If your hair shows signs of protein overload, it’s time to switch to the best protein-free shampoo and conditioner. Check this article out now to find your fav.
Why Do I Need Protein-Free Shampoos And Conditioners?
Keratin protein accounts for about 90% of hair’s natural composition, making hair naturally strong, so you don’t need extra protein if your hair is bouncy and robust.
However, if it starts to feel weak and mushy, that’s a sign of protein treatment.
The proteins in the hair care product bind to your hair follicles, fill in any gaps, strengthen the hair cuticle and prevent hair breakage, but you should only treat it with proteins every 4-8 weeks.
Depending on how damaged your hair is and how much protein is in your daily hair products.
However, protein buildup is caused by too much protein in your hair combined with a lack of moisture balance.
If your hair has built up, the first thing you may notice is that your hair is dry, brittle, and breaks very quickly, so you may find it difficult to style as before.
Furthermore, some people have protein-sensitive hair, whose hair does not respond well to the increased activity of proteins and requires extreme caution when using protein products.
Anyone can put too much protein in their hair, but only some people with protein-sensitive hair react particularly negatively to any amount of protein; for example, hair becomes hard, dry, and brittle when subjected to stress.
Therefore, finding yourself the best protein-free shampoo and conditioner is significant to your hair care routine. As you can see, using protein products to repair damaged hair daily is rather counterproductive and can harm your hair.
Simultaneously adding too many products containing this macronutrient in your hair care routine might cause hair strands to be brittle and break easily due to a lack of moisture.
How Can I Tell If My Hair Suffers Protein Overload?
If you have too much protein in your hair, it will feel weighed down, dry, lifeless, and stiff. So in case you are experiencing brittle, broken, and unexplained strands, excessive protein treatments in your routine might be the culprit.
Proteins strengthen the hair, making it more resistant to breakage and damage. As a result, it will be overly strong and brittle easily if you have too much of this macronutrient.
It means that your protein-overload hair won’t bounce back and may even break when you stroke or pull it. While strong hair is desirable, powerful hair is disadvantageous.
In-depth Review Of Top 10 Best Protein-free Shampoo And Conditioner
There are many shampoos and conditioners on the market that will provide enough moisture to your hair without overdoing it with protein.
Only by learning about hair protein and experimenting with protein-free shampoos and conditioners, such as those listed below, can you discover which suits you best.
If you’re feeling daunted by the present market’s abundance of choices, this list can help you decide on your best protein-free shampoo and conditioner.
Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo – Best For Damaged Hair
- Ingredients: Purified water, organic citrus fruit, organic marigold flower, organic white willow bark, organic sea kelp, c14-16 olefin sulfonate and Cocamidopropyl betaine (from coconut), sea salt, various acids
- Protein-free, Sulfate-free
- Light fruity scent
Best for damaged hair:
The Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo is the essence of fruits, such as citrus and marigold flower extract, which gently cleanses your hair and scalp while retaining moisture.
Moreover, it is entirely safe for folks experiencing hair loss due to excess protein in their hair. Instead of protein, it contains sea kelp, which is excellent for moisturizing hair and maintaining protein balance, significantly restoring damaged hair.
This protein-free option also contains phytic acid, which effectively washes hair and removes scalp buildup.
Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo softens hard water, refreshes the hair scalp. After only one wash, you can remove both salt and dirt. The condition of your hair determines how often you should use it: dry, oily, frizzy, dandruff, etc.
In addition, it does not contain sulfate so it is safe for dyed hair. As you know, “the sulfates strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils, moisturizers, and color, leaving dryness, flaking, and irritation behind” say experts in Genesis College.
- Before washing, apply a small layer of coconut oil to the hair and leave it for about ten minutes.
- Use lukewarm water instead of hot water because it causes the shampoo to remove too much oil from your hair, making it dry
- Sulfate-free, Protein-free formula
- Removes the accumulation of dead skin, dirt in hair follicles
- Makes sure your hair has enough moisture
- Leaves hair clean and soft
- Gives shine to damaged hair
- Acne-causing ingredients; thus may not be suitable for sensitive skin
- May cause hair tangling
Free & Clear Shampoo – Sensitive Skin – Best For Sensitive Scalp
- Ingredients: Purified water, lauryl glucoside, coco-glucoside, acrylates copolymer
- Not contain preservatives, paraben, sulfate and protein
- Almost no scent
Best for the sensitive scalp:
Overdoing it with protein can make your hair brittle or dry, and the same can happen to your sensitive scalp if it comes into contact with something it doesn’t like; irritating pimples or red swollen patches are the clear signs.
