Protein Sensitivity

During my curly journey I’ve used lots of different products. I’ve gone back and forth between using Deva Curl as well as several other lines. Recently in one of the curly groups I’m in there was a custard that was very popular. The custard was supposed to serve as a curl enhancer and add shine. Seemed like a win-win.

I decided to buy it and give int a try while I was traveling. I used the custard almost daily for two weeks. Although, it did add extra shine and made my curls pop, it didn’t take long before my hair started to feel very dry and then strands started snapping off.

I decided to return the custard and next used some Deva Curl products that I had. My hair started off okay that day, but became frizzy and my curls were drooping within two hours. I started talking to a fellow curly girl and friend that has a protein sensitivity. My friend was able to recognize the products that I had been using and see my results. She helped me determine that I needed to get more moisture into my hair and stay away from certain proteins.

Right away I started adding deep treatments to by routine that were protein free. I also started using my steamer and my hot head to help make these treatments more effective. I also decided to stay away from stylers that contained protein. Fast forward a week and a half later and my hair feels so much softer and healthier. My strands now stretch just a tiny bit before snapping, like they should.

Although, I won’t be avoiding protein all together because I don’t want to end up over-conditioned, I will refrain from using stylers that have protein in them. My amazing friend “D” also was kind enough to come up with a list of protein free products. I asked her if I could share the information here, since I know if will be very helpful to curly girls everywhere. 

Please double check the ingredients when purchasing these items as they can be reformulated without notice. I do try to keep this list updated as changes occur.


Kinky Curly Knot Today

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

Jane Carter Slumber Party Creamy Leave-in Conditioner

Jane Carter Untangle Me Weightless Leave-In

Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Protein-Free Leave-In Detangler

Shea Moisture African Water Mint & Ginger Detox & Refresh Hair & Scalp Leave-In Detangler

Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil Knot Free Forever Leave In Detangler

Soultanicals Cotton Candy Hair Fluff- Leave In Softerizer

Soultanicals Cotton Candy Hair Fluff- Leave In Softerizer

Soultanicals Afro, Curls, Tendrils & Swirls- Curl Detangler

The Mane Choice Soft As Can Be 3-in-1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner  (can be used as RO, CW, & LI)

Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray

Darcy’s Botanicals Sweet Cream Daily Leave-In Conditioner

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Lotion

Tgin Green Tea Super Moist Leave In Conditioner

Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In Conditioner

Curl Junkie BeautiCurls Leave-In Hair Conditioner

Alba Botanica Advanced Leave-In Conditioner

Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Style Setter (can use as LI or styler)

OYIN Handmade Dew

Giovanni Direct Leave-In (contains soy extract in the early ingredient; may act as a mild-moderate protein)


Curl Junkie Curls In a Bottle

Soultanicals Curl Juice- Vegan Hair Mousse (has Irish Moss)

Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter

Jane Carter Frizz Free Styling Smoother

Jane Carter Curl Cocktail Conditioning Styling Cream

Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Mousse

Jessicurl Rockin Ringlets

curLuxe Naturals Cashmere Curl Parfait

Yarok Feed Your Curls Defining Creme

Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution

Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Blossom Moisture Mist

Alikay Naturals Creme Brulee Curling Delight

Karen’s Body Beautiful Super Duper Hydrating Hair Cream

Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz

CURLS Blueberry Bliss Twist-N-Shout Cream

CURLS Curl Gel-Les’c

CURLS Whipped Cream

Curly Q’s Curly Q Gel-Les’c

Darcy’s Botanicals Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme

Darcy’s Botanicals Tucuma Butter Moisture Whip

Jane Carter Solution Hair Nourishing Cream

Jessicurl Awe Inspiraling Spray

HPO Simply Curly Conditioning Styling Pudding

U R Curly Sili-Free Hair Serum

Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter

Soultanicals Fluff-A-Licious Curl Nutricious

Raw Curls Pomade

Tgin Twist & Define Cream

Soultanicals Marula-Muru Moisture Guru

Soultanicals Can’t Believe It’s Knot Butta

Elucence Volume Designing Foam

Bee Mine Bee Hold Curly Butter

Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding

OBIA Naturals Twist Whip Butter

OBIA Naturals Curl Hydration Spray

Jane Carter Solution Nourish & Shine

OBIA Naturals Curl Moisture Cream

Camille Rose Naturals Ajani Growth & Shine Balm

Jane Carter Solution Incredible Curls

Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Style Setter (can use as LI or styler


