Tag Archives: protein treatments

Split End Prevention: Pre-Pooing, Protein and Pruning

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Source: Tamullar (Long Hair Community)

Did you know that there were this many kinds of split ends?!? Pretty nasty, right? Well, I can attest to the validity of this chart. Because, about 2 1/2 years ago, I saw just about every split end on it (except the white spots) in my own head of hair. It was bad y’all. I mean, baaaaaddddd! That’s when I took to carrying around purse scissors … so that I could take split ends to task at a moment’s notice, any time, any place (seriously, I was out of control)!!

2011 NYC Curly Nikki Meet-Up: Told ya!

But now, in 2013, the split ends are few and far in between and have been for quite a while. Let’s put it out there. I have fine strands. So, I I’ll probably always get split ends no matter how protective I am of my hair/ends (unlike my compatriots with strong, thick-strands ;)). But, now I generally only see the vanilla variety, single “split” end … and they tend to be far rarer and very small. No more nasty “feathers,” “trees,” “double Ys,” “incomplete splits” (I call those “needle hole splits!”), “ETCETERA, ETCETERA.” (“The King and I?!?” Anyone, anyone? Okay, moving along.)

Anywho, as I was writing Fairytale v. Blunt Ends and discussing whether uneven, thinner ends can be healthy, I thought about my own hair. Although I have “fairytale” ends, when I examine my strands, they are mostly un-split and healthy in appearance. So, I thought about the techniques and products that I’ve incorporated into my regimen that are probably the most responsible for that. I came up with three things that I think help me keep splits under control:

  • Pre-pooing: Applying coconut oil, or a form of it (in my case Vatika Oil), to hair for an hour to overnight prior to washing reduces/prevents hygral fatigue and protein erosion that generally occur when washing hair. (For more on hygral fatigue, see this informative NaturallyCurly.com article).
  • Protein treatments/reconstructors: Protein treatments help to “patch” cracked, chipped or missing cuticle in damaged hair and “gaps” in porous hair. Protein, when used correctly, temporarily shores hair up against environmental and mechanical damage. (For more on protein, check out the great 2 part protein series on Natural Haven, which starts here.)
  • Pruning: Trim split and knotted ends that have already occurred to prevent collateral damage to healthy adjacent strands and as a prophylactic measure to prevent a cycle of breakage. You see, nothing can permanently fix/repair split ends. So, once you have them, you have to cut them off to get rid of them. There is a myth that, if left unchecked, split ends will travel all the way to the root of the hair. Yeah, have you ever seen that? I know that I haven’t (see above about having almost every split on the chart). What does happen is that a weakened, split hair will typically break somewhere around the split and leave a new split (because the hair doesn’t break off cleanly/bluntly). So the new split forms and may spread until it also breaks. Then another split is left behind and so on and so on. Therefore, cutting off split ends periodically, through search and destroys (my method of choice) and/or periodic trims as needed (once every few months, twice a year or yearly, all depends on your hair), helps prevent a cycle of splits and breakage. (Tip: Make certain trimming scissors are created for that purpose, are sharp and are used for hair only or you can cause more harm than good!)

Ultimately, a lot of things contributed to a reduction in damage and split ends: weekly deep conditioning, gentle detangling, protective styling, etc. However, I think that incorporating pre-pooing, protein and pruning into my regimen are largely responsible for the significant reduction I’ve seen in split ends. And, a reduction in split ends and breakage has allowed me to retain length and grow my hair the longest it has ever been in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it ain’t perfect, but it seems to get better and better all of the time:).

1/9/13 length check (back1)

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Is your hair prone to split ends? What do you do to prevent/reduce splits?

The Best of Hairscapades 2012

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IMG_5246Okay, it’s not quite a New Year’s kiss but, … you get the idea!

