Protein sensitive needing help with products. Any recs for low protein items?

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  • 2 Post By misbehave
  • 1 Post By ltdeforrest

I believe that I am protein sensitive because when I use products with protein my hair gets straw like. I can get through half a bottle of Kenra Moisturizing before I get that feeling and in one instance I used Pantene Advance and the straw result was immediate. I also get the same feeling using Aussie 3mm and Biolage but it takes about a week of use. I assume its because of the aloe.

I tried going completely non protein in everything. I tried Suave Naturals, V05, Tresemme Naturals(all 3), and GVP Balm. They cause my hair to feel dry, almost doll like, and undefined. These are my only options for no protein and no aloe that I can get and they are not doing me any good.

Are there some shampoos and conditioners that have a protein ingredient that are very light on the protein? Basically, if I see protein or aloe I just put it back on the shelf but I wonder if I can get away with using a very small amount. If I am looking for light proteins, which ingredients should I look for? Any suggestions for working around these protein land mines?

Btw, can't do CG and I have tried Loreal Ever lines but I can't get over the smell. Thanks.
I can't really recommend specific products because my hair can't get enough protein, but I have heard that keratin and silk proteins seem to be the easiest proteins for protein sensitive curlies to tolerate, so I would look for those.

Modified CG since 11/5/11
CLEANSE: CJ Daily Fix, DevaCare No-Poo, CHS Treatment Shampoo
RO: SS Caitlin's Conditioner, CJ Beauticurls Strengthening
LI: SS Repairing Protein Treatment, CHS Silk Leave-In
STYLE: Re:Coil, Curl Keeper, Deva Ultra Defining Gel, Curls Rock Amplifier,Sweet Curls Elixirs Okra Gel and Hard Hold Gel, SS Curl Enhancing Jelly and Firm Hold Gel
I will see what I can find and give it a try. It can't be any worse than it is now.
Nexxus youth renewal conditioner might be an option. it's $14 a bottle but it is silicone free (not all nexxus products are) and it has protein, but it is the very last ingredient in the condish so it is a very small dose. I think it smells like vanilla cake but it's not overpowering to me. I love the smell personally, but since you mentioned scent I thought I'd point that out lol
fine, thin, normal/(low?) porosity. Mod-CG. Usually I can't co-wash more than 1x a week, & sometimes I have to use T-Gel in rotation due to scalp issues.

Co-wash: VO5 Volumizing
Poo: Giovanni 50:50
RO:TN, Nexxus Youth Renewal, Alba Coconut
PT: gelatin PT, ION EC
Stylers: Giovanni mousse, TIGI Curls Rock amplifier (a-cone), Curls Rock Strong Hold Mousse
Gels: SCC spray gel

Hi Heather,

I have a severe protein sensitivity so I know what you're going through. May I ask what your properties are? I have coarse and low-porosity strands which seem to be the worst when it comes to protein sensitivity.

At first I thought I was reacting to the aloe in my products too, but what was the bigger problem for me was other "hidden" proteins in my products. It was hard to figure out at first since I'm in the minority and other protein sensitive curlies seem to be able to handle those (as well as things like silk and keratin proteins or proteins further down on the ingredient list which I cannot).

Like you, I couldn't use the VO5 or Suave. For me, it was because of those hidden proteins, mainly in the form of plant extracts and coconut derivatives found in those 2 lines. I avoided even trying GVP. In addition to having to avoid ingredients that literally say "protein" or "hydrolyzed" or the major offenders like wheat and hops; I also have to avoid certain plant extracts, sea kelp, fruit oils, jojoba oil, horsetail, nettle, marshmallow, etc. Coconut and coconut derivatives will also give me that same straw-like feeling. I have also recently discovered a sensitivity to panthenol, which I am not sure is a protein but it acts as one in my hair. I'm also trying to avoid poly quats since those can build up and cause problems too. I'm still searching for a good 'poo.

It is a lot of trial and error and a major practice in patience. My hair actually became matted for a while and I was very panicked. I am still trying things myself but know a little better what to watch out for and have found a few products that are working better for me. I found that if I was even using ONE product that made my hair feel like straw, I had to eliminate it and let my hair recover a bit before I seemed okay with the others. Don't forget to check your stylers. And don't get discouraged, remember that a protein that may not work for one might for another. You will figure it out!

Good luck!

p.s. I also got a shower head filter for hard water.
curlymamakc and KellyB like this.
CG since 3/1/13
3B; Low porosity, Coarse, & Extremely Protein Sensitive
Very high density, waist length

Co wash: Suave Clarifying or Sun Ripened Strawberry
RO: Sun Ripened Strawberry, TN, or TN w/ veg glycerin
Sealer: apricot oil
Styler: 4 Naturals Spring Back Custard, Pantene Curl Defining Mousse, or BB "Mudd"
Using a hard water filter, microfiber towel, & silk head scarves & pillowcases

Avoiding: protein, coconut, & parabens

Last edited by misbehave; 04-28-2013 at 05:51 PM.
After much experimentation, I found that my hair hates glycerin and when I cut that out completely I could use small bits of protein occasionally. I can't use wheat protein at all! After my hair got over proteined, I had to cut it out completely for a few months. I recommend Darcy's Botanicals, Curl Junkie, Curly Kinks and Jessicurl products. They all have several items that are protein free. I love Jessicurl Too Shea and I also use the Weekly Deep Treatment as a rinse out conditioner. I really like Darcy's Botanicals Pumpkin Seed Conditioner during the winter. Curl Junkie Argan and Olive oil conditioner, beauticurls leave in and cocoa bean smoothing cream are also great! Curly Kinks products are really great, but I can't tolerate the glycerin. Let me know if you want me to send you some sample of products. I have many that I rotate and I have plenty I could send you.
curlymamakc likes this.
3a, baby fine i/ii, low to normal porosity, protein sensitive
Mod CG since 5/12, from rainy Western WA
dislikes: glycerin, wheat protein
Likes: moisture, Mag Sulfate
Poo: Elucence Moisture Acidifying Shampoo
Cond: CJCR, DB pumpkin seed, TJ TTT, Elucence MB
Protein: one & only Argan oil hydrating mask
Style: UFD curly magic, Sweet Curls Elixers flax seed cream and HHG (Etsy)

Last edited by ltdeforrest; 04-30-2013 at 08:53 PM.

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