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Home » Hair Care Products » The Best Protein-Free Shampoo and Conditioner: Top 10 Buying Guide

The Best Protein-Free Shampoo and Conditioner: Top 10 Buying Guide

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aida turner

Published by Aida Turner

Fact checked by Annie

You’ve probably heard that protein-rich treatments are great for your hair. After all, 90% of your hair is made of keratin, a kind of protein.

Unfortunately, too much protein can actually damage your hair. Meanwhile, some people have protein-sensitive hair.

As such, you should consider adding a protein-free shampoo and conditioner to balance the protein in your hair and keep it healthy!

Keep reading to see our list of top recommendations on the market!

Best Overall

Amazon best-selling product B008R42AA4

Our rating

Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo

  • Slows down premature hair graying
  • Gently detangles knots
  • Significantly softens hair
RUNNER-UP

Amazon best-selling product B000P0DBFG

Our rating

Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment

  • Can be used as a face and body cleanser
  • Safe for people with coconut allergies
  • Comes with a fragrance-free option
Best Value

Amazon best-selling product B00684A3YK

Our rating

Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo

  • Affordable
  • Can help prevent hair loss
  • Good for damaged and dyed hair
Best Protein-Free Shampoos and ConditionersAmount
Best OverallAunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo12oz/16oz
Runner-UpJessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo8oz
Best ValueCarol’s Daughter Almond Milk Shampoo12oz
Best UnscentedAlaffia Everyday Shea Shampoo32oz
Best for Sensitive ScalpVanicream Shampoo and Conditioner Set12oz
Best for Damaged HairMielle Organics Mongongo Oil Hydrating Conditioner8oz
Best for Dry HairKinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo8oz
Best for Curly HairAs I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo8oz
Best for Frizzy HairBriogeo Farewell Frizz Conditioning Spray5oz
Best for Color-Treated HairShea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils8oz

Top 10 Best Protein-Free Shampoos and Conditioners

Below are our top 10 best protein-free shampoos and conditioners for better hair health:

1. Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo – Best Overall

Detailed review

Aunt Jackie’s shampoo works like magic! It softens and tames even the most unmanageable tresses, then detangles them without hair breakage.

It gently cleanses your scalp of dirt and other impurities.

Oh So Clean will also protect your hair from damage from hot styling tools and coloring.

This shampoo deeply moisturizes the hair and promotes thicker hair growth. It even slows down premature graying!

Main ingredients

  • Water, Coconut Oil Monoethanolamide, Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sodium (C-14-16) Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Chloride

This product is gentle enough to be used every day without worrying that it will strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture.

It’s great for all hair types too.

Pros

  • Slows down premature hair graying
  • Gently detangles knots
  • Significantly softens hair

Cons

  • Contains alcohol

Feedback from Experts and Users

“There is less shrinkage when it air dries and my hair was instantly a lot longer as well! My ends are soft and moisturized and my hair in general is full with lots of body but it’s so much more tame. Also almost no hair fall or breakage has occurred when combing wet or dry since using!”

– Anonymous, Amazon

2. Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo – Runner-Up

Detailed review

Jessicurl’s Gentle Lather Shampoo gives you a lot of lather that will gently wash away your hair’s impurities.

Rather than contain actual coconut oil, this shampoo has corn- and coconut-DERIVED ingredients, making it safe for people with coconut allergies.

The consistency is thinner than other shampoos. However, it forms a creamy lather that’s easy to massage into your scalp and holds onto hair very well.

Jessicurl offers a fragrance-free option too.

Main ingredients

  • Water, Decyl Polyglucose, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, C 12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride

Thanks to very mild cleansing agents, you can also use this product as a face and body cleanser! It’s great even if your skin is sensitive.

Pros

  • Can be used as a face and body cleanser
  • Safe for people with coconut allergies
  • Comes with a fragrance-free option

Cons

  • Relatively expensive for the size

Feedback from Experts and Users

“These are great for us curlies, and not-so-curls too. Everyone can benefit from gentle cleansing, rich conditioning, and a wide range of styling products. The fragranced version smells heavenly, but for us super sensitive types they come in a FRAGRANCE FREE version as well.”