It’s been yet another amazing year for me in regard to this natural hair blogging thing!! Hairscapades has been consistently receiving about 100K views a month since May, celebrated its first year anniversary in June, reached 1M views in August of this year, posted its 1,000th article in October and (ETA) had its highest monthly views EVER (126,656) in December!!! I hosted my first natural hair meet-up in February, a second one in June and also co-hosted two haircut parties this year. In addition, I got the opportunity to be one of the guest bloggers featured in CurlyNikki’s new book, Better Than Good Hair, which will be released at the end of January 2013, and the name “Hairscapades” will soon be seen on the shelves of stores nationwide (no, I’m not launching a product and I can’t give details yet … but I’ll share more about this as soon as I can!). Oh … and on a personal note, I turned 40, enjoyed a budget-friendly awesome vacation in Mexico and attended my sixth NY Comic Con in a row!! Oh, and you know … this other “little” thing happened this year … I GOT ENGAGED!! LOL!

Anywho, to close out the year, I wanted to share the top 10 posts and pages published in 2012 that received the most views. If you missed the 2011 edition of “The Best of Hairscapades,” you can find it here.

And, without further ado … here we go!!

1. How I Retain Length

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2. Terressentials Mud Wash: The Newly Initiated

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3. Afro Puffy Twists: A Protective Style in Review

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4. My Two-Step Henna/Indigo Process

5. I Found It Cheaper!

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

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7. Moisturized Hair: It Starts on Wash Day

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8. Impulsive Blow-Out

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9. The L.O.C. Method

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10. My Spring/Summer 2012 Regimen

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Okay … and because I can, I’m adding to this list some of MY other favorite posts from the year ;)!! I’m sharing these first two because they were pivotal moments for me in my healthy hair journey. Protein was something I didn’t know anything about or understand at all about 3 years ago. In 2010, it was something that I learned a little about and avoided like the plague … eventually, to the detriment of my hair. In late 2011, I stopped fearing “protein sensitivity,” learned how to use protein properly, and began incorporating it into my regimen. And, in 2012, I was able to improve and refine my knowledge and use of protein. These two posts share my 2012 discoveries and learnings.

I ♥ Aubrey Organics

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Can I Over-Condition?

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This next one was from my busiest day ever … May 8, 2012. I had 6874 views and this was the most popular post (probably because it was also featured on CurlyNikki.com on the same day ;)). Hope to set a new record number of views in 2013!!

Protective Styling Boring?

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And finally, these last posts are by the best Hairscapades guest blogger ever … my amazing, loving and supportive fiancé ;). I’m sure that you won’t be surprised by the first two, which are the story of our engagement. And, the last one holds a very special place in my heart. It tells a story of a summer vacation that started horribly, but ended amazing. However, far more importantly, it shares a moment in time that reinforced for me how God always knows what’s best and this includes sending me a very special, loving, patient, kind, supportive, positive life-mate who may not be perfect, but is perfect for me.

An Anti-Valentines Day Love Story

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Off Topic: On Our Engagement

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Everything Happens for a Reason

2012: You brought challenges (family illnesses, super storms, black-outs) and losses (the passing of family and friends), but you also gave joy and triumph. 2013: I know that you will bring a new set of struggles and victories. But, I’m counting on the good far outweighing the bad. So, Here We Come!!

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Did your favorite(s) make the list? If not, what was your favorite Hairscapades post of 2012?

And, more importantly, what were YOUR best moments of 2012?

Can I Over-Condition?

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Back in the day … like 2 years ago ;), you couldn’t tell me that there was such a thing as over-conditioning. As a 12 year natural, the first thing that I would tell anyone transitioning, newly natural or interested in natural was, “Condition, condition and condition again! There is no such thing as over-conditioning!” Well, to tell you the truth, I still pretty much stand by that statement. Buuuuutttttt, here’s the thing. That’s because I think the term “over-conditioned” is a bit of a misnomer. I think most of us, when we are seeking an answer to that question, want to know whether we can over-moisturize our hair. And the answer to that is yes … a fact that I learned the hard way.

