Haha, if one wants CO to penetrate it's probably best to baggy overnight rather than sit around waiting for it!
You probably don't have to avoid protein to an extreme. Some protein are stronger than others (hydrolyzed is strongest) their placement in the ingredient list is about as important as their strength too. I personally avoid all protein and ingredients that act like it if they're near the top of the list, but I'm willing to try milder proteins towards the middle - end of the list. There they won't strengthen the hair but condition it, half the time they're too large to enter the shaft anyway.