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What are the benefits of hair peptides?

What are the benefits of hair peptides?
Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert2 months ago
View Hannah Pourhady's profile

As we continue our search for fuller, healthier-looking tresses in 2024, and the haircare industry continues to take influence from the skincare market, peptides are the latest lock-loving ingredient that have found their way from our moisturisers and into our haircare routines. But more of us are now asking: what is this new, must-have ingredient, and how can they help to benefit our hair?

We talk to the experts from bestselling brands The Ordinary and The INKEY List to find out exactly what hair peptides are, and how this savvy skincare buzzword can help benefit our strands...


What are hair peptides and how do they work?

Over the last few years, the hype around peptides (and particularly collagen peptides) in skincare has been steadily rising, and now we’re seeing the trend transfer into everyday haircare routines. But what are they?

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that make up certain proteins needed for targeting various concerns like ageing, elasticity and more. Fundamentally, they transport nutrients directly to the source, whether that’s the hair follicle or skin, where they send signals between cells.

Two of the most important peptides when it comes to the health of your hair (and skin!) are collagen and elastin. “[Peptides are] the essential building blocks of many factors within the body,” explains Joe Basham, science communications & partnership engagement manager at The Ordinary. "They act as messenger molecules and can be engineered to target specific concerns like the look of hair density, thickness and fullness.”


What are the benefits of hair peptides?

Devin Ryan, assistant manager of education at The INKEY List, tells us: “While most known for their skin-boosting benefits, peptides can also be extremely beneficial for our hair and scalp.”

The benefits of peptides include:

  • Support cell turnover and protein production

Hair peptides can prompt the scalp to support natural proteins found in the hair to nourish and increase the volume in your strands. Devin explains, “Peptides encourage cell turnover and support the production of proteins that are essential for hair growth. They work to add volume by plumping and thickening the hair follicles, leaving hair with more body.”

  • Promote hair growth

Peptides also work to circulate blood to the hair follicles, giving them the nutrients and oxygen they need to grow healthily. “We can incorporate a combination of peptide technologies and plant-based extracts to help improve the look of hair thickness, fullness and density,” says Joseph.

  • Suitable for all hair types

Whether you have thin, oily, dry or damaged hair, don’t worry – peptides are suitable for all hair types! As peptides are delivered to the scalp itself, and not the strands, they work to directly replenish the follicle, and so are likely to be a great option for everyone, regardless of hair type!


How to incorporate peptides into the perfect haircare routine

While safe to use daily, it’s recommended to apply hair peptides in the evenings before bed, as this is when our skin and hair is naturally regenerating. However, it’s also important to note that peptides are very delicate molecules, and can be broken down when used alongside ingredients such as salicylic and glycolic acids:

“While most haircare products do not contain these ingredients, sometimes they may be used to help exfoliate the scalp to reduce dry and flaky skin,” Joseph explains. “We recommend not using peptides and products containing direct acids in the same routine, and instead applying these ingredients on alternating evenings, should you wish to use both products in your haircare regime.”


Our top peptide recommendations for your haircare routine


The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

This little, peptide-powered serum has gone viral for its ability to promote a thicker, denser, fuller and healthier-looking head of hair with a 21.5% concentrated formula of Procapil™ and CAPIXYL™ Peptide Complex, offering effective penetration for maximum results.


Kérastase Première Repairing Anti-Frizz Filler Heat Protecting Hair Serum for Damaged Hair with Peptides and Glycine

Kérastase’s lightweight leave-in ‘filler’ treatment is enriched with peptides and glycine to promote luscious, luminous locks while offering heat protection up to 230°C* and up to 72 hours* of protection from fly-aways.

*Instrumental test


The INKEY List Peptide Volumizing Hair Treatment

After application on wet or dry hair, this leave-in, lightweight hair serum is enriched with peptides to help visibly volumise finer hair while offering shine-enhancing properties that help build vitality and luminosity.


Revolution Haircare R-Peptide 4x4 Leave-In Repair Mask

If you’re after a ‘do-it-all' product, this hair mask protects against heat and chemical styling, while helping to minimise the risk of breakage, as the R-Peptide formula helps to leave strands feeling fuller and stronger.

Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert
View Hannah Pourhady's profile
Coming from a large family of mainly women has made me passionate about all things beauty; from routines passed down from my grandmother, to trying the latest products and trends. Starting over 7 years ago when I was an MUA at MAC Cosmetics, my love for makeup has now evolved into making sure my skincare creates the perfect canvas for any look. I love anything that can make my skin feel fresh & bright while accentuating my features – Bobbi Brown's Face Base is my favourite at the moment! My makeup sits so beautifully on top and make my skin feel so fresh and hydrated!