Ahh… so my first professional haircut in five years was more than just a haircut. It was a crash course in how my hair regimen was the cause of the severe damage and breakage I was experiencing. From the start of the year I noticed that my hair was having some breakage on the left hand side towards my nape, and that my hair texture was changing. It was becoming dry and brittle and I was confused by what was causing this. Then the growth rate changed on half of my head and I was experiencing extreme shedding. Thats when I knew it was time for a professional discussion.

What was the cause? Protein Overload! I was using too many products that were protein based, and I was thinking in my mind that I wasn’t using enough protein. So what is the first thing I was told to do before putting one more single thing on my hair? Check the ingredients in my products. My stylist Vincenzo was very explicit when he stated that I should be focusing on strictly moisture for the next few weeks and detoxing my hair of all of the excess protein it has on it. To do so I would have to stop using some products for good, stop using some products for a while, and readjust my hair care regimen. Not only did I need moisture based products but I needed products with ingredients that would be good/work well for my hair.

Here are the protein free products I’ve decided to give a try/swap into my hair care regimen. These products work for protein sensitive hair as well as women who are dealing with a low tolerance for protein like me due to protein overload.

Protein Free Products For Protein Sensitive Natural Hair


To get the excess protein out I would have to cleanse my hair more rigorously for a few weeks. I’m usually simply a cowasher but since I’ll be shampooing (sulfate free of course) for a little bit I’m going back to my tried and true simple pre-poo formula. (there are some other great DIY pre-poo recipes that you can find here as well)

Avocado + Olive Oil + Honey: Three moisture based ingredients all found in the comfort of my kitchen. I used to do these pre-poo treatments over night during my transition and of course in my laziness and desire to not have to clean up (avocado can get/ be messy) I stopped using avocado all together. Terrible mistake because I had some of the best/fastest hair growth when I was paying attention to the careful moisture/balance in my hair care regimen. So I’ll be pre- pooing before I get to the cleansing step of my regimen.



7199_1024x1024Eden  Body Works Coconut Shea All Natural Moisturizing Shampoo

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycol Distearate, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Panthenol, PEG-50 Shea Butter, Polyquaternium-72, Polyquaternium-11, Fragrance (Parfum), PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol

4_std_1439249602*Alikay Naturals Coconut Milk ShampooThis is the one I’ll be using initially as I already have it in my arsenal.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera Juice), Vegetable Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Milk Powder, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Oil), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Botanical Blend Ingredients

13044047Kinky Curly Come Clean Moisturizing Shampoo

Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Mandarin Orange Fruit, Organic Marigold Flower, Organic White Willow Bark, Organic Sea Kelp, C14-16 Olefin, Sulfonate And Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Coconut Derived), Citric Acid, Sea Salt, Phenoxyethanol, Natural Fragrance

Co Wash

81aZXiS8H9L._SX522_As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner I’ll be heading out to purchase this. I used to use it a few years ago when I was experimenting with CoWashing and it was the only one that I found to be a decent counter part for Wen. It can be found online and in your local drug stores.

Key Ingredients: Tangerine, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Saw Palmetto and Phytosterols<p> </p> Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificada, Purified) Extracts: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) and Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine)¹, Cetyl Alcohol², Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol², PEG-40 Castor Oil, Stearlkonium chloride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil², Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil¹, Phytosterols¹, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit Extract¹, Quaternium-18, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene, Methylisothiazolinone

Rinse Out Conditioners

711ijc4Kj9L._SX522_Aubrey Organics Biotin Repair Conditioner 

Ingredients: Aqua, cetyl alcohol (from coconut), alcohol denat. (38b, lavender), glycerin, adansonia digitata (baobab) seed oil, fragrance, citrus granids (grapefruit) extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tocopherol (vitamin E), inositol, panthenol, biotin, polygonum multiflorum (he shou wu) root extract, arctium lappa (burdock) root extract, avena sativa (oat) straw extract, equisetum hyemale (horsetail) extract, tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) leaf extract, saponaria …

31O5v4-YO1LEden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Revitalizing Conditioner : I recently purchased this a few weeks ago before I knew I was protein sensitive due to protein overload because I’ve been wanting to try Jojoba Monoi products. I’ll let you know how great this conditioner works for my hair in its current condition in an overall review in the upcoming weeks.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Coco Nut Oil, Tiare Flower, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Camomile) Flower Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol , Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid

