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*

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16 Responses to Protein Free Products For Protein Sensitive Natural Hair

  1. 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.

    • 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 !!

      • 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.

        • So to understand this better. All you wash your hair with is the As i am coconut co wash and then once a month you will use the KC come clean cleanser and follow it with the cowash for that one wash?
          Also, I am looking for a curl definer that is moisturizing but lightweight for my 2c/3a hair. I use KCCC currrently but find it makes my hair dry and straightens out my curl. I want something that will define my curls and also make the parts that are wavy curly as well that lasts and makes my hair feel soft; so that i can just wake up and go that is protein free. (i know a lot to ask!) I am currently using tresemme boutaniques so i figured the best balance is to use a styler that is protein free. Any suggestions? i wash my hair with conditioner every 2 days and once a week use the shampoo with the conditioner and a joico clarifying shampoo once a month. I have used so many products and most of them either weigh my hair down and dont get my curls bouncy and soft. Please help me im new to this! And if i switch over to protein free products like the ones u have mentioned to co wash (which i dont fully understand yet) do i use a curl definer that has protein?

          • OMG I hear your pain. I just discovered with the glass of water test, that my hair is medium porosity and I should use no protein. I have spent so much money on products that I don’t think are good for my hair…. One needs a PhD to keep up with the CGM. Hopefully, I ‘ll get to figure this out! Good luck!

  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.

    • I agree with you. Coconut oil is an absolute no-no in my hair care regimen. What works best for my protein sensitive hair is Wen to co-wash with the occasional KCCC. I DC with Mixed Chicks (such an underrated product). Then I style with whatever is on hand – KCKT, or Mixed Chicks Leave In, then follow with something like Jane Carter Foam or KC curling custard (lightly).

  3. I am suffering with crispy dry lifeless hair due to over using protein. My hair doesn’t like it nor coconut oil which can be found in most products! I have clarified and done a mud mask and all types of moisturizing conditioners for 4 weeks to no avail no improvement! Please tell me what to do. I don’t want to cut my hair? Can you clarify weekly? That seems drying but I’m desparate. I’m not using any protein or coconut oil. I am learning to love evoo and avocado oil. Help me how long will this last?

  4. Coconut oil is not good for protein sensitive hair as this oil retains protein AND coconut oil if not good for low porosity hair because it will stay on top of the hair, will not be absorb.
    Coconut oil is good for for hairs that need protein and with high porosity

  5. Just an addition. Shea Moisture has a line of low porosity no protein products that really aid in the recovery of protein overload.. I became webbed-in with all the utubers recommending fermented rice water for rapid hair growth. Well, rice is a protein, fermentation enhances the protein effect and not until my third treatment and after viewing my 5th video did I discover that you are suppose to DILUTE it. I have combed out fistfuls of beliw the waist length hair over a 2 wk period. I did a 1” trim and began using the aforementioned and am now in hair recovery mode. Softness & resiliency have returned.