By Jc of The Natural Haven
Click here for part 1 of this series.

Avril asks: ‘What do protein treatments really do for your hair, in particular eggs? What is it in ApHogee 2 step protein treatment that makes the hair so hard, and how do we benefit from it?’

Kelly asks: ‘I thought natural hair was undamaged, do we really need to use protein conditioners?’

Jan asks: ‘Can I add amino acids to my hair conditioner to make a protein conditioner?’

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Let me start by describing proteins. Proteins are made up from single units known as amino acids (see the diagram below). These amino acids (approximately 20 different types) are arranged joined together through peptide bonds. For simplicity I have drawn just 4. The order and number of amino acids that make up a protein is determined genetically (DNA is wonderful!!). Each protein is made up several hundred to a few thousand amino acids. Again for simplicity I have drawn just a few amino acids.

In order for a protein to be useful for hair, it has to be broken up into smaller segments. This is because proteins such as collagen, wheat protein or keratin are TOO LARGE to be useful. By breaking the protein up into smaller fragments (known as hydrolysed or hydrolyzed protein). Amino acids on the other hand areTOO SMALL.

So why is hydrolysed protein the correct size?
This is because to be useful, the protein has to adsorb (yep with a D) to hair. Adsorb means the protein sticks to and forms temporary bonds with the hair. Very large protein simply can’t form these bonds reliably. Amino acids on the other hand tend to be very soluble in water so you can expect that you will remove majority of whatever you put on once you rinse your hair. With damaged hair, very small hydrolysed protein (known as peptide fragments) can also be absorbed – yes this can penetrate through to the cortex and be deposited in the hair shaft (Journal of Cosmetic Science, pg69-87, 1993).

Size Matters
Just before moving on, let me just say that even hydrolysed protein has an ideal size for use:

For collagen hydrosylates for example, this is a molecular weight of 2000 (Book reference – Conditioning agents for hair and skin By Randy Schueller, Perry Romanowski).

For wheat hydrosylates this is around 5000-10000 ( Book reference -Principles of Polymer Science and Technology in Cosmetics and Personal Care By Errol Desmond Goddard, James V. Gruber).

The problem is that I have not seen a single protein conditioner actually state the molecular weight. The protein part of eggs (egg white/egg albumin) has a molecular weight of approximately 33000- 40000 (The Journal of Biological Chemistry, pg 189-193, 1939). I can’t find a reference for hydrolysed egg albumin size but I would strongly suspect that this molecular weight is too large to be beneficial.

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33 Comments on "All About Protein Treatments, Part 2: Hydrolyzed Protein & the ApHogee Treatment"

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Terese

Thank you for this article! I really appreciate the knowledge on proteins.
However, I have a question. You explained that the hydrolysed proteins only TEMPORARILY patch the hair. Why is this temporary? What can we do to permanently patch the hair?

Rashonda
I have tried Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment before but it made my hair stiff and dry. 🙁 And not to mention, it had a terrible smell! So I have found something even better called Nutress Hair Protein Pack. I’ve been searching for a simple but good protein treatment. It gives the hair protein and moisturizes at the same time (two steps in one). It was definitely easier to use and gave my hair a great tingling sensation. After using this product, my hair felt stronger and the amount of breakage decreased. Plus it’s super affordable even just to try. I… Read more »
arianna17
Rashonda, I know I’m responding a year late, but Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is a strong treatment (as you already know) so you want to follow-up with a very good quality moisturizing conditioner (NO PROTEIN IN IT). This will give your hair the protein/moisture balance it needs. Aphogee Two-Step is one of the best protein Treatments for damaged hair. Don’t give up on it! Keep working with it! Note: The balancing conditioner, the one in the purple bottle that Aphoghee recommend that you use after the protein treatment, is horrible in my opinion and didn’t do anything for my hair.
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[…] Is this treatment just a bunch of bull? Most likely. In order for protein treatments to be beneficial to your hair (i.e. have restorative and restructuring impact), they have to be hydrolyzed (broken down into smaller sections). Proteins like eggs, bull sperm, and oat flour are on a molecular level, too large to have any significant impact. Maybe in the future, a hydrolyzed bull sperm…. HydroBull, anyone? For more information on protein treatments,click here. […]

Carol

I did not know much about protein treatment….thx for the info. What other products can I use besides aphogee coz I do not know where to get it? Secondly what would be the order of events during the treatment?