 Camille Rose Naturals Sweet Ginger Cleansing Rinse

Blended Beauty Soy Cream Shampoo

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo

Dippity-Do Girls With Curls Curl Shampoo

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuaçu Frizz Defense Shampoo

Jane Carter Renewable Difference Detox Shampoo

Bee Mine Botanical Moisturizing Shampoo

Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Shampoo

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Gentle Cleansing Shampoo

EDEN BodyWorks Kids Coco Shea Berry Natural Detangling Shampo

EDEN BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Moisturizing Shampoo

Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo

Raw Curls Cleanser

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo

Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Protein-Free Shampoo

CLARIFY (Sulfonates):

Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo

CURLS Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo

Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo

Mop Top Clarifying Rescue Treatment

Tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo (milder than the others)


Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Cleansing Conditioner Cream

Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream

Ouidad Curl Immersion Low-Lather Coconut Cleansing Conditioner

As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner

Jane Carter Solution Cleansing Conditioning CoWash

Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Rescue & Repair Co-Wash

TRUE Cowash Cleansing Conditioner

The Mane Choice Soft As Can Be 3-in-1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner  (can be used as RO, CW, & LI)

Inashi Natural Tropical Escape Cowash

GoldiLochzShop Long Hair Don’t Care


Soultanicals Monoi Moisture Slip Deep Conditioning Fertilizing Dip

Alikay Naturals Avocado Cream Moisture Repairing Mask

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Dandruff Control Hair Masque

SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

Jane Carter Revive & Repair Hair Mask

EDEN BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Deep Conditioner

Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment

curLuxe Naturals Manuka Honey and Avocado Conditioning Nectar

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuaçu Frizz Defense Hair Masque

Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment

OBIA Natural Hair Care Babassu Deep Conditioner

As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner

Bee Mine Bee-U-Ti-Ful Deep Conditioner

Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioner


Curl Junkie Argan and Olive Oil Conditioner

Petal Fresh (all of the conditioners are protein free)

Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner

Curl Junkie Smoothing Conditioner

Suave Essentials (except the coconut conditioner)

GVP Conditioning Balm

Yes to Carrots

Yes to Cucumbers

Giovanni Ultra Moist Olive Oil & Avocado Conditioner

Shea Moisture African Water Mint & Ginger Detox & Refresh Hair &  Scalp Conditioner

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Restorative Conditioner

Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils Low Porosity Conditioner

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuacu Frizz Defense Conditioner

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing

Camille Rose Naturals Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Balancing Conditioner

EDEN BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Revitalizing

Curly Q’s Coconut Dream Moisturizing Conditioner

Mill Creek Tea Tree Conditioner

Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditione

TRESemme Botanique Nourish + Replenish Conditioner

The Mane Choice Soft As Can Be 3-in-1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner  (can be used as RO, CW, & LI)

