Not all Keratins are created equal | Get your hands on the most effective Keratin Protein

Healthy Hair
Sometimes I have conversations with myself.  One of my recent self inquiries involved which type of protein my hair preferred.  After a little deliberation, I came to the conclusion that my hair typically responded well to keratin protein and, most recently, collagen protein found in Baby Face.  I believe that conversation sparked a seed that may have led me to the most exciting discovery about protein that I've had in a long while.

My world was rocked recently when I stumbled upon this article.  In information provided in just the introduction alone was enough to get me excited.  Basically, they explained that most keratin proteins found in commercial hair products have gone through harsh processes into order to achieve that low molecular weight desirable for absorption into the hair strand.  Unfortunately, the chemical process alters the effectiveness of the protein making it ineffective less effective on our hair.  They introduce a new type of patented protein known as "functional keratin" which has the amazing ability permanently attach to the hair strand.  According to the article, these functional keratins are particularly relevant to those with damaged hair as a result of chemical processing.

Moisture Retention/Softness
Women who used conditioners with this functional keratin reported noticeably softer hair.  This is due to the increased moisture retention that occurred once the strand was repaired.   Since the natural structure of the hair is better protected, it's better able to retain moisture.
Paul Mitchell Awapuhi (Ginger Keratin)
For the study, they recruited African American women and relaxed their hair.  They measured the health of the hair prior, during and after relaxing. Hair treated with a functional keratin treatment after the relaxer rinse, and prior to neutralization, demonstrated the appearance similar to virgin hair versus the untreated strand.  I repeat HAIR STRANDS TREATED WITH THE KERATIN APPEARED MUCH MORE SIMILAR TO VIRGIN HAIR THAN THE UNTREATED STRANDS.    I'm just going to stop talking while you let that statement simmer with you for a little bit......

The reason, for the drastic change in the health of the hair is due to the interaction of the functional keratin with both the inside and outside layer of the hair strand.  Meaning, if applied to the hair right after the relaxer is rinsed, before neutralizing, the keratin is better able to penetrate while the strand is swollen post relaxer.  They also noted that the strand had the ability to stretch an additional 20% when treated with functional keratin.  Functional keratin also provided greater protection to color treated hair via UV ray sun protection.

After reading this, you know I was dying to get my hands on this functional keratin.  Turns out that there aren't many brands on the market that offer this technology to at home consumers like you and me.  I already have products with Keratin as an ingredient but after doing my research, I realize that all keratin is not created equal.  Functional keratin is the equivalent of getting the raw, natural form that can easily be utilized by the hair.  The other stuff,*cough* hydrolized keratin *cough*, is a mediocre substitute.

Here's the difference according to this article:
The difference between the two is the process by which it is extracted from its source and processed. Hydrolized keratin is extracted from the horns and hooves of animals, using acid and extreme heat. During this process, the proteins degrade and denaturalize. These proteins are so far removed in form from natural keratin that they do not offer any of the same benefits.Functional keratin, on the other hand, has been extracted from sheep's wool using patented technology that does not employ heat or acid. This technology allows the keratin proteins to remain in their original form and function as the natural keratin proteins do (hence the term 'functional keratin'). These keratin proteins can work in concert with your existing keratins to repair and rejuvenate hair and skin.
Ok, ok, enough talking. Let's get to the nitty gritty and discuss how you can nurture your hair with the most effective type of keratin available.  There's a salon quality product Keraplast Hair Rescue, but based on what I found so far, the product isn't available for purchase by non-professionals.  No worries, because our peeps at Paul Mitchell have included three types of keratins, including oxidized keratin, functional keratin and hydrolyzed keratin in their Awapuhi line of products.  Luckily for us, these products are readily available via a quick trip to Amazon.

The positive reviews of Awapuhi are strong on Amazon so you know I've already placed my order.  Please come back and see me when I post my review of their Deep conditioning treatment.


  1. Ugh! I've had the Awapuhi line on my wish list for a year! Now I know that I most certainly need to try it!

    KLP | SavingOurStrands

  2. Hey Nadege,

    Directly post relaxer would you recommend the Intensive Hair Treatment or the the Keratriplex Treatment?
    Below are the ingredients:
    Intensive Hair Treatment - Water , Cetearyl Alcohol , Isohexadecane , Behentrimonium Chloride , Glycerin , Amodimethicone , Cetyl Esters , Dimethicone , Behentrimonium Methosulfate , Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , Cetrimonium Chloride , trideceth 12 , Panthenol (Pro Vitamin B5) , Polysilicone 15 , Keratin , Hydrolyzed Keratin , Oxidized Keratin , Wheat Amino Acids , Polyquaternium 55 , Hedychium Coronarium (White Ginger) Root Extract , Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG Propyl Silanetriol , Citric Acid , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Magnesium Chloride , Magnesium Nitrate , Fragrance , Benzyl Salicylate , Hexyl Cinnamal , Limonene , Linalool

    Keratriplex Treatment - Water, keratin, hydrolyzed keratin, oxidized keratin, Methylchloroisothiaolinone, methylisothiazolinone, magnesium cloride, magnesium nitrate

  3. This is a great read. Do you still feel that baby face offers a great protein/keratin treatment? Will you continue to use it?

  4. Hi Anon,
    Actually, Baby Face is Collagen protein which I don't have as a main ingredient in any other product. Plus I love the fact that it's liquid so I can also mix into my relaxers. I'll probably use it for life.

  5. Thank you! I use in my relaxers as well thanks to your previous post and my hair comes out thicker and with more body after my relaxing process.

  6. Hi Nadege. I usually use aphogee 2 minute reconstructor after my relaxer and before neutralizing. Would this replace that step? Thanks so much for your help and your blog.

  7. Hi Adrianne,
    If your hair responds well to Aphogee, keep using it and add Awapuhi to your regimen. It's another type of protein. I'll still use silk amino acids, Pure Protein (collagen protein) and this product. That way, my hair experiences different types of protein.

    Functional proteins are a new experience for our hair so it's amazing to have access to it.


  8. I know this is an old post, but I saw Global Keratin products contain "functional keratin". Has anyone tried them?

  9. I have a question. Do you mix it in your relaxer or after relaxer before neutralizing

  10. Hi Beverly,
    I would recommend using after a relaxer, before neutralizing.

  11. Hi, Can this be used without a relaxer? I don't need that type of treatment but my hair is very damaged by dying it so I was wondering if it would work the same way. Thanks!


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