Free & Clear Shampoo – Sensitive Skin is free of protein, fragrances, irritating colors, gluten, sulfates, parabens, or preservatives, making it suitable for those with sensitive scalps.
This dermatologist-tested product can help remove dirt buildup, residue, and excess oil, effectively reducing flaking and dryness while not triggering any allergic reaction.
Not only is it protein-free, but it also has the proper pH balance to bring your scalp back to its original healthy stage – a complementary environment for protein-overload hair to recover.
For tangle-free, manageable, and easy-to-style hair, use this shampoo with the Free & Clear conditioner, which is also protein-free. This combo will clean the hair and protect it from damage caused by heat, UV rays, or dirt from the environment.
Those who are allergic to all odors in beauty and cleaning products will appreciate this hypoallergenic shampoo.
- Check the label to see if it says “New Tender Recipe” when you receive it
- Please use three times more than using regular shampoo if you want to foam
- Avoid direct contact with the eyes
- Contains no irritants or protein
- Removes accumulated dirt
- Creates shine for hair
- Supports hair growth
- Skin-friendly, fragrance-free
- Slightly dry hair after application
- No specific treatment for dandruff
- Requires a lot of product to lather
As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo – Best For Dry Hair
- Ingredients: Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut), Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla), and Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin), etc.
- Parabens-, Sulfate- and Protein-free
- Delicate fruity aroma
- No animal testing
Best for dry hair:
Many people love this As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo as it cleanses and strengthens hair without the use of protein.
This shampoo works to restore dry hair while still being gentle, non-irritating, and non-damaging, thanks to hair-nourishing ingredients such as coconut powder, mandarin extract, and more.
Its moisturizing properties keep hair from becoming stiff and tangle-free. It deserves the best protein-free shampoo for straight hair title because naturally, straight hair has thinning hair strands. That means owners of this hair type are prone to hair loss, lack of volume, flat, and tangles.
This is also suitable for color-treated hair. You can use it in conjunction with the brand’s protein-free conditioner.
According to users, As I Am Doing shampoo removes all buildup and allows you to care for their hair from root to tip. It helps hair become soft, manageable, and frizz accessible, although some users have low porosity hair after a single use.
Some users say that it moisturizes and restores their naturally curly and tight hair quickly and effectively. If you are having trouble repairing your damaged hair, then this product is highly recommended.
- Apply conditioner only to damp and freshly washed hair
- Should leave it for 5 to 15 minutes on your hair before rinsing, depending on your hair type and condition
- Avoid contact with eyes
- Should keep it out of children’s reach
- Adds a lot of moisture for dry hair thanks to the coconut extract
- Brings natural shine to dry hair
- Can use as a styling product
- Improves curly hair
- Reduces frizz
- Problems with delivering and packaging
Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Hydrating Conditioner – Best For Hair Restoring
- All Natural Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Ppg-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate, Behentrimonium Chloride
- Paraben- and Protein-free
- No harmful chemicals or preservatives
- Strong perfume smell
Best for hair restoring:
Giving your hair a deep dose of moisture with Mielle Organics Organic Conditioner is the perfect gift for revitalizing your hair.
This product’s formula features naturally nourishing ingredients, including organic almond oil, sacha inchi, and mongongo – and, of course, protein-free, so it’s a good choice if your hair is overloaded with keratin.
The all-natural, organic blend provides your strands with all the nutrition they need to restore their natural hair to its original state as quickly as possible.
Mielle Organics Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner not only moisturizes but also protects your hair from heat damage by restoring hair health and shine. From root to tip, this protein-free conditioner will soften and shine your hair.
- Restores hair from root to tip
- The ability to provide good moisture
- Can be the protein-free shampoo for relaxed hair and natural hair too
- Soften hair perfectly
- Too strong smell
- Relatively meager quantity of conditioner in the bottle
Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment – Best For Low Porosity Hair
- Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder
- Paraben-, sulfate-, silicone- and protein-free
- No animal testing
- No fragrance
Best for low porosity hair:
Excessive amounts of the protein keratin often cause naturally low porosity hair fibers. Hair with low porosity will hardly absorb moisture and is easily affected by protein; the hair becomes stiffer and more brittle.
“For low porosity hair, you’ll want to stay away from protein treatment conditioners. Protein formulas can increase the risk of hair breakage since they tend to pull moisture out of the hair” – recommended by Healthline.
Therefore, limiting protein and instead of adding natural ingredients in your hair care routine will significantly improve the strength and support of your porosity hair strands to grow faster, giving them a more solid structure for hair.