41t6iGlefVLShea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner 

Deionized Water, Butyrospermum Parkii ( Shea Butter)*, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil*, Behentrimonium Chloride, Essential Oil Blend, Vegetable Glycerin, Emulsifying Wax, Sea Kelp Extract, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5) Avocado Oil, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica ( Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil

Deep Conditioner

71PkuI5vwiL._SX466_As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner

Ingredients: Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificada, Purified) Extracts: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) and Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine)¹, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil², Coco-Caprylate², Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin¹, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Phytosterols¹, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract¹ (Green Tea), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract¹, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract¹, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Stalk Extract¹, Fragrance/Parfum, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glucose, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose Oxidase, Abies Balsamea (Balsam Canada) Extract¹, Limonene

51Lks1SwCYLEden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner 

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Coco Nut Oil, Tiare Flower, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Camomile) Flower Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor)Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol , Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid

(Avocado + Honey)* I Put this in parenthesis because this mix can also be used for your pre-poo or deep conditioning. And obviously it isn’t bought in stores as a product but if you are truly worried about having some hidden proteins in store bought products this is the safest route1!

Leave In Conditioner

71U6kxv26sL._SY606_As I Am Leave In Conditioner

Ingredients: Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificada, Purified) Extracts: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut)¹ and Phyllanthus emblica (Amla)¹, Cetyl Alcohol¹, Citric Acid¹, Phytosterols¹, Serenoa Serrulata Fruit (Saw Palmetto) Extract¹, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract¹, Propylene Glycol, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract¹, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract¹, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Stalk Extract¹, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root¹, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum, Limonene

715JBpb4lnL._SX522_Kinky Curly Knot Today

Ingredients: Organic mango extract, organic slipper elm, organic marshmallow root, organic lemongrass, cetyl alcohol, *behentrimonium methosulfate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol and natural fragrance.

31bIQol-S7LOyin Handmade Hair Dew

Ingredients: purified water, castor oil, olive oil, organic aloe vera gel, behentrimonium methosulfate (emulsifier), coconut oil, olive squalane, optiphen (preservative), cetyl alcohol


71xaQdQ-IFL._SX522_As I Am Twist Defining Cream: I’m heading out to buy this as I’ve heard /read rave reviews and I can find it in my local beauty supply and drug stores.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Acetamide MEA, Betaine, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Triethanolamine, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Carbomer, Phytosterols, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Powder, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Powder, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract, Ceteareth-25, Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide PEG-15 Disulfate, Laureth-23, TBHQ, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance/Parfum, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool.

71-dCEz9V1L._SX522_Wonder Curl Get Set Jelly : I have this jelly and I’ve been using it for a while for twist outs so I definitely plan on using it and keeping it in my arsenal.

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (Organic Aloe) Juice, Polyquaternium 7, dl-Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel), Phenoxyethanol, Vegetable Glycerin, Alcohol denatured, Carbomer, TEA, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Fragrance

6137+cwmpML._SY606_Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly 

Ingredients: Water, Blueberry Leaf Extract, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Acrylates Copolymer, Carbomer, Polyimide-1, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Fragrance (Essential Oil of Chamomile), Hexyl Cinnamal

Have you tried any of these products before? Or know of any other protein free products that should be added to the list? Drop your comments/ suggestions in the comment box below!

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*disclaimer: affiliate links are present within this post but do not alter or change my honest opinion/review of the products mentioned above*
Hey there! I'm Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I'm busy teaching the future of society.

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13 Responses to Protein Free Products For Protein Sensitive Natural Hair

  1. Did you overcome your protein overload? Because I also have protein overload and I am desperate everything that I seem to try and have tried just makes my hair worse. I have used most of the products that you mentioned above and all did nothing for my hair they did not help whatsoever, why because all of the products that were mentioned above have ingredients that either have or mimic protein and the just make my hair harder, dryer and worse.

    • Hi hun,

      I fortunately did overcome the issues. I think starting off with a good haircut is a great first step. I also think you need to first start with a cleanser I recommend Kinky Curly Come Clean, a good rinse out conditioner, Deep conditioner: TGIN Honey Miracle Mask is gold and a styler. In the beginning I styled with the Kinky Curly leave in because it was completely protein free. I stuck with this regimen for 6-8 weeks before adding anything else in. Once I washed away the excess protein the products mentioned above worked perfectly.

