(Article by Pavithra Rajkumar, Wholistic Wellness Coach, IG: @lifewithpurelycurlie )
What I call the Green Goddess hair mask is a DIY protein treatment using Spirulina, a vegan superfood that can supercharge both your body and your hair!
Spirulina fights free radicals and fine lines, which makes it a go-to mask for soothing, hydrating and brightening skin. I started using it as a face mask more than a month ago and it worked like magic on my face. While I was at it, it occured to me that it may be an amazing protein treatment for curly hair as well.
Spirulina – the Superfood!
Spirulina is a superfood with a whopping 65 – 71% protein content in its natural state. That’s a much higher digestible protein content than say, beef or lean meats!
I’ve been taking spirulina chlorella tablets for close to 6 months now, but more for its powerhouse of antioxidants, immunity boosting, and detoxing abilities.
Spirulina benefits for the body
This superfood doesn’t need to be cooked to break down the protein. It is has no cellulose in its cell walls, making it extremely easy for the body to break down. And the amino acids in spirulina are instantly absorbed by your body! Given how great Spirulina is for the body, it made me wonder if it could be great for curly hair, too!
Some research facts:
100 g of Spirulina (dry), has almost double the protein content of soybeans and 10 times the protein of rice.
Spirulina also has Inositol (the key ingredient in rice water) which is key for hair growth. Every 5g of Spirulina has 3.2 mg of Inositol.
As I looked up how to use Spirulina for a hair mask, I saw that although it has been around for a while (like most DIYs), I noticed that nobody uses it specifically as a protein treatment for curly hair.
|Protein content||65%-71% (natural state)||5%-7% (cooked rice)|
|Protein content (dry basis) per 100 grams||10 times the protein of rice2 times the protein from soy|
Special thanks to @Chitra Chaudhuri for helping me research the protein content of Spirulina.
Is Spirulina better than Curd/Egg for Protein Treatment?
I haven’t done any research about the molecular weight of spirulina, to determine whether or not it is small enough to penetrate the hair shaft. However, I know for a fact that curd/egg food molecules are too big to penetrate the
I noticed my Green Goddess DIY protein treatment made my curls appear straighter while working with it in my hair, but it got curlier, tighter, and springier after wash day. Basically, after a Spirulina protein treatment, my Day 2 hair is a lot better, with more shrinkage! That, and the protein content discussed in the above sections have me believe Spirulina makes a great DIY protein treatment alternative for me.
How do you know if you need a protein treatment?
If one or several or all of these things are true for you, there’s a good chance you may need a protein treatment.
- You stretch a curl (wet or dry) and it doesn’t go BOING!
- Mushy hair that feels lumpy, but dry
- Hair loses moisture quicker than normal
- All your products are protein-free
- You have never actually, proactively done a protein treatment before.
Some of my curl friends (10 to be precise) with different hair porosity have tried the mask in the last few weeks (at the time of this writing) and reported that this DIY protein treatment brought new life to their curls. Here are Sheena’s results! Visit this post on Instagram to learn more about her experience!
The recipe and method
I usually combine this DIY protein mask with protein-free/moisture products. So my cleanser, deep conditioner (DC) and styles will be protein-free to balance my wash routine. You can use protein cleansers and
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- 2 tsp Spirulina powder
- 1 tsp conditioner (I used @soultanicals
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar or ACV with the mother
The consistency of this mask is super thick so it shouldn’t drip after you apply it.
- Emulsify in your palms before coating your wet hair.
- Use a brush to evenly distribute and finger coil to train your curls
- I put on two shower caps and then the thermal hot head.
- I left it on for 30 minutes (anywhere between 15-30mins would be ideal – see what works best for your hair.)
- Wash until you don’t see green water running down
It’s a gentler protein treatment compared to the popular DIY gelatin protein mask and I felt like it was stronger than rice water rinse for my hair. I haven’t checked out the science behind this; my opinion is based entirely on the experience of what worked for my curls.
The only downside to it is a weird seaweed smell which only becomes noticeable as it begins to dry but, personally, I prefer it to the smell of gelatin. Also it goes away after hair is completely dry.
Will it work for you?
I have low porosity hair and it’s false when they say “low porosity doesn’t need protein!” It’s about finding the right balance with the kind of products you use on wash day. The only way to know is to try. I’ve had difficulty with other protein treatments, which is why I went looking for alternatives.
First, is that I hate the smell of gelatin. Second, gelatin isn’t vegan – it’s made by boiling animal bones. And third, even though I tried rice water rinses, more often than not I’d forget about the rice water I kept in my fridge for wash day (I’m very impromptu with my wash days)
When I tried Spirulina, though, it made me feel so good, that I christened it the Green Goddess Mask treatment.. I hope it makes you feel the same way.
Pavithra Rajkumar is a Wholistic Wellness Coach empowering people tune into their inner healing wisdom to live a happy and healthy life. A curly girl, ardent DIYer; experimenting with DIY skincare and haircare for years! She shares snippets of her curl journey, which started as part of her wellness journey on Instagram under @lifewithpurelycurlie She loves creating healthy recipes and exploring superfoods from across the world.
PS: Does it stain? (by Liz)
It did not stain my hands, my shower cap, nor the forehead area where some of the