Choose Jessicurl Deep Conditioner if your hair is in dire need of moisture for your hair that lacks porosity. It contains the moisturizing properties of cocoa butter and shea butter, which intensely moisturize dry and dull low porosity hair and is protein-free.
It also helps restore shine and repair damages caused by protein overload, including hair loss, frizz and tangles, dry scalp, dandruff, and more.
The texture is thick, creamy, hydrating, and non-constructive – the perfect combination to rehydrate low-porosity hair.
It doesn’t add any fragrance, making it ideal for those with sensitivity to smells or allergies to scents.
You can use this product with heat to perform deep conditioning treatments on your hair, helping to moisturize and strengthen hair in the most effective and time-saving way.
- Use only on clean, damp hair
- Use heat to condition hair more intensively
- For thicker and drier hair types, use daily or as a conditioner
- Restores porosity
- Deeply moisturizes without clogging hair follicles
- Helps to detangle hair easily
- Great price
- More natural ingredients
- Allergen (acne-causing) formula
- Quite thick texture
Briogeo Farewell Frizz Rosarco Milk Leave-In Conditioning Spray – Best For Anti-frizziness
- Ingredients: Water/Water, Coconut Oil, Argania Spinosa Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Shea Butter, Sabdariffa Hibiscus Flower Extract
- Suitable for all hair types
- Sulfates Free (SLS / SLES)
- No protein, silicones, phthalates, or parabens
- No DEA or artificial dyes
- Delicate coconut scent
Best for anti-frizziness:
Too much protein in your hair, also known as protein overload, can cause your frizzy hair to become even more frizzy, dull, dry, and brittle. To effectively reduce frizz, you should find a solution that does not contain protein and preferably boasts fruit oils.
There are 96% natural hair nutrients, vitamin E, and all ingredients in this blend are protein-free. Briogeo Leave-in Conditioner is also free of parabens and phthalates and suitable for chemical and keratin hair treatments.
It smooths and locks in curls, plus it’s enriched with oils like rosehip, argan, and coconut to keep hair soft, moisturized, and manageable. These components prevent frizz, add moisture, and deeply condition your hair, leaving it shiny and healthy.
This hairspray, according to fans, leaves their hair de-frizz-free, silky-soft, and nourished with a genuinely stellar smell. It is the perfect way to start shifting away from using protein-based hair products for your curly hair.
- Only use on slightly damp or dry hair
- Also acts as a primer against heat damage
- Effectively reduces frizz
- Easy to use and convenient
- Natural essential oil extraction
- Leaves hair soft and hydrated
- Can make hair greasy if used too much
- Not work well on thick hair
Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean Latherrich Deep Moisturizing Shampoo – Best For Softening Hair
- Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium (C-14-16) Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coconut Oil Monoethanolamide, Polyquaternium 7, Glycol Stearate, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Chloride
- Suitable for long dry curls, rolls, and waves
- Free of protein, sulfates, parabens, and mineral oils
- Attractive coconut flavor
Best for softening hair:
Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean Shampoo is one of the ideal drugstore protein-free hair products for chronically dry hair with many curls. It is so effective and fast to bring results that you won’t need to use it much every time you wash your hair.
Coconut oil, virgin olive oil, and shea butter are among this product’s hair softeners instead of keratin. These substances will keep your curls soft, shiny, and hydrated and allow you to comb them with ease. They help condition hair properly while gently removing dirt and impurities.
The impressive features of this shampoo are its sliding lid, which enables easy application.
Aunt Jackie’s natural hair care products, including this shampoo, are free of the following harsh ingredients: There are no sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, protein, or petroleum in this product.
This rich lather, deeply moisturizing, and softening hair product leaves your dry, brittle hair many times softer, cleaner, and easier to comb.
- Apply to wet hair only
- Massage gently along hair strands while pressing scalp with fingertips and massaging lather in
- Gentle enough to use every day
- Creamy foam
- Cleanses without stripping natural scalp moisture
- Makes hair significantly softer
- Effectively detangles thick and curly hair
- Small quantity
Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Sulfate-Free Shampoo – Best For Naturally Curly Hair
- Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate
- Mineral oil-free
- Fresh-smelling scent
Best for naturally curly hair:
If you want to restore and rejuvenate your naturally curly hair, we have one of the best drugstore protein-free hair products for you that cleanses and softens your hair from the roots up here: Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Sulfate-Free Shampoo.
This is ideal for naturally curly hair, helps moisturize and restore the hair strands.