      • Hi thank you so much for replying. I did get a hair cut, I actually had to do a big chop because that’s how damage my hair was which was a major set back considering I had been transitioning for a little over a year due to heat and chemical damage; also not to talk about my self esteem which went flying over the window. Now I find myself desperate with hair so short I could be mistaken for a guy but but the thing that bugs me the most is that cutting my hair did not help. I am am little sacred to try any of those products that you recommended since I found out the hard way that my hair in the state that it’s now does not like coconut, argan, tea tree, castor, almond, macadamia, and vitamin E oils. It also doesn’t not like panthenol, aloe vera, nettle, sage, marshmalow root, cetyl alcohol, ceteryl alcohol( I’m not sure if that is how it’s spelled) mango butter ect. And in starting to think it doesn’t like extra virgin olive oil either. I’m so frustrated I don’t know what to do anymore, sometimes I feel like buzzing all my hair off but I don’t want to. By the way I did use that KCKN and my hair doe not like it. Please help ?

        • Oh boy that is a lot to rule out. You may have to be come a DIY naturalista to make sure that none of these ingredients are slipping by into your hair.Also have you thought about seeing a dermatologist who can help get to the root of the problem. Maybe this isn’t just protein sensitivity this could be possible allergic reactions or hormonal issues causing the problem. What about seeing a natural hair stylist? I’m so sorry I cant be of more assistance this is terrible I really hope someone can help you so that you can get the healthy looking hair you want and deserve !!

          • Thank you so much it really means a lot you taking your time to respond back and answering my concerns. I haven’t always been this protein sensitive actually my hair seemed to handle coconut oil, eggs and avocado well, the thing is I had a baby about 9 months ago and my hair was falling out like crazy so I did a quick search online and found out that protein could actually strength the hair so I bought a protein packet by the brand creme of nature but I guess that was too strong for me and it left my hair brittle and hard, so again I went online and read that when you you do you do a protein treatment you have to balance out protein with moisture so your hair does not get hard, so I was looking for a good moisturizing conditioner conditioner or mask and I read that the macadamia natural oil deep repair masque was wonderful so i bought and put in on my hair for about an hour which was a mistake because it said to only leave it on for 5 minutes, the second mistake I did was not to read the label label and label and its ingredients guess what? It had protein it and by that point my hair was totally fried ibnt was like having heat damage and chemical damage all over all again but 10 times worse long story short I continued using products with protein in them with out knowing my shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner and styler all had protein or ingredients that mimicked protein. What a naturals beginners mistake right? Well I guess the only thing left to do is to cut my hair all over again a gand start from scratch; I hope other naturals naturals and people in general could read my story so this won’t happen to them, but oh well you learn from your mistakes. Again I just want to take the time to thank you for your time and for all your advice, have a wonderful day and may God bless you!
            G.P ☺

          • Oh my pleasure dear! What a testimony! Some companies hide their protein so well it’s no surprise that happened. Please keep us updated as you continue your journey

      • What did you shampoo with on the daily besides the clarifying shampoo or did you just co wash and if so with what please

      • What shampoo did you use on the daily besides the clarifying shampoo or did you just co wash if so what did you use please

        • I used Kinky Curly’s Come Clean Cleanser to clarify weekly and once my hair started coming back to life I used it once every four weeks. Between that time period I would co wash with As I AM Coconut Co Wash

          • Thanks for this article! Very helpful. When you were just using the Come Clean to shampoo and Kinky Curly for styling, you mention you were cowashing, too. How often were you cowashing, and what product did you use?

          • I didn’t co wash often because it is difficult to find a co wash that doesn’t have any protein but I used Eden Body Works or used the Kinky Curly conditioner as my co wash conditioner.

  2. I was surprised as I read your article. I have researched A LOT of articles trying to find products that work for my protein sensitive hair. I have learned that certain oils help retain the protein in our hair, therefore, should not be used. The main bad guy for me is coconut oil. I’ve used it in It always leaves my hair dry like straw. That eliminates many of the products on your list (which have used with disappointing results). But I’m glad it’s working for your hair.