Protein overload? If so, how do I fix it?

lecaprolecapro Posts: 3Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Curl Neophyte
Hi! I'm fairly new to this forum, I'm just trying to take care of my curls, but I think I have protein overload. I have 2C/3A really fine hair, and I went semi-curly girl method a month or two ago. I've done no silicones or sulfates and I started using the DevaCurl delight line, but the low-poo didn't clean my scalp well and it made my hair greasy so I've been using a mild shea moisture shampoo. Since my hair is very fine, I can't use really deep conditioners very often or my hair gets weighed down, or so it has in the past.

What I have been using:
-Shea Moisture Fruit Infused Coconut Water Weightless Shampoo
-DevaCurl Delight Conditioner
-DevaCurl Light Defining Gel
-About once a week, I'll use an herbal essences clarifying shampoo (it's the light pink old label)

My curls have looked better lately, but my hair has been extremely dry and brittle and I've been losing handfuls of hair. I've been swimming a bit this summer, so I thought that might have been the culprit. I'm also not used to brushing this infrequently, so I just brushed it off (no pun intended). I thought I was still "transitioning" to the curly girl method and figured I'd give it time.

I did my clarifying shampoo yesterday followed by the DevaCurl conditioner and decided to blow dry my hair on low to see what it would look like without the curls. My hair has never been tanglier or dryer. It was insane how much it was dry, cracked, and tangly, like I've never seen it before. It's thinner and just looks AWFUL! It got caught in my rubber band and I could not get a brush through it, even after conditioning/detangling it in the shower. It felt like straw. 

Since I suspect I have high-porosity hair, I thought it was weird that I would be protein-sensitive, but looking at the ingredients of what I've been using and WOW, there's all the protein. Every product I'm using has protein pretty high on the ingredient list. 

Tonight, to try and give my hair moisture, I did an apple cider vinegar rinse followed by Whole Foods 365 conditioner for 15 minutes (I saw that kind didn't contain protein) I think it helped, and I shed WAY less hair compared to what I've been dealing with lately.

I'm just really confused as what to do. First of all, how do I fix my hair?? Should I ditch my protein-heavy products? How do I even start to find products? Are there non-protein, lightweight, no SLS/no silicone products out there? Should I just go back to my old silicone/sulfate routine? These expensive products have completely ruined my hair balance and I'm totally confused about everything. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

TL/DR: My really fine 2C/3A curls (with high-porosity) potentially have protein-overload. How do I fix my hair??? Also, what can I do to find products for this type of hair? I'm lost.


  • Guide 65Guide 65 Posts: 1,135Registered Users, Moderators Curl Virtuoso
    It could be protein overload.  Try to use protein-free products for a while.  I'm pretty sure Not Your Mothers Naturals line is protein free, and not very expensive.  Check the ingredients though, because I'm not 100% sure on that.  Or just use the 365 conditioner instead of the Deva one.  Also deep condition with something protein free.  Garnier Nutris 1 minute hair masks are protein free and cheap. 

    Hold onto your current products.  At some point, you'll need to bring protein back into your hair.  It's a fine balance you need to find.  All hair needs some protein, but not in all products all the time.  So when your hair recovers and then starts swinging the other way, you can start using the Deva products again.
    Formerly known as Janiegirl
    2C/3A, fine hair, low density, mixed porosity, protein loving hair
    Current products:
    Changing up my shampoos because I can't find one I like
    Deva Curl One Condition (original formula)
    Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha
    Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel
  • Therese1Therese1 Posts: 2,247Registered Users Curl Virtuoso
    edited August 7
    I would double-check the ingredients on the 365 conditioner. The one I saw online has amodimethicone, which is a silicone, so you may need to clarify with a sulfate to get it out of your hair.

    When I get protein overload, I deep condition (as you have done) with a protein-free conditioner. I do this every time I wash my hair (which is about every three days) until I feel like my hair is getting close to normal again and isn't so dry.

    I may also put a little bit of oil on my dry hair at night, before I go to bed (to give the oil several hours to soak into my hair). I usually use Weleda's rosemary hair oil, which is pretty light. You might try sunflower or avocado oil if you don't want to buy another product. I would avoid olive (which tends to be heavy) or coconut (which can exacerbate protein overload). Putting just a few drops of oil on your dry hair can help the hair shaft become flexible again so that you don't get so much breakage.

    I would cut out all protein-containing products (be careful of hidden proteins, like grain extracts) for at least two weeks. I find that in two or three weeks' time, my hair gets back to normal if I've overloaded it with protein.
    Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonic; Oribe Cleansing Creme
    RO: IN Harmonic
    LI: CJ Beauticurls; Jessicurl (JC) Gelebration Spray
    DC: JC Deep Conditioning Treatment; Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Oil
    Stylers: JC Confident Coils; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray; John Masters Sea Mist; Bumble Bb. Gel; Kenra Firm-Hold Gel; Sevi Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Spray
    Low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file