Because curly hair is prone to breakage, slow growth, and dryness, it is often more challenging to take care of. The use of protein-rich treatments will aggravate the problem of this type of hair. So, if you choose a protein-free product, your frizzy, curly hair will gradually recover without any side effects.
Almond milk in this shampoo is excellent for hair strengthening and minimizes breakage. It also contains many irons, which helps prevent hair loss.
One more thing worth highlighting is the scent and slippage in this shampoo. It will help you untangle your hair quickly. So, it would be a great option if you’re looking for a protein-free product for your curly hair.
- Can be used regularly
- Use only on wet hair
- Keep away from the eyes
- Not intended for internal use
- Gentle shampoo for curly hair
- Restores curly hair’s natural strength
- Suitable for both weakened and treated hair
- Restore curly hair to life without weighing it down
- A bit strong scent
- In rare cases can cause hair dryness
Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo – Best For Multi-use
- Ingredients: Decyl Polyglucose, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, PEG 150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamnyate
- Paraben-, sulfate- and protein-free
- A light floral scent with a hint of fruit
Best for multi-use:
Jessicurl’s Gentle Foaming Shampoo is suitable for curly hair because it is always low in porosity and sensitive to proteins, and Jessicurl’s Shampoo can improve it effectively.
Of course, this product is free of proteins and sulfates, and the fantastic thing is that you can use it as a face and body cleanser.
Natural cleansing agents such as Cocamidopropyl Betaine (corn and coconuts-derived surfactant), Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate are used in Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo to cleanse your scalp without stripping it of its natural oils. It produces plenty of lather that leaves your hair soft, smooth, and shiny.
In several cases, coconut shampoo can cause protein build-up for hair, blocking your hair from much-needed moisture, which makes your hair even drier, stiffer and less elastic, and more damaged than it was before.
That’s why Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo is one of the best protein and coconut-free hair products. It does not contain any coconut ingredients and is safe for people allergic to coconut.
It won’t dry out after washing, and your curls will be very manageable. This shampoo adheres well and turns into a cream that is easy to apply and massage into the scalp.
It has a significantly thinner consistency than other shampoos on the market. However, this is a mild product that can form a creamy lather to clean hair without drying or weighing it down. Besides, it is ideal for those who don’t like strong smells since it doesn’t have any added artificial scents.
- Tie your hair into a bun on top of your head to avoid messes
- Maybe there won’t be much foam in the first time use on hair
- Can use as a cleanser for face and body
- No hair loss
- No artificial fragrance
- Suitable for almost all hair types
- Smooth, creamy texture
- Takes time to see visible results
EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing Cowash– Best For 4C Hair
- Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe Vera), Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut), Vegetable Oil, Hydrolyzed Keratin
- No protein, harsh sulfates, mineral oils, or artificial dyes
- Not tested on animals
- Made in the USA
Best for 4C hair:
Protein helps hair 4C keep strong by balancing moisture in the hair follicles. Your hair will become dry, brittle, and challenging if you supply enough or overload protein but not enough water.
It is especially true for 4C hair, which has a “Z”-shaped texture that quickly loses moisture, resulting in sluggish growth and dryness. Therefore, protein-containing products may not be appropriate for this hair type in some circumstances.
Instead, go with protein-free products because your 4C curly hair will develop shinier and stronger over time without adverse side effects.
It’s hard to find an all-in-one product that works well with a variety of hair textures, but EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing Cowash will likely exceed your expectations.
This suggestion is one of the best natural depilatories for 4C hair as it keeps your scalp and hair strands nourished while providing excellent nourishing moisture to your tresses.
Coconut oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and aloe in it are all tremendous moisturizing nutrients that supply your strands with moisture, making them more manageable and clarifying your curly strands.
It is also a great way to clean and condition your damaged 4c hair. It is suitable for hair textures 3A to 4C wavy, curly, wet, dry, thick, or frizzy. It also aids in separating your 4c hairs from root to tip.
If protein buildup causes your 4C hair to turn upside down, this shampoo will help you get it back.
EDEN Coconut Shea Cowash is excellent for removing buildup and assisting in eliminating unwanted residues, creating a healthy environment for new hair growth as your scalp is free of impurities that have accumulated.
Note: This product may include chemicals that have led to cancer, congenital disabilities, and other reproductive problems.
- Stimulates 4C hair growth
- Creates a healthy environment for scalp and hair
- Provides antioxidants
- Rejuvenates dry and brittle for 4C hair
- Reduces split ends
- Creates a sleek and manageable hairstyle
- May irritate sensitive skin
Frequently Questions and Answers
How to fix protein overload in my hair?
