Monday, April 28, 2014

Gelatin Protein Treatment Recipe Update

I created my gelatin protein treatment recipe in the summer of 2010 and I've been using it ever since to reduce the frizz in my wavy hair, pull the curls together, add shine and reduce breakage.

But every good recipe can stand some improving. The problem with the old recipe is distribution. It's runny. It can drip or end up all in one place.

When I was writing my posts on deep conditioning, I emphasized the importance of distributing deep conditioners including protein treatments by applying the product to hair in sections and smoothing the treatment over the section, saturating and encasing the hair in the treatment as though you are making paper maché. But I couldn't do that with the gelatin treatment being as liquid as it is.

People who leave the gelatin protein treatment on their hair for a long time face problems with drips.

So here we have it: 
New, Improved, the Thick Gelatin Protein Treatment

Same formula, but you need to make ahead and allow it to cool, so you might as well make extra and freeze it for your next 2 or 3 protein treatments.

  • Unflavored gelatin(e)
  • Water - distilled is ideal
  • Optional: citric acid, ascorbic acid or vinegar to adjust pH
  • Xanthan gum (if you hate xanthan gum, use guar gum but I think xanthan gum gives a better texture and smells less offensive)

This makes about 1 treatment.
-1/4 to 1/2 cup water (60-120 ml)
-1 packet Knox unflavored gelatin powder (0.25 oz, 7.2 grams, 2 1/2 teaspoons) or crumbled gelatine flakes or sheets 
--->Use half the gelatin for a milder treatment
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (1/4 tsp with 1/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp. with 1/2 cup water)
-5 drops vinegar (1/16th teaspoon) or a tiny pinch of citric acid or ascorbic acid (enough to fill this typed letter "O").
Note: More acid is NOT better.  Better to leave out the acids than use too much! Too much acid will interfere with the protein's ability to bond with your hair (yes, it does a little of that).

Want to make more? 
Double the recipe, triple or quadruple it and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Bonus points: freeze the leftovers in an ice cube tray (silicone ice cube trays work wonderfully).
  1. Mix half the water, the gelatine and xanthan gum well. This will thicken. 
  2. Add remaining water, a small amount at a time and mix. There will be small clumps of xanthan gum remaining.
  3. Heat the gelatin/water/xanthan gum mixture in the microwave until it boils (in short bursts) or in a double boiler on the stove. Stir frequently.
  4. Remove from heat. The mixture will have liquefied somewhat during heating. If it's not thick enough, mix in a little more xanthan gum and re-heat if it does not dissolve completely, then remove from heat and proceed to step 5 or 6.
  5. If you are adding honey, add it now while the mixture is hot.
  6. Allow mixture to cool before adding any additional ingredients. It will thicken as it cools.

The end result is a medium-thick gel that you can smooth over your hair for excellent coverage. It rinses out well. I find that I use much less because there are no drips.

Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. The mixture will become a rubbery solid when chilled. Put it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to melt it into a gel again.

Apply to clean (just-washed), damp hair. Squeeze out excess water so there are no areas where the treatment is diluted.

Leave it on how long?
  • 3-5 minutes with heat for a moderately strong protein treatment. 
  • 10-30 minutes (up to 60 minutes) with or without heat for a strong protein treatment.
  • Blow-dry for extra strong protein treatment. Apply the gelatin gel and blow dry your hair on medium to high heat until dry (don't bend it - it will be crunchy and solid). Then rinse and don't touch until your hair is less hard. If your hair is snapping off due to things like swimming or chemical-treatment damage, this method may be perfect for you!

When you're done treating your hair: Rinse, rinse, rinse! Then apply conditioner and go about your usual routine. Some people need an intense or deep conditioner following a protein treatment, even if you did add oils and conditioner to your treatment. If your hair feels rough or stiff or tangly and you rinsed very thoroughly, then you probably need to follow up a protein treatment with a deep conditioner. Or the protein was too strong... or you left it on too long.

  • 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon honey
  • yogurt (unsweetened, lowfat or full fat)
  • Full-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of conditioner (or more)
  • Neutral Protein Filler (protein additive from Sally's Beauty Supply)
  • coconut milk
  • use herbal tea instead of plain water
  • 2 drops to 2 tablespoons of oil - olive, coconut, avocado, grapeseed, apricot kernel, sweet almond...
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice or gel (not with banana)
  • 1/4 pureed banana (in a blender). Banana baby food works well. If the banana isn't ripe enough or blended well enough, you will have banana chunks in your hair - hence the baby food. Do NOT use vinegar, citric acid or ascorbic acid with banana.
  • 1/16 or 1/8 teaspoon magnesium sulfate 

Some common gelatin protein treatment questions and answers can be found here.


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for this article, I've just run out of nexxus emergencee that my friend posted to me (I don't live in the U.S and nexxus & Aphogee are unavailable here)

    I was just wondering how often should I apply this treatment? With Nexxus, I was doing monthly treatments. Should I do the same?

