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Which products should protein-sensitive naturals avoid?

Avatar • Jun 1, 2011

Reader Brandi says;

I have SERIOUS dry hair (type 3C/4A that resembles 4B/C when it’s dry). I have been trying different conditioners and shampoos, no-poo, sealing tricks.. you name it I’ve tried it. Then I came across giamoon on YouTube and she said that she found out she was protein sensitive, which I realized could be a reason for my hair’s dryness. I was wondering if anyone knew what conditioners/ shampoos have protein.

Alright ladies, what products have you found to be heavy on protein. Also, which products do you recommend for the protein-sensitive natural?

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NaturallyHairObsessed
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NaturallyHairObsessed

I am also protein-sensitive, and searching for a protein-free conditioner is like searching for a needle in a haystack. They are few and far between; protein is in EVERYTHING.

Yet, the two that come to mind are Dessert Essence Coconut Conditioner (Whole Foods), and Curl Junkie Curl Rehab (online). I think one or two Jason Cosmetic conditioners are protein-free, and cheapie drug store lines like Suave Naturals.

When I do need protein I reach for Giovanni Smooth as Silk.

KekeCurly
Guest
KekeCurly

I heard that TreSemme Naturals conditioner has no protein. But I also think you would be okay if the protein is at the bottom of the list Because our hair is made of keratin which is a protein.

Cee Cee
Guest
Cee Cee

I was in your exact situation about 2 months ago. Hair DRY DRY DRY!! And I went on a serious CSI/Law & Order type investigation and concluded that protein was definitely my issue. Protein is in everything and I have to be very vigilant. Now I use: Kinky Curly Knot-Today (Leave-in) Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia (moisturizer/styler) Karen’s Body Beautiful Butter Love (sealer/moisture) Bee Mine Curly Butter (styler) Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz (styler) Tressemee Naturals conditioner Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Hair Masque (about 90% sure no protein) Extra Virgin Olive Oil Also, I have started washing… Read more »

Val
Guest

Thanks so much CeCe for the list of products you suggested. I’ve always wanted to try Oyins handmade — i finally got them and they carry coconut oil and glyerine in their products… if its made from food, my hair crunches it up and spits it out!

Li
Guest
Li

I am protein-senstive as well. Many naturals swear by Giovanni’s Direct Leave-in, but that just made my hair hard and dry, so now I really like Shea Moisture’s conditioners.

Lala
Guest
Lala

Ima cosign on that! Love me some sheamoisture products! Just bought the deep conditioner masque yesterday so well see how that goes. So far the other products work great. I think i found the Ying to my hairs Yang…

SparD
Guest
SparD

I stopped using Giovanni Direct Leave-In because of the crunchy feel.

Alison C
Guest
Alison C

Hmmm I recently came to the same conclusion. At first it made my hair strong but now I have been noticing a tiny bit of breakage on my ends. I read somewhere that too much protein can make your hair brittle. I’ve since switched to the Kinky Curly Knot Today and I have felt an improvement.

Alison C
Guest
Alison C

Hmmm I recently came to the same conclusion. At first it made my hair strong but now I have been noticing a tiny bit of breakage on my ends. I try and be super careful when im moisturising and sealing but i see tiny little ends of my hair in my hands. Not a massive amount, i mean i can count the hairs but enough to maje me think hmmm 🙁 I trimmed 2 weeks ago well dusted actually, maybe I need to take some more off? I read somewhere that too much protein can make your hair brittle. I’ve… Read more »

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I am sensitive as well and was in love with Hydratherma Naturals Amino Plus, Protein Deep Conditioning Treatment. I put it in my deep condition treatment once a month and call it a day. My hair did not feel any different than times I do not put it in. I also like the price, with only using it once a month — it should last a minute. Good luck. It took a LOT of trial and error.

SM
Guest
SM

how do you know if u are sensitive to protein or not? Sorry…i JUST did my ‘mini’ bc and Ive been stalking ( yes stalking) all the natural hair site to figure out wat in the world i just got myself into. 😉 Any advice would be helpful

Viv
Guest
Viv

You can tell by trial and error. If your hair feels brittle, crispy, or unusually frizzy and dry after use of a specific product, you may possibly be protein sensitive. Look for wheat protein, silk amino acids, ‘hydrolyzed somethings’ in the ingredient lists of your products. Try to deep condition with a non-protein DT for a while to balance your hair out.

CupOf*T
Guest
CupOf*T

Aphogee is Death to my hair! Beware if you are protein sensitive, i even used the 2 minute wash out conditioner. And yes I followed the directions to a T. I had so much breakage and splits, that was the 2nd time Aphogee set me back to the point of a hair cut. The first time was when I was relaxed. So now I realized Aphogee is just not for me.

RCT
Guest
RCT

I’m not sure how to tell if my hair is sensitive to protein… If one of you ladies could give some insight that would be great!

Gnatural
Guest
Gnatural

I am protein sensitive as well and the way I found out was that I had tried protein treatments like Aphogee and they left my hair feeling like a brillo pad!!! I now stay clear of products that contain extra protein. I deep condition once a week and use yes to carrots. The regular amount of protein my hair can stand but the extra is a no no and that is why henna is out.

