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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?