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5 Conditioners for Protein Sensitive Hair

• Jun 5, 2014

For naturals who consider their hair sensitive to protein, the general advice in seeking out proteins in ingredient labels is to look for three main words

-amino acid (e.g silk amino acids)

-protein (e.g soy protein)

-hydrolysed/hydrolyzed (e.g hydrolyzed keratin)

This is generally a good guide, but sometimes it may not be easy to spot proteins for example Herbal Essences Hello Hydration and Aussie Moist both have glutamic acid which is an amino acid. Tresemme Naturals Nourishing conditioner contains lauroyl lysine and lysine is also an amino acid. Would you have thought any of these three products actually included protein elements?

Navigating through the aisles may not be easy, unless you can recognize amino acids by name. I therefore had a look around current ingredient labels of popular products and picked out 5 that are protein free*. Please always read the label of the product you purchase as manufacturers can switch up ingredients.

1. VO5 moisture milk — Strawberries and Cream

vO5 moisture milk

This a popular cheapie for many naturals to use for detangling. I have included it in the list as I think the ingredients label does not have any major protein sources. There is soy extract listed but this generally refers to some fatty acids rather than soy protein so I have given it the benefit of doubt. However, if you are not as willing to turn a blind eye, then eliminate it from your rotation should it be a problem

2. Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment

jessicurl deep conditioning

This conditioner has a rich mix of oils in water and aloe juice. The ingredient label also has a soy extract but it is specified as soy lecithin which is in direct reference to the fatty acids I discussed previously. I have therefore more confidence in labeling this particular conditioner okay for protein sensitive hair.

3. Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner

aubrey organics honeysuckle

This is a firm favorite among many naturals and this particular conditioner from the Aubrey Organics range is protein free. It has a mix of mostly oils, some alcohol and water with a long list of fruit extracts.

4. Yes to Carrots Pampering conditioner


Based on the ingredients label, this is a pretty oil rich hair conditioner. It does have wheat germ oil which is quite different from wheat protein. Overall, I cannot see any protein or protein derivatives on this particular product.

5. Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Conditioner

giovani 50 50

Quite a few of the Giovanni range of conditioners contain hydrolyzed wheat protein e.g Giovanni Smooth as Silk. The 50:50 conditioner does list soy extract, but does not specify this as a protein therefore I am happy to suggest it as a possibility for protein sensitive naturals

*It is always possible to find trace amounts of protein in any product. The purpose of this list is just as a guide to products that do not have protein or protein derivatives on the bottle.


Is your hair protein sensitive? What are some of your go-to conditioners?

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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28 Comments on "5 Conditioners for Protein Sensitive Hair"

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I do a sort of henna gloss treatment every month. I’ve found that using products with protein contributes to breakage — little hairs falling not long ones. I choose the gloss over protein, so protein is out for me.

I like the Aubrey conditioners though.


Fortifiers harden my hair and snap off my ends. And I would add lauric acid — coconut oil, bay laurel oil and palm kernel oil — as a fortifier to avoid for my hair. Some also mention jojoba liquid.

It’s a bit difficult to find products without protein or lauric acid that ALSO work with my hair, so I no longer use conditioner. Also, I don’t think of myself as protein-sensitive. I have naturally ‘protein-enriched’ strands that only tangle, knot or break in extreme circumstances so I save a lot of time and money.


Not an expert here, just stating my thoughts…

I am pretty sure that EXACT bottle of Strawberry vo5 explicitly states that it provides Soy Milk for Protein purposes. In fact, its one of the very conditioners that helped me realize I was protein sensitive.

Using the Strawberry one tends to leave my hair feeling straw like and brittle, where-as using the Blackberry one I actually retain moisture and my strands clump properly while air-drying.


Love love love Yes to Carrots Pampering Conditioner.…the shampoo is really good too. I’ve been using it since before I started transitioning to natural and its amazing. It sinks right in and moisturizes without leaving a filmy or heavy feeling. I use it as a pre-poo, a regular conditioner, and as a deep conditioner when my hair needs extra moisture. My hair drinks it up so much that when I’m fully natural I plan to use it as a leave in.

The best part is that it comes in a really large bottle and last forever for a great low price.


*sigh* Black women and our ingredient issues. Only us. As long as it detangles, moisturizes, and smells good I’m good to go.