Finding the best protein-free shampoo and conditioner is the best way to provide your hair with the moisture it needs without overworking your strands and causing damage.
Protein-sensitive hair can benefit from this treatment, which provides nourishment and moisture for your hair without the risk of protein overload damages.
Silk protein, hydrolyzed collagen, wheat protein, and keratin are all common protein constituents to avoid, and you may check each label for confirmation.
We have compiled a product list of the top protein-free shampoos and conditioners that are global clients’ favorites to assist you in finding what you need for your hair care.
Additionally, create the following routine to start the hair restoration process:
- Regularly soak your hair in warm water to remove excess oil and protein buildup. Look for a gentle cleansing shampoo designed specifically for your hair type and avoid over-washing or applying conditioner to the ends.
- Trim an inch or two of split ends where protein may have accumulated over a long period, making your hair heavy and hard to manage.
- It’s time to quit using heat, hair dye, and most hair products if your hair shows signs of damage. Leave your hair loose naturally by letting it loose or pulling it back slightly.
Why do hair care products usually contain protein?
Keratin, a protein found in hair, is responsible for hair’s physical, chemical, and morphological characteristics. The total protein content of the hair is essential because it contributes to its mechanical strength.
Chemical treatments (bleaching, dyeing, perm, straightening, etc.) or prolonged exposure to solar radiation can cause hair to lose protein and affect hair. Hair becomes porous, brittle, and may even break, requiring treatments to restore the hair’s mechanical strength and re-establish its strength.
Protein treatments were among the first hair care treatments to hit the market.
These amino acid protein components can create a film on the hair, resulting in a smooth coating on the surface. Hair strands bind strongly with protein residues from the epidermis to form a strong connection.
What are some of the most common proteins found in hair care products?
Buzzwords like “repairing,” “reconstructing,” “strengthening,” and “rebuilding” are frequently included in the product name or description.
Pay attention to the ingredients as well. Proteins can be found in any element that contains the words “keratin,” “silk,” “protein,” “hydrolyzed protein,” “amino acid,” and so on.
The INCI names for commonly used proteins, which you can find on the back of your product, are:
- Hydrolyzed proteins (wheat, oats, and soy)
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Hydrolyzed collagen
- Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins (Silk, milk, wheat, etc.)
- Silanetriol Cystine Bis-PG-Propyl (Derived of keratin protein)
- Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Silanetriol PG-Propyl (Modified Silicone Wheat Protein)
- Wheat Proteins Hydrolyzed with Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl (Quaternary Classification Wheat Protein)
Is it true that protein plays a role in hair growth and hair thickening?
Many manufacturers claim their products contain proteins or keratin. However, these proteins are usually ‘Hydrolyzed,’ which means chemical reactions have broken them down with water to produce poly- small and free amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of proteins.
They bind to amino acids in the keratin of the epidermis and act as a filler for any holes or breaks in the hair fiber; they can also bind to each side of a split head and rejoin it.
Damaged hair cuticles can bond together more tightly. This rebuilding of the protein layer helps hair retain moisture and reduce frizz.
As a result, the protein adheres to the hair, hiding cuticle damage and split ends, helping to thicken fine hairs, make your hair look thicker and fuller.
However, overusing protein can make your hair stiff, coarse, brittle, and dull if you already have strong hair.
In today’s hair care products, there are three most common proteins:
- Keratin: is said to give strength to the hair, so it is suitable for weak or broken hair.
- Silk Protein: Helps dry hair maintain and replenish moisture.
- Biotin: is a B vitamin, not a protein, although it aids in protein synthesis and is known to fortify and promote hair growth.
We’ve compiled and individually rated some of the best drugstore protein-free hair products above.
They will aid in removing excess protein from your hair if you include them in your hair care routine. As a result, you will have shiny and moisturized hair. So don’t delay your decision any longer.
Because of its multi-benefit formula for hair and scalp, Kinky Curly Come Clean Natural Moisturizing Shampoo is the best protein-free shampoo, in our opinion.
The sulfate-free product removes dead skin and impurities from hair follicles while ensuring adequate moisture supply to the hair strands. It also polishes the hair and leaves it clean and soft.
Otherwise, we recommend Free & Clear Shampoo as it is gentle on all skin types while effectively repairing breakage and damage of hair.
Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Hydrating Conditioner is a perfect choice for those who want a deep conditioning treatment to restore smooth, shiny hair as quickly as possible.
We hope you can select your best protein-free shampoo and conditioner for your hair care routine soon and have fun with your hair care routine!