    Also is there any benefit to adding Neocell Super Collagen to the mix as the collagen and Gelatin are of a similar structure & I happen to have both on hand :)

    Neocell is here incase you're unfamiliar with it.

    Can't wait to try this out
    Thanks for the recipe :)

    1. Liz,
      I think this gelatin with the Neocell Super Collagen combined with this recipe would be a good substitute for the Nexxus product. You can probably use it at the same frequency. Gelatin and collagen are the same thing, but hydrolyzed collagen is fully hydrolyzed whereas gelatin is partially hydrolyzed. The Neocell collagen says it is low molecular weight, and although they don't list the MW, it is probably lower than gelatin which is medium-high weight. By using both in the treatment, you get a wider range of protein sizes to moisturize the inner part of your hair and form an outer film of water-hugging protein.
      If I were mixing this up for myself, I would start with half the listed amount of gelatin in the recipe above and then use about the same amount of collagen (about 3.5 g each of gelatin and collagen or 1 1/4 teaspoon of each).
      If your hair is on the coarse side (wide hairs) you might want to use more collagen than gelatin.
      Good luck! WS

  2. Hi W.S

    I ended up doing this treatment on the 1st May.
    I am thrilled with the results! My hair is so soft & shiny now. The treatment was almost to good to be true so I waited a while before posting this comment to see what would happen after my 1st wash & how long it would take to wear out.

    I live in a very hot & humid climate (more so during the summer months which it is now) and the weather has really been doing a number on my hair, I have been needing to cut it every 4 weeks to get rid of the dry ends. In these past 12 days, I've noticed less split ends and the ends don't look frizzy or feel rough.

    I'm so glad I stumbled across this blog & can't wait to try out your other recipes :)

    P.S The Neocell Super Collagen didn't dissolve properly when I was mixing with a spoon so I ended up blending it in my magic bullet, turning the mask turn into a weird thick slimy texture so next time I think I will just omit it and use gelatine.

    Thanks Again

    1. Liz,
      I'm so glad to head the protein worked well in your hair!

  3. How often should i do This treatment? :)

    1. Hello tezzzzie,
      How often you use this treatment depends on how your hair responds. If you get a good result - let's say your hair is shinier, a little less frizzy or flyaway and feels more substantial when it is wet, then repeat the treatment when that result begins to fade.
      If your hair is porous or damaged and not especially coarse, initially you may need protein more often than you would for long-term "management."
      Once per week or once every two weeks is common for protein treatments when hair responds well to protein (does not get too stiff nor too soft).
      If you spend a lot of time in the sun, use high-heat styling tools, swim a lot, are out in the wind a lot or have your hair highlighted, those are times when you may need protein more often.
      If you regularly use protein in shampoo or conditioner or styling products, you might not need to use this protein treatment as often - that could lead to too much protein.

  4. Hi WS

    I am wondering why too much protein use might cause hair to become too soft, or too stiff.

    I have naturally loose curls/waves, but my hair is quite fine and I seem to have a LOT of it, so I end up looking like I stuck my tongue in a socket when I let my hair air dry. As I blow dry almost every day, my hair feels quite dry/damaged. It also seems to be very porous, as I can apply a lot of coconut oil or other oil styling products to my hair without it feeling greasy or weighed down. I often apply a pump of argon oil or tsp of coconut oil every day between washings to keep frizz under control.

    I am hoping to use protein treatments and oil treatments to weigh down my curls, add definition and reduce frizz/flyaways.

    Do you have any suggestions on how I can combine the two?

    ultimately I would like to stop blow drying my hair to achieve that smooth look, and just air dry my hair - to appreciate my natural waves and volume!


    1. JW - see the comment just after this one for why protein could make hair stiff or soft. One way to combine protein and oil pre-wash treatments is to apply oil 4-8 hours before you wash your hair. If you have styling products in your hair, let the oil be on for closer to 8 hours. The cleanse your hair and follow up with the protein treatment of your choice. Oil treatments can elongate looser curl patterns. Protein puts the bounce back. Both treatments can reduce frizz and improve curl definition and add weight.
      One styling trick for smoother hair while air drying is to put damp hair in 1 or 2 loose buns for a little while to manage volume and create smoothness. The buns are taken out and you finish air-drying afterwards.
      Curl creams may be a good choice for your hair vs. styling gel if you're wanting controlled volume and smoothness and you don't have a problem with greasiness from creamy products.

  5. Hey WS!

    My natural hair seems to be extremely porous and susceptible to damage.

    Texture wise, my hair is quite fine, but thick (as in I have a lot of hair, but each individual hair is thin) and frizzy with a lot of volume and flyaways. I have loose curls/waves.

    I can apply a lot of oil to my hair without it feeling greasy or weighed down.

    I am hoping to eliminate blow drying every day to prevent further damage to my hair. I would like to be able to air dry my hair without it poofing up and looking like I stuck my tongue in a socket.

