I love the CJ Smoothing Leave-in but you only need a very small amount (I use about 1/2 a dime size for my whole head). Maybe you used too much?
I'm scared of protein too but I know I do need some occasionally. I don't ever do a protein treatment for very long or with heat. When my hair begins to get a little soft and limp, I will either use the GVP Joico KPak
in the shower and rinse it out after about 3 minutes (sometimes less) or when I feel I need a little shot of protein, I will occasionally
rotate a product which has protein such as:
Mop Top Daily Conditioner
Layer a small amount of BRHG over HEBE
CJ Curl Rehab
(strawberry of course) (sometimes as a rinse-out or sometimes as a leave-in, again only a small amount)
Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Moisturizing Conditioner
(sometimes as a rinse-out or sometimes as a leave-in)
I used to rotate the CJ Argan Oil Conditioner
but the skin on my shoulders reacts badly to it so I don't use it any more.
Basically, you can rotate anything in your product graveyard that your hair likes, as long as you don't use it every day. It's a way to get your hit of protein and use products you wouldn't otherwise be able to.
Everyone's different so you'll need to figure out which method and what kind of protein works best for you, but I would start slowly with adding protein back to your routine until you find out how much you can handle.
Oh and I can't wait to hear what Mary Pat had to say.