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10 Best Protein-Free Leave-In Conditioners For 4c Natural Hair

Our hair is made up of 90% protein, so you may be wondering why I will be writing this post about protein-free leave-in conditioners to use in your hair. You see, since our hair already has enough protein, we really don’t need to overload it with too much protein because too much of a good thing can actually be bad.

This is why in this blog post, I want to recommend ten protein-free leave-in conditioners you can incorporate into your hair regimen.

This post is perfect for naturalistas who might have protein-sensitive hair or a bit of protein overload due to all the proteins in the various hair products that are applied to the hair.

How can I tell if I have protein-sensitive hair?

As someone who used to have protein-sensitive hair, I can tell you that it’s not a good feeling. You would know if you have protein-sensitive hair if you find your hair feeling stiff and hard after applying products to it.

If you find your hair feeling this way, you should inspect the ingredients list on your product to see if it has ingredients such as soy protein, keratin, vegetable protein, collagen, silk, just to name a few.

How do I know If I have protein overload hair?

Your hair will feel weighed down, dry and stiff if you have too much protein in your hair. You see, proteins strengthen the hair so it’s stronger to withstand breakage and damage.

Therefore, if you have too much protein in your hair, your hair will feel too strong and with less elasticity. This means that if you pull your hair, it won’t bounce back and it can even break. While strong hair is good, hair that is too strong is not healthy.

What should I do If I have protein overload?

You can temporarily switch to protein-free hair products or products with fewer proteins in them while your hair regains its protein-moisture balance. And should you have protein-sensitive hair, you can hold off on hard protein treatments for a few months while your hair restores its balance.

Also, if you have protein-sensitive hair, you don’t need to do a bi-weekly protein treatment. You can reduce your protein treatment to just once a month or so.

protein leave in conditioner for 4c hair

Does Coconut Oil Contain Proteins?

Coconut oil does not have proteins in it. I encourage you to go to your local grocery store and check the nutritional facts of every single coconut oil product in the store. You will find that each jar says there are ZERO grams of protein in the product. If you’re still not convinced, you can do an active search online and look up reputable sources to see if there are any trace amounts of proteins in coconut oil.

I also took it upon myself to lookup the database on the U.S Departments of Agriculture and I can see that coconut oil has zero grams of proteins.

coconut oil does not have proteins

Why does my hair act like it has too much proteins when I use products with Coconut Oil?

It’s possible that you are allergic to coconut oil or any other ingredients in the hair product. If you find that your hair absolutely does not like coconut oil, regardless of the product brand used, then I will suggest you do away with coconut oil for a while.

Your hair product may also be conflicting with a particular ingredient in the other hair products you have layered in your hair. So before you write-off coconut oil, I will recommend pairing different products together to see if you get a better result.

Why Does My Hair HATE Proteins?

I’ve read on many platforms where a lot of women talk about how much their hair hates proteins. This is absolutely NOT true and I’ll encourage you to do away with that false belief. Your hair is made up of proteins, so it doesn’t make sense for your hair to hate itself.

What may be happening could be product build-up which happens when you layer too many products in your hair. This is why I recommend shampooing your hair at least once a month so that your hair can start on a clean slate.

Coconut Oil Behaves Like Proteins is Junk Science

As a long-term naturalista with a science background, I’ve read and come across a lot of “scientific claims” about hair products that are nothing but junk science. Infact, the majority of these claims have disappeared with time due to the fact that they are unrealistic and false.

So in response to all the comments I get about coconut oil being a protein, I’d like to request for some scientific evidence that proves this point from Science journals or a researcher.



protein-free leave-in conditioners

Ten Best Protein-Free Leave-In Conditioners To Combat Protein Overload

This post contains affiliate links which means that I make a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase with my link. Should you have additional products to add to this list, please feel free to add it in the comment section below. 

If you find a discontinued product on this list, please do let me know so I can keep this post updated. I’d also like to inform you that brands change their product packaging from time to time, which means that the product picture in this post might look a bit different from the retailer’s website at the time you decide to make a purchase.

It’s also worth noting that brands sometimes change their product formula for reasons best known to them. This means that the product formula might have changed by the time you decide to make a purchase. If such happens, please let me know so I can keep the post updated.

1. Oyin Handmade Hair Dew 

Oyin Handmade - leave in conditioner for protein-sensitive hair

This product contains coconut oil (which is not a protein). This post is about “protein-free products.”

Product Claim: Looking for a product to wake up and moisturize your second-day hair? Looking for a way to make your hair pliable enough to re-style without a full rinse? Just want to refresh your coils and curls and give them a shot of moisture before sealing? This leave-in is your answer!

Customer Review:I’ve been using this as a leave-in-conditioner, and it is the most wonderful thing ever. In addition to being hydrating, it also works as a detangler and leaves your hair super soft. And the smell is divine!”

2. EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Hair Milk 
Eden Bodyworks - leave in conditioner for curly hair

*This product contains coconut oil (which is not a protein).*

Product Claim: This super moisturizing conditioner blends sweet almond oil to seal in moisture, organic aloe, castor oil, and chamomile to condition, and peppermint and tea tree essential oils to stimulate and treat. Penetrating your hair from root to tip, leaving your hair more manageable and with lots of body.