    So, I would like to implement your protein treatment and oil methods for more defined, less frizzy curls. Do you have any suggestions?

    I was also wondering how protein use would cause hair to either become too stiff, or too soft.


  6. Hello Jocylene,
    For using this protein treatment, you might want to try it half-strength if you've never used it before and be sure to follow it with a lot of conditioner or an intense (deep) conditioning if it feels rough. Mixing some oil and conditioner into the treatment will help it spread more easily in your hair and give you extra conditioning as well. Protein adds support, oils and conditioners add softness.

    Protein can make hair stiff because many proteins, especially larger ones like wheat, quinoa, oat (gelatin is both medium and large) form films around hair. Because protein is not softening or emollient like oils and conditioners (though it *is* hydrating), that can create a stiff, rough or rigid feeling, especially in wider or more-coarse hairs which already have their own internal rigidity. Adding more stiffness to a hair that is well-supported makes it feel more stiff. Whereas fine and medium hair benefits from that extra support. For some hair - all proteins will cause this effect. For some people, protein makes hair rough when there is other product residue in the hair.
    When hair becomes too soft with protein, it may be because protein is also conditioning - it has a slight positive charge like conditioners do. The same protein that can make hair too rough when left on for a little while may make hair overly soft and unable to curl properly if left on a lot longer. This might be because there is more time for the protein to bond with the hair and act as a conditioner vs. a surface film. This may over-soften hair. If hair is already over-softened because of conditioner build-up (over-conditioning), adding protein may make it even more over-softened rather than restore bounce.
    Like hair conditioners, more proteins will be taken up the longer the protein is on the hair, or with heat.
    Good luck!

  7. Hi again!
    My hair got very stiff after the treatment. Does that mean I dont need so much protein? Is my hair low porous then? :)

    1. Hello Tezzzie,
      When hair gets stiff after this treatment, there are several things to consider.
      1) If you don't rinse extremely thoroughly, residual gelatin can cause stiffness.
      2) You may need to follow up a concentrated protein treatment like this with a deep conditioning treatment to restore softness. Protein provides support, conditioner provides softness. Or at least use a generous application of rinse-out conditioner.
      3) If a deep conditioning treatment or lots of rinse-out conditioner does not correct the stiff feeling, then the protein treatment may have been too concentrated, or your hair may do better with smaller proteins like hydrolyzed keratin or collagen. Gelatin is hydrolyzed collagen, but it is larger than that used when you see "hydrolyzed collagen" on ingredient lists.
      4) Timing matters. You may have left the treatment on too long or not long enough - assuming this protein is appropriate for you hair, which it may or may not be.
      This result doesn't mean your hair is low porosity. Fine and medium, low porosity hair often do well with protein because it provides extra support and "body." But people with coarser (wider) hair have to use protein carefully.

  8. Okej thank you :) I did the Float Test and my hair did float so that means i have low porosity?

    1. There is a recent post in this blog (actually 2) about the float test. If your hair floats, it doesn't mean much of anything.

  9. Hi,

    The gelatin we have locally is made of Carrageenan, which, from what I read, is not animal-protein derived. Is my gelatin treatment useless? Should I use Know instead?

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Wilka, Carrageenan is a thickener made from seaweed. It is sometimes used in hair products to give a nice texture or perhaps moisturize (bind water), but it does not have the same action as protein. If you can get Knox brand gelatin or any brand of gelatin, that is hydrolyzed collagen - an animal protein. If you prefer to avoid animal proteins, you can purchase hydrolyzed plant protein additives from shops that supply ingredients to people who make cosmetics or soap, or use an additive like GreenBeauty Product Real Protein Treatment which is wheat protein.

    2. I'll use Knox then. Thank you for your explanation. :)

  10. Are you familiar with Collagen Hydrolosate? I wonder how it would work as a hair treatment? Here is a link to the product I have:

    1. Auntlynne,
      That should work in this recipe, but you can get creative also and add it to conditioner if your hair does well with protein and you want a quick protein conditioner. This version is meant to be quick-dissolving.

  11. Hey, your blog is amazing, thank you for what you are doing :D

    I wonder, if I could do a DIY leave-in spray with just Keratin and Silk Protein added to water.
    I would buy the proteins here:

    Is it a good idea, or should I better look for a ready product(shampoo or conditioner)/use your recipe and rinse the treatment?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Diana,
      That can be a good idea, but if you do not add a preservative, you will need to make small batches and keep it in the refrigerator. Protein in water can go off quickly.
      The seller of that product suggests using 1% to 3%. Don't use more than 1-3% total protein that until you know how your hair reacts.
      For example, if you use both keratin protein and silk protein, the total should equal 3%. You could use 1% of one and 2% of the other, or 1.5% of each. If you're not used to using percents, mix 1 gram in 100 grams or 1 ml per 100 ml (for the liquid protein additive).

