Hair Products » Best Protein Hair Treatments

10 Best Protein Hair Treatments

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Taking care of your hair is just as important as taking care of your skin. After all, many of us tend to use hot styling tools like blow dryers and curling irons that can damage strands over time. If you notice your hair looking frizzier or shedding a bit more at the bathroom sink, it might be time to consider a protein hair treatment. 

Many products exist to help strengthen your hair and make it shinier and smoother. You can even create your own protein hair treatments if you’re the DIY type. But if you prefer buying a product, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best protein hair treatments. Keep scrolling to find the right product for your dry, damaged, or brittle hair.

Best protein hair treatments overview

How we chose the best protein hair treatments

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including ingredients, application times, and more, to create a short list of the top protein hair treatments. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, ratings, and reviews to find the best protein hair treatments for each category.

Our picks for the best protein hair treatments

Best overall
Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector

What we love

  • No formaldehyde
  • Reduces breakage
  • Free of common allergens

What we don’t love

  • Multiple products recommended for best results
  • Somewhat expensive

Olaplex is a pretty well-known name when it comes to haircare. The hair perfector is a protein treatment you can use once a week or as often as three times per week, if your hair is pretty damaged. It’ll strengthen your hair and cut back on strand breakage. Plus, you’ll notice an overall improvement to your locks after use. 

The brand recommends you pair it with the bond-building hair treatment for best results. Doing so is worthwhile, though, because it means your hair could get up to three times stronger, according to the brand. The hair perfector is also free of gluten, nuts, parabens, phthalates, phosphate, and sulfate. Olaplex is also focused on formulating products while cutting back on its carbon footprint by reducing packaging.

Size: 3.3 fl oz | Hair type: All

Best budget
Palmer’s Moisture Boost Protein Pack

What we love

  • Meant for dry, damaged hair
  • Inexpensive
  • Works for multiple hair types

What we don’t love

  • Should pair with specific conditioner
  • Pack may be a bit small

Palmer’s makes an affordable protein pack that helps repair your damaged, dry strands. It’ll give you a boost of moisture after you wash and condition your hair. Just leave it on for two or three minutes and rinse it off for smoother, shinier hair. 

The pack may be a bit small for those with extra luscious or long locks, though, and the brand recommends you use its conditioner for best results. However, it’s a great option for an inexpensive protein treatment without a significant commitment to a full bottle.

Size: 2.1 oz | Hair type: Dry or damaged

Best splurge
GK Hair The Best Hair Treatment

What we love

  • Contains keratin
  • Salon-quality
  • Subscription discounts

What we don’t love

  • Very expensive
  • Some don’t love the smell

Yes, GK Hair’s protein treatment is a splurge. However, if you plan to use it often, it comes in a jumbo size, which can be worthwhile. And it’s salon-quality, so stylists use it on their clients. It contains keratin, which gives damaged or frizzy hair a smoother look. 

This treatment also produces longer-lasting results — as long as six months after applying it. That definitely makes this a splurge-worthy pick if you’ve got damaged hair in need of some TLC.

Size: 10.1 fl oz | Hair type: All

Best mask
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque

What we love

  • Pampering
  • Good for weak hair
  • Reduces breakage

What we don’t love

  • Process takes a bit more time
  • Peppermint may be a turnoff

Noticing that your strands are breaking off easily? Reach for this masque with nourishing shea butter and Jamaican black castor oil, which will give you more elasticity. That also means a bit less shedding, along with softer, shinier hair. 

You’ll need to wait at least 10 minutes for this treatment to work its magic, and you’ll have to sit under a dryer. However, that’s a great reason to pamper yourself for a few extra minutes this weekend.

Size: 12 oz | Hair type: Multiple

Best for damaged hair
Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment

What we love

  • Deep-repairing formula
  • Quinoa proteins
  • Luxurious

What we don’t love

  • Somewhat pricey
  • Not ideal for those with dry hair

If your main concern is damaged hair that needs some repairing, try this treatment from Aveda. Though not ideal for people with dry hair, it offers a deeply repairing protein treatment that smells amazing. After using it, you’ll walk away with less frizz and stronger hair.

Made with quinoa protein, organic jojoba, and organic castor oil, it also has that luxurious Aveda scent. It’s cruelty free, and you’ll only need about two minutes to apply it before reaping the benefits.

Size: 4.2 oz | Hair type: Damaged

Best leave-in
L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Leave-in option
  • Drugstore find

What we don’t love

  • Strong smell
  • Using too much can feel greasy

L’Oréal is an icon in the beauty industry, and its products are pretty easy to find on drugstore shelves. We’re big fans of this fact and the price of the brand’s protein treatment. It’s a conditioner you just apply and leave in, making it super convenient to use. 

