ApHogee & Me: My 1st Two-Step Protein Treatment

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It was midnight, so I was a bit oily and tired!

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.

My Process:

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:

  1. Pre-pooed and finger detangled with Vatika oil/EVOO mix, placing hair into 6 twists total (slept in pre-poo overnight).
  2. 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).
  3. Poured ApHogee into a spray bottle for ease of application and added 4 drops of lavender essential oil to help mask the smell.
  4. 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.
  5. Secured twists on top of my head into a high pontytail with a stocking.
  6. 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.)
  7. Re-wet twists by spritzing them with water from the spray bottle. This removed the hardness from the hair prior to rinsing.
  8. Rinsed in sink using warm water from the faucet first, then using the sprayer to finish the job. (Approx. 8 min.)
  9. 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.)
  10. Rinsed Balancing Moisturizer in sink under warm water.
  11. Mixed deep conditoner: Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, approx. 1 tsp. each of honey, EVOO and hazelnut oil.
  12. 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.
  13. Donned plastic cap and sat under bonnet dryer with medium heat (1 hour), then cooled (15 min.).
  14. 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.
  15. Rinsed with cold water under tub faucet.
  16. 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.

Initial Conclusions:
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.

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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?

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27 responses »

  1. Great review! I wish my experience would have turned out as pleasant as yours did!!! I rigorously washed my hair before the treatment and my scalp BURNED something fierce when I applied it. I really should have watched some videos before I did it smh… lol @ you saying it smelled like belly button lint! I was barred from going upstairs because I had the whole basement smelling like rotten eggs lol

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      • lol I should have talked to you before I did my treatment!!!! Lol I scratched my scalp before and during my shampoo…. lol ignorance is bliss! I know now

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        • Lord Leah!! What were you doing? The bottle even says to “gently shampoo.” LOL!! Sham had told me that it can sting, so keep it away from your scalp if it’s sensitive. However, I don’t and it didn’t bother me at all …. but, I gently shampooed! LOL!! Girl you were batting a thousand;)! And ignorance was NOT bliss this time! LOL!! Well, if you ever decide to give it a go again, you’ll be better armed:).

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  2. ‘m glad it went well for you Shelli. I figured it would. I don’t do the two step but the first step is the same.

    As for the smell, to me it’s not that bad. The fact that you put the essential oils into it could have made it more watery. i have drippage but not that much. I put the paper towel around my shoulders and constantly wipe drippies with an old towel. This eliminates it getting into my eye. But yes I also use a hard dome dryer which dries it faster.

    This is definitely something I think anyone should do at least every 6 weeks. Even though they say every 6 weeks, you can do it more often if your hair still breaks.

    on another note, i go to Greyhound today about my past ticket. They better not give me problems.

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    • I only put 4 drops of EO on it, so that didn’t make it watery. I kept a towel too, but it was just dripping on my arms. No biggie though. I’m definitely thinking that I might have to break down and get a bonnet dryer if I’m going to continue to use this particular treatment. It’s just easier than having to use a blow dryer!

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  3. I did this two weekends ago! Definitely forgot to do a deep conditioning. Christ my hair felt like straw, I’m so glad it eventually sort itself out. No breakage! But definitely… next time I won’t forget.

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  4. Use an applicator bottle to apply it. Shake up the protein liquid to make a foam; makes it soooo much easier to apply it….I also blow dry the treatment in sections as I go to cut down on the mess and drying time. HTH

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    • Dickie, glad that your hair self-resolved. ALWAYS DC after a protein treatment though, especially a heavy duty one. That’s what I learned from Michelle up there;). Protein conditioners always gave me problems because no one ever said to DC after! I just don’t get why that isn’t placed on every protein treatment!!!

      Shake it until it foams?! Who knew?! That’s pretty cool. Okay, thanks so much for the advice on that front Nicki!

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  5. thanks so much for posting this ! i think its high time I did a heavy duty protein treatment like this one. i actually bought the aphogee 2 step treatment some time ago but didn’t really know what to make of it, so i returned it. now i know what to do! thanks again !!!

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  6. I have done the 2 min reconstructor and can’t tell it that helped or not. I’m not sure if I need the protein but your post got me scared! I don’t want my hair to break off ( after its all hard and dry, the smell and lawd if that don’t seem like it takes a looooong time!). The wash day takes a while on it’s own, henna takes a while, I dunno if I have any more time. I will look out to see your consecutive results before I fully decide… lol

    Thanks for the review.

