physical contact with silk compared to other materials, as friction is minimal, and the fabric is overall gentler on your tresses. Today we’re talking Hydrolyzed Silk Proteins, teeny tiny molecules of silk that have the power to infiltrate strands of hair and work their scientific magic.
BACK IN THE DAY
As we know, traditional uses of silk come in the form of luxurious fabric, with its earliest purpose being to clothe the royals of Ancient China. It is said that during this time, silkworms were so valuable and exclusive that there was even a ban against transporting these little creatures overseas. As the use of silkworms has become more widespread over time, their byproducts are no longer limited to creating luscious cloth but have now found their way into hair and beauty products.
When used in hair products, silk protein goes above and beyond to improve shine, elasticity, and moisture retention in your hair to leave it feeling - you guessed it - silky smooth.
IT’S A NATURAL INGREDIENT
Silk is a natural protein fibre, made through converting the substances found in the cocoon of the silkworm. Over a period of 3-8 days, silkworms spin a thread full of enzymes which contain the proteins sericin and fibroin. Sericin is the outer layer of silk protein that helps bind the strands of silk together into a cocoon. This makes it a great ingredient for hair products, as the silk is able to create a layer of protection around the strands to prevent hair damage. Fibroin is the protein found on the inside of silk, responsible for forming the structure of the cocoon. The amino acids found in this substance make it great for repairing hair from within and keeping moisture levels balanced.
Thanks to its low molecular weight, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein penetrates through the hair shaft to nourish and strengthen hair at its core. As it is so easily absorbed, Hydrolyzed Silk Protein will “fill in” the gaps of the hair’s cuticle that are created as a result of hair damage and will prevent further damage by laying a shield down around hair. Bonus points: The lightweight ingredient can protect hair while still leaving it flexible and without weighing it down. Double bonus points: As Silk Proteins are supplied to hair via topical products, this can even encourage the hair’s natural production of our own keratin proteins and boost hair growth.
Silk Protein’s superpowers include:
- Locking moisture inside the hair shaft, to improve elasticity and leave hair more resistant to breakage.
- Superb water-attracting properties that turn dry, damaged hair into silky soft locks.
- Reducing porosity in hair and coating the cuticle - flyways are tamed and detangling made a breeze.
NOT FOR VEGANS
Vegans check the label; Hydrolyzed Silk is an animal product so you might want to steer clear of hair and beauty products containing this ingredient. Vegan silk peptides are a thing though! Produced through a process of plant starch fermentation, vegan silk peptides also protect and repair fragile or damaged hair.
SHOP SILK PROTEINS
Iles Formula promises “hair like spun silk”, which you can credit to the fact that nearly every product in the range contains Japanese silk proteins. The brand’s ‘3 step system’ includes a shampoo, conditioner, and serum made to be used together routinely. Silk Proteins from Japan create an immediate voluptuous effect on the hair while knots and tangles smooth away instantly.
This nourishing + strengthening hair mask can be used weekly in the case of brittle, dry and damaged hair or as a monthly hair spa for all other hair types. Apply after using Iles Formula shampoo, leave for 5-20 minutes, then follow with the conditioner to seal in all that silky goodness.
Chloe Zara’s signature shampoo works to gently cleanse while adding intense hydration to create silky hair that is smooth, soft, and easy to comb through. The Hydrolysed Silk Proteins found in this formula condition and strengthen the hair while improving elasticity and manageability.
A leave-in treatment that instantly helps repair damaged or colour-treated hair. Enriched with silk proteins to help smooth and repair damage, this oil-free formula helps hair appear silky-smooth, and also offers ‘glide’ to the hair for easy combing.