protein-free products

Hi Curlies,

I posted a while back after my curls went crazy. I put it down to protein overload after changing products when I had it coloured. Previous to this, I had been getting good results with the Cantu Naturals line (although, at times my hair was starting to feel a little coated at times).

To try and fix my hair after colouring, I was using these products:

Hask Argan Oil Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment:
Water / Eau (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Quaternium-18, Lanolin, Fragrance / Parfum (Fragrancia), Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Rice Protein / Siloxysilicate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Silk Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Sodium Lauroyl Oat Amino Acids, Juglans Nigra (Black Walnut) Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Panthenol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Sodium PCA, Tetrasodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Caramel, Yellow 5.

Bumble and Bumble Primer
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dimethiconol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-7, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, BHT, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Linalool, Citral, Limonene, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol

Bumble and Bumble Curl Defining Creme
Water, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Myristate, Ceteareth-20, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, PVP, Squalane, Beeswax\Cera Alba\Cire DíAbeille, Microcrystalline Wax\Cera Microcristallina\Cire Microcristalline, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Pantethine, Urea, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Sodium PCA, Cetrimonium Chloride, Panthenol, Polyquaternium-7, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-7, Polyquaternium-51, Trehalose, Myristalkonium Chloride, Quaternium-14, Phytantriol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Fragrance, Linalool, Citral, Limonene, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol

Bumble and Bumble anti-humidity gel oil
Water, Glycerin, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Sucrose, Bertholletia Excelsa (Brazil Nut) Seed Oil, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-7, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Sodium Chloride, Fragrance, Linalool, Citral, Limonene, Geraniol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Phenoxyethanol

I was also using the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo which has these ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Glycerin, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Fragrance (Essential Oil Blend), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Tocopherol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Vinegar, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3, Niacin, Dextran, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Caramel, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract

Could one of you lovely people take a look over these ingredients for me and see if you think Iím right about the amount of protein being the problem please? Iíve been trying to avoid protein since, but have spent a fortune on products recently, only to find that they have hidden protein in them once I try them at home.

Can anyone suggest a decent protein-free leave-in and styler for some seriously damaged 3b hair please? Preferably available in the UK or online.

Thank you so much. x 🙂
Protein overload could certainly be the problem. The first product you listed in particular has a LOT of protein.

It is tough to avoid protein (I am protein sensitive). It seems like almost everything has it.

Some protein-free leave-ins that I use are Alaffia's Beautiful Curls and As I Am. I use Jessicurl's Confident Coils as my styler. Alaffia Beautiful Curls also has a gel that is protein-free, but I don't know how well it works in humidity, if that is an issue for you. I have a lot of chemical sensitivities, so I tend to use products that are more natural. Maybe someone else can comment with some drugstore products that would work.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
Protein overload could certainly be the problem. The first product you listed in particular has a LOT of protein.

It is tough to avoid protein (I am protein sensitive). It seems like almost everything has it.

Some protein-free leave-ins that I use are Alaffia's Beautiful Curls and As I Am. I use Jessicurl's Confident Coils as my styler. Alaffia Beautiful Curls also has a gel that is protein-free, but I don't know how well it works in humidity, if that is an issue for you. I have a lot of chemical sensitivities, so I tend to use products that are more natural. Maybe someone else can comment with some drugstore products that would work.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
The kinky curly knot today has no protein.
The kinky curly knot today has no protein.
I recently discovered Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive conditioner and leave-in. They have no protein, no silicones, glycerin is low on the ingredient list,they are just amazing, I can't say enough good things about them.

Sent from my XT1254 using CurlTalk App

Last edited by curlyannie80; 01-23-2017 at 09:11 AM.
I'm bumping up this thread, as the Wavy board--and Therese in particular--have me suspecting that protein overload might be causing my newly limp hair. The DevaCrul Ultra Defining Gel, which I had been using daily, contains three large-sized proteins--hydrolized wheat, corn, and oat (and I'm allergic to wheat and corn, for what it's worth). Are there any protein-free/low-protein curl-enhancing creams or gels with decent hold that folks here would suggest? I ordered CJ Pattern Pusha and have thought about KCCC, but fear it might be too strong for my fine 2C/3A hair. Thanks!
Lo Poos: Alaffia Coffee & Shea Revitalizing Shampoo, DevaCurl Low-Poo
Rinse-Out: Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Conditioner, DevaCurl One Condition
Stylers: L'Oreal Ruffled Body Mousse, Davines Volu Spray, Sachajuan Ocean Mist, Kevin Murphy Easy Rider
Treatments: ACV rinse, Jason Dandruff Relief Shampoo