via The Science of Black Hair

Out in the “real world” overconditioning, or “tipping too far” on the moisture side of the protein/moisture balance, is virtually rare …

The problem of overconditioning seems to arise once the individual has been indoctrinated into all things hair. By now, she has figured out which products are protein-based and which are more moisture leaning-and here, the tendency to over moisturize tends to develop. She develops an aversion to protein and throws all of her resources into achieving a perpetual “moisture high.” The proliferation of true “protein overload” stories may have gotten her to this point! She knows that there is a gentle, often tricky balance to maintain but she puts all of her eggs in her moisturizing basket just to be safe. She may even realize that different proteins have different properties, and some actually improve the hair’s elasticity rather than toughen the strands-but she’s not taking any chances with protein period. This aversion causes her to moisturize and overcondition her hair until the cows come home.

“Protein-Sensitivity”
In 2010, I discovered the term, “protein sensitivity” and thought that I’d finally diagnosed the problem that I had with many products formulated for black/”ethnic” hair. These products, especially the conditioners, most often made my hair hard when wet and brittle and hay-like once dry. So, when I discovered that this was because they contained protein, I started to avoid anything with protein like the plague. Instead, I began using henna as my strengthening treatment. However, an over-zealous henna routine (i.e. multiple full-length treatments in a short period of time) resulted in significant curl-loosening.

Therefore, in 2011, I started doing roots only treatments of henna, for color and strength without the resultant curl-loosening. But, I didn’t incorporate anything else to strengthen the length of my strands. By October 2011, my hair felt incredibly soft, but it was also flyaway, snagged at the slightest touch and was shedding (and probably breaking) like crazy. Every time I touched my hair, strands were littering my hands. At this point, I realized that I had omitted an important part of my regimen: strength. I began researching protein and revisited it after learning how to use it the right way (see this post for deets).

Revisiting Protein – ApHogee
After my first ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, I saw an IMMEDIATE difference in the feel of my hair … it was harder, but hard-strong, not dry or brittle … and my shedding/breakage drastically decreased. So, I was a convert and began to incorporate protein into my regimen more regularly, typically every 3-4 weeks.

Then, in February, I tried my first (and thus far, only) heavy-duty ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment. It went well and I would have done more, except that I didn’t have the proper bonnet dryer to safely and efficiently dry the first step.

Enter Aubrey Organics GPB
Back in May, I decided to try Aubrey GPB (Glycogen Protein Balancing) Conditioner for the first time. Something happened that I haven’t seen in a long, long, looooooong time … my shed hair was curly!!! That’s right. I’m a natural with curly/wavy hair who is telling you that I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d seen curly shed hair … maybe a year or two? My strands just seemed wavy and some were essentailly straight. But, after my first GPB treatment, I looked at my shower stall and, to my surprise, saw curly strands for the first time in ages! And, I got excited!! Every wash session with Aubrey GPB, the amount of curly strands seem to increase! This past Saturday, after my haircut, I had a shed hair that was a complete, collapsed coil and I ran into the living room to show Wei! I told him, “I know that this seems silly, but I’m so excited because my curls are back!! It’s a coil!!”

Towards the middle/bottom left, you see those straightish
strands that I was used to seeing.

Now, this isn’t an entirely fair comparison, but I had to show you a pic of my “curls” (i.e. waves) in February and my curls (i.e. CURLS! *lol*) now. The reason the comparison isn’t really fair is because I got a haircut last week to get rid of my henna-loosened ends and my hair is freshly washed after being straight for 2 weeks in the pic on the left whereas, in the pic on the right, it is 7 days old and shrunken.

“Over-Conditioning”
So, what’s my point in all of this? First, I wanted to clarify the term over-conditioned, because I think that most of us call both moisturizing and protein-based post-wash treatments “conditioners.” Therefore, when I say that “over-conditioned” is somewhat of a misnomer, it is because I think that most of us are really referring to over-moisturizing the hair and not using too much protein. We tend to refer to the latter as “protein overload.” Second, we can dip too far to either side and the key is to give our hair what it needs when it needs it. Sometimes it’s moisture, sometimes it’s strength/protein. So, how do you know what your hair needs? It’s all about elasticity.

