I did it! On Saturday, I decided to venture into the world of heavy duty protein and do my first ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment. Read on to find out if there will a second ;).
As many of you know, back in October, I began to notice an increase in breakage and was suffering from what I believe was an excessive amount of shedding. It hit me that the length of my hair was getting plenty of moisture, but nothing to strengthen it as I was doing roots only henna applications and didn’t use protein conditioners/treatments. So, after a little research and reading articles on the use of protein like this one on the Science of Black Hair and this one by Chicoro, I decided to dip my toes into the water. Now, I had to decide on what protein treatment to use. I read a lot of good things about the ApHogee Two-Step treatment. However, given that I was new to the protein game and the process for the two-step was a little intimidating, I decided to start with a light treatment and selected the ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor.
When that went well (see my full review here), I continued to use it about every other wash until I got Afro Puffy Twists on 11/30/11. The last time I used it was on 11/29, when I prepared my hair for the twists. So, it had been about 8 weeks since my last protein treatment and I felt like it was time for another one. I figured, I’ve given my hair some time to “breathe” and recuperate after the stress of the twists take down, so now was as good a time as any to take this more “aggressive” prophylactic measure.
I was nervous because I read things like, “Don’t touch your hair once the treatment hardens, or it’ll break right off,” and I thought, “Well how am I gonna rinse this mess out if I can’t touch it?!” But, I then I saw that warning tempered with the advice that you just can’t agitate the hair and should be very careful when it’s in a dried state. I watched a couple of videos, read a few reviews and finally opted on following Chicoro’s technique, for the most part. In Grow It!, she provides some steps for doing a heavy duty treatment, which requires heat to harden it and bind the protein to the hair. The step that was most important for me was that she recommends placing the hair in twists throughout the process, whereas all the other reviews and videos I watched were with loose, sectioned hair.
So, here is what I did:
- Pre-pooed and finger detangled with Vatika oil/EVOO mix, placing hair into 6 twists total (slept in pre-poo overnight).
- Washed hair in twists with Shea Moisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention and Ion Curl Solution shampoos diluted in water and applied with a dye applicator bottle (I used the SM because of the moisture it offers and the Ion as it has sulfates to help clarify my hair for the protein treatment).
- Poured ApHogee into a spray bottle for ease of application and added 4 drops of lavender essential oil to help mask the smell.
- Untwisted one twist at a time, saturating each section with treatment, squishing it through the hair and retwisting. Repeated until all 6 twists were treated.
- Secured twists on top of my head into a high pontytail with a stocking.
- Dried under medium heat, high air flow. I started under my bonnet dryer, but became nervous as the bonnet was resting on my hair and I thought, “What will happen if it dries stuck to my hair and then I try to remove it?!” So, I finished the job with a hand held blow dryer. Most of my hair remained stationary. But the ends of two twists were moving when I directed the air at them. So, I gently cupped them in my hand as I dried them. (10-15 min.)
- Re-wet twists by spritzing them with water from the spray bottle. This removed the hardness from the hair prior to rinsing.
- Rinsed in sink using warm water from the faucet first, then using the sprayer to finish the job. (Approx. 8 min.)
- Untwisted one twist at a time, saturating each section with ApHogee Balancing Moisturizer, squishing it through the hair and retwisting. Repeated until all twists were treated. (Left in hair for about 5 min.)
- Rinsed Balancing Moisturizer in sink under warm water.
- Mixed deep conditoner: Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, approx. 1 tsp. each of honey, EVOO and hazelnut oil.
- Untwisted one twist at a time, saturating each section with deep conditioner, squishing it through the hair and retwisting. Repeated until all twists were treated and secured twists at crown with jaw clip.
- Donned plastic cap and sat under bonnet dryer with medium heat (1 hour), then cooled (15 min.).
- Hopped in the shower to do a conditioner rinse (Aussie Moist diluted in water) and then finger detangled, twist by released twist adding extra conditioner (Aussie Moist) as needed. Followed finger detangle with wide-tooth shower comb and retwisted each section.
- Rinsed with cold water under tub faucet.
- Applied modified kimmaytube leave-in (2 tbsp KCKT, 2 tbsp aloe vera juice, 2 tsp of jojoba oil) to each twist and retwisted for a modified WnG.
Note: I taped several steps in the process and am working on editing the videos into one video to post later this week.
My Review and Results
I went into this like it was a henna treatment. In other words, I knew that it would be messy, so I was prepared. I took out all of my supplies, donned my bleached up, black henna tee, put towels on my couch (thanks for the warning Sham ;)) and had the dryer set-up and ready to go! I knew that this stuff would stink … I read, “rancid trash,” “butt,” “animal feces” during my research … I liken it to toe jam or belly button lint. Umm hmm … yeah, not pleasant. So, I tried to ameliorate the smell a bit with the lavender oil. It still stunk, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.
However, it was very sticky and dripped everywhere, even with using a spray bottle. I had it all over my arms, face and neck. And, when I rinsed, it got in my eyes and that was NOT pleasant!! But, it didn’t blind me. When it came to drying the product in my hair, it went okay, but I do wish that I had a hard bonnet dryer as it would have made it easier.
In regard to the results, my hair immediately felt heavier and harder after rinsing the protein treatment. It’s too early for me to determine if my breakage is eliminated as I did see a strand or two that were broken after the final rinse. But my hair definitely feels stronger and very elastic. It felt GREAT, very springy and lush. I also haven’t experience any dryness yet, which I’m sure is due to the good deep conditioning that I gave my hair after the treatment and the kimmaytube leave-in. I also sealed the last 6 inches or so of my hair with my JBCO/EVOO mix before putting it into 5 twists for bed last night. It felt good Sunday and I’ll keep an eye on my lost hair and the moisture level over the upcoming week.
As of Sunday night, I’m definitely thinking that I’ll be incorporating a heavy duty protein treatment into my regimen as a pro-active and preventative measure. For now, I’m thinking once every 6-8 weeks or so. But, I’ll pay attention to my hair and if it seems that it’s not necessary, I’ll stretch it.
Have/do you use the ApHogee Two Step Treatment? If so, how did/do you like it? What’s your process? If you use a different intense protein treatment, which one do you use? Why do you prefer it?