2C/3A with a 2A/2B underlayer, fine, low-medium porosity, low-medium density, sensitive scalp, protein-sensitive

Last edited by la_ninon; 05-23-2017 at 10:00 AM.
I have a real problem with proteins also, especially wheat. I can use KCCC but it has aloe which I find drying. KCCC can be thinned out with water and you wouldn't have to use very much. May be worth a try. It's difficult to find anything without protein anymore.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hi Curlisue,

Thanks so much for your reply--I will definitely try KCCC. Are there proteins that you can tolerate? I realized that a product I bought contains hydrolyzed quinoa and vegetable protein in the middle of the ingredients list...I hope I can use it occasionally!

Thanks again!
Lo Poos: Alaffia Coffee & Shea Revitalizing Shampoo, DevaCurl Low-Poo
Rinse-Out: Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Conditioner, DevaCurl One Condition
Stylers: L'Oreal Ruffled Body Mousse, Davines Volu Spray, Sachajuan Ocean Mist, Kevin Murphy Easy Rider
Treatments: ACV rinse, Jason Dandruff Relief Shampoo

2C/3A with a 2A/2B underlayer, fine, low-medium porosity, low-medium density, sensitive scalp, protein-sensitive
I have been using Jessicurl Gelebration Spray and Confident Coils, which are the products I return to when I need "safe" products. I have been experimenting with Bumble and Bumble Gel for a hard-hold gel, but I'm not convinced that it doesn't create build-up for me (but I get build-up very easily).

Let me know what you think of Pattern Pusha. I've thought about trying it.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
I have been using Jessicurl Gelebration Spray and Confident Coils, which are the products I return to when I need "safe" products. I have been experimenting with Bumble and Bumble Gel for a hard-hold gel, but I'm not convinced that it doesn't create build-up for me (but I get build-up very easily).

Let me know what you think of Pattern Pusha. I've thought about trying it.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
Thanks, Therese--I'm planning to order the small bottle of Confident Coils. I will let you know about Pattern Pusha. Can you tolerate any proteins? If so, how often?
Lo Poos: Alaffia Coffee & Shea Revitalizing Shampoo, DevaCurl Low-Poo
Rinse-Out: Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Conditioner, DevaCurl One Condition
Stylers: L'Oreal Ruffled Body Mousse, Davines Volu Spray, Sachajuan Ocean Mist, Kevin Murphy Easy Rider
Treatments: ACV rinse, Jason Dandruff Relief Shampoo

2C/3A with a 2A/2B underlayer, fine, low-medium porosity, low-medium density, sensitive scalp, protein-sensitive

Last edited by la_ninon; 05-24-2017 at 02:17 PM.
Hi Curlisue,



Thanks so much for your reply--I will definitely try KCCC. Are there proteins that you can tolerate? I realized that a product I bought contains hydrolyzed quinoa and vegetable protein in the middle of the ingredients list...I hope I can use it occasionally!



Thanks again!
Originally Posted by la_ninon


I can tolerate soy protein if it's not too high on the list. I really haven't tried too many proteins since I determined that I was sensitive to them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hydrolyzed keratin and silk are the most tolerated by me; I have heard that these two proteins are the most accepted by low-po hair in general. Wheat and oat generally makes my hair straight, so I stay away from it. Quinoa makes my hair really frizzy. Soy makes my hair feel a little rough or strawlike.

I'm still trying to figure out how frequently I can handle protein. Right now, it appears that I can use one (just one) protein-containing product once every two weeks at the most. I tried using a protein-containing product once a week, and that was too much. I think every other week might not be optimal either. But I do notice that if I go a long time without any protein (like maybe 6 weeks), my hair does get limp and loses curl formation. But when that happens, I just do one wash with my Oribe co-wash (has hydrolyzed silk and keratin, I think), and my waves bounce back. So my hair responds readily to protein when it needs it.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
Hydrolyzed keratin and silk are the most tolerated by me; I have heard that these two proteins are the most accepted by low-po hair in general. Wheat and oat generally makes my hair straight, so I stay away from it. Quinoa makes my hair really frizzy. Soy makes my hair feel a little rough or strawlike.

