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Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein VS Ceramides


Well-Known Member
:wave:Hello lovely ladies. I wanted to start this thread to clear up any confusion of Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein not being a ceramide.

I touched on it briefly in my blog, however I will further elaborate in here. Let me start by saying once again I'm aware Proteins are not ceramides.

I mistakenly wanted to add it to the Ceramide challenge based on the similarities, but enough of that.

I should say I was intriuged to say the least by the uncanny resemblance of the 2, in how they act the same way on the hair.

Both strengthen, attract and help retain moisture, both seem to "bond" to the hair and provide a protective barrier.

Here's how,

Hydrolyzed wheat protein
is a protein from wheat which has been turned partly into water through hydrolysis. Proteins are the nitrogen carrying constituents of living cells. Protein treatments are said to be beneficial to hair and skin. They add gloss, body and luster to hair. Proteins consist of giant chains of amino acids, the building blocks of life. The amino acid chains are joined chemically by a peptide bond. Plant proteins have excellent skin compatibility and deposit a protective film on the skin and hair. The film is smoothing and moisturizing.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein repairs damaged hair through covalent bonding. For hair care systems, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein builds body, reduces porosity, and improves shine, luster and smoothness. It is also gold to brown in color and has a strong odor, and has many applications in skin care systems.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein is an extremely pure protein produced from natural wheat gluten. It consists of the two subunits gliadin and glutenin, which are capable of repairing damaged hair through covalent linkage. Wheat Protein conditions hair with its moisture retention and film forming properties, which will greatly improve the body, shine, and smoothness of hair. Sulfhydryl groups in wheat proteins improve the quality and functionality of skin and hair care products. Source.

hydrolyzed plant protein; hydrolyzed vegetable protein
A protein obtained from various foods (like soybeans, corn or wheat), then broken down into amino acids by a chemical process called acid hydrolysis. Hydrolyzed plant or vegetable protein is used as a flavor enhancer in numerous processed foods like soups, chilis, sauces, stews and some meat products like frankfurters. Source

What are hydrolyzed proteins?

The word Hydrolyzed comes from the Greek word lysis, denoting disintegration or loosening, and hydro, which means water. Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction in which water (hydro) reacts with a compound to produce other compounds by splitting (lysis) a bond within the compound. The water, in effect, wedges itself between the two sides of the original bond within the compound, and then the water (H2O) splits into a hydrogen cation (H) and an hydroxide anion (HO), thereby splitting the compound. The result is a hydrolyzed substance.
When a protein is hydrolyzed, the gigantic protein molecules gradually break down into products of successively lower molecular weight, called peptides. Complete hydrolysis further breaks the peptides into individual amino acids
Why use hydrolyzed proteins instead of the protein itself?

Here are some of the differences between hydrolyzed proteins and the proteins they were derived from:
  • While high molecular weight proteins have considerable film-forming and surface active properties, low molecular weight compounds such as peptides, amino acids, polyphenols and more can pass through the skin barrier and act on cells of the dermis and epidermis and develop biological properties (sun protection, antioxidant, synthesis activator, etc.).
  • Since the efficacy of an active ingredient varies as a function of the nature of its constituents, of their composition and of their molecular organization, the peptides produced through hydrolysis will have different properties and can be more effective in achieving a specific skin care benefits.
  • Peptides are more soluble, and therefore more available for use by the body than the original protein. Source
Ok so now we know what hydrolyzed means and the difference between it and regular protein. Regular protein has not gone through this process, so it's not as easily absorbed by the skin and it's not moisturizing. Regular protein would not compare to a ceramide.

What is Hydrolisis?
Hydrolysis literally means reaction with water. It is a chemical process in which a molecule is cleaved into two parts by the addition of a molecule of water.

Now let's look at ceramides,

A ceramide is a lipid molecule composed of the amino acid sphingosine and a fatty acid. Ceramides exist in great concentrations in the plasma membrane of a cell and act as signaling molecules for a number of cellular functions. Ceramide may also have a role in certain pathological states, including cancer, diabetes, obesity, and inflammation.

All cells are covered with a semi-permeable membrane composed of two rows of lipid molecules. Each lipid molecule has a hydrophilic protein (means water loving) head that faces the outside of the membrane and a tail composed of fatty acid. The cell membrane is designed to selectively allow molecules into or out of the cell and aids in a number of cellular functions.

Ceramides in the skin are generated by a sphingolipid common in the cell membrane which is activated by the enzyme sphingomyelinasee to undergo hydrolysis, in which the molecule breaks down through a reaction with water. Ceramides are produced as a result.


What Do Ceramides Do?

Ceramides perform a "barrier function" and help reduce the hair's overall porosity. Ceramides bind to the hair fiber in damaged, vulnerable areas to help prevent natural moisture and protein loss that occurs when we manipulate our hair. Natural ceramides keep the hair fiber tight, and cuticles flat so that the hair shines and has low porosity.


So here we see ceramides are not proteins, but are the result of the breakdown of proteins by hydrolysis. Sound familiar?

We have also learned that ceramides are amino acids. let's take a look at what amino acids are.

Amino Acids are the chemical units or "building blocks" of the body that make up proteins.


I think we're on to something.......
So this explains the need for less protein on the hair when using ceramides.

The end result? Ceramide's starting point is protein. Thus giving the hair strength, and moisture because it's a lipid.

However if a ceramide is not available, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein will give the same effect.

This is my understanding, In no way do I claim to be an expert on the subject. I just know LHCF members are wise beyond their years when it come to haircare. :yep: We like as much knowledge as possible. And quite frankly I've seen plenty of examples of ideas, reggies, and methods of haircare become old news on here when the rest of the world is just getting hip.:lachen:

That's all for now.


Well-Known Member
thanks so much for this! I think use a protein (like wheat protein that has moisturizing properties) to nourish/moisturize the hair and then follow up with a ceramide to form the protective barrier (seal)?


New Member
Question: does this mean that by adding wheat germ oil to my dc that I am using ceramides? if so, I guss that would mean (based on other member reviews) I could possibly need fewer protien treatments?

Sorry if it sounds silly, just trying to "connect the dots"

TIA ladies!


Well-Known Member
Question: does this mean that by adding wheat germ oil to my dc that I am using ceramides? if so, I guss that would mean (based on other member reviews) I could possibly need fewer protien treatments?

Sorry if it sounds silly, just trying to "connect the dots"

TIA ladies!

Sorry I'm just seeing this.. It doesn't sound silly. And yes adding wgo to dc is def. adding a ceramide.:yep: As far as the need for less protien, I would base that off my own individual needs. The reviews are def. leaning towards less.:yep: