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February 8, 2012

ApHogee Two-Step Treatment Review


by Shelli of Hairscapades

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 to place 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 and would help clarify the 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 when 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 hair dryer at them. So, I gently cupped them in my hand and directed the air towards them. (10-15 min.)
  7. Re-wet twists by spritzing twists 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 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 finger detangle, twist by released twist adding extra conditioner (Aussie Moist) as needed. Followed finger detangle with wide-tooth shower comb and re-twisted 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 re-twisted for a modified WnG.

Note: I taped several steps in the process and am working on editing the videos into one 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 spring 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.

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?

44 Chime in!:

Anonymous said...

This treatment is just not this serious- nor does it have to be this messy.

Anonymous said...

I agree!! This seems like WAY to much to do!

Kimberly said...

Sounds like a complicated procedure. I think I'll pass.

Hairscapades said...

This was my first time doing the Aphogee Two-Step. But, with the exception of the actual treatment, steps per the direction, this my normal wash day. I pre-poo, finger detangle, twist and DC every time. So, it really wasn't that much additional time for me. Someone did tell me that shaking it on a dye applicator bottle makes it foam and thicken, so that it won't drip. I'll definitely do that next time.

All in all, I just try to be thorough in detailing my process and techniques. I think because I do that, sometimes my reviews may make the process more involved than it is in reality. But, if it is more than someone wants to do. That's fine and understandable. I was just trying to detail my first experience in hopes that it might be helpful to someone else.

Thanks.

Kimberly said...

I do Henna treatments about once a month. That's what I consider my protein treatment. My hair doesn't like strong protein treatments.

Hairscapades said...

Typing from phone, ughh! I meant to say, "may make it SEEM more involved...". Sorry for the incomplete sentence and typos!

Kimberly said...

@Shelly, dont get me wrong....it was a great review! Very thorough. My mom used to use Aphogee products back in the day. I'm just super lazy when it comes to my hair regimen. I need something quick and simple. I pre-poo and DC every week. Henna once a month. That's about all I have time for.

Kimberly said...

@Shelli, I just realized I spelled your name wrong (Shelly). Sorry about that!

Hairscapades said...

Oh Kim, no worries on either front:)! If I was still able to henna my full length if hair, I wouldn't be doing this protein treatment either! LOL! Also, the 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor was good for anyone actually interested in a protein treatment, but want a quick treatment:)!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your thorough nature, Shelli, but why does EVERYTHING have to be so overly complicated?

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Umm...this blogger makes everything seems so unnecessarily technical. If I were a new "curlie", I would run away screaming. Please let's not make things so serious; it is not helpful to many, and in fact, it is a bit intimidating. I don't mean to sound harsh; just trying to keep you from losing your audience.

Miss Medi DiJah said...

I tried this twice and didnt like it AT ALL! From what I read, it says not to manipulate the hair at all, so i just put it in my hair and use the blow dryer to dry it. I didnt like the fact that I had to stand there with the blow dryer forever and a day to get my hair dry, so I never did it again, plus I didn't see a difference in my hair.

I did try henna last week for the first time and my hair LOVED that, so I think i'll either give this to someone who wants it, or have it sit on my shelf until it rots lol.

Great review though!

Anonymous said...

Like Miss Medi Dijah - "hated it". I wont use it again.

Anonymous said...

Shelli- I appreciate your attention to detail, but Aphogee can be overwhelming the first time you use it. I do think your extensive list of steps would scare a new user away. Not knocking your detailed process, but most folks don't have to do all that. Slap the treatment on, sit under dryer for 20 min. Rinse, DC and detangle. Viola!

bryanna said...

i love this treatment i do it every 8 weeks

Miss Mercilus said...

I've tried the aphogee 2-step treatment and it was the worst experince ever. My scalp was on fire the time. It was like when you irrate your scalp before putting a relaxer/perm and when you do it burns like crazy. that was what I was feeling but 10x's worst to the point that I cried. Which is why I now only use organic/natural products.

Anonymous said...

I haven't used it since I have been natural but I used it several times when I had a relaxer. It definitely worked for me - no falling hair after use.

I thought maybe my hair would be too fragile for it in it's natural state but let's see.
MininF

Gina B said...

@Shelli as a new natural who sux when it comes to anything I actually appreciate the thoroughness of your review. I cannot stand surprises and reading the back of the bottle just DON'T do it for me. If this is considered complex then um *side eye*
Usually if I don't care for a particular post I just keep it moving instead of posting negatives bc that is what causes a newbie such as myself to runaway smh. #tisall

But again thank you for the review :)

Gina B said...

* meant to say sux at anything hair-related lol!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shelli
Thanks for the informative post! You mentioned in one of your comments that you aren't able to do full length henna anymore. Would you please tell us why? Thanks in advance.

CurlyChellez said...

