How does KHairPep work?

Clgvdfn asks….Do these KHairPep products look worth trying? I have chemically relaxed hair.

The Beauty Brains respond:

This is a very interesting product!

As opposed to most of the pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo that’s out there, this product actually has some scientific testing to back up its claim. (I contacted the company directly and they were nice enough to provide a copy of their research paper.) Here’s the quick version of how it works:

Hair gets most of its strength from the disulfide bonds in the cortex. These are sulphur to sulphur bonds (-S-S-) that are very tough and very hard to break. When you relax hair with a strong alkali, these bonds are broken and then reoxidized to form a new connection, called a lanthionine bond, which looks like this: -SH-HO-. The hydrogen to hydrogen bond (H-H) is much weaker than the -S-S- which explains, in part, why relaxing is so damaging to hair.

How does KHairPep work?

KHairPep contains K18Peptide™ which is their brand name for the ingredient oligopeptide-101. According to the data provided by the company, it looks like the oligopeptide-101 penetrates into the cortex and connects with these lanthionine bonds, replacing them with a stronger connection. (Not as strong as the original S-S bond but certainly stronger than the H-H bond.) Their data proves the peptide penetrates and that the tensile strength of hair is significantly increased.

Too good to be true?

But before you think this technology is too good to be true, there does appear to be one catch: According to their research paper, the testing I just described was done by treating hair fibers with a solution of the oligopeptide-101 at 37C (~100F) for 1 hour. I couldn’t find any reference to how effective the ingredient is when delivered from the final product under normal use conditions.

If, in lab testing, it took an hour at 100F for the peptide to penetrate, it stands to reason that there is less penetration under normal use conditions which means the strengthening effect may be less pronounced.

Also, if oligopeptide-101 does indeed interact with lanthionide bonds, it will be most effect on relaxed hair. Hair that has been weakend by bleaching or normal grooming damage won’t have as many of this kind of bond and therefore the peptide probably wouldn’t react the same way.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

It’s refreshing to see a hair care technology with some data to back up its claims. If you have relaxed hair you might want to give it a try, although the product is fairly pricey ($50 for 50 ml.)