As you know, I’ve been experiencing some breakage and decided to revisit protein treatments after an eternity of not doing them. You see, although I only learned of the theory of protein sensitivity last year, I knew something in certain types of conditioners targeted for relaxed, damaged, ethnic hair made my strands hard to the touch and rigid in movement. And, I didn’t like that. So, I’ve pretty much avoided them my entire life, even when I was relaxed.
Protein Sensitivity: A Misconception?
However, after Michelle of Radiant Brown Beauty did a couple of posts about protein treatments, describing their purpose, how they help her hair and how to properly use them, I realized that I might have given protein conditioners a bad rap. She did this post, The Shocking Truth About Protein, which was very informative and stressed something that I’ve never read before about protein treatments. They must be followed by a moisturizing conditioner! Well, why didn’t they say so?!?! Until reading this and the instructions on the 2 Step ApHogee treatment, I’d never seen a protein deep conditioner include directions that it should be followed by a moisturizing one! I have read about moisture and protein balance and that it’s easier to correct over moisturized hair with a protein treatment than to correct a protein imbalance with moisturizing treatments. However, I still didn’t put two and two together in that a protein treatment should be immediately followed by a moisturizing conditioner.
Revisiting Protein the “Right Way”
So I decided to take a leap of faith and give protein a shot at the title. I picked up the ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor and used it last Wednesday. I wanted to wait until I manipulated my dry hair before giving you all my review. Let’s start with a breakdown of the ingredients, claims and directions:
Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Behenamidopropylamine Behenatem Stearolkonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cocodimonium Hydrolyzed Hair Keratin, Hydrolzed Mucopolysac Charides, Sodium Coco Collagen Amino Acids, Wheat Germ Fatty Acids, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Arachidonic Acid, Squalane, Avocado Oil, Acetimide MEA, Panthenol, Wheat Germ Oil, Jojoba Oil, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sulfur, Amodimethicone, Polyquaternium 10, Linoleamidopropyl PG Dimonium, Chloride Phosphate, Tallowtrimonium Chloride, Nonoxynol 10, Cocoyl Sarcosine, Sorbitol, Fragrance, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben (emphasis added).
What They Say: Apply on clean hair in shower and rinse to treat brittle hair with cuticle damage and moderate breakage. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor is a powerful, one step treatment that should be used for home use, between salon visits. This concentrated blend of keratin amino acids, botanical oils, and vitamins does wonders to restore strength and softness to hair that requires a deep, penetrating treatment. It is recommended on tinted, bleached or relaxed hair. ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor helps repair damage caused by chlorine and hard water. It soothes irritated scalp and may be applied following each shampooing until the healthy condition of the hair is restored.
Directions: Gently shampoo hair with ApHOGEE Shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and towel as usual. Squeeze 1/2 ounce into palm. Using fingertips, work evenly through hair and into scalp. For maximum penetration, cover hair with warm towel, or plastic cap, for two minutes.
I highlighted the two “hydrolyzed” ingredients because I recently read this BGLH post, All About Protein Treatments, that stressed an effective protein treatment must contain hydrolyzed proteins as those are the only ones that are the correct size to adsorb, yes adsorb, to the cuticle and patch areas of damage. Adsorb, with a “d,” means it “sticks to and forms a temporary bond.” So, when I was looking for a protein treatment, I was reading the ingredients to look for this. The article also indicated that the hydrolyzed protein should be in the first five ingredients. It actually is the 6th and 7th in this ApHogee treatment. However, since I had read reviews of this product and have seen a lot of people use this over the last year on the hair boards, I figured they fell high enough to be effective. Also, two hydrolyzed proteins at the 6th and 7th positions made up for it not being one at the 5th in my mind!
2/25/12 Edited to add: I pulled the above ingredients list from Sally’s and the same was at Folica. However, when I inspected my bottle due to some comments below, the ingredient list was different! The formula I used is not the same as above. The protein falls at the 7th and 8th positions, mineral oil is at the 5th and there seem to be many other ingredients. I can’t find the ingredient list that matches my bottle online. So, I will update with the actual ingredient list from my bottle when I have time. Sorry for any confusion ladies!
Okay, now that we have all that out of the way, I’m finally going to give you my review!! So, I used the ApHogee last Wednesday on wash day. I popped it open and took a sniff. I expected a chemical smell, but was pleasantly surprised when it had a light fruity scent, kind of like piña colada to me! After shampooing and rinsing my hair, I applied the ApHogee liberally. The directions indicated to use 1/2 an ounce. However, I suspect that I used closer to an ounce given the length of my hair. The treatment was a translucent white color and the consistency was about that of a lite salad dressing. It wasn’t thick, but it wasn’t overly runny, so it was easy to apply and distribute. I was careful not to manipulate my hair too much and just smoothed it down my hair in 6 sections. I left it in about 10 minutes, though the directions say 2-5. This was not intentional, I was just making my DC to follow the ApHogee, so ran over the 5 minutes.
Once I finished making the DC (warmed JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment w/coconut oil, olive oil and honey), I rinsed my hair thoroughly with lukewarm/cool water. Of course, I immediately noticed that my hair felt harder, but it also felt heavier. Then I gently applied my DC. I left that in for about 30-45 minutes with heat and rinsed (I did my entire wash day rituals in the kitchen sink as I had no interest getting in and out of the shower that many times!). Then I styled in the TnC that I posted about here.
What I noticed about the styling session and completed style was that my hair still felt harder than usual and wasn’t as shiny. So, I was not sure if I deep conditioned long enough. It wasn’t super hard though and some olive oil cooking spray helped with sheen, so I kept it moving (Rece also told me later that night that it won’t feel as soft as normal after a protein treatment, even with a moisturizing DC. She said, that’s why she used to alternate ApHogee with the ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Pak). In regard to decreased breakage during wet styling, I can’t give you a read on that because I can never tell. However, I can tell you now, a week later, that I have definitely seen an improvement!! I did a dry twist out on Wednesday night, after 3 days of the TnC and 3 days of an updo. I dry detangled my hair and though I saw a couple of broken hairs, it wasn’t as much as I’d been seeing. I could also tell that my hair was withstanding the manipulation a lot better. It really did feel stronger! But here’s the real kicker. I know this is not supposed to be connected, but y’all, my hair shed after a week of not doing my hair was NOTHING for me. I was astonished by the little amount of hair that I saw!
So yeah, I’m kind of sold now. I definitely think I will be incorporating a protein treatment into my regimen every 6 weeks or whenever my hair seems to be breaking easily when overly soft. Okay, gotta go! I’ll leave you with the results of my dry TnC!
Have you avoided protein because you believe that you are protein sensitive? Do you think that you’ll revisit the use of protein if you are experiencing breakage?