For nat­u­rals who con­sid­er their hair sen­si­tive to pro­tein, the gen­er­al advice in seek­ing out pro­teins in ingre­di­ent labels is to look for three main words

-amino acid (e.g silk amino acids)

-pro­tein (e.g soy pro­tein)

-hydrolysed/hydrolyzed (e.g hydrolyzed ker­atin)

This is gen­er­al­ly a good guide, but some­times it may not be easy to spot pro­teins for exam­ple Herbal Essences Hel­lo Hydra­tion and Aussie Moist both have glu­tam­ic acid which is an amino acid. Tre­semme Nat­u­rals Nour­ish­ing con­di­tion­er con­tains lau­royl lysine and lysine is also an amino acid. Would you have thought any of these three prod­ucts actu­al­ly includ­ed pro­tein ele­ments?

Nav­i­gat­ing through the aisles may not be easy, unless you can rec­og­nize amino acids by name. I there­fore had a look around cur­rent ingre­di­ent labels of pop­u­lar prod­ucts and picked out 5 that are pro­tein free*. Please always read the label of the prod­uct you pur­chase as man­u­fac­tur­ers can switch up ingre­di­ents.

1. VO5 mois­ture milk — Straw­ber­ries and Cream

vO5 moisture milk

This a pop­u­lar cheap­ie for many nat­u­rals to use for detan­gling. I have includ­ed it in the list as I think the ingre­di­ents label does not have any major pro­tein sources. There is soy extract list­ed but this gen­er­al­ly refers to some fat­ty acids rather than soy pro­tein so I have giv­en it the ben­e­fit of doubt. How­ev­er, if you are not as will­ing to turn a blind eye, then elim­i­nate it from your rota­tion should it be a prob­lem

2. Jes­si­curl Deep Con­di­tion­ing Treat­ment

jessicurl deep conditioning

This con­di­tion­er has a rich mix of oils in water and aloe juice. The ingre­di­ent label also has a soy extract but it is spec­i­fied as soy lecithin which is in direct ref­er­ence to the fat­ty acids I dis­cussed pre­vi­ous­ly. I have there­fore more con­fi­dence in label­ing this par­tic­u­lar con­di­tion­er okay for pro­tein sen­si­tive hair.

3. Aubrey Organ­ics Hon­ey­suck­le Rose Con­di­tion­er

aubrey organics honeysuckle

This is a firm favorite among many nat­u­rals and this par­tic­u­lar con­di­tion­er from the Aubrey Organ­ics range is pro­tein free. It has a mix of most­ly oils, some alco­hol and water with a long list of fruit extracts.

4. Yes to Car­rots Pam­per­ing con­di­tion­er


Based on the ingre­di­ents label, this is a pret­ty oil rich hair con­di­tion­er. It does have wheat germ oil which is quite dif­fer­ent from wheat pro­tein. Over­all, I can­not see any pro­tein or pro­tein deriv­a­tives on this par­tic­u­lar prod­uct.

5. Gio­van­ni 50:50 Bal­anced Con­di­tion­er

giovani 50 50

Quite a few of the Gio­van­ni range of con­di­tion­ers con­tain hydrolyzed wheat pro­tein e.g Gio­van­ni Smooth as Silk. The 50:50 con­di­tion­er does list soy extract, but does not spec­i­fy this as a pro­tein there­fore I am hap­py to sug­gest it as a pos­si­bil­i­ty for pro­tein sen­si­tive nat­u­rals

*It is always pos­si­ble to find trace amounts of pro­tein in any prod­uct. The pur­pose of this list is just as a guide to prod­ucts that do not have pro­tein or pro­tein deriv­a­tives on the bot­tle.


Is your hair pro­tein sen­si­tive? What are some of your go-to con­di­tion­ers?

