DIY Hair Protein Treatment: Gelatin Hair Mask

Our hair are made up of proteins and with daily wear and tear, our hair strands tend to lose its strength and get damaged. Applying heat or chemical treatments damage our hair more and weaken the strands. Heat and chemicals are not the only culprits in causing damage to our strands. On a daily basis our hair are exposed to pollution, sunlight, dirt and many other environmental causes that damage our hair. The damage caused by environmental causes might not be as severe as in case of heat or chemical treatment, but damage due to both reasons must be replenished by applying protein treatments on our hair. (No, I am not talking about the Salon protein treatments!)

When we apply protein treatment to our hair, the strands soak up the proteins from the mask/treatments. The protein helps in strengthening the hair and helping in repairing the hair damage by filling up the damaged regions of the strands. It also reduced further damage and breakage of hair by providing strength.

How often should a protein treatment be done?

This depends on the level of damage that you hair has been through. If you have highly damaged hair (heat damaged or chemically damaged hair) or more hair breakage, then you can use more frequent protein treatments.

My suggestion:

Start with monthly once if you have normal hair.. you can also increase the time between two treatments to upto 2 months.

If you have very damaged or very fine hair, weekly once protein treatment would do good. You can also alternate between deep conditioning treatments and protein treatments if it suits your hair.

Purpose of this is to strengthen hair so it must be used sparing if your hair is not much damaged. Too many protein treatments can make hair dry and curly and wavy hair require more moisture and conditioning treatments. 


What to use for protein treatment?

For protein treatments we need to use hydrolyzed(chemically broken down) proteins so that they can penetrate our hair and be effective. For this, we need not go any further than our kitchen.

Today, I wanna make you aware of this awesomely protein packed ingredient which is highly effective for hair treatments and gives excellent results. Annndddd it is dirt cheap!! The super ingredient is (as you would have guessed by the title) Gelatin!!


Why Gelatin for protein treatment?

Gelatin is basically hydrolyzed form of collagen (protein). Since the protein is hydrolyzed, it is small in size and is easily absorbed by our hair and gets into the strands and provides strength and resistant to breakage. It kind of forma a protective layer on the hair.


What type of hair needs gelatin hair pack the most?

It is super good for hair that is:

  • fine
  • breaks easily
  • needs volume/body
  • is damaged by heat
  • is chemically treated
  • I also use gelatin hair mask when my ends need a trim, but I wanna extend days before hair cut. (well if you need a trim, get the trim!! This is just me…buuuut this mask surely helps!)

The protein in gelatin forms bonds with the hair and  gives it strength, masks damage and helps hair withhold strain to an extent without breaking.


Who should NOT do a protein treatment?

You should stay away from a protein hair treatment if:

  • you have coarse hair
  • your hair is protein sensitive
  • you have any known sensitivity to protein in food (then surely your hair and scalp would be sensitive to protein too!)
  • If you are a pure vegetarian, gelatin is not for you since it is a non-veg ingredient.

Now onto the recipe and how to use!


Things Required:

  • Gelatin (Unflavoured) – 2 Tablespoons
  • Water – 1 cup (hot water)

You can get the Geltain here:


Gelatin is much cheaper at grocery shops…you can find it in the baking section. Make sure you get the unflavoured one.


Steps to follow:

  • Take the gelatin in a bowl and slowly add hot water (hot water makes it easy to dissolve the gelatin)
Curlacious_Gelatin Protein Hair Mask_India_CurlyWavy
Gelatin Powder


  • Stir continuously and dissolve the gelatin completely. As this was the first time that I tried, I was not sure of the consistency that I would get on dissolving the gelatin in water. What I noticed was that the water had become a little viscous. Initially, it was very liquid-y so I added extra gelatin to get the consistency a little better. Remember that on cooling gelatin gets swollen and takes the consistency of a jelly so do not add too much.


  • Let the mix cool down a little and then place in refrigerator for 10-15 mins. At this stage you can add the ACV or any extra ingredients that you want. You want the consistency to become a little thick but not very solid; otherwise it will be difficult to apply. (I kept it in fridge and got super busy. By the time I got it out, it had thickened too much!! So I added a little warm water and made the consistency a little jelly-like…it got all messy by the end!! You can also let it stay out in room temperature to loosen up a little)


Curlacious_Gelatin Protein Hair Mask_India_CurlyWavy
This is how my gelatin pack looked after it was set (A little too hard)! You can let it stand for few minutes or add warm water


  • Section your hair and apply the hair mask evenly on all strands coating each strand thickly and sufficiently with the gelatin hair mask


Curlacious_Gelatin Protein Hair pack_India_DIY CurlyWavy
Coat all strands properly


  • Keep the mask on was 10-15mins. Some prefer to keep it for longer or till it hardens on the hair. I put on a shower cap for 10mins to give that warmth. Then kept it on for 15mins more. By then it got slightly dry on my hair. This mask drips a lot so I prefer to put on a shower cap.


  • You can also apply heat from a hair dryer till the mask starts to dry and become crunchy on your hair. It makes the treatment faster and gives a more strong protein treatment.


  •  Rinse it off thoroughly


  • Follow it up with deep conditioning treatment if your hair feels dry.


  • I did not have time to apply a deep conditioning so after rinsing it off I conditioned as usual and left a good amount of conditioner in and followed up by a mild coat of shea butter. Shea butter is supposed to lock in the moisture in hair and is supposed to work as a conditioning treatment (or so I think !! :-D). You can totally skip the shea butter.


  •  My hair did not feel dry afterwards and hair was pretty much fresh and full of life, bounce, strength and shine the next day. 🙂



  • This is the most basic gelatin hair pack. Usually a teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar is added to this mix. Also, many additional ingredients can be added to provide moisture, for e.g. conditioner, oils, essential oils etc. But I prefer only gelatin. I will be adding Apple Cider Vinegar the next time I use gelatin protein pack.
  • Always use the unflavoured gelatin.
  • If you keep it in fridge for too long and it becomes too solid, you can either let it stand at room temperature for few mins till is loosens up or add little warm water and mash it up!!
  • if your hair feels dry after the treatment then you should always follow a protein treatment with a deep conditioning treatment. Here is one quick fix if you want a recipe.
  • If you are short on  time, leave in a lot of conditioner and follow up with deep conditioning or oil your hair following day or in the same weak based on how dry your hair feels post protein treatment.
  • This is a big No-No for vegetarians. In case you did not know, gelatin is extracted from animal by-products. In case you are looking for a Veg protein treatment (i.e. without gelatin) then try this recipe: DIY Protein Treatment


Hope this helps. If you have damaged hair then you should totally try this out. Gives a superb boost to the hair. 🙂


Did you try gelatin protein treatment for your hair? Please feel free to share your comments, feedback and suggestions in comment below.


6 thoughts on “DIY Hair Protein Treatment: Gelatin Hair Mask

    1. Hi Latika… i have noticed that this pack gets crunchy only if I use heat via a hair dryer to dry it off otherwise it doesn’t become much crunchy on my hair even after 60minutes. It starts dryng but doesn’t form the crunch! . If u have a dryer, you can use warm air to dry the mask faster and to help it penetrate faster. However, even if the mask doesn’t dry off and doesn’t form the crunchy layer, the effects are gonna be good only. 🙂

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