– Anonymous, Amazon

3. Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Shampoo – Best Value

Detailed review

Carol’s Daughter offers a drugstore protein-free solution for damaged locks.

Thanks to powerful ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and almond oil, it cleans and softens starting from the hair follicles to restore the whole strand.

It helps you untangle your hair, too — no matter how unkempt or curly it is. It’s definitely a bargain!

The shampoo contains iron as well, helping prevent hair loss.

Main ingredients

  • Water, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate

Carol’s Daughter is also great for dyed hair.

It prevents your dyed hair from becoming dry and brittle and helps the color last longer too!

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Can help prevent hair loss
  • Good for damaged and dyed hair

Cons

  • Sometimes causes hair dryness

Feedback from Experts and Users

“I love this shampoo. It’s so easy to use and gets my hair clean without stripping it.”

– Anonymous, Carol’s Daughter

4. Alaffia Everyday Shea Shampoo – Best Unscented

Detailed review

This protein-free shampoo contains unrefined shea butter, shea leaf extract, and virgin coconut oil. No artificial scents here!

These ingredients help effectively wash away impurities like built-up residue, scales, and flakes without stripping your hair and scalp from their natural oils.

Nutrients like antioxidants and omega fatty acids protect your hair from problems like frizz, split ends, thinning, and damage from styling tools.

Alaffia’s shampoo penetrates the scalp to deeply moisturize your hair and lock in the nutrients so you can keep your shiny hair.

Main ingredients

  • Shea Leaf Aqueous Extract, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Decyl Glucoside

Alaffia’s ingredients are ethically-sourced. Small communities in West Africa are fairly paid for growing the ingredients used in the shampoos.

The company itself also has multiple certifications, such as For Life and GMP, ensuring their products are 100% safe and environment-friendly.

Pros

  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Made from organic and unrefined ingredients
  • Eco-friendly
  • Ethically-sourced

Cons

  • Waxy consistency
  • Leaves a residue

Feedback from Experts and Users

“No itching, burning scalp and no sneezing and watery eyes from fragrance. It has a very slight fragrance but nothing too concerning. I would reccommend these products for anyone with allergies. They leave the hair soft and silky.”

– Anonymous, Alaffia

5. Vanicream Shampoo and Conditioner Set – Best for Sensitive Scalp

Detailed review

Vanicream, previously known as Free & Clear, offers non-medicated protein-free hair products that are perfect for sensitive skin.

The shampoo gently cleanses your hair and scalp without triggering allergic reactions. The formula also contains the right pH balance to help your scalp recover from protein overload.

The product doesn’t lather much, but it will still leave your hair feeling clean and soft.

Main ingredients

  • Purified Water, Lauryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate

The shampoo MIGHT dry your hair out.

But don’t worry, Vanicream’s deep conditioner will help moisturize your hair. It will also detangle the strands and make them easier to manage.

Pros

  • Very gentle on the skin
  • Balances pH levels on the scalp
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Shampoo may cause hair dryness
  • Conditioner is very thick

Feedback from Experts and Users

“It leaves my scalp feeling clean but not stripped of moisture. And it is VERY gentle, doesn’t irritate skin at all.”

– Anonymous, Amazon

6. Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Hydrating Conditioner – Best for Damaged Hair

Detailed review

For damaged hair, Mielle Organics offers an organic conditioner made from ingredients that will nurse your hair back to life as soon as possible.

It encourages healthy hair growth, too, by protecting hair from heat damage.

The conditioner restores your hair from root to tip, so the whole strand is sure to be soft and shiny. You’ll be left with strong hair for sure!

Main ingredients

  • Water, Avocado Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Mongongo Kernel Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Olive Fruit Oil, Coconut Oil

This conditioner offers long-lasting hydration. Thanks to that, you can style your hair without worrying about damage!

Pros

  • Ultra-moisturizing
  • Protects hair from heat damage
  • Suitable for all hair types

Cons

  • Runs out fast

Feedback from Experts and Users

“Best conditioner I’ve ever used. Smells incredible and leaves my hair feeling smoother and hydrated.”

