Pros: Strengthens, repairs, adds protein, no breakage, no damage.
Cons: Disgustingly expensive, off-putting scent, really misleading directions.
I have a huge problem with my hair breaking. I treat my hair very gently, but I seem to just genetically have weak hair, prone to breakage. The best product I've found for this product is Joico K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor. It transforms my weak hair into strong, resilient tresses.
What IS K-Pak?
K-Pak Reconstructor was recommended to me by my stylist about a year ago. She noticed that I was battling severe breakage, and implored me to begin using a protein treatment once a week. Her personal favorite is K-Pak, so I went with that. She has educated me a bit on the structure of hair, and how different products works. Along with my review of K-Pak, I hope I'll shed some light on how and why this works (when used properly).
K-Pak Reconstructor is a treatment made by Joico. It is NOT a conditioner. I repeat, it is NOT a conditioner! The general purpose of a conditioner is to moisturize, detangle, add slip, and make it easier to style. K-Pak is not meant to do any of those things. If you are looking for a deep conditioner, this is NOT IT! The purpose of K-Pak is to fill in the structural holes of one's hair shaft, using protein. By strengthening the shaft, it reduces breakage and results in healthier hair.
Let's start from the beginning. Hair is dead. As a general rule, the most effective way to achieve healthy hair (and skin, and nails...) is by leading a healthy life. That means plenty of water, a balanced diet including vitamins and protein, no smoking, plenty of rest.... etc. We all know the drill. While many external treatments can make one's hair feel or look better, very few can actually aid in repairing damage. I am not in any way claiming that a reconstructor is the best way to healthy, strong hair. But in a case like mine, when a balanced diet, gentle products, and a healthy lifestyle still don't result in strong hair, a reconstructor can help.
What Does Joico Claim K-Pak Will Do?
Joico's website claims that K-Pak is meant for dry, damaged, or chemically treated hair.
Joico claims K-Pak:
~Provides the ultimate, intense reconstruction from cortex to cuticle.
~Helps reduce damage through proper protein and moisture balance.
~Revitalizes shine, body, and manageability.
~Promotes vitality and bounce with weightless formula.
~Protects and repairs with K-Pak's unique Hair Protection System, featuring Joico's exclusive Triamine complex.
~Safe for permed and colored hair.
~Tropical and fresh fruit fragrance.
So What's In K-Pak Reconstructor?
Deionized Water, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycol Stearate, Ceteth 2, Mineral Oil, PEG-8 Distearate, Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin (Triamine Complex), Laurdimonium Hydroxpropyl Hydrolyzed Human Hair Keratin (Cationic Triamine Complex), Sodium Chloride, Myristyl Myristate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Sorbic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Hydrolyzed Yeast, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Methylparaben, Propylparaben
Price, Packaging, Purchasing Info
Joico K-Pak Reconstructor is not a cheap product by any means. The 10.5 ounce tube is currently $30 on drugstore.com. My stylist is able to sell it to me for considerably less. You might find a better deal on Ebay, and I've seen it at CVS drugstore for less than $30. I'd strongly recommend shopping around, because $30 is the absolute highest price that I've come across for this product.
It's packaged in a cream-colored tube, and you just squeeze it out. The reconstructor itself has a unique consistency. Not as thick or slick as conditioner, but more of a medium cream. The smell is a little off to me. Described as "coconut/tropical", but really more of a banana/coconut scent, except not in a delicious way. It doesn't really bug me, but it could be better.
How To Use K-Pak:
The directions on the packaging are very brief: Apply to damp hair. Leave on for 5 minutes. Rinse.
There are a number of things you need to know to get the maximum benefit from this, or any protein reconstructor.
First, K-Pak is a penetrating product - it does not simply add gloss to the cuticle, but actually needs to penetrate the shaft in order to work. Most of us use products containing silicone of some sort or another. Chances are, your conditioner is loaded with them. Silicones coat the outside of the strand, making it difficult for a treatment to penetrate the strand. Because of this, it's best to use a clarifying shampoo to remove the build up prior to applying K-Pak. I like to use a clarifying shampoo weekly anyways, so it's not a big deal for me.
Second, unlike deep conditioners, there's no reason to leave K-Pak in for any extended time period. You won't get different results. Hair can only absorb a certain amount of protein at once, so five or ten minutes is more than enough time.
You can use K-Pak too much. Even the most damaged hair will only benefit from 2 treatments a week. Overuse of a protein treatment can potentially cause hair to feel brittle and dry. I use K-Pak once a week. If you're already using a different protein treatment, like Redken Anti-Snap, you might want to limit your use of K-Pak to once every few weeks.
Finally, I need to banish the most common misconception about reconstructors. K-Pak is not a replacement for a conditioner. If you find your own hair responds well to deep conditioners, keep on using them! Most importantly, it's crucial to follow K-Pak with conditioner! K-Pak won't add softness, or slip, and without following with conditioner you'll find it exceptionally hard to detangle your hair.
My hair is fine, and I like to apply this starting at about 4 inches down from the roots. There's no reason to apply K-Pak to the scalp or roots, in fact that'll just make it limp and heavy feeling. Make sure to rinse well, too. If it's not well-rinsed, it makes my hair feel a tad on the sticky side. To recap: Use clarifying shampoo, apply K-Pak, let sit for 5-10 minutes, rinse well, use conditioner.
Down To The Nitty-Gritty... Does It WORK?
Oh yeah, it works. It works great! After a full year of using K-Pak, my hair is much stronger and thicker looking. It doesn't break off like it used to, and I don't get split ends. Just 5 minutes a week has really made a huge improvement to my hair. The results make the price, wierd scent, and slight inconvenience 100% worth it to me. I'd highly recommend this if you're hair is damaged. Stick with it, and in a few weeks you're bound to see results!
A Word About Knock-offs:
I recently learned that Sally Beauty Supply sells a knock-off version of this product. I've never tried the Sally's version, but from what I hear, the ingredients are identical and it's a dead ringer. If I didn't already have a huge stash of K-Pak, I'd try it! Just thought I'd let it be known. If the price of K-Pak means it unavailable to you, by all means go get that knock-off!
Thanks for reading! :)