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  7. Charlene, no problem!! I felt the same way about the 2 step too. As I said in the post, reading the instructions and what people say about it is intimidating!! But, my hair does feel great so far! I’m really hoping that starting to incorporate this every 6-8 weeks or so will help me get to that next level:)! However, if I can find a protein treatment that is as effective without the daunting process, I’ll let you know! In fact, the Science of Black hair talks about Kenar and Joico, I think. They may be good options that don’t carry the same level of involvement. That’s for you too M:).

    Also, I mean really, the DC is what took the longest. Other than that, it was pretty much a normal wash day as I didn’t do a conditioning detangle after shampooing … rather, I went straight to the treatment, then the DC, then detangling.

    And you’re welcome all. I’m glad that you found this helpful!

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  8. Here is the list of recommended protein based products provided by Science of Black Hair:

    Conditioners-Motions Moisture Silk Protein conditioner, Aubrey Organics GPB

    Leave Ins/Other Products- Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, Aphogee Treatment for Damaged Hair, Aphogee Green Tea Reconstructor, Infusium 23 Leave In Conditioner, Nexxus Emergencee, Nexxus Keraphix, Motions CPR, Cantu Shea Butter BreakCure, Cantu Shea Butter GrowStrong, Profectiv Breakfree Moisturizer, Profectiv Megagrowth Moisturizer, Elasta QP Mango Butter Moisturizer, Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Mane N Tail Conditioner, Garnier Fructis Long and Strong, Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Hair Mayo, Got2B Soft 1 Minute Emergency, Rusk Sensories 60 second Revive, ORS replenishing pak, Garnier Fructis Long N Strong,
    Leave Ins/Other Moisturizers: Kenra Daily Defense leave in conditioner mist, Dove Intense Moisture Mist, Salerm 21 leave in conditioner, Organic Root Stimulator’s Olive Oil Moisturizer, Neutragena Silk Touch Leave In Conditioner

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  9. Thank you Shellie, great review!
    I might give the two step treatment a try … still undecided… I just want to watch a few weeks longer how my hair will react with the 2 – minute – treatment and then perhaps switch to the 2 step- process. My hair is extremely heat- sensitive and I do not know if it would take the blow drying well which seems to be mandatory with the 2-step Aphogee.
    BTW… I looove the twisted bun and the hair pin… very classic, very retro, very much what I like.. inspired me even more to grow my hair longer:-)

    Bisous, Monika

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  10. Great review Shelli. I’m glad it was successful. I did the 2 minute apogee treatment for the first time in mid January and my hair responded positively. I intend to alternate weekly between moisturizing shampoos and mild protein treatments until the Spring. I dc after every wash, be it moisturizing or a protein based week. You are one of my primo “hair gurus” so I’ll continue to check out your protein status. I love the “figure 8″ braid bun!

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    • I only used it the one time and it’s still sitting under the sink! LOL! I started using Aubrey Organics GPB and it was easier to use and my hair responded fantastically to it. Then, in the last few months, I started using the Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe that had been gifted and I’ve been using that instead. But, the ApHogee did work well. It’s just that it was a more time-consuming process, so I found that the other treatments were easier and quicker to do.

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  17. I used the aphogee 2 step p/t and this 3rd time around turned me into a believer. I used it two other times before 2- 3 mos apart and stopped because the time is crazy. However, after learning that my hair needs and thrives off protein/moisture balanced of course I will now do it once a month. I am currently doing protective styles (mini/medium twist). I do a pre-poo finger detangle with grape seed oil, washed with the aphogee shampoo and then do the protein treatment (sit under the dryer for 30 mins). I do a DC with tresemme extra moisture condish with EVOO mixed (sat under the dryer 45 mins) and left over night (busy day lol) and rinse the next morning. I then sealed with grapeseed oil. The next day I added the cantu hair lotion (this is when I really noticed the difference). My hair was silky and less tangled, I actually finger detangled without any struggle. Once I applied the hair lotion to all 6 sections I began my twist using shea butter and aloe vera gel mix…..my hair is HAPPY. I honestly can’t recall the last time my ends behaved so well….I will continue this regimen til spring and plan on dusting my ends every 3 mos….

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