Back To Basics – Home-made Protein Treatment

Back To Basics – Home-Made Protein Treatment

We already know how important protein is for black hair but just in case you’ve been living in a cave and didn’t know, here’s some light reading for you herehere and here.

Not all of us however are in a position to purchase Aphogee two step protein treatment, Nexuss Emergencee or other protein treatments. If you are unable to find a suitable one or you are just after a more natural solution, there is a simple recipe that you can use to strengthen your tresses with ingredients you probably already have or can pick up easily at most supermarkets.

It feels wrong calling this a recipe with so few ingredients but what you will need is:

  • 1 packet unflavoured gelatin (about 10g)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or conditioner

Gelatin I hear you ask? Absolutely. If you look at the ingredients on Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment, you will notice that the second ingredient is Hydrolyzed Animal Protein so vegetarians look away now! Wikipedia has this to say about gelatin:

Gelatin (or gelatine) is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), tasteless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar way are called gelatinous. Gelatin is an irreversibly hydrolysed form of collagen, and is classified as a foodstuff, with E number E441.

Hydrolysed protein is fabulous for hair because the protein has been broken down and the molecules are able penetrate all layers of the hair better to repair damage and make the hair stronger.

To make and use the protein treatment:

  • Shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of build up. Your hair must be clean to absorb maximum protein.
  • Dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and mix with your mayonnaise/conditioner until well combined.
  • Apply to wet hair combing through to ensure all strands coated.
  • Sit under a dryer for 20 minutes to half an hour with your head uncovered
  • Rinse the treatment thoroughly with warm water and follow up with a moisturising conditioner.

This treatment is suitable for both relaxed and natural hair. Bear in mind however that this is a ‘hard’ protein treatment and as such you should only  use it once ever six weeks or so depending on your hair’s moisture-protein balance.

See the other articles in the back to basics series >>



15 Ways To Get Longer Healthier Hair


About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.

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  1. 1

    Can you use a blow dryer or bonnet heating cap if you do not own a hooded dryer? Thank you in advance.

    • 2

      Absolutely! That’s what I used to use before I invested in my hooded dryer.

  2. 3
    Nappyhead says:

    I did this treatment this weekend. I had a lot of shedding and breakage that was not subsiding with moisture; I dont use heat and try to be as gentle as possible with my hair. But I was still getting breakage. My hair is fine and likes protein but I didnt want to use Aphogee 2 step again. Too much hassle!

    My recipe: 7g gelatin (didnt realize I needed 10g!) + 1/2c Coconut Milk (wanted to use up an open can) + 1/2c mayo and 1tbs kalpi Tone (just because I love indian powders).

    I blow dried my hair hard and it did get pretty hard! I imagine it wouldve been even moreso under a hood. I left it on for about an hour uncovered.

    After rinsing for about 10 minutes I could feel that some of the “hardness” was in my strands…my hair did feel tough though after having felt mushy hair for so long LOL

    I DC’d with a SMT+ 1tbs Brahmi overnight and this morn there was indeed considerably less breakage. Thanks a bunch. I think this worked for me.

    • 4

      Excellent! Mushy hair is the classic sign of hair that needs protein. Glad the breakage has stopped.

      • 5

        Can you describe what mushy hair feels like, I don’t quite understand

        • 6

          It feels overly soft and when it is being washed rather than feel ‘normal wet’, like it’s soaked up too much water essentially.

    • 7

      didn’t wash out properly if hair was hard… smh

  3. 8

    I have a question, do you follow up with deep conditioning under a hooded dryer after this treatment?

    • 9

      Absolutely! Your hair will become hard as if you had done an aphogee so you should follow up with a moisturizing conditioner under the dryer.

      • 10

        Thank you!, I am doing this treatment tomorrow along with my regime. I just have to tell you how inspired I am by you, I went natural in 99 and I’ve always had long health hair. I moved to South Carolina and a hair styles damaged my hair. I shaved it all off in 2010 and never really had a regular regime. Now it grew back but was stuck at shoulders. I discovered your site/blog in December of 2011 and I must say since I have had a regular regime, I wash every 3-4 days deep condition, hot oil treatment  twice monthly and now I’ll be incorporating the protein once a month. In just this short amount of time, my hair has gained 2 inches, I have not flat ironed, I’ve decided to only do that a few times a year. My curls are beautiful, I am wearing my wigs for the winter months, but I am retaining length and my hair is shiny and my scalp is very healthy. I do corn rows during the week and throw on my wigs that I made for myself and go about my day, I cannot wait for warmer weather in a few months to do my flexi rods on my now pass shoulder hair. :) Thank you so much for this site and your blog.

  4. 11

    Awww, thanks! Glad I could help. Let us know how you get on.

  5. 12

    mayonnaise…as in hair mayonnaise  or food mayonnaise( the one we eat with sandwich)??

  6. 14
    Cinnettegibbons says:

    Alma the remaining hard protein treatment does it need to be refrigerated or can it stay out. I ask this question because i mixed up some last night and left it out until i got home from work and used it so can i just leave it out like regular conditioners or no

    • 15

      Thanks for letting me know! I assume that it would keep for a week or so without refrigeration then.

    • 16

      no, it’s a must to refrigerate it since it has no preservatives and is essentially animal fat… would you leave meat out the fridge? when you place meat in the fridge, the gelatin refrigerates and separates or coats the meat.