I'm still trying to figure out how frequently I can handle protein. Right now, it appears that I can use one (just one) protein-containing product once every two weeks at the most. I tried using a protein-containing product once a week, and that was too much. I think every other week might not be optimal either. But I do notice that if I go a long time without any protein (like maybe 6 weeks), my hair does get limp and loses curl formation. But when that happens, I just do one wash with my Oribe co-wash (has hydrolyzed silk and keratin, I think), and my waves bounce back. So my hair responds readily to protein when it needs it.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
Thanks so much, Therese! It's interesting that each form of protein can affect one differently. I used a styler with protein yesterday and ended up flat ironing my hair (I applied too much product and my hair just looked a mess). Today my hair is less curly. Would you suspect the protein, the straightening, or both (I know you said you flat iron occasionally--do you feel it can mess with your curls' "memory")?

Oh and one more question! Could you compare the As I Am Leave-In with CJ Beautifcurls? Do you feel they help with curl formation?

Thanks again!
Lo Poos: Alaffia Coffee & Shea Revitalizing Shampoo, DevaCurl Low-Poo
Rinse-Out: Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Conditioner, DevaCurl One Condition
Stylers: L'Oreal Ruffled Body Mousse, Davines Volu Spray, Sachajuan Ocean Mist, Kevin Murphy Easy Rider
Treatments: ACV rinse, Jason Dandruff Relief Shampoo

2C/3A with a 2A/2B underlayer, fine, low-medium porosity, low-medium density, sensitive scalp, protein-sensitive

Last edited by la_ninon; 05-25-2017 at 04:07 PM.
I would suspect the protein or else the dew points, depending on the weather. For me, flat ironing actually seems to improve my curl, if anything (I often get better curls the first washday after flat ironing).

The As I Am leave-in feels more water based (I don't have the ingredients list handy, but that's how the product feels), while the Beauticurls is more oily. The Beauticurls makes my hair greasy in the warmer weather; I have to switch to the As I Am in spring. I do think that the Beauticurls helps with curl formation. It also seems to make the hair softer. I haven't noticed the As I Am helping with curl formation. I do think that the Jessicurl Gelebration Spray helps my waves, though.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
I would suspect the protein or else the dew points, depending on the weather. For me, flat ironing actually seems to improve my curl, if anything (I often get better curls the first washday after flat ironing).

The As I Am leave-in feels more water based (I don't have the ingredients list handy, but that's how the product feels), while the Beauticurls is more oily. The Beauticurls makes my hair greasy in the warmer weather; I have to switch to the As I Am in spring. I do think that the Beauticurls helps with curl formation. It also seems to make the hair softer. I haven't noticed the As I Am helping with curl formation. I do think that the Jessicurl Gelebration Spray helps my waves, though.
Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonizing; Oribe Cleansing Creme
RO: IN Harmonizing
LI: As I Am; CJ Beauticurls
Stylers: IN Straight Hair Serum; IN Volumizing Foam; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Styling Gel; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray

Normal- to low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair with a coarse section at back of head
That is really interesting about straightening! Thank you! And thanks for the comparison of the leave-ins--I think I'll wait to try Beauticurls in the fall.

One more question, for Therese or others: Is "rice extract" the same thing as hydrolyzed rice protein? I just ordered Re:Coil and am hoping for the best (silk amino acids and hydrolyzed keratin appear to be ok)!
Lo Poos: Alaffia Coffee & Shea Revitalizing Shampoo, DevaCurl Low-Poo
Rinse-Out: Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Conditioner, DevaCurl One Condition
Stylers: L'Oreal Ruffled Body Mousse, Davines Volu Spray, Sachajuan Ocean Mist, Kevin Murphy Easy Rider
Treatments: ACV rinse, Jason Dandruff Relief Shampoo

2C/3A with a 2A/2B underlayer, fine, low-medium porosity, low-medium density, sensitive scalp, protein-sensitive

Last edited by la_ninon; 05-26-2017 at 04:12 PM.

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