Motherspirit1
Guest

I hear you about the henna. I gave up on henna, because it has made my hair more coarse and dry. Before I used henna, my hair was soft and pliable. I can’t wait for all that henna got grow out!

Gnatural
Guest
Gnatural

That is exactly why I backed up from even trying it. Hopefully it will grow out quickly!!

Therese
Guest

I love Tresemme Naturals Moisture Rich. Also, Curls.biz coconut conditioner. Want to try Jessicurl weekly deep treatment. All are protein-free. Also, on Curlmart you can look up exactly what you are looking for, i.e. protein-free, silicone-free, sulfate-free.

Dolores
Guest
Dolores

Can anyone speak to the benefit of protein for those who are not protein sensitive? There must be a reason why it is in practically everything, but I was not aware of it until now.

Ree
Guest
Ree

I discovered I’m protein-sensitive, too. (My hair can’t take a lot of glycerin either.) Can’t use much protein or I get hard/dry hair. I love Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment. My hair loves this non-protein, non-glycerin deep conditoner. I use it for a regular daily conditioning as well. I want to stockpile it for life. Definitely a holy grail

Motherspirit1
Guest

I replaced glycerine with castor oil. It’s also a humectant, but doesn’t leave my hair sticky or tacky like glycerine did.

KekeCurly
Guest
KekeCurly

Thats what I noticed about glycerin, especially in the summertime. Although many ppl found that glycerin is better for them, I do not need any help bringing moisture from the environment into my hair. I compare the whole humectant bringing moisture in or out of hair like osmosis. Energy moves from high to low concentrations to bring equilribrium, just like high moisture in the summertime brings moisture to the low concentartions of moisture in their hair. So since I have enough moisture in this So Cal weather I use anti humectants like shea butter or EVOO which are also emollients.

MissSmith
Guest

I live in the Inland Empire of California and noticed that my hair is really dry now that I live here. I have only been natural for a year now, but even prior to me going natural, I noticed that my hair would dry out completely…given I was using produces on my hair that just didn’t agree with my anymore, but also note that I lived in TX for some time as well and my hair was much better. The point that I’m trying to make here is that the So Cal area…Inland that is, is rather dry and could… Read more »

dk
Guest
dk

Hi. I was the lady at last Saturday’s BGLH meetup who inquired about protein sensitivity. I can recommend the products that are helping to grow my hair long and strong all while avoiding protein. 1. Aveda Dry Remedy Shampoo -(Do not use the condish it contains protein) 2. Aveda Scalp Remedy Conditioner — lots of slip 3. Add olive oil or castor oil to #2 plus heat for a deep conditioning treatment. 3. Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In 4. Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Butter Cream (moisturizer, styler, twisting cream and sealant all in one non-greasy jar of magic)for summer… Read more »

dk
Guest
dk

yeah, i put in two #3’s LOL. I’m deep conditioning with heat right now so the heat to my head must be making me stupid. LOL

Flora
Guest
Flora

Mayo or egg conditioners leave me with dry twigs. I avoid added protein and stick to oil rinses and humectants.

Chicana
Guest
Chicana

Firstly as a 4b, I feel some kind of way about the opening statement. Anywayyyy… I always held this belief that I was protein sensitive. Why I believed I was protein sensitive: My hair reacted badly to coconut oil — dry, crunchy, brittle. My hair reacted the same to Aloe Vera products — dry, crunchy, brittle, breaking. My hair reacted the same to protein treatments — it just didn’t get soft though I never did Aphogee. Then I went to Aveda for a hair cut and was told that my hair was FINE and I needed protein. I’ve since learned… Read more »

Jc
Guest

I have fine hair too and my hair is happy with or without protein. I have used Aphogee without following up with a conditioner and my hair felt and behaved exactly the same as protein free conditioner. I don’t really think that as a rule fine hair requires protein. I think sharing your experience is really good but there are no hard and fast rules for hair. Every individual has to find what works for them. I do think that you are right that people use products the wrong way. Coconut oil chief amongst them. It is not an oil… Read more »

Chicana
Guest
Chicana

With all due respect, I know you are considered a guru around these parts but I was only sharing what happened with my hair and my experience with protein sensitivity. ALL comments on BGLH can only ever be a guide or an anecdote to be shared in this community. I certainly didn’t try to censor anyone which is funnily enough, not how I feel reading your response. You’ll notice I said that those were ‘MY’ hair rules and I felt everyone here was mature enough, intelligent enough and open enough to feel that that’s all I was doing. It is… Read more »

Jc
Guest

Hey calm down, first of all did you not see that I actually agreed with most of what you said? I feel like I am in another universe because I was actually supportive of your comment. I just thought that it was important to validate the original poster and the commenters who DO find that their hair reacts badly to protein. Yes they may be using the product the wrong way or using the wrong product (like maybe need a light protein or a heavy protein) but they also could BE right and their hair does not like protein. I… Read more »

Kristin
Guest

“I don’t really think that as a rule fine hair requires protein.” You’re right when you say everyone’s hair is different… i know for me, i have been natural for 1 year and 9 months, and am STILL learning. I recently learned that i have very dense, fine hair that is very pourous. for me, protien is essential. it may not be appropriate or necessary for all people with fine hair, but the job protien does is strengthen ur strands… so… i cant understand y it wouldnt help ANY fine-haired natural. as Chicana stated, it is recommended that any protien… Read more »

Brandi
Guest
Brandi

I apologize if i offended you i was just saying that my hair type would change.

