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Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment and human hair keratin

Is a Solution for:
Dry or Brittle Hair
Reviewed by Marta October 30, 2009 5 Comments
The Joico haircare brand is slick, modern and - for a drugstore brand - uses some very respectable ingredients for healthy hair. Joico Moisture Recovery Treatment Lotion for Dry Hair ($16.99) has antioxidant grape seed and camelina oil, which is also full of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. What caught my eye was human hair keratin. Keratin and hair products seem to go together like horses and carriages, but can keratin be applied topically and really make a difference for chronically dry hair?

Keratin is a protein that is a major component in skin, hair, nails and teeth. Depending on the various amino acids that combine to form keratin, it can be inflexible and hard (toe nails) or soft (skin). The surfaces of hair, skin and nails are mostly dead cells, which are shed as new cells push up from underneath. If the dead cells are kept in good condition, they will serve as an insulating layer to protect the delicate new keratin below them. Keeping the external layer of keratin moisturized will prevent cracking and splitting.

The hydrolyzed keratin in shampoos and other hair care treatments seems mostly to come from wool (which I suppose is hair to a sheep). Joico says it found a way to "capture" human hair keratin and that this is best way to ensure a match with the hair's 18 amino acids.

Since Joico made this invention 30 years ago and no one else (that I could find) has worked out how to do it, I am tempted to conclude that Joico hasn't exactly bottled human keratin. Nor I have I found any research about replenishing human keratin. Furthermore, hardly anything was known about human hair keratin until very recently. In 2004, scientists discovered that there were 15 different types of keratin in human hair.

More likely perhaps, is that Joico has put together amino acids in proportions that are similar to those in human keratin. Which is fine by me. In fact, FNS's hair growth booster serum, which I am currently testing, contains all 18 amino acids.

Water , Cetearyl Alcohol , Behentrimonium Chloride , Dimethicone , Distearyldimonium Chloride , Steareth-2 , Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin , Chlorella Vulgaris Extract , Hydrolyzed Algin , Sea Water , Camelina Sativa Seed Oil , Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil , Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil , Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride , Amodimethicone , Diisopropyl Sebacate , Diisostearyl Fumarate , Glycerin , EDTA , Methylparaben , Propylparaben , Diazolidinyl Urea , Fragrance , Red 40 (CI 16035) , Yellow 5 (CI 19140)
  • February 2, 2016

    by Xiken

    I’ve heard that some keratin in shampoo is from human hair. Either from live people who sell their hair, Indian temples, or dead people. Do you know anything about this? Here it seems only from the Joico company? Is this 100% for sure? Tnx!

  • July 7, 2015

    by Karien

    I was a hairdresser working in a store that stocked Joico products and, yes, it does contain actual human hair keratin. Unfortunately people get yucked out when they know the process for this (though it's not yucky at all) and so the brand has probably opted to 'sanitise' the idea so not a lot is found about this.

    I can assure you it's all very sanitary and nothing gross has gone into it, but since actual human hair keratin is the only thing biologically identical, it stands to reason that it's the very best thing you can put onto your hair to repair damage.

    There are many products out there which are high quality (and expensive) which use expensive ingredients to obtain wonderful results but to me the proof was always that whenever I did a lot of work at the hair washing station in the salon, my nails (which never grew at all on their own) became strong and long within a week. The reason is that nails are made of the same protein that hair cuticle is made from.

    So, in summary, it is made from real Keratin from human hair. No one is hurt, but people with long hair don't have to contemplate chopping it off if it becomes damaged..... and no, I don't work for Joico. I'm long since retired from hairdressing, but I'm still a faithful joico customer simply because I haven't found anyone who uses this technology.

  • November 1, 2009

    by Jaye

    I remember when Joico was only available through salons and I agree that it is a very high quality product. I think some professional lines are testing a wider retail market through drugstores because they feel the competition from Internet sales and an ever-widening selection of brands. I've been surprised at some of the "luxe" brands I've seen in drugstores even though it may be a very small representation of the entire line because of limited shelf space. Though salon owners might not like this strategy because it puts a dent in their sales, I think it's a good thing to make these higher quality products more available and the big chain drugstores are trying to get some higher-end exclusives to make them more competitive. Besides, there are a zillion other brands salons can opt for if they want a more exclusive label - salon owners just have to keep up. I really don't think CVS or Walgreens or Rite Aid would buy from diverters for a number of business reasons, the most obvious being that they have to stock inventory and plan purchasing projections which a diverter cannot guarantee.

  • October 31, 2009

    by Diane

    As a professional stylist, I feel the need to clarify something. Joico is NOT a drugstore brand at all whatsoever. It is a professional line which is SUPPOSED to be sold by professionals in salons only. When you see these products for sale in a drugstore or at the local grocery store, it is called diversion. Most often these products are actually expired, and sometimes even counterfeit. For more information on diversion, check out Joico's website. I will agree that it is a top notch product line that consistently provides superior results!

  • October 31, 2009

    by Susan

    Twenty plus years ago, Joico was supplying top-shelf hair products to the style-conscious masses. Its reconstructor, K-PAK, was the only thing other than a haircut that could salvage hair decimated by perms and tints (think the 80s). Joico's greatest weapon in its ingredients arsenal was Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin(HHHK). Treating damaged hair with HHHK could often mean salvaging hair length rather than cutting it off, which was usually the only other option available.

    Today, Joico might be a drugstore brand, but no other highly-touted hair product can replace K-PAK for rebuilding hair.

    I still alternate K-PAK with other newer, therefore supposedly better, products. No other product has taken its place. Drugstore merchandise or not, Joico still rocks!

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