Protein always makes my hair crunchy, even when I moisturize after. And yes my strands are very thick, strong, and I can hear them crunch when I roll them between my fingers. I don't get splits or breakage easily at all, even with repeated heat abuse. I can pick up a whole can of soda with one hair. Haha.
I just started using my sulfate free shampoo instead of cowashing and then used a light VO5 conditioner as a leave in and my hair is back to normal. I guess it was over moisturized.
I may look into a hair assessment, though. I could be wrong.