      Good luck!

    2. Thank you for the detailed answer!
      Can you recomend something as a preservative? Or do you think 100 ml of the protein water could survive a month in the fridge?
      How long do you think the liquid protein additive is storable, as long as it's not mixed?

    3. I think with no preservative it probably won't last more than a week in the refrigerator. A liquid protein additive usually has a shelf life of 1 year - but check with the manufacturer. They're often still useable after a year - be sure to store them in a cool, dark, dry place (dark means out of the sun and direct light).
      Commercial preservatives do the best job of keeping products free of bacteria and mold. From the catalog you linked to, Paraben-K, C-Kons. Phenoxyethanol with Caprylyl glycol and potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate are also common preservatives. I'm not sure which are readily available to you and I may have missed some in the catalog.

    4. Thank you so much for your help!
      I hope it works:)

    5. I have been successful at creating a diy protein conditioner spray using powdered gelatin dissolved in a quart of boiling water, letting it cool slightly and then adding a tablespoon of coconut oil along with a third cup of olive oil. I mix this with a tablespoon of regular conditioner to take advantage of the preservatives and stabilizing chemicals. The mixture holds up well. I have very fine, porous, mixed texture hair that normally splits and breaks off easily. I am 41 and my hair has been lightened. Before using this mixture my hair looked and felt pretty terrible, but I am happy to report that now it is smooth, doesn't tangle or break as easily and looks close to how it did when I was in my 20's. Hooray for gelatin! I hope you try this too if standard gelatin protein masks are too drying for your hair:)


  12. Hi,

    Is it ok to leave out the gum in this mixture?? I live in Denmark and don't think it's posible to but 'gum' at the stores.

    Does it matter what origin the gelatine is from - cow or pig???

    Best regards, Salli

  13. Hi!
    I followed your recommendation to Liz(one of the ladies here) to try Neocell Collagen in the treatment.
    I have low-porosity, fine, curly hair that's usually dry, frizzy and easily tangled. It's also kinda limp with poor curl definition.
    I was too lazy to cook the gelatin, so I just took 1 & a-half teaspoon of Neocell, mixed it with 120ml of water, & poured it straight over my freshly-washed hair. I left it for 20mins, rinsed, & used Giovanni's 50:50 conditioner on for 10mins befofe rinsing.
    WoW!! For the 1st time in my life, my hair is oh-SO-smooth & soft!!
    The curls are defined, my hair actually bounces(previously it was quite stiff) and I can easily run my fingers through my hair! Previously, it would get caught in some tangles.
    My hair feels so Hydrated and 'heavier'?
    I live in a hot and humid climate and I suspect my hair needed the protein with the relentless sun shining down on my head the whole yr round.
    Tk u very much!!

  14. Hi, thank you for your wonderful posts! Could comment on the effectiveness of mixing protein and moisturizing ingredients into one deep conditioner? I am wary to try this gelatin recipe because my hair can be pretty protein sensitive (gets stiff and breaks easily after treatments with egg or coconut milk), but I wonder if I would still get some of the benefits of a protein treatment if I diluted this recipe with a bunch of oils or other moisturizing ingredients... What do you think? Would it maybe prevent the protein from adhering to my hair strands or something?

  15. Hello Sarah,
    If you wanted to use this recipe for hair that tends to respond poorly to protein, cut the amount of gelatin in half (keep the liquid the same, 1/4 to 1/2 cup). Then add 2-3 tablespoons of oil and conditioner in whatever ratio you like. This should make about 1/2 to 3/4 cup total, depending on how much water you used. That alone reduces the protein so it is less likely to stiffen your hair.
    Conditioner will hypothetically compete with the protein for binding on the hair. Conditioner will also add "slip" to the protein which tends to be not very slippery, during and after use. Oils will also add even more slip (lubrication) to your hair during application and also they will make the conditioner more "intense" - more softening - a characteristic that helps balance out protein's tendency to make hair stiff.
    About using egg and coconut milk for protein - that doesn't quite work like hydrolyzed proteins. Gelatin is partially hydrolyzed collagen, so the protein has been broken down so that it forms water-hugging films and might even get under cuticles a bit for good hydration. Egg protein has not been modified like that. The cholesterol in yolks is good for hair, but the whites can sometimes make hair feel stiff. That may not be a reaction to protein, but a reaction to other things in the eggs. Coconut milk is the same way - it has whole proteins, not hydrolyzed ones. Some people get stiff or brittle hair from using coconut oil, and there may be coconut oil in your coconut milk, depending on whether you're using the liquid from inside the coconut (coconut water) or pureed coconut "milk." Food proteins (egg, yogurt, etc.) tend to feel stiff and unpleasant in my hair also, but I get a much better result with hydrolyzed proteins.
    Good luck!