Don’t apply too much, though, as some reviewers have noted a little goes a long way. And that little bit of product translates to heat protection and up to 97% less breakage, according to the brand.

Size: 5.1 fl oz | Hair type: Damaged

Best deep conditioning
Hask Keratin Protein Smoothing Deep Conditioner

What we love

  • Contains keratin
  • No sulfates
  • Color-safe

What we don’t love

  • Scent may be overpowering

Coloring and highlighting hair can equate to damage over time, which is why this protein hair treatment is so great. It’s color-safe, and it doesn’t have any sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or gluten. 

One packet provides up to three applications, so it won’t last terribly long. Still, the price is quite reasonable, and you only need to leave it in your hair for 10 minutes or less. It’ll deeply condition your hair and restore its smoothness and shine. It’ll also add hydration while repairing damage, thanks to the keratin. It even reduces static — a major plus since winter is on the horizon.

Size: 1.75 oz (pack of 12) | Hair type: All

Best vegan
Vegamour GRO+ Advanced Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner

What we love

  • Comes in a set
  • No extra steps required
  • Vegan

What we don’t love

  • Quite expensive
  • Some reviews describe it as sticky

If you’re not interested in adding an extra step or two to your haircare routine, this set is for you. Vegamour is a vegan company, and this kit includes a shampoo and conditioner containing a vegan keratin formulated by the brand. The shampoo coats your hair with protein while the conditioner locks in moisture and keeps your hair shiny. 

It’s on the more expensive end of the spectrum, and some reviewers described the texture as sticky. Nonetheless, it’s a great protein hair treatment that could cut back on your signs of shedding by up to 76% after five months of use.

Size: 2 bottles (8 fl oz each) | Hair type: Multiple

Best moisturizing
Tgin Miracle RepaiRx CPR Protein Treatment

What we love

  • Good for curls
  • Moisturizes
  • Short application time

What we don’t love

  • Not gluten-free

For hair in need of hydration, try this protein treatment from Thank God It’s Natural (Tgin). It strengthens your hair while also smoothing your strands. The protein works to build up your hair so it breaks less, and you don’t lose as much of it. 

Plus, it adds much-needed hydration to your scalp and boosts hair growth. It’s not a gluten-free product, but it steers clear of parabens and sulfates. To use it, just leave it on your hair for about three minutes and rinse — simple, fast, and effective.

Size: 12 oz | Hair type: Multiple

Best pre-shampoo
Curlsmith Bond Curl Rehab Salve

What we love

  • Pre-shampoo product
  • Made for curly girls
  • Specific instructions for all hair types

What we don’t love

  • Use caution with vibrant hair colors

Many protein hair treatments need to be applied and rinsed off after you’ve already washed and conditioned your hair — but not this one. Use this treatment before you shampoo to avoid having to hop back into the shower to rinse out your treatment. 

The Curlsmith salve will make your hair stronger while also repairing any existing damage. Plus, you can use this whether you have hair that’s porous or not. The brand includes specific frequency instructions depending on your hair type, making it a more personalized experience.

Size: 2 fl oz | Hair type: All

Boosting your hair routine with protein treatments

Options abound when it comes to protein hair treatments, and each has its own strengths and potential drawbacks. Our pick for the best protein hair treatment overall is the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector. It’s free of many common allergens and reduces breakage while strengthening your hair with just one application per week. 

How to pick the right protein hair treatment for you

We spoke with Dr. Cory Gaskins, M.D., with Skin CV to learn more about protein hair treatments. When selecting the best product for you, Dr. Gaskins suggested to take certain factors into account like how porous your hair is, its elasticity, and whether or not it’s dry. 

Hair type

  • Porous. With highly porous hair, you can get away with more frequent protein treatments.
  • Elasticity. This addresses how easily your hair breaks, which impacts how often you should try treatments.
  • Moisture. People with dry hair shouldn’t get protein treatments as often.


What’s the best professional protein treatment for hair? 

You’ll want to consider a few factors about your hair before settling on a treatment. For instance, Dr. Gaskins told Glowsly that “if your hair is very dry, you may have to get this treatment as infrequently as possible: from a few weeks to every other month because protein treatments can be quite drying.

Are protein treatments good for your hair?

“Protein treatments can help to restore damaged hair by filling in the gaps in the cuticle. This can help to make your hair look and feel smoother and shinier,” Dr. Gaskins said. However, using protein treatments too often could make your hair dry or even brittle.

What’s the best protein pack for hair growth?

According to Dr. Gaskins, “The best protein pack for hair growth is the keratin K31 treatment. This treatment is designed for bleached or damaged hair, and it works by infusing protein into the hair shaft. The result is stronger, healthier hair that can better withstand damage.”