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?’


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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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?

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 »
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.

[…] 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. […]


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?


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




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


[…] 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 […]


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 :)


The mod­el on this page is so pret­ty.


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.


[…] 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. […]


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)


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

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 »

Also, I think the fol­low­ing link is very help­ful, offered by a fel­low com­menter:

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.


I love this link thanks alot


great link!

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 :)


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.


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


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


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


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.


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


Nutress Hair Pro­tein Con­di­tion­ing Treat­ment :) Love it !


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


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


Thanks for part 1 &2! =)