  7. 17

    I have been relaxing my hair since i was about 7. When I turned 12 was when the real damage began. I straightened it wet every day and was using Dove shampoo and conditioner(AWFUL). I’m 17 now and can’t do anything but obsess over my hair’s health. As a matter of fact, I got it chopped off last christmas into a really short bob and once again it’s only grown down to my neck. However no matter what I’ve done over the past four years, it’s still just a little below my neck and I cant get it any longer. I asked my mom today to pick up the gelatin and I’m going to try this, but what is a great “regemin” I should follow because as of now I’m experimenting with everything and the inconsistancy is KILLING ME and my hair :( I would really appreciate any suggestions at this point


  8. 19

    My hair is very thin and falling out. My niece told me to put a scrub in it and it has not been the same since. Will this help strengthen my hair as well. I have never used any chemicals in my hair other than color.

    • 20

      A scrub? Well color, when you are lightening your hair can cause breakage if applied incorrectly and the hair is not reinforced with protein pretty often afterwards. My hair is also coloured so I use a protein conditioner every other week as a DC. Yes I think that this treatment should help your hair stop breaking but only if you stick to a good regimen afterwards too.

    • 21

      monistat or clobetasol propionate (buy illegal bleach from african grocery or korean beauty supply store in a tube)–steroids grow back hair. massage on scalp lightly and take biotin supplements. use flax seed oil in hair–has protein and omega fatty acids. if you scrub the hair, you’re breaking it off. only use semipermanent dyes or rinses. semipermanent red rinses straighten your hair, they coat the hair and make the hair silkier. permanent dye cuts hair.

  9. 22

    If I use a blow dryer how long do you recommend using it for ?

    • 23

      Hi Ashley, thanks for your question. Just use the blow dryer until your hair is dry and feels hard to the touch. Remember don’t use a comb or touch your hair while you blow dry it as it will cause breakage!

  10. 24

    What kind of conditioner is used in this protein treament if your are not using mayo?

  11. 26
    Ivelisse Taveras says:

    Hello Alma i try to balance my hair, because is over condition but i dont saw much chance in it this i try protein treatment. what can i do? Ivelisse From Dominican Republic (sorry for my english)

    • 27

      Gosh, I tried to decipher your question but I don’t really understand. If you are saying that your hair is over-conditioned then yes a protein treatment is the best thing to fix that. :)

    • 28

      Puede usar aceite de linaza (flax seed oil) para acondicionar, y despues lavar cabello con champu. Flax seed oil conditions without buildup. Flax seed oil also has protein from plants instead of animal fats.

    • 29

      Hervir las semillas de lino en agua, usar mitad de paquete, por 15 minutos. Despues, puede usar la gelatina de linaza con proteína. It also has omega 3 fatty acids, which are in fish oil.

  12. 30

    Do you have any other DIY protein treatment recipes I can try?

    • 31

      Afraid not Sammy. I’ve only ever tried the gelatine one.

      • 32

        Do children need regular protein treatments?…if so would this work for a child?

        • 33

          Hi Kris. Kids hair is not constantly being manipulated like ours (assuming that your kids stay in braids/twists for a couple of weeks at a time) so hard protein is not necessary until they are a bit older.

          What I do with my daughter is to give her hair a protein conditioning every other time I wash her hair alternated with a moisture conditioner. hth

  13. 34
    lukiigii . says:

    I was wondering if I can keep the leftovers refrigerated to use again for the next application?

    • 35

      6-8 weeks after with water involved and no preservatives? I doubt the mold will keep away for that long :)

      I would just discard any remaining mixture.

  14. 37

    Hi Alma,
    I just LOVE this site!!! it’s helping me on my journey!
    since i do not dry my hair (i use to let it dry naturally), after the treatment must I use a hair dryer?

  15. 38

    hi alma i was wondering is the protein mixture supposed to be runny? and how munch is 10g i think i had put less than that amount. thanks in advance.

    • 39

      It should be a bit runny yes but not to watery. Kind of like the aphogee 2 step.

  16. 40

    Hi, thanks for the Protein Recipe it really does work! My question is about my edges. I not knowingly let a proffesional hairstylist give me a quik weave. Of course it was with glue. My edges were ripped out. What is your suggestion to regrow edges?

  17. 41
    Bernice says:

    I am a senior and have been natural for about two plus years (not yet three years). I have several (3) textures of hair on my head and am grey/black…..a good more of and even mixture of each. I love my natural hair because God created me with that type of hair. Now, I am wanting to know the best natural way to maintain the moisture, since the grey hair is harder than the black hair. When I wear it without the protective style of two-strand twist, it dries out before the day ends. If I am out socializing I am concerned of the change that will take place before I get home. Please advise to the best of your ability. Thanks in advance for reading this request. PEACE AND LOVE!!

  18. 42

    Where can I buy gelatin? Or is there another recipe with more accessible ingredients?

    • 43

      Gelatine is available at most supermarkets. Check the dessert isle next to jello.

  19. 44

    Where can I buy the gelatin? Or is there another recipe with more accessible ingredients?

  20. 45

    I love your site. I am a pale red head with stubbornly straight and oily hair, and my daughter is a beautiful biracial child. She is 8 years old, and sad to say, I have been failing at trying to care for her hair. It is constantly breaking and sheds all of the time. Would this type of a protein treatment help to begin to repair her hair? Any suggestions would be helpful. I just feel horrible that I have not been able to do better, but I am reading through all of the articles on here and hopefully I can bring health to her hair.

  21. 46


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