  • Take a few strands of shed hair and hold one set of ends in the fingertips of one hand. Then lightly tug and release the other ends with your other fingers.
  • Does your hair stretch and stay there (i.e. it doesn’t shrink back like a spring)? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your normally curly hair appear limp and curl-less? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your hair snap/break immediately or quickly? Then you probably need moisture.
  • Does your hair stretch, then spring back? Sounds like you have the perfect balance of protein and moisture!

The above is nothing new and you’ve probably read it before. So, what I hope to add to the conversation is what I think that I’ve learned.

  • One, the fact that my shed hair no longer had any curl was an indicator that something was off. Though a variety of factors can contribute to this, over-moisturizing should have been one of the “Usual Suspects.”
  • Second, Aubrey GPB restored the curl that I thought had somehow been lost. That says to me that not all proteins are created equal for all people. Though my shedding/breakage decreased drastically with the ApHogee 2 Minute Reconstructor and the 2 Step Treatment, my shed hair still had little to no curl. However, with the introduction of Aubrey GPB, my curls are springing back to life and elasticity is returning in leaps and bounds.

So, all this to say, if you have avoided protein and your strands have become limp and lifeless and your curls have seemed to all but disappear, you may want to try experimenting with different types of protein. However, remember, just as “over-moisturizing/conditioning” is a real thing, so is protein-overload. And, it’s easier to correct over-moisturized hair than hair with too much protein. So, do your research, proceed with caution and always listen to your hair!

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How do you know when you need moisture or protein? Have you experimented with protein treatments/conditioners/reconstructors? Which one(s) have you found work(s) the best for you?

Perspective

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What a difference a year and a little knowledge can make. So, I’m sitting here with Darcy Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner in my hair after finally washing it. I did a pre-poo with Vatika oil mixed with some EVOO for about an hour (picture above is pre-pooed braids), washed with DevaCare No Poo, applied ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor for a few minutes, rinsed and then applied my DC.

I know what you’re thinking, “So, what’s this about perspective and a year making a difference?”  Well, a year ago I was avoiding protein like the plague. I despised how my hair felt hard and stiff, instead of soft and moisturized, after using protein-based conditioners. I remember how, after my first ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin treatment, I told Rece, “My hair doesn’t feel as soft as normal” and she told me, “It won’t after a protein treatment.” I didn’t know how I felt about that … wasn’t that the reason I didn’t like protein conditioners/treatments in the first place?

But now, four months later, my perspective on that feeling has completely changed! Now, I see that “hardness” as strength, as resilience, as elasticity. I realize that what I previously perceived as soft and moisturized was over-conditioned, fly-away, snag prone and weakened hair. I see and feel the difference in my hair now. After rinsing the ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, my hair was springy, firm and strong. And I knew, with a little moisturizing DC, it would feel softer and moisturized (but not overly so), yet still strong and firm.


Naked hair, post ApHogee (straighter section in right pic is my normal curl pattern, not heat damage).

I feel like I’m entering 2012 armed with the key to unlocking my hair’s full potential and I can’t wait to see where I am and what else I’ve learned a year from now!

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What changes of perspective have you had in your natural hair journey?

ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment: Application

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Let the research begin!!

I’m planning on going for it this weekend! I want to make certain that I have plenty of time, so I think I’ll do the ApHogee Two- Step Protein Treatment this Sunday as I’m feeling tired right now and have plans for Saturday. I hit Sally’s right after work as I was afraid that the single application packet that I’d already purchased a few weeks ago might not be enough to cover my hair. I would totally FREAK out if I ran out mid-process. So, I ended up getting the big 16 ounce bottle of the step one protein treatment as there was a sale which included the 8 ounce bottle of the Balancing Moisturizer for FREE!! I figure, better safe than sorry. If I hate it, I’ll just return the products to Sally’s.