  16. Hello!
    How many ice cubes is one treatment usually?

    1. Hello Hannah,
      My hair is not very thick and just past my shoulders and 1 cube is enough. If your hair is very thick or mid-back length, you might need 2 cubes. I make some smaller cubes for milder treatments or if I want more but not a "full cube's worth."

  17. HELP!
    I did the gelatin hair treatment with 1/4 cup water, gelatin and banana...It was a crazy mess to wash it out--and some still hasn't come out. I tried soaking my hair in ACV to remove the rest, but to no avail. THe residue is like glue in my hair. How can I get this out? I feel like I've tried everything.

    Can you tell me about the science on banana+gelatin, and why is it (seemingly) permanently adhered to my hair?

    1. Oh no! I wonder if the gelatin was fully dissolved - that can be a problem for rinsing - it will stick to hair. Banana alone can be a huge pain to rinse out, that's why baby food banana is best, it's fully pureed. I don't know exactly what it is about banana that makes it so tenacious in hair. As bananas ripen, their starch changes to "sugar" or at least becomes smaller. If banana is heated, it changes the consistency of the starches in the banana and it might be that which is so well-stuck.
      You've tried shampoo and lots or warm water? If this is still stuck in your hair, I'm going to suggest 2 things. One is to use very warm water, the same way you remove dried-on gelatin residue from containers. Water is needed to re-liquefy the gelatin. Do NOT pour hot water over your body. If your hair is long enough, dip the length of your hair in very warm water and swish it around. This may work if you can do it safely, but if your hair is short, this may be a very unsafe way to break down gelatin.

      If that is not practical, then another way to dissolve gelatin is to use a proteolytic enzyme. Pineapple is one source of proteolytic enzymes - that's why they tell us (on the box) not to put pineapple in Jell-O. Pineapple juice may work, but it needs to be fresh or at least unheated (unpasteurized). Heat would denature the enzymes. If you can get some fresh or un-heated pineapple juice, try that on a single strand to see if it will break up the gelatin. This may take several minutes to work. Skin may not get along well with pineapple juice either - best to keep this in your hair only and use it in the sink or in the shower with your head and hair flipped over.
      Good luck! I've done this too. Only I had banana chunks in there too.

  18. Hi there! I just spent hours reading all your blog articles and I'm fascinated! You seem so knowledgeable about hair care. I'm very interested in trying a protein treatment for my hair because I have lots of breakage and split ends, but my hair is not dyed. I think that the bottom half of my hair would be considered porous - it gets way frizzier and is way curlier than the rest of my hair. The other half is probably normal-porous - some of it is silkly smooth, dries very quickly, easy to style, and lies flat. What would you recommend in terms of my first protein treatment? Also, would you recommend that I use non-sulfate shampoo & conditioners and steer clear of silicones?

  19. Hi there! I would love to try out this protein treatment on my hair. I have wavy/curly hair. Half is porous (tends to get frizzy, curlier, harder to straighten) and the other half is normal-porous (much flatter, easier to manage, straighter). Also, my hair tends to like coconut oil, I leave it on overnight and wash it out in the morning frequently. My problem is that my hair tends to split and break easily. I want to strengthen and grow it out. I do not dye it and I rarely use heat on it. I am using this shampoo and conditioner -

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hello Kristen, I had a reply all written and then I clicked a link and my comment disappeared...
      If you want to use this recipe, I suggest cutting the gelatin in half but using the full amount of water - using it full-strength the first time is for the certain (about protein) or the very brave! Leave it on for a few minutes with some heat, then rinse very well. Then apply as much conditioner as you need to detangle - you may need extra conditioner. Some people need to follow up protein with extra conditioner, left on the hair a bit longer than usual. Some need a full deep conditioning after protein.
      If you didn't use shampoo, you would want to avoid silicones to avoid limp hair and a greasy look. But most shampoos, including most sulfate-free shampoos will remove silicone residue from a shampoo or conditioner or styling product.
      If your hair is otherwise healthy and you wash infrequently, your hair may be fine with sulfate shampoos - and you can dilute them so they don't over-clean or cause hair swelling. Some sulfate-free shampoos have such a high concentration of detergents that they are equally harsh as sulfate shampoos. So let your hair be your guide, a good shampoo should not leave your hair so tangly that conditioner won't immediately reverse the tangly-ness. A good shampoo won't leave your hair flat and lifeless nor fluffy and weightless.
      The shampoo you linked to is well-formulated with a combination of detergents (that = a milder product overall) and lots of conditioners and detanglers. The detergents here will remove silicone residue - otherwise the silicone in the shampoo is water-soluble, so it won't be depositing residue on your hair. The conditioner is well-formulated too. So many ingredients! Both shampoo and conditioner have a UV-protectant, which is nice if you're out in the sun in summer. I hope that helps - good luck with the protein!

  20. Can I add willow bark extract as a preservative that way I don't have to refrigerate or freeze the leftovers?

    1. Hello Breyhana-Ariel,
      I doubt that would give the product a very long shelf life. Proteins require broad-spectrum preservatives and Willow bark extract seems to be a reasonable preservative for some products, but I wouldn't trust it to preserve so much protein for very long.