I love ApHogee. I used the the 2 step treatment once. It was when was I was still pressing my hair. I had told my hair dresser that my hair was shedding a lot, and she did this treatment. My hair looked and felt great afterwards. Since I have stopped using heat, I use the 2 min treatment whenever I feel the need for it and I love it as well!

www.curlychellez.blogspot.com

Annabel said...

I assess whether my hair needs a protein treatment each month. I'd say I do them anywhere from 6-8 times per year. I use Joico K-Pak Reconstructor. Apply to damp hair, let sit 5 mins, rinse. Probably not the best in terms of ingredients, but my hair likes it. The other treatment I like is Organic Root Stimulator's ...forgot the name of it, but it's very moisturizing. When I run out of both of these, I'll try one with wheat protein. Thanks for the review!

pearlsandcurls37 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pearlsandcurls37 said...

Thanks for the review. I was tempted to try this treatment but there were way too many warning about how it could go terribly wrong, and with my luck, I'd be bald be the end of it. Soooo, I opted for the Aphogee 2min keratin reconstructor and I love it. I usually use it twice a month and it has really helped with my split ends.

Treasure said...

oh lawd that is alot of ish to do! im just gonna stick with my two min keratin and henna treatment.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the ingredients in this stuff? I remember smelling it years ago and it smells just terrible- very industrial odor. After giving up the relaxer, I don't feel comfortable with the idea of using other types of chemicals on my hair.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I don't think I could do all of that. Sounds so complicated and not sure if I want to risk losing my hair. But I am happy it worked for you, I think I will have to find another protein treatment. Thanks for sharing

hairscapades said...

Miss Mercilus, when I posted this on my site, one of my readers commented that she scratched her head during shampooing and during the process and she had the same stinging/burning problem. It didn't bother me at all, but I don't really have a sensitive scalp. But, totally get going the natural route!! I know a lot of people like egg, mayo and of coconut milk type treatments. I never used to like those because they made my hair hard. But now realize that if I use a moisturizing DC after them, might not have that problem.

Anon @ 1:56, henna was loosening my curls SERIOUSLY! LOL! But, I love it and I have a lot of grey that I use it to color. So, I realized that I could get the benefits of the color and strength doing 3 treatments on the roots. Anything more than that (meaning constant full length treatments) started loosening my fine curls, which is not a side effect that I wanted. So, now that I only do the roots, I'm retaining my curl pattern.

Anon at 5:31. Sorry, usually I include ingredients! This is per the Sally's website:

Deionized Water, Hydrolyzed Animal Protein, Magnesium Sulfate, Citric Acid, Ethylene Urea, Dimethylol Urea, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Magnesium Carbonate, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance.

There are all kinds of homemade protein treatment recipes, so I'm sure you can find one to your liking, if that's what you want. What I found in my research though is that the hydrolyzed proteins seem to be the ones that adsorb (yup, adsorb, not absorb ... learned that from the posts below by Jc of the Natural Haven:) to the hair strand. Her two posts on protein were very informative to me.

http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com/2009/06/size-matters-protein-conditioning-part.html

http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com/2009/06/protein-conditioners-for-hair-part-2-of_03.html

Thanks!

Shelli

Anonymous said...

I use Aphogee Two Step Treatment but I agree with the other ladies on here. This was too detailed! The protein is NOT complicated at all! For most people, it's just adding a few steps to their regimen and that's it. You would scare someone off with your 16 step process.

Quaneasha said...

@Shelli

I agree with Gina! The details you provide are very beneficial. I would love it if I had a detailed explanation of every hair treatment, style, etc that I dared to try. Keep up the good work. Ignore the Negative Nancey's!

As far as this treatment, I just started using henna and I am loving it so far! I do not feel the need to try anything else just yet, but who knows what will happen in the future. If I do decide to try it, I will be sure to refer back to this WONDERFULLY DETAILED post!

Kaee said...

Thanks, Shelli! I appreciate the info. It's good to know the world of options that exist in terms of various levels of protein-boosting treatments. My hair LOVES protein and a good treatment really helps it become more manageable (it's 4b/4c-ish and coarse). I just tried Curl Junki's 'Repair Me' protein condish, and so far so good! It stopped shedding and provided some moisture, which was a definite plus - the only negative would be the price! Ouch! When I'm ready to take it to the next level and really treat my hair, I'll definitely give your method with the ApHogee Two Step a try (it will save me $$!)

Thanks for the detailed info - Helpful!

Miss. Leah said...

Great post Shelli!! Love seeing u on CN! You're never too detailed! I wish I had waited to do my treatment so I could understand all the work I should have put into it. Maybe I wouldn't have had such a bad outcome lol no more scalp scratching lol!!!

Anonymous said...

Funny how it's always the ones who do not blog, don't review products or make youtube videos that are the main folks complaining. How about instead of complaining about someone else's review or site create your own. Let's see you put yourself out there. Otherwise click the big red X and keep it moving! Thanks Shelli for being so detailed and taking the time to share your experience.

~Jazz~

Allison G said...