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28 Comments on "5 Conditioners for Protein Sensitive Hair"

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MadiSon Riggins

The very first prod­uct on this list is the V05 Straw­ber­ries and Cream con­di­tion­er WITH SOY MILK PROTEIN. This prod­uct has quite a bit of pro­tein in it. If you are a pro­tein sen­si­tive curly, do not buy this prod­uct. I bought this prod­uct with­out even real­ly look­ing at the bot­tle because I was buy­ing on a bud­get, I used it once and the pro­tein in it has made my hair unman­age­able.

Ania James
I have very fine hair and it was dam­aged by bleach so I over­dosed on pro­tein con­di­tion­ers from brands like Red­ken and Keras­tase also I think Coconut Oil made my hair real­ly bad for some rea­son. It became so brit­tle and dry I was pan­ick­ing I will loose it all. I switched to pro­tein free regime : Ave­da Dry Rem­e­dy sham­poo and con­di­tion­er on rota­tion with cheap VO5 Sun-kissed Rasp­ber­ry ones and oils for leave in like Gar­nier Mir­a­cle Oil and Mar­ro­can Oil and my hair is now Saved !! — soft­er, bounci­er, shinier, thank God for Inter­net! I also… Read more »

Hi, I found a few prod­ucts on this blog that real­ly helped my hair.

Hope they work for you too!


I do have pro­tein sen­si­tive hair so to strength­en my hair while still being cau­tious it dilute the Mane And a Tail deep mois­tur­iz­ing con­di­tion­er mixed with essen­tial oils and water in a spray bot­tle and use it as a leave in.…works won­ders.


Thanks to this post I was able to pick up the yes to car­rots con­di­tion­er and my hair loves it! Thanks for shar­ing!


How do you know if your hair is pro­tein sen­si­tive ver­sus under­mois­tur­ized?


cur­rent­ly using jes­si curl deep con­di­tion­er and it is the TRUTH! I have used aubreys in the past and it was equal­ly that good as well. Pro­tein sen­si­tiv­i­ty has caused me quite a lot of bro­ken hair strands when i was unaware of it. I don’t play with my ingre­di­ent list­ing now. Also if you are pro­tein sen­si­tive you may want to avoid nut oils because they con­tain pro­tein as well, you may find olive oil and grape­seed oil to be bet­ter for you.

venus factor nutrition

Great arti­cle, exact­ly what Iwant­ed to find.

K story

Suave’s green apple con­di­tion­er has saved my hair!! Just real­ly put togeth­er that my hair doesn’t like pro­tein , so this is absolute­ly per­fect for ME.


I can tes­ti­fy to this as well.

Maria V.

This is not “nat­u­ral­ista approved” but i am extreme­ly sen­si­tive to pro­tein and I LOVE Doo Gro deep down deep con­di­tion­er.

It makes my hair so soft and mois­tur­ized.

Sad­ly, I can’t use most of these because they have aloe (On clean hair, I have used the gel and liq­uid alone and have got­ten very brit­tle hair every time; also in prod­ucts, so NO, it’s not made up or in my head).  I’m ver­rry sen­si­tive to pro­tein or pro­tein mim­ic­k­ing ingre­di­ents though so I don’t think most oth­er peo­ple would react the same way. I’ll check out the yes to car­rots one though. This is an awe­some list, thanks for giv­ing some love to us PS nat­u­rals! I made a list of prod­ucts that PS could try in anoth­er post. I’ll… Read more »

dont be dis­mayed :). I was scep­ti­cal too about the aloe in the Jes­si­curl con­di­tion­er but it turned out to be real­ly good and mois­tur­iz­ing. You could give it a tri­al.

Denise Holloway

Thanks to shar­ing a use­ful infor­ma­tion with me. For my curls, i often­ly used best and qual­i­ty con­di­ton­er of Jes­si­curl and its impact is real­ly good on my curls.
Thanks again…


*sigh* Black women and our ingre­di­ent issues. Only us. As long as it detan­gles, mois­tur­izes, and smells good I’m good to go.


then why are you on this web­site then?? :/


Must be nice if you’re not pro­tein sen­si­tive. Why would peo­ple think up prob­lems with their hair when they want it to thrive and focus on tak­ing care of it. Oh and if it makes the issue sud­den­ly more valid in your eyes, there are white women who deal with this too. There’s a forum on nat­u­ral­ly curly forum for PS hair and most are curly haired Cau­casians.