    2. Would it last a week or at least the day before? If I made it to your instructions then added willow bark extract.

    3. I don't think I can even make a guess, I have not used this preservative. I see it has a recommended use of 2.5% to 5%, with protein you definitely want to be on the higher end. You might try it and watch it very carefully for signs of bacterial or fungal growth (change in thickness, separation, change in color, odor).

  21. thank you very much i was wounder if i can get that information
    i want to make protein t for my daughter but also i want it o straight his hair for several dayes
    so if i made ur recipe with heat it will work
    and how exactly to apply heat
    thanks too much
    (i have gelatine and silk powder )

  22. thanks for ur information
    i ask if i can make this recipe for straight my hair for a month by using heat and how, i have silk protein how much to use it in the recipe please

    1. Hello Mariam,
      This recipe will not straighten hair. Sometimes using hydrolyzed proteins will cause hair to act less curly (depending on how coarse the hair is) but hydrolyzed proteins alone do not work like semi-permanent straightening treatments that use protein.

  23. Hi,

    First I want to thank you for this post and all the others ! I'm wondering if this recipe is good for low po hair like mine ?
    Thanks :)

    1. Hello Regine,

      This recipe can be helpful for low-porosity hair if you know your hair already "likes" protein. This protein is acting mostly on the surface of hair - some will bond with the hair and some will form a film, part of which remains after rinsing. That protein which stays with the hair will attract and retain moisture strongly to keep hair hydrated. It will also add "strength" - that slight rigidity that silky or fine/medium hair benefits from but coarser hair objects to (by becoming stiff or brittle).
      The benefit for low porosity hair is hydration, strength and support. But because this is a really "strong" protein and a concentrated treatment too, it's always a good idea to start off half-strength and add some conditioner or be prepared with a really good conditioner to use afterwards. Even low porosity hair sometimes needs some deep conditioning after a protein treatment.
      Good luck with the recipe if you decide to try it!

  24. Where were you when I was 8 and being teased for having witch hair? It's getting a bit gray now, actually, and I'm wondering about the best timing for doing this treatment and doing home hair color, the traditional ms clairol or whatever. Gelatin first, then color? or vice versa?

    1. Hello,
      Sometimes it takes me a while to get a chance to respond. Protein before hair coloring is very helpful to balance out porosity at the ends and root and anywhere in between. The protein "patches up" damaged areas temporarily so they don't soak up excessive amounts of coloring solutions.
      It's a good idea to check whether your hair color contains Hydrolyzed protein already. If it does, but you know your hair does okay with this treatment, you might want to try this treatment half-strength to avoid over-doing protein with the protein in the hair color. At least the first time around.
      After coloring, protein can be helpful in keeping your hair hydrated - coloring tends to promote dehydration. That might have an overall effect of helping color last, if you keep your hair really well-hydrated - and well-lubricated - it won't suffer as much from everyday activities. That means it won't become porous as easily. Good luck! W

  25. Well can you tell m please how can I straighten my hair naturally without chemicals as my hair is very wavy?

  26. Hi!

    Is it protein in Living proof restore instant repair which contains:

    Water/Eau/Aqua, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Isoamyl Laurate, Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate (OFPMA), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Oleyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Silk, Behenyl/Stearyl Aminopropanediol Esters, Butylene Glycol, Dimethylpabamidopropyl Laurdimonium Tosylate, Astrocaryum Tucuma Seed Butter, Steareth-2, Steareth-10, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycol Stearate, Propanediol, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Geraniol.

    Is dehydroacetic acid, hydrolyzed wheat gluten and silk amino acids proteins?

    Thank you :)

    1. Hello tezzzzie,
      I see Hydrolyzed silk as the only protein in this product.

  27. Hi Wendy,
    Would Hydroxyethylcellulose be an acceptable replacement for the Guar Gum or Xanthan Gum or would it inhibit the protein from doing it's job? It makes a nice gel in distilled water and you can make it really thick or thin depending on the percentage. I know it is a film-former on it's own so I wasn't sure if it would interfere with the protein. Any help and expertise you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Kelli,
      Hydroxyethylcellulose will thicken this beautifully, it's a little more tricky than the gums and not a grocery store ingredient, so I didn't recommend it for this recipe. It won't prevent the protein from doing its job at all.
      I haven't used it to thicken gelatin in a while, but I think the gelatin might have a thinning effect on the cellulose - so maybe it needs to be 1% or 1.5% Hydroxyethylcellulose.

  28. I thought proteins needed to be hydrolyzed in order to work for hair.

    1. Yes, they do. Gelatin is partially hydrolyzed collagen, it has a higher molecular weight. Fully hydrolyzed collagen dissolves in room temperature water and has a lower molecular weight relative to gelatin.