Anywho, I sniffed the protein treatment given all of the comments/reviews about how disgusting this stuff smells. At first, it didn’t seem too bad. But then I took a bigger whiff and I think I smell what people mean … a full head of this stuff probably won’t be too pleasant. I can’t find anyone who has added EO to it. But, I’m going to add a drop of oil (maybe lavender) to a small amount  and see if it helps mask the smell or makes it worse. I’ve decided to use a spray applicator bottle to make the application process go more smoothly and I’m hoping that I can just put my bonnet dryer over my head without cinching it at all to dry the treatment. I’d hate to have to use the hand held dryer! But, I’m thinking, my hair may be hanging down my back and I may have to use the bonnet and hand held dryer!! Ugh!!! Time for some more research!! I think Chicoro covers the process in Grow It! I know ShamIAmGlam makes a “protein cocktail” with the treatment by mixing it with a regular conditioner, so I’m going to check out her video on that too!, So, here I go!!

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Do you use the ApHogee Two Step Treatment? Any advice for a first-timer? How do I make this process as smooth and successful as possible?!

Moisture & Protein: Finding the Balance

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Tips & Tricks: Number Ten

via The Science of Black Hair

The unique relationship that exists between the protein and moisture balances within the hair strand is not simply a case of balancing opposing forces one over the other to prevent hair breakage. These two components work together synergistically to produce a healthy head of hair, and neither can work well without the other. Keeping the hair balanced between these two entities is very important.

Over the last couple of months, a few of you have expressed concerns about excessive breakage and how to address it. In addition, I myself had begun to experience it and set about diagnosing the root cause. What I realized about two months ago was that my hair might be over-conditioned/over-moisturized. “What did you say?!?! Over-CONDITIONED? Natural hair?? HERESY!!”

LOL! But seriously, about a year ago, I read about the delicate balance between protein and moisture and “filed” it in the tombs. You see, I kept my distance … a very far distance … from protein. However, I was using henna on the regular and, although I couldn’t find an authoritative source that stated it was an effective alternative to protein, it seemed to work just fine for me as a strengthening treatment.

The problem? At the beginning of 2011, I started to perform roots only applications of henna to eliminate the problem I had with henna build-up causing excessive curl loosening. I would do a bit of a henna gloss on the length, but that was it. It never occurred to me that the length of my hair was no longer getting its regular dose of strengthening henna resin due to my regimen adjustment. So, I went about my merry way until about October of this year when I realized that the length of my hair was very soft, shedding like crazy and also breaking far more than normal. That’s when the article that I read about a year ago came out of the memory catacombs and I started to think that my hair might be over-moisturized and in need of protein.

Most of us think of breakage as related to the lack of moisture. But, in fact, it can be the complete opposite and diagnosing the source of the problem is necessary in order to select the correct solution.

What can cause over-moisturized hair?

via The Science of Black Hair

  • overzealous “baggying”
  • back-to-back conditioner washes that don’t allow the hair to ever dry
  • regular lengthy/overnight deep conditionings
  • keeping the hair wet in general (water or oil) for extended periods of time without a break
  • the complete elimination of protein products altogether

Well, I’ve definitely been known to sleep in a DC overnight and to leave a Vatika oil pre-poo in my hair for multiple days … more out of laziness than a desire to get “extra conditioning.” Also, given that I leave these treatments in so long, I find that I don’t need to co-wash at all during the week or re-wet my hair to maintain it in a moisturized state. Rather, I usually only need to apply a little cream moisturizer and an oil to seal a couple of times between weekly wash sessions. Anywho, the potential that my hair was over-moisturized/conditioned seemed strong.

