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Our curls, coils, and waves need a proper balance of moisture and protein. The source of moisture is water. Internally, water keeps our bodies well-hydrated, supplying sufficient moisture for proper hair growth. It also help means the hair can maintain optimal elasticity and suppleness. Our hair is actually 90% made up of a hard protein called keratin. Proteins allow our bodies and cells to function properly and that includes our bones, muscles, hair, and skin.  

Why go protein-free?

Too much moisture causes the hair to feel mushy, making it difficult to hold a curl or style. Too much protein causes brittleness and breakage. Neither is ideal for the hair, but too much protein can cause more damage and breakage. Too often curlies are not aware they are adding protein to their hair sometimes on a daily basis. Many of our favorite hair products contain protein and if we use them fairly often we can be creating a protein overload. Most curlies can use a protein treatment around twice a month, monthly or even less but anything more than that and you are setting yourself up for damage. Protein can be found in treatments, stylers, moisturizers, conditioners and even shampoos and many products do not even mention them on the front of the package so you have to do some consumer digging.

How to avoid protein overload

The best way to ensure you are not getting more than your hair needs is to look at the ingredients in your hair products. That is the number one way to know what you are putting in and on your hair.  When it comes to shampoos, we want effective products that clean as gently as possible to keep our strands moisturized and tangle free.

That can occur without the presence of protein so we wanted to give you a list of the top ten protein-free shampoos so you can cleanse your hair without worrying if that shampoo is doing double-duty on protein.

As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo 

Sometimes we need to rejuvenate those curls, so As I Am Curly Clarify Shampoo will get rid of the gunk without sulfates and proteins. It removes dull, residue-ridden strands and replaces them with moisturized manageable strands. Water, coconut, amla, and tangerine get the job done without harming a hair on your pretty head.

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Gentle Cleansing Shampoo 

Curlies with gentle yet effective shampoos and Curl Junkie does not disappoint with this sulfate and protein-free shampoo. Silk amino acids and green tea extracts add shine and moisturizing softness to even the driest, dullest strands.

CURLS Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo 

Got gunk? Get curls! Curls clarifying shampoo revitalizes dull, limp hair without causing tangles or stripping the hairs much needed natural oils. Allow Mother Nature’s grapefruit and pineapple extracts to nourish and cleanse with a gentle purpose.

EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Moisture Shampoo 

A line making waves in the curly girl sector, boost your hair’s moisture with Eden BodyWorks moisture shampoo. No parabens, sulfates, proteins, or silicones to worry about. Just cleanse naturally and effectively making washday pleasant and productive!

Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo 

Get luxurious lather but not at the expense of your hydrated curls. The Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo is gentle enough for face and body but was made to cleanse and hydrate your coils, waves, and curls. No proteins, sulfates, parabens, or silicones to worry about; just an effective, cruelty-free gentle shampoo.

Kinky-Curly Come Clean Moisturizing Shampoo 

Kinky-Curly Come Clean Moisturizing Shampoo will remove the gunk without removing the moisture. This shampoo is on nature overload with mandarin orange, marigold flower, white willow bark, and sea kelp that cleans your scalp and hair while maintaining maximum moisture.

Miss Jessie's Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo 

If you love lather but not the stripping it can cause, then the Miss Jessie’s Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo is the perfect shampoo for your tresses. Add shine, manageability, and product removal without harming your strands. Get your scalp balanced and revitalized for healthier hair.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo 

SheaMoisture is at it again for finding the right mix of cleansers that moisturize and stabilize your hair’s environment. Water, coconut oil, and African black soap will rid your hair and scalp of dryness, dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis all while sulfate and protein-free. Soothe your scalp and calm the itch and irritation gently yet powerfully.

TIGI Catwalk Curlesque Defining Shampoo 

Curly hair does not need to mean frizzy hair. TIGI Catwalk created a marine enriched shampoo that smooths the cuticle to stave off frizz. Sparkling white lotus, seaweek, and sea fennel work wonders without the sulfates or proteins.

Bee Mine Botanical Moisturizing Shampoo 

Bring hydration back to your curls with Bee Mine Moisturizing Shampoo that removes dirt, grime, and product residue but never removes moisture. Sulfate and protein free, this shampoo will not strip your curls nor weigh them down. Simply clean, hydrate and give your strands a makeover of moisture.