  29. Hey!
    I was wondering if I could pick your brain for some ideas to help my hair.
    My hair gets damaged quite easily - I really try to grow out my hair but often end up chopping it off to shoulder length after 2-3 years of growth because it becomes so unmanageable.
    I think one of the main problems is how my hair grows about half a foot from my scalp... My hair roots start out strong and thick and as a deep chestnut colour. By the mid length though, it does this weird thing where it thins and and becomes 'stretchy' which is fine if I keep my hair shorter but it's not my preferred style. I think the stretching is what contributes to damage later in the growth cycle.
    By the end of the 2-3 year growth cycle, my hair has grown about a foot past my shoulders, and even with regular trimming it's very prone to split ends. The colour changes and looks more bleached, and it feels crunchy. By this point I usually get quite a bit of mid shaft breakage.

    I tried the gelatin hair treatment and got a lot of improvement with the very ends - it's been about a month since I trimmed my tips and I had a lot of split ends but I can hardly find any now, and it doesn't feel as straw like, so I am very happy with that.
    However, I still get the stretchiness mid shaft and my hair still snaps when I brush it.

    Do you have any advice to make my hair stronger and withstand day to day pulls without snapping so easily? Should I repeat the protein treatments weekly to start and see if it helps?

    1. Hello Suzannah,
      Do you have hard water? That can make hair brittle and break easily. With the water we have here, I know women with well water who could never grow their hair past their shoulders - it would just break off at that point. I have a hard water post here: Using one of these hard water treatments may help if hard water is part of the cause of your hair breakage.

      In addition to protein for elasticity and hydration, hair often needs oil pre-wash treatments to manage porosity and lubrication. The post I have on that process is in the "Popular Posts" in the right sidebar of the page.

      The fact that your hair color is fading on the ends means they are more porous, which happens through everyday wear and tear, sun exposure, washing, styling etc. The ends need extra care to stay hydrated because of the porosity. And based on your description, that begins probably around your chin.

      Definitely repeat protein treatments - every week or every 2-3 weeks. Watch how your hair responds. If it becomes overly stiff, rough and tangly or dry or brittle - or soft and limp - space those treatments farther apart! If you get a rough, tangly result - follow protein up with an intense conditioner and leave it on for several minutes at least.

      What brush you use matters - widely spaced pins or bristles on a flexible base is better for brushing. Relaxing your arms, wrists, neck and shoulders and jaw will make your movements more sensitive so you can feel tension in your hair.
      These are long-term investments. They can help your hair right now. And if you're consistent and work on getting the timing and treatments right, they will benefit your hair over the long term too.
      Good luck! -W

  30. Hello Unknown,

    I can't answer that unless I know what alkaline water means. Is this your tap water, or something you have bought or mixed up? Is there some reason you'd like to use it?

  31. Hi!
    I am brand new to the CG method so still learning about what my hair needs to look its best. I do think im in need of a PT but im kinda confused about what to do after applying the gelatin. Do I just rinse with water then condition and style as normal? Or do I need to use a sulfate free shampoo before conditioning? Or would cowashing be acceptable after?
    Also, I would have the same questions after applying a deep conditioning treatment. What do I do to wash my hair after either of these treatments? Maybe these are obvious questions and im just confused!

    1. Hello Dee Dee,
      This is so late you've probably got it all worked out. For the most part, you can rinse very thoroughly, then condition and style as normal. But if for some reason you don't feel like you've rinsed well enough, you might use a mild shampoo or co-wash. For example, if you have low water pressure or a shower head that doesn't concentrate the water very well - you might feel like the gelatin hasn't been rinsed out well enough and want to use a cleanser to make sure none is left in your hair.

      You don't need to wash your hair after a deep conditioning treatment - usually. If it's not too heavy for your hair, you should be able to rinse and style as usual. But there are those times when we've picked a product that is too heavy for our hair and it feels lank and gross - then you wash it again if you're sure it's going to turn out greasy.

      Oil treatments are an exception - those are meant to be left on dry hair for a while, and then the excess is washed out. Best wishes! W

  32. I've read most of your replies to the comments and a few times you mentioned that too much could over soften the hair. My hair seems to love protein right when it's done, the the next day it is a frizzy mess. The same thing Happened when I tried deep conditioning. What can you do to help/reverse over softened hair. .y hair is getting much more defined curls wi8 each protein treatment but the frizz is ridiculous and my hair is absolutely incredibly soft, but holding curl. I'm at a loss, my hair is getting so healthy but the frizz is frustrating, I'm used to dry, damage hair that tangles easy. 2 months ago I cut off most of my bleached hair and I'm starting all over!

  33. Hi, just wondering if I should add the 5 drops of vinegar before heating or after while it's hot (like the honey) or at the end when it is all cooled? Thanks!

  34. hello,im a spanish speaker so please forgive my wondering,the xatham gum is just for thickening the mixture? or do something extra (hidratation,etc)?
    have a good week.