So, what do you do if you are experiencing an excessive amount of breakage and aren’t sure of whether you need moisture or protein? Begin with a wet hair assessment and determine how your hair responds in the normal course of combing or finger-handling.

via The Science of Black Hair

  • (When Wet or Dry) Stretches slightly and returns to its original length without breaking, you are balanced! Stick with maintaining!
  • (When Wet or Dry) Stretches a little more than normal then breaks, you need more protein in your regimen.
  • (When Wet or Dry)Stretches, stretches, stretches with no significant breakage yet, add a bit more protein to your regimen.
  • (Wet)- Feels weak, gummy, mushy, or limp, you need to add more protein to your regimen.
  • (Wet or Dry) Experiences very little to no stretching, and simply snaps or breaks, you need to increase the moisture in your regimen.
  • (Dry) Feels rough, tough, hard, dry, tangly, brittle, or any combination of those, you need more moisture in your regimen.
  • Unsure? Err on the side of caution and give your hair more moisture. So now that you have figured out what type of hair breakage you have, what should you do?

If it turns out that your hair is over-moisturized, a protein treatment is in order. Fortunately, over-conditioned hair is pretty easily corrected with a single protein treatment. The strength of the protein treatment should be determined by the amount of breakage. A heavy duty treatment like the ApHogee 2-Step is recommended for severe breakage, whereas a lighter protein, like the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor, is recommended for more typical breakage. Heavy duty protein treatments should be followed by a moisturizing conditioner to restore elasticity as protein “hardens” the hair by “patching” gaps in the cuticle. Also, it is usually recommended that they not be performed more than once every six to eight weeks.

Now, on the other hand, if you hair has too much protein, a moisturizing regimen will be necessary. A protein overload is not as easily and quickly remedied as over-moisturized hair and may take several weeks to rectify. If this is the source of your breakage, the following steps are recommended by The Science of Black Hair:

  • Clarify to remove any excess product buildup.
  • Deep condition for 30-45 minutes (with heat) once or twice a week with a thick, creamy moisturizing deep conditioner.
  • Apply a water-based moisturizer to your hair daily, concentrating on the ends.
  • Avoid excess protein in common products like leave-in conditioners, moisturizers, gels, and instant conditioners.

As to my hairstory, I saw a vast improvement after my first protein treatment (which was followed with a moisturizing deep treatment … ummm, why didn’t they say so?). My hair felt harder than normal, but I’ve come to realize that that feeling also signifies resilience and strength and the softness that I thought of as a good thing, was actually too much of one! So, you know, I’m learning to find the balance ;).

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Do you consider the moisture/protein balance in caring for your hair? How do you incorporate it into  your regimen? 

ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor

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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!

My Review

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!

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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?

Dryers, Protein, Twists and Kettlebells

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My do for the week! Buns, buns and more buns!

Hey all you lovely ladies!! I just wanted to give you an update in regard to my … well … hairscapades last week! LOL! As you already know, I had a busy four day weekend and didn’t do much with my hair. I wore it in a bun all week. Buuuuut, I did make a few purchases, so I should have some reviews for you soon!

First up, as I mentioned last week, I picked up a Gold N’ Hot bonnet dryer from Sally’s for about $40 after reading Marsha’s review of it.

I’ve been in serious need of a dryer for almost a year now! My hair NEVER dries overnight and my dryer wasn’t cutting it, even after two hours under it! So, it’s been a big headache when trying to do TnCs, braid and twist-outs (I wouldn’t even contemplate a roller set!). I’ve been eyeing this salon dryer on wheels for a while. But, I’d have to buy it online ($128; free shipping though!) and I was worried about whether it would be worth it as the only review I’d been able to find was the one that prompted me to search for it! I didn’t savor the thought of having to pack it up, trek to the post office and pay return shipping. I also wondered where in the world would I store it! So, when I read Marsha’s review, I figured, “What the heck?” With the Gold N’ Hot, if it doesn’t work, I’ll just go around the corner from my house and return it! Low risk baby. I plan on giving this joker a whirl on Tuesday or Wednesday night for a TnC set in preparation for the Curly Nikki NYC Meet-Up! Review to follow!