Customer Review: “Absolutely one of my favourite hair products, I use it almost daily, and is one of the only things that can tame my hair”

3. OBIA Naturals Curl Hydration Spray 

Obia Naturals - Curl Hydration Spray

Product Claim: This pH-balanced leave-in conditioner is full of luxurious oils that seal in moisture and minimize frizz by smoothing and closing the cuticle.
Customer Review:One of the best moisturizers I have ever used! I’ve used it on wet and dry hair and my hair was left remarkably soft each and every time. Love love love!”

4. Naturalicious Heavenly Hydration Grapeseed Hair Mist

Naturalicious - protein free leave-in conditioner for 4c hair

Product Claim: For those styling days in between wash days. When hair needs that extra boost of hydration.

Just a couple of quick spritzes and hair becomes as soft & glamorous as the day you washed it. Go longer in between wash days with this instant boost of hydration. Use the mist to add shine without any buildup & give your style the touch-up it needs.

Customer Review: “This mist keeps my hair well hydrated. I love it and so does my son who keeps “borrowing” it!”

5. CurlMix Pure Avocado Moisturizer with Organic Jojoba Oil

Curlmix -  protein free leave in conditioner for protein sensitive hair

Product Claim: From curly to kinky women, CurlMixers LOVE the hydration they get from using this Pure Avocado Moisturizer. The next key ingredient is organic jojoba oil. It is most like the natural “sebum” (sticky oil-like substance) that our scalp produces.

Spreading that oil to the tips of our strands provides a healthier environment for growth and increases moisture levels. You’ll also smell like you’ve just run through a field of flowers.

This avocado moisturizer is the step 3 product from the four product, four-step wash-and-go kit formulated specifically for 4c hair. You can try this product by itself or get the entire line for the best results.

Customer Review: “I absolutely love this product. Not only does it smell delicious but it moisturizes my hair and along with the gel, my curls are popping.”



6. Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

Camille Rose - protein free leave-in conditioner for 4c hair

Product Claim: A softening leave-in conditioning cream with light notes of macadamia nut and vanilla. This leave-in daily moisturizing cream will provide shine, lasting moisture, and decrease shrinkage to enhance the driest hair.
Customer Review:This curl love is so moisturizing. I usually keep my hair in twists for a couple of days before I take them down and my hair was still soft and full of moisture.

7.  Mielle Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In ConditionerMielle Organics - Pomegranate & Honey Leave In Conditioner

Product Review: If you have Type 4 hair, then you know that taming it is easier said than done. Well, Mielle’s Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner was made especially for you! Show off those beautiful coils and curls. Say goodbye to frizz and hello to shine.

This conditioner is lightweight, easy to use, and smells great! Proper detangling of your hair is a must, and this leave-in conditioner will detangle each and every strand. It will also lock in extra moisture, providing long-lasting hydration and protecting the hair with a wonderful blend of babassu oil and citrus extracts.

Customer Review: “I now buy this in pairs! I have had dry hair my whole life using damaging hair products and this brought my hair back in only two weeks. My curls are defined, bouncy, and hydrated!” 

8. MIZANI 25 Miracle Leave-In Cream

Mizani - leave-in protein-free conditioner

*This product contains coconut oil (which is not a protein).*

Product Claim: Our New 25 Miracle Leave-In Cream is a universal leave-in with 25 moisturizing, style priming and beautifying benefits. This unique and lightweight formula plumps curls, adds intense moisture, touchable softness, and provides heat protection up to 450 degrees for a perfectly detangled and frizz-free finish.
Customer Review: “I use it for my daughter’s 4a/4b high porosity thick hair. I also use it on my 3a/3b normal porosity thick hair. This is the only product I have repurchased! I can’t wait to try the other products in this line!”

9. TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave-In Conditioner

TGIN - leave in conditioner for dry curly hairProduct Claim: Kiss dry hair goodbye and say hello to soft, beautiful moisturized curls with TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave-In Conditioner. This lightweight formula has the perfect combination of moisture and antioxidants that improves manageability, fights frizz, and transforms dry brittle strands into soft, smooth, and healthy hair.

Customer Review: It gives a little bit of slip for detangling and helps promote elongation with tight curls

10. The Mane Choice Tropical Moringa Sweet Oil & Honey, Endless Moisture Rinse Out or Leave-In Conditioner

The Mane Choice - protein free leave-in conditioner for natural hair

*This product contains coconut oil (which is not a protein).*

Product Claim: Detangles, softens, and delivers lasting moisture. Also helps to improve manageability. Nourishes and moisturizes dry, brittle hair. Locks in lasting moisture. Smooths frizz, softens, and nourishes

Customer Review:I really enjoyed the texture of this product and there was a lot of slip to it. It moisturizes my hair really well and leaves my curls super defined. Would definitely recommend adding this to your routine as it works lovely as a rinse out or leave in.


Now I’d like to know, which protein-free leave-in conditioner have you tried? Which one will you be trying? Let us know in the comments section. 

Stop protein overload with these protein-free leave-in conditioners

protein free leave-in conditioner for 4c hair