    1. Hello J C,
      Xanthan gum is a thickener only - it will be rinsed out when the hair is rinsed.

    2. thank you for reply.
      have you considered writing a post about polyquats?

  35. Hi!
    I'm new to the CG method and I'm trying to figure out what works well with my hair (I think it's low to normal porosity, fine, normal density, gets weighted down/producty looking very easily).
    I did this PT about two weeks ago since my hair was limp and frizzy and more conditioning wasn't doing anything. The PT helped my hair curl and have more bounce directly after as it dried, and has greatly helped my frizz since. While my frizz is much better, my hair has been less curly and extremely static prone for the past week and a half. I'm not sure why it's suddenly so staticky; I don't think the PT would have caused it? I do live in a low humidity high-desert climate, but usually don't have problems. Do you have any suggestions for reducing static?

    1. Hello,
      Static can be an oil or conditioning ingredient that doesn't work well with your hair. With protein, if that was the *only* thing that is different, I wonder if the protein sealed up all the little porosities in your hair and is making it interact with surfaces differently.
      But when you say your hair is also less curly - I can tell you a couple different things do to that might make the protein treatment work better. My hair will often become less frizzy but less curly if I get the treatment too strong. This might help with the static problem too.
      1) Reduce the concentration of the gelatin. I like to double the water because then I can use half and freeze half. You could actually cut the protein to 1/4 the recommended amount.
      2) Leave it on for a shorter time if you left it on for 10 or 15 minutes or longer.
      3) Did you use heat? If you did, try it without heat next time. If you did not, try it with a little heat.
      Good luck! -Wendy

  36. Wonderful post! I had two questions -

    1. Would the correct addition of the neutral protein filler be 2 wt%?

    2. After adding the neutral protein filler and magnesium sulfate, what would the primary differences be between this DIY and the Aphogee Two Step? Do you think the Two Step would have any additional benefit over the DIY?

    Happy holidays!

    1. Hello Ashlee,
      1) Neutral Protein Filler could be used at 2% by weight, especially if you already know your hair likes both forms of protein and does well with protein in general. It's possible to over-soften hair with protein - so always start small.
      2) Aphogee 2-Step contains Hydrolyzed collagen, some of which may be a smaller molecular weight than gelatin, which is partially hydrolyzed. It also contains Panthenol and Urea - both humectants. Those are very nice ingredients to have, but I think the size of the protein matters more.
      I personally don't notice much difference between the Aphogee and the homemade, but I haven't used Aphogee in ages. Some people's hair has a significantly better result with Aphogee - their hair may be very picky about the size/molecular weight of the proteins.
      Try it with and without magnesium sulfate too. It may have a thickening quality in Aphogee, but it may not be necessary in the DIY version unless you get a much better result with it. Again - some hair "notices" ingredients like that more than others.

  37. I couldn't find the answer to this so I figured I should ask... do you apply this to hair that has been washed? I didn't think it would work well with dry hair that has product in it. Thanks.

    1. Hello Whitebird,
      For the best results, apply this to freshly-washed hair and squeeze out any excess water so you'll get even coverage and no diluted spots. This gives the treatment the most contact with product-free hair surfaces.

  38. Hi Wendy,

    What is the average molecular weight of gelatin? Should we expect it to be able to penetrate our hair?

    1. Hi Evelyn, Gelatin is between 60,000 and 200,000 Daltons. That is too large to penetrate into the hair shaft. While on the hair, it is forming a water-hugging film and enough remains after rinsing to help hair stay supported and hydrated. Here is my chart with the molecular weight of some common proteins:

  39. Hi! Why not mix banana with aloe or acid? What will come out and why?

    1. It's more likely to make banana-lumps that are difficult to rinse out.

  40. Hi

    Thanks for sharing your precious information
    Can I ommit xanthan gum from the recipe? Would the recipe give the same effect as with xanthan gum?

    1. Hello Alaa - The original recipe from 2010 contains no xanthan gum, so leaving it out is just fine. Though a little messier to apply.

  41. Would this be safe to use the day before bleaching/colour treating?

  42. Hi
    I'm so chuffed with the results of this recipe.
    I have very fine hair, which lately became dry and limp. I thought I might remedy that with an oil, so I tried amla, mendhi, argan, jojoba and almond oils (separately). It just caused my hair to look like I haven't washed it in a month. And after shampooing, it was still dry and limp.

    So grateful I came across your blog! I applied the gelatin treatment, applied heat with a hair dryer set on high heat, and left it in for 30 minutes. I then blow-dried my hair and was so pleased to see it kept my style the whole day.

    I'll be trying out more of your recipes. You rule!

  43. Thanks so much for this recipe and instructions. I just did the treatment and it worked wonders, even just doing half-strength and leaving it for only 5-10 minutes! Thanks a lot!

  44. Hi Katy - that's great to hear, I hope it continues to work well for you! -W