U don’t think other women r concerned about ingredients? Lol


Soooo, no other race worries about sensitivity to certain product ingredients? Oh, ok…


I’m Hispanic, and reading this article because I don’t know what to put on my protein sensitive kinks , it’s become my mission to read lables and buy buy product to try, and find out what works ! It’s not easy for any of us????


I am white and I have very protein sensitive hair. I was using Yes to Carrots then they changed the formula.… had to find something new.


Must be nice if you’re not protein sensitive. Why would people think up problems with their hair when they want it to thrive and focus on taking care of it. Oh and if it makes the issue suddenly more valid in your eyes, there are white women who deal with this too. There’s a forum on naturally curly forum for PS hair and most are curly haired Caucasians.

Thanks for your dismissive comment that helped no one though.


Thank you.well said!shes clearly got issues…


I’m white and can confirm Deb’s comment. It’s a “curlies” issue — not race specific — though (if my understanding is correct) the tighter the curl, the greater the issue may be — hence why the beautiful ladies of colour and style are more likely to encounter the issue — and have a wealth of knowledge about it, for which I thank you so very much! Will be trying some of these P free conditioners in search of the HG for my hair.


I am german and i do care too! Just didn´t know why my curls were breaking all the time and the no hair dressers has been able to anser questions (they gave me one wrong product after the other). Thanks to all who cared before me. Learning and loving all of you caring women 🙂


then why are you on this website then?? :/

Denise Holloway

Thanks to sharing a useful information with me. For my curls, i oftenly used best and quality conditoner of Jessicurl and its impact is really good on my curls.
Thanks again…

Sadly, I can’t use most of these because they have aloe (On clean hair, I have used the gel and liquid alone and have gotten very brittle hair every time; also in products, so NO, it’s not made up or in my head). I’m verrry sensitive to protein or protein mimicking ingredients though so I don’t think most other people would react the same way. I’ll check out the yes to carrots one though. This is an awesome list, thanks for giving some love to us PS naturals! I made a list of products that PS could try in another… Read more »

dont be dismayed :). I was sceptical too about the aloe in the Jessicurl conditioner but it turned out to be really good and moisturizing. You could give it a trial.

Maria V.

This is not “naturalista approved” but i am extremely sensitive to protein and I LOVE Doo Gro deep down deep conditioner.

It makes my hair so soft and moisturized.

K story

Suave’s green apple conditioner has saved my hair!! Just really put together that my hair doesn’t like protein , so this is absolutely perfect for ME.


I can testify to this as well.

venus factor nutrition

Great article, exactly what Iwanted to find.


currently using jessi curl deep conditioner and it is the TRUTH! I have used aubreys in the past and it was equally that good as well. Protein sensitivity has caused me quite a lot of broken hair strands when i was unaware of it. I don’t play with my ingredient listing now. Also if you are protein sensitive you may want to avoid nut oils because they contain protein as well, you may find olive oil and grapeseed oil to be better for you.


How do you know if your hair is protein sensitive versus undermoisturized?


Thanks to this post I was able to pick up the yes to carrots conditioner and my hair loves it! Thanks for sharing!


I do have protein sensitive hair so to strengthen my hair while still being cautious it dilute the Mane And a Tail deep moisturizing conditioner mixed with essential oils and water in a spray bottle and use it as a leave in.…works wonders.


Hi, I found a few products on this blog that really helped my hair.

Hope they work for you too!

Ania James
I have very fine hair and it was damaged by bleach so I overdosed on protein conditioners from brands like Redken and Kerastase also I think Coconut Oil made my hair really bad for some reason. It became so brittle and dry I was panicking I will loose it all. I switched to protein free regime : Aveda Dry Remedy shampoo and conditioner on rotation with cheap VO5 Sun-kissed Raspberry ones and oils for leave in like Garnier Miracle Oil and Marrocan Oil and my hair is now Saved !! — softer, bouncier, shinier, thank God for Internet! I also… Read more »
MadiSon Riggins

The very first product on this list is the V05 Strawberries and Cream conditioner WITH SOY MILK PROTEIN. This product has quite a bit of protein in it. If you are a protein sensitive curly, do not buy this product. I bought this product without even really looking at the bottle because I was buying on a budget, I used it once and the protein in it has made my hair unmanageable.

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