Thanks for your dis­mis­sive com­ment that helped no one though.


I am ger­man and i do care too! Just didn´t know why my curls were break­ing all the time and the no hair dressers has been able to anser ques­tions (they gave me one wrong prod­uct after the oth­er). Thanks to all who cared before me. Learn­ing and lov­ing all of you car­ing women :)


I’m white and can con­firm Deb’s com­ment. It’s a “curlies” issue — not race spe­cif­ic — though (if my under­stand­ing is cor­rect) the tighter the curl, the greater the issue may be — hence why the beau­ti­ful ladies of colour and style are more like­ly to encounter the issue — and have a wealth of knowl­edge about it, for which I thank you so very much! Will be try­ing some of these P free con­di­tion­ers in search of the HG for my hair.


Thank you.well said!shes clear­ly got issues…


Soooo, no oth­er race wor­ries about sen­si­tiv­i­ty to cer­tain prod­uct ingre­di­ents? Oh, ok…


I am white and I have very pro­tein sen­si­tive hair. I was using Yes to Car­rots then they changed the for­mu­la.… had to find some­thing new.


I’m His­pan­ic, and read­ing this arti­cle because I don’t know what to put on my pro­tein sen­si­tive kinks , it’s become my mis­sion to read lables and buy buy prod­uct to try, and find out what works ! It’s not easy for any of us????


U don’t think oth­er women r con­cerned about ingre­di­ents? Lol


Love love love Yes to Car­rots Pam­per­ing Conditioner.…the sham­poo is real­ly good too. I’ve been using it since before I start­ed tran­si­tion­ing to nat­ur­al and its amaz­ing. It sinks right in and mois­tur­izes with­out leav­ing a filmy or heavy feel­ing. I use it as a pre-poo, a reg­u­lar con­di­tion­er, and as a deep con­di­tion­er when my hair needs extra mois­ture. My hair drinks it up so much that when I’m ful­ly nat­ur­al I plan to use it as a leave in. 

The best part is that it comes in a real­ly large bot­tle and last for­ev­er for a great low price.


Not an expert here, just stat­ing my thoughts…

I am pret­ty sure that EXACT bot­tle of Straw­ber­ry vo5 explic­it­ly states that it pro­vides Soy Milk for Pro­tein pur­pos­es. In fact, its one of the very con­di­tion­ers that helped me real­ize I was pro­tein sen­si­tive.

Using the Straw­ber­ry one tends to leave my hair feel­ing straw like and brit­tle, where-as using the Black­ber­ry one I actu­al­ly retain mois­ture and my strands clump prop­er­ly while air-dry­ing.


For­ti­fiers hard­en my hair and snap off my ends. And I would add lau­ric acid — coconut oil, bay lau­rel oil and palm ker­nel oil — as a for­ti­fi­er to avoid for my hair. Some also men­tion jojo­ba liq­uid.

It’s a bit dif­fi­cult to find prod­ucts with­out pro­tein or lau­ric acid that ALSO work with my hair, so I no longer use con­di­tion­er. Also, I don’t think of myself as pro­tein-sen­si­tive. I have nat­u­ral­ly ‘pro­tein-enriched’ strands that only tan­gle, knot or break in extreme cir­cum­stances so I save a lot of time and mon­ey.


I do a sort of hen­na gloss treat­ment every month. I’ve found that using prod­ucts with pro­tein con­tributes to break­age — lit­tle hairs falling not long ones. I choose the gloss over pro­tein, so pro­tein is out for me. 

I like the Aubrey con­di­tion­ers though.