Rashonda

I would recommend using Nutress Hair Protein Conditioning Treatment.:) You can find it at Sally’s or http://www.nutresshair.com

Oliver

DO, NOT, BELIEVE, THE HYPE! THIS IS ALL MARKETING BS AND HAIR, AND PROTEINS ETC DO NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM WORK THIS WAY (SORRY FOR THE ALL CAPS)

chanzii1

This was great! I learned a lot ! Thank you!

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[…] 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 […]

Kyndal

Aphogee works wonders!!!

The Natural Haven

I just realized that many of you said thank you for the diagrams. Please excuse my laziness for today and I will just say a huge your welcome and thank you for the compliments 🙂

GorgeousSmile

The model on this page is so pretty.

Amayou

Great information so Here is what I learned and hopefully this is accurate LOL
– Eggs sitting on my head are pretty much pointless (I’d do better eating them)
– I should continue using my Aphogee 2 Step Protein periodically
– Rinse Off conditioners do just that RINSE OFF, and down my drain
– When I do decide to Color my hair I need to keep up with my Protein treatments to keep it healthy
Thanks again.

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[…] The addition of protein in my hair regime has beena contributing factor to my length retention and growth.  Check out this article on BGLH online about hydrolysed proteins. […]

Jordan

thanks for breaking it down, i’ve noticed some damage to my hair after i colored it & when twisting it. i’m going to try a protein treatment asap and see if it helps. (i also trim my end regularly, but i think i need them professionally done)

judyann

A gib thank you for both part 1-2.and all the diagrams,clear illustrations.

deeflyy
one last thing to note (and then i’m logging off- i swear!:) is that for some there can be such a thing as too much deep conditioning which also produces brittle hair. i learned this from a hairdresser when after weeks of sitting under the dryer faithfully with my conditioner, i had a mix of very dry ends in my crown. before talking to her, i thought that more time under the dryer with my concoctions of conditioner and essential oils would save the day, but no such luck. after learning that i’d been possibly spending too much time under… Read more »
Alexia

Also, I think the following link is very helpful, offered by a fellow commenter: http://radiant-brown-beauty.com/shocking-truth-about-protein-and-hair/

She debunks the myth of “protein sensitivity”, describes why hair becomes hard, and gives tips about how to do a proper job of a protein treatment so that your hair is moisturized and doesn’t become brittle.

deeflyy

great link!

Juliette

I love this link thanks alot

deeflyy
Thanks for the citations as well as graphics to go with your explanation. I’ve picked up a lot of this knowledge poring over different articles over the years, but it’s always nice to see it all in one place w/ scientific backup! Re: Aphogee treatments, i have been using them for years and swear by them. when i had a perm it would make an instant difference in reducing breakage (i used a LOT of heat on my hair then). having been natural almost 8 years (mainly so i can highlight/color my hair), i’ve found the treatments particularly useful 2… Read more »
The Natural Haven

Thanks for the compliments on the citations and graphics 🙂

Lynette

I just used egg, mayo, and olive oil and honey. Sometimes I add other oils like coconut, jojoba, and any other oils I have. I do this every other week and my hair loves it. I have noticed a lot less shedding and frizz. My mother used to put this in my hair when I was little and it helped my hair to grow nice and healthy.

Cee

how much of each do you use? and do u use it as a prepoo or just a deep conditioning?

nica

but from what i was reading here, the parts of an egg may be too large to penetrate and bond with the hair, right?

Shannon

So, could you do this as a “pre-poo” conditioner, with a conditioning cap under a dryer for best effects?

Chrissie

No! Protein treatments aren’t conditioners in the sense that they aren’t oily softeners and you shouldn’t cover the hair with anything during the protein treatment. The protein structure dries in a hard cover over the hair.

Bianca

What are other options for a protein treatment other than ApHogee?

Alexia

I’m doing research on this myself, and both Curl Junky’s “Repair Me” and Nexxus “Emergencee” have been recommended to me. After doing a little research, I’m going to try the Nexxus and see how it works.

The Natural Haven

Komaza I believe has a product too

Malkin

Try a gelatin protein treatment – Science-y Hair Blog has a good recipe:

http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/p/recipes-and-projects.html

Rashonda

Nutress Hair Protein Conditioning Treatment 🙂 Love it !

anastasia

Thanks for part 1 &2! =)

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