I've tried the ApHogee and experienced a definite difference in hair strength and decreased breakage. But the best protein conditioner ever for my hair is Nexxus Emergencee. As everyone does, I spent a lot of $$ and time experimenting before finding this product. It's touted as a "strengthening polymeric Reconstructor" with a blend of proteins, but whatever, it really WORKS GREAT. It's also hassle-free. After shampooing, you apply to hair - feels slimy - and leave in for 1-2 minutes. Rinse, shampoo again & follow with an intense moisturizing treatment, (same concept as the ApHogee - to restore moisture.) I follow with the Nexxus Humectress Conditioner, which really moisturizes my hair very well. I also use my regular spritz, followed by a bit of Argan oil. I use the Emergencee about once a month, but when I first started using it and my hair was really damaged, I used it every 1-2 weeks. At first their were immediate results which faded after a week or so and I'd get breakage. After continued use, no more breakage.

Nikki, your site has taught me a lot about products and shared some wonderful techniques. FYI, after reading your site and viewing some other pics and videos, I will venture on my first henna (since college) tomorrow & Saturday. I'm starting with a LUSH caca noir, but will venture into Mehandi in another month or so.

hairscapades said...

Thank you for the words of encouragement ladies!

Allison, you're gonna have me at the store to try the Nexxus Emergencee!! The ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin is like the Nexxus it seems in that I only applied for 2 minutes, washed and followed with a moisturizing treatment. I definitely noticed an improvement after that. But, I wanted to try a heavy duty protein with heat to see how that went because it's effects are supposed to last through 6-8 washes versus 1 like the lighter proteins. However, if I can get the same results with the lighter protein, I may switch it up. We'll see! Thanks for the suggestion!

Shelli

DanaMone't said...

I love this stuff ... my hair went from looking like a rusty old Brillo pad to lushousness (is that a word?) I will pbly do it again in for my winter treatment

Anonymous said...

I've been using this product since i was in high school and i love it. I have always been natural but fell victim to constant heat styling in school. I'm now waaaay pass those years but still love this product. It's really not that difficult to use...biggest thing is to not manipulate the hair while using it because it will cause breakage while hardening. I have since reduced my heat styling to a few times a year which has allowed me to use the product maybe once a year. Joico K-pak is also a nice alternative.

hairscapades said...

LOL @ DanaMonet ... yes, it is a word, just spelled a little differently ... lusciousness ;)!! Do you know that I haven't done a treatment since this post?!?! But, only because using the hand dryer was a pain. So, I finally got around to ordering a hard bonnet dryer! I'll be trying another protein treatment soon now that I have the right dryer for the job!!

Thanks for the feedback Anon @ 11:35. I keep hearing about the Joico K-pak! Is it just as effective as the ApHogee without the stress of the drying/no manipulation process and the stinky smell?? LOL!! If so, I may have to try that next. I think Sally's may carry a GVP version of it that I could try out first! Thanks for the info!

Shelli

Dawn Brelsford said...

Shelli and Nikki, I reference your sites daily and appreciate how detail you both are...specifically you Shelli. I followed your directions to a T last week and absolutely love the outcome. I've been chemical free since 2008 but have only begun truly wearing my hair natural in March of this year...meaning, I no longer straighten my hair every 2 week. It was because of your site and Nikkis that I'm embracing my naturalism....and LOVE IT! Please keep it coming. If I had one request of you....more product reviews and I want to know your exact regimen...LOL....what products are you currently rocking. I visiting tips and tricks, but not sure what your true regimen is yet. I've had success with all of your recommendations thus far. Thanks and keep up the good work...how come no YouTube videos from you..you would be a great instructor!!!

Anonymous said...

Great review.. question.. I purchased CJ's Repair Me. Is that considered a lite protein treatment compared to this Aphogeee 2 step?

hairscapades said...

OMGosh Dawn! I'm so sorry, just seeing this! But, I've had detailed regimen posts with the products I use on my site for ages and I have had a YouTube channel since last July or so:). I hope that you found them both long ago!! With my regimen, I keep a link on the right panel and if I change or update my regimen, I change the link to match my most current one. HTH!! And thank you soooo, so much for the kind words!!


Shelli

hairscapades said...

Anon, I think the CJ's Repair Me would be more akin to a Joico protein treatment or Aubrey GPB. But, I'm not too familiar with it. Sorry for the delay in responding, but I'm just seeing this now!


Shelli

Dawn Brelsford said...

Yep...I found them....all of them...lol. I am addicted to your blog and sending many of my natural friends there for advice. Thank you so much for what you do.....helps a ton. Will be on the lookout for your next GOC!

nikibastian@hotmail.com said...

Dear Niki
Try using a hair dye application brush and a sweat band for the mess. I cellophane my Hair every two weeks and I use the brush and the sweat band to protect my face. When I started using the two step treatment, I found I could use the same technique. Hope this helps
Niki Bastian

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