GoldiLochzShop Long Hair Don’t Care


VO5 Blackberry Sage Tea Therapy Revitalizing Conditioner

VO5 Herbal Escapes Pomegranate Bliss

VO5 Herbal Escapes Sun Kissed Raspberry

VO5 Tea Escapes Vanilla Mint Tea


As I AM Curling Jelly

Flaxseed gel

Uncle Funky’s Gel

Kinky Curly Curling Custard

Camille Rose Curl Maker

Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha

LA Looks Nutra Curl

Wetline xTreme

Super Wet

Jessicurl Spiralicious

Aussie Instant Freeze 

Naturelle Hypo-Allergenic Styling Gel

LifeOrganics Silky Custard

Shea Moisture Curling Soufflé

Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel

Alikay Naturals Aloe Berry Styling Gel

Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly: Tousling Spray Gel

Curly Hair Solutions Gel

CURLS Goddess Botantical Gelle

Bain de Terre Bamboo Ultra Control Styling Gel

Green Curly Glaze Gel

CURLSPIRATION Natural Curl Defining Hair Gel

Lottabody Shape Me Custard Gelee

Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Aloe Fix Hair Styling Gel

Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel

Herbal Essences Set Me Up Gel

Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel Strong Hold (contains soy extract; may act as a mild protein — be cautious)

Alaffia Beautiful Curls Defining Gel

Sweet Curls Elixirs gels (tell her that you want your gel protein-free)

Original Moxie Just Gel

Aveda Flaxseed Aloe Strong Hold Sculpturing Gel

Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze

Soultanicals Afro Gel-lato

Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel

Max Green Alchemy Scalp Rescue Styling Gel

Soultanicals Curls with Knot Gelatin Style & Hold Gum

Jane Carter Coiling All Curls Elongating Gel

curLuxe Naturals White Tea Sleek Edge Control

The Mane Choice Crystal Orchid Biotin Infused Styling Gel

Pure Oils by Silk Elements Moisturizing Marmalade

Pure Oils by Silk Elements Gelee Curls

Earthtones Naturals Curl Define Curl Enhancing Gelly

Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Gel


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Felicia Abernethy-Lloyd

Chief author at Curly Bookworm
Felicia holds a Masters degree in Organizational Management with a minor in Organizational Leadership. She holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Operations Management. She is married to Dr. Lloyd, and is an absolute fitness enthusiast.
Felicia Abernethy-Lloyd
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11 thoughts on “Protein Sensitivity

  1. Wonderful list, thanks for sharing! I’m bookmarking this and will be referring to it next time I go product shopping.

    If I may, I’d like to add Qhemet Biologics Burdock Root Buttercream as another protein-free leave-in/moisturizer. My hair is not a fan of protein in products and I’ve used that as a leave-in since discovering it seven years ago….I love it! All Qhemet Biologics products are protein-fee, though I’ve tried them all and haven’t liked anything besides the BRBC. But lots of other curlies do so maybe it’s just my finicky hair! 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for doing this but I think I may turn into a product junkie with this list so excited THANK YOU AND TO D ALSO!!! She sent me here!!!

    1. I don’t knoe the answer to your question specifically Shawntay but Coconut often behaves like a protein so many people avoiding protein avoid coconut too.

  3. Finally! This is extremely helpful. I’m so happy to see and actual list compiled of Ireland that are located at our drugstores! I’m so tired of these youtubers telling is to buy $40 conditioners that ruin our protein sensitive hair! I have been having so much trouble for the last couple of months because I detox my hair and my curls amstart to form but once I use one bad product I’m screwed! Understanding Protein sensitivity is so hard because there isn’t much research other than blog post so I appreciate the list!

    1. This list has been very helps, I have a sensitivity to glycerin and protein but I read somewhere that the mane choice orchid bioten Indfused gel does have protein! I just bought 2 I hope I don’t have to return

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  5. Hi thank you so much for this article. It is so hard to find the right products and even when you think you did.??!!, you come to find out that you still need to keep on going looking for that hg one.. I’ve gotten better since I started the cg method when it comes to buying products but I think I’m still at heart … a product junkie …I have 3 a/b curls medium density hair and found out I was protein sensitive almost a year into my cgm journey but then realized that although some of my products had protein in them my hair Had no issues. it wasn’t until I separated the products and wrote down the proteins inside each product and decided to test my hair??!! that realized that the one and only proteins my hair hates with a passion are wheat protein and hop (deva products) Now when I’m in search of a product all I have to look for is that those 2 are not part of their ingredients.
    Sorry for the long post but I hope I can help someone in their journey . After 44 years I can now say that I truly truly know what to do with my curls.. thx

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