Protein overload and protein sensitivity can be a big problem for women with coily 4c hair. When you use products with too much protein in them, you can easily end up with hard hair that feels dry and tough. An average naturalista can use up to five products on a single wash day and if each hair product has large amounts of protein in it, you can easily have protein overload.
That is why in this blog post, I want to share ten protein-free shampoos you can incorporate into your hair regimen. Before I get into product recommendations, I’d like to answer frequently asked questions about proteins in natural hair.
How do I get rid of protein build up in my hair?
What are some popular proteins I should look out for in my hair products?
There are different sources a hair product company can source proteins from. To help simplify things, here’s a quick list of popular proteins found in hair products to watch out for.
- Amino acids
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Hydrolyzed oat flour
- Hydrolyzed silk
- Hydrolyzed silk protein
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed collagen
- Quinoa protein
- Rice protein
How do I know If I Have Protein Overload Hair?
Your hair will feel weighed down, dry, dull, 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 it while your hair regains it’s 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.
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 on 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.
My Thoughts on Proteins in Hair Products
Your hair is made up of 90% protein, so you really don’t need to use too many products with protein in it. If you keep your hair in its natural state without hair color and you stay away from heat, you can go months without using hair products with excessive protein in it. However, should you find your hair feeling weak and limp, you can slowly introduce hair products with small amounts of protein in it.
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Ten Recommended Protein-Free Shampoos for Protein Sensitive and Low Porosity Natural Hair
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.
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 retailers website at the time you decide to make a purchase.
Product Claim: Treat your chronically dry hair to this lather-rich, deep moisturizing hair bath. Enriched with coconut oil, shea butter, and extra virgin olive oil. Tresses become super clean, soft, hydrated, and easier to comb.
5 Star Review: “I really like this shampoo. It is very luxurious and really cleans my hair”
I’ve personally tried a few body care products from Alaffia because I was touched by the fact that they source their products from small farm communities in West Africa in ethical ways. This means that the farmers that grow the ingredients that go into their products are paid fair wages.
Product Claim: Leave your hair smelling fresh and clean after every wash with Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shampoo in vanilla-mint scent. This gentle, creamy shampoo features unrefined shea butter, virgin coconut oil and shea leaf extract to clean thoroughly without stripping hair’s natural oils.
5 Star Review: “It’s my first time buying this shampoo. Our family loves the smell, it smells so fresh. I love the light lather it creates when washing and how easy it rinses out your hair. It makes our hair feel very clean and doesn’t strip our hair. I love that it’s safe to use on my 3-year-old son.”
Product Claim: Curls lost their shine and not behaving the way they should? Make a clean start with As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo, a clarifying, sulfate-free cleanser that removes old, dulling residue without drying out your hair. Moisturizes and prevents hair from drying out and becoming rough and unmanageable.
5 Star Review: “My hair felt clean but not stripped of moisture. It’s definitely a keeper”
Product Claim: Are your curls dull, limp and lifeless? Purify curls weighed down from buildup, debris, and unwanted chemicals. Pineapple extract nourishes as grapefruit extract adds sheen while removing buildup.
5 Star Review: “Best clarifying shampoo I’ve ever tried.”
This is a UK based natural hair product company founded by a Black British lady, Anita Grant, who started whipping her own hair products in her kitchen, back in 2005. Her products ship worldwide at affordable rates. This shampoo comes in a glass bottle to preserve the integrity of the plant-based ingredients in this product.
Product Claim: Our deep-cleansing formula gently removes residual, gunk and build-up left on your hair and scalp, encourages blood flow, and awakens the follicles and cells.
This highly moisturizing, handmade, liquid shampoo is specially created to:
• Provide your hair with a deep, thorough, cleanse of the scalp.
• Repair damaged hair prone to breakage, frizz, and dryness.
5 Star Customer Review: “I loved this product, great for hydrating and cleansing hair on a regular basis, light non-drying shampoo.”
Product Claim: Gentle lather shampoo creates a creamy, luxurious lather without leaving your hair dry after use.
5 Star Review: “I was able to detangle while wet and my hair felt clean and soft.”
Product Claim: This exclusive blend of mandarin orange extract will gently clean your hair and scalp of dulling buildup while sea kelp will help maintain proper moisture balance.
5 Star Review: “This product left my hair feeling clean! without being stripped.”
Product Claim: Most shampoos dry out curls, this one does the opposite. The baomint moisturizing shampoo deposits sebum mimicking natural oils, a blend of high-quality essential oils forged to stimulate the scalp, enhance growth without stripping hair.
Aloe leaf juice, essential oils, and mild cleansing agents will minimize a dry, itchy scalp allowing relief from dandruff and product buildup. You can count on this shampoo to aid in detangling, promote shine, and leave your hair and scalp feeling clean and soft to the touch.
5 Star Review: “This shampoo smells amazing and definitely gets my hair clean. It feels good and leaves my scalp feeling just slightly tingly without being overwhelmingly so”
Product Claim: A ‘truly’ sulfate-free, foamy cleanser that delivers loads of moisture and detangling effects. Long-lasting, concentrated formula with a clean, fresh natural scent..
5 Star Review: “Rich & Funky always leaves my curls popping! I LOVE this shampoo. I use it not only on my hair, but my daughter’s hair too! ”
Product Claim: Finally a way to get your hair and scalp really clean with natural ingredients, gets down deep into the scalp to remove buildup.
5 Star Review: “My type 4 hair loves this shampoo.”
Now that you have a list of protein-free shampoos to use in your hair, I’d like to know which ones you’ve tried in the past. Which one will you be trying? Let me know in the comments section.