– Anonymous, Mielle Organics

7. Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo – Best for Dry Hair

Detailed review

Kinky Curly uses the power of plant extracts in their clarifying shampoo to revive your dull hair.

It gets rid of buildup and grease while retaining your hair’s moisture balance and natural oils. Of course, it restores moisture to dry hair too.

It also softens hard water, which helps prevent future hard water buildup.

The product also acts as an antiseptic and has anti-fungal properties to create a safe environment for healthy hair.

Main ingredients

  • Water, Mandarin Orange Extract, Organic Marigold Flower, Organic White Willow Bark, Organic Sea Kelp, c14-16 Olefin Sulfonate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine (from coconut), Sea Salt

It comprises spearmint extract, tea tree oil, and baobab oil that nourish, moisturize, and cleanse the strands efficiently.

The shampoo boosts the scalp’s health while also adding luster to your strands and provide the required hydration.

If your hair has been lately feeling protein overdosed, then it’s time to treat it with this effective shampoo.

Pros

  • Provides shiness and smoothness
  • Keeps high level of hydration

The Cons

  • Doesn’t work for oily and normal hair

8. As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo – Best for Curly Hair

Detailed review

Curly hair might be difficult to manage as it can be prone to slow growth, breakage, and dryness.

Just from the name, you can trust As I Am to make your hair soft, manageable, and frizz-free.

The ingredients also result in strong hair strands, helping prevent early hair thinning and loss. It can even stop early graying!

Main ingredients

  • Water, Coconut Fruit Powder, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Powder, Tangerine Fruit Extract, Fragrance/Parfum, Citric Acid

As I Am’s formula also soothes scalp irritation. It will even help treat scalp infections and dandruff.

Pros

  • Strengthens hair
  • Controls loss and thinning of hair
  • Can help manage scalp infections

Cons

  • Can be drying for thin hair

Feedback from Experts and Users

“I absolutely love how my curls look after using this shampoo. They have so much definition and spring. It does a great job cleaning but does not dry out my hair.”

– Anonymous, As I Am

9. Briogeo Farewell Frizz Conditioning Spray – Best for Frizzy Hair

Detailed review

Protein overload can cause already-frizzy locks to become dry, dull, and brittle.

Briogeo’s protein-free conditioner prevents that by deeply moisturizing and conditioning your strands to keep your hair shiny and healthy.

96% of the ingredients are naturally-sourced, so you’re confident it’s very safe too!

Main ingredients

  • Water, Glycerin, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Cetrimonium Chloride, Grapefruit Peel Oil

The leave-in conditioner is gentle and convenient enough that you can easily incorporate it into your hair care routine every day!

Pros

  • Manages frizz
  • Protects hair from heat damage
  • Safe for color- and chemically-treated hair

Cons

  • Not very effective on thick hair

Feedback from Experts and Users

“The product smells fresh and stays after the hair dries. The spray is light and airy, without weighing the hair [down].”

– Anonymous, Briogeo

10. Shea Moisture Baobab & Tea Tree Oils – Best for Color-Treated Hair

Detailed review

This clarifying shampoo will gently clean the residue on your scalp without drying it out.

Ingredients like tea tree oil moisturize and soothe the scalp. Meanwhile, baobab oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, helping deeply moisturize your hair.

Shea Moisture’s protein-free shampoo is great for dyed hair since it doesn’t strip hair of its moisture. Instead, it can even help your hair recover if it’s been chemically treated.

Main ingredients

  • Water, Propanediol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Shea Butter, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Menthol, Spearmint Leaf Extract, Clary Sage Extract

This product will keep your hair moisturized without causing surface buildup!

Pros

  • Can help protect against thinning patches
  • Prevents greasiness
  • Doesn’t dry the scalp

The Cons

  • Some find the smell confusing

Feedback from Experts and Users

“This detangler is amazing it has great slip, makes your hair so soft and keeps your hair moisturized. If your hair gets tangled easily I RECOMMEND this product. I had so many problems with frizz and nothing helped, this just kept every curl in place and kept my hair frizz free.”

– Anonymous, Amazon

When Should You Use Protein-Free Shampoo and Conditioner?

The times when you should use a protein-free shampoo and conditioner are when:

  • You naturally have low-