KekeCurly
Guest
KekeCurly

Just as Jc stated I do not think EVERY fine haired person needs protein. I was reading on Curly Nikki.com that people can be fine and have low porous hair[frizzes less easily and needs more protein] or have high porous hair[frizzes easily and needs less protein]. But what confuses me is that a person with Fine and high porous hair does not need a lot of moisture because if it gets too much it tends to frizz also[ just think about a water balloon and how it swells]; this is how my hair is. The reason that I do not… Read more »

smallfro
Guest
smallfro

I am also protein sensitive. I am also a product junkie, so here is an inclusive list of products that work well for me. Fine hair very healthy. Type 4a/b. In comment to above post, if I use something and my hair feels hard/Brillo pad then I follow with a moisturizing conditioner and results are fine. My list - Shea Moisture coconut and hibiscus shampoo and black soap shampoo Shea Moisture Black soap masque Giovanni 50/50 conditioner Suave coconut conditioner Jessicurl weekly deep conditioner Lustrasilk shea butter and mango deep conditioner Kinky Curly Knot today Oyin honey dew Oyin shine… Read more »

E
Guest
E

1. Tressemme Moisture Rich Conditioner left me dry as a bone. 2. Organix Shampoo and Conditioner left me dry as a bone. 3. Suave Almond Conditioner left me dry as a bone. Humph I got rid of those by giving them to other people that I shipped free of charge along with a whole bunch of other hair products. On a side note just wanted you ladies to check out this video by singer Christion title of song “My Reason” under yt Redr0ses101. I originally saw this on sheacocoaluv yt and had to find the singer of it. So to… Read more »

SparD
Guest
SparD

I don’t have any problem with Aubrey Organics GPB or ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner. Both are balanced proteins.

But I prefer non-protein products.

ScrewyHair
Guest

Not products, per se, but my type 4b/c hair’s porous and doesn’t like protein but loves these products of nature as a mix: - honey (as much as you like) — raw egg, beaten (1) — olive oil (2 tablespoons) — coconut oil (2 tablespoons) — glycerin (just under 1 tablespoon or skip if sensitive to it) I leave it in for 1–2 hours and my hair’s soft, shiny, springy, and strong. The egg has protein, but it seems to be the kind my hair likes. It’s a drippy mess, but half a beaten egg should still work. (Forgive me… Read more »

Care4Curls by Paige
Guest

I am not protein sensitive, but here are list of products that I know contain protein.

coconut oil & coconut milk
shea butter
henna
hemp seed oil
aloe vera
molasses — when applied as a deep conditioning treatment
egg — when applied as a deep conditioning treatment

http://care4curls.com
http://quintessentiallystylish.com

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

I personally don’t know if protein could react better on me if ‘chased’ by humectants or other moisturizers, but protein does result in my hair feeling straw-like and I’m not opposed to that option from Chicana. Is a ‘protein from the inside out’ option a viable solution? I really don’t want to switch up my reggie but am concerned by it being devoid of protein, though maybe I’m fine…

Merdi
Guest
Merdi

If you’re looking for something with NO protein, Tresemme Naturals Conditioner is not right.
It has avocado in it, which is protein-rich! But it’s kind of far down on the list of ingredients, so it might be alright to try.

Ishshah
Guest
Ishshah

omg i just did a protein treatment 2 a wk ago and as wondering why my scalp was so dry and flaky then the day b4 yesterday i did my 2 strand twist out with shea moisture smoothie and sealed it with coconut oil…and my hair looked like i just stepped off the slave ship. so last night i did a twist and applied only a little shea moisture and kinky curly to detangle and didnt seal and my fro is poppin.…i guess im protein sensitive…i should really pay better attention to stuff like that..thanks naturals for product ideas…i cant… Read more »

ampeg 210
Guest

Hello, this is a great blog!

pricey
Guest
pricey

Aveda brilliant line or damage remedy, dry remedy lines

df
Guest
df

this is great..i’ve discovered that my hair is really protein sensitive so it doesn’t like aloe vera (it’s pretty much protein laden) and coconut oil which seals protein in the hair. They all make my hair dry! I prefer to use all natural products (have been doing so even before I went natural) so it’s pretty hard finding products without protein and when I find a product without protein, there’s either coconut oil or aloe vera fairly high in the ingredient list! I’m just happy to know why my hair has been so dry and I’m glad that I’m pretty… Read more »

Kandyce
Guest
Kandyce

Your description is my hair exactly! Shampoo and conditioner Redkens Smooth Down Line is really good. Also Biologe ultra hydration for corse hair. Miss Jessie’s butter teams are good but leave in hair. Don’t rinse out.

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