Next, I’ve been experiencing a little more breakage than normal and I don’t like it! I’ve always avoided protein-based deep conditioners marketed for relaxed, textured hair. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I knew that they always made my hair hard. So, last year, I came to the conclusion that I’m protein sensitive after learning there was such a thing! I’ve relied on henna to act as my strengthening treatment as it’s my understanding that the plant resin bonds to keratin in the hair to fill in gaps in the cuticle similar to the way that protein treatments do. But then, it hit me, I haven’t been doing full strength henna treatments on my length since the beginning of this year due to curl loosening! Also, after reading and learning more about protein, I’ve come to realize that using a moisturizing DC after a protein treatment should restore pliability and softness to the hair. So, while at Sally’s, I decided to also pick up two protein treatments in order to begin experimenting with them. I’ve noticed that a lot of people use the ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment. But, given that the directions indicate that you have to allow this to dry on your hair until it hardens and to avoid any manipulation, I thought that might be a little too strong for my hair and needs. At least, I thought, I don’t need to go that hard with my first protein experiment. So, instead, I picked up a bottle of the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor.

Also, since I’d read some good reviews of it, I purchased an Organic Root Stimulator (ORS) Olive Oil Replenishing Pak. It indicates, “Helps Restore Moisture & Rebuild Damaged Hair.”

I wasn’t sure if it was a protein conditioner because of the “moisture” part. However, I was pretty sure I’d read reviews indicating that it was. So, when I got home, I did some research and found this recent post on bglhonline.com about protein treatments that indicates one should look for “hydrolyzed” proteins in the first five ingredients for a true and effective treatment. I checked the ORS to find hydrolyzed collagen as the fifth ingredient, so I feel relatively confident that it is a protein conditioner. I decided to check the ApHogee too. Oddly enough, a hydrolyzed protein wasn’t in the first five ingredients! However, the sixth and seventh ingredients are hydrolyzed keratin and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (with some other long, chemical words that I don’t feel like re-typing!). So, I figure it probably should be decent too. I’m not sure which one I’ll try first, but I plan on using one of them, followed by either my JessiCurl Weekly Deep Treatment or Darcy’s Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner, this Tuesday or Wednesday when I wash my hair for my TnC set. I may not do a moisturizing DC after the ORS if my hair feels soft after rinsing. Anywho, again, reviews to follow!!

Finally, my last hair related purchase of the week was five bags of the Nafy Collection Afro Puffy Twist hair!! After two months, the distributor contacted me to tell me that it was finally back in stock, but he had a limited amount! Actually, I initially inquired about the New Nubian Twist hair that I told you guys about here. However, I was concerned that the hair might not look natural. So, after seeing this picture on the distributor’s Facebook page and asking him about what looks more natural, I decided to go with the Afro Puffy Twist hair in 1b.

The plan is to get my hair in puffy twists in November sometime. I’m still not sure where I’m going to get them done as I’m really wary of most braiding places. I also don’t know whether I’m going to trust someone to blow out my hair or if I’ll do it myself. Maybe I’ll try a Curlformer set to stretch it if the new dryer works well? I don’t know! Anyone have suggestions for a good heat protectant? Ugh. I really wasn’t planning on blowing out my hair until the end of this challenge. It’s been a year now since I last did it. But, I really feel like I want to give myself a little break with doing my hair and am looking forward to being able to leave the house in the morning without worrying about styling!

So finally, last week was an okay exercise week. I got in two interval sessions on the treadmill and two kettlebell routines (one 12 minutes and one 40 minutes). I would have liked to get in another day to make it five in the week (not including last Sunday, when I did do hot yoga), but four still wasn’t bad given that I was in the city all day, every day, from Thursday to Sunday and spent the majority of it on my feet. Anywho, I’ll definitely be reviewing the Lauren Brooks Kettlebell DVD, the good and not so good, this week. So, stay tuned for that too!

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What “acquisitions” did you make last week? Thinking of experimenting with anything? And, where are my FB Fitness Friends ;)?!?