I can not tell you how excited I was after reading a email from a reader who wanted my opinion on a product that claims to have the power to repair chemically relaxed hair from the inside. Immediately, I wanted to know more. What is this product? How does it work? And how can I get my hands on it?
The product is called KHairPep and was first mentioned in an Allure Magazine article. What makes KHairPep work is the active ingredient K18peptipe (trademark). According to their website, this peptide has the ability to penetrate the cortex of the hair, bonding and rebuilding keratin. The strengthening benefits of the peptide remains in the hair, even after washing. The results of their clinical trials show that damaged hair can experience an increase in strength and elasticity of up to 85%. They tested the strength of virgin hair prior to relaxing and after. The hair lost about half of it's strength after relaxing but was able to regain up to 90% of it's strength with the application of KHairPep serum. And, with 4 additional treatments, they observed even more strengthening benefits to the hair.
Let's go back to the first email sent by a reader which began this conversation. In it, she wondered about the alcohol listed second ingredient in both KHairPep's serum and hair mask. Her concern was if the alcohol would be drying to the hair. I conducted a quick search online to what I could find and yes, that ingredient could be cause for concern if dry hair is an issue. Confused as to why a product that is meant to repair the hair would have this ingredient so high on list, I reached out to them to seek understanding.
Within days, one of the Co-Founders of the brand reached out to me with a plausible explanation. Here's what they said:
"The alcohol is present in the KhairPep Transforme™ products for two reasons. The main reason is that it helps swell the hair cuticle which facilitates penetration of our proprietary peptide into the hair. The related reason is that it helps dissolve lipids that would otherwise slow the entry of the peptide into the hair.
Some customers may feel a drying effect. However, it is a necessary step in the process and the result is stronger, more elastic hair and healthier hair. Khairpep is a treatment and as a result we purposely did not build in many cosmetic properties. We wanted it to be the best at repairing hair that has been damaged by bleaching, coloring, straightening etc. Once consumers have used our treatment they can apply any styling or conditioning products that you they like - by this time, the peptide will be inside and repairing the damaged hair.
Some of our customers with dry hair prefer the masque which has additional conditioning (compared to the serum).
To summarize, there may be some drying effect, but it is a necessary part of the treatment and the result is worth it for those with very damaged hair."
It makes sense. We invest a lot time protecting our cuticle layer and sealing it up to prevent further damage. So if they make a product that is meant to deeply penetrate, we have to open up the cuticle to allow it to do it's thing. Totally understandable. And like he said, we can easily reapply moisture to our hair following the treatment. Since I'm continuing the habit learned from my last 7 day challenge, I know I can maintain decent moisture levels.
Then I went on to ask a few additional questions like the difference between this amazing peptide and functional keratin which we just learned about recently. And whether this would make for a good reconstructor after a relaxer (prior to neutralizing). Here's what he said:
"With regards to functional Keratin, it is extracted from wool. It is a bigger protein that sticks to the surface of the hair fibre. It can be removed by friction/abrasion under normal conditions... Our peptide actually penetrates the hair. With regards to your second question, we have not tested Khairpep products after relaxer and prior to neutralizing. However, our products need to be applied at neutral-acid conditions.... It therefore makes sense that it should not be applied before the neutralizing. (I believe that relaxing is done at high alkaline levels?). In terms of when to use our product, we recommend using after hair damage (e,g, after bleaching, coloring, relaxing, etc). Use it 2-4 times depending on hair damage, the next times that you wash your hair. Maintenance is typically once every 1-2 weeks but depends on personal preference too. The pertide leaves the hair slowly over time. Note that you use KP products after shampooing while the hair is still damp, but BEFORE the application of any conditioner or styling products because these will block entry of the peptide into the hair."So there you have it. The functional keratin is useful for surface level damage while this peptide can take care of things from beneath the surface. I thought this would be a great product to use directly after a relaxer but it seems to be a better option as a just after the hair has been neutralized but prior to deep conditioning. With all the info given, I was excited and ready to place my order but, before I did, they generously offered to provide me samples of both the conditioner and the serum and I humbly accepted. I can't wait to test them out and share my thoughts with you. Summer is around the corner and I have a clear vision of where I want my hair to be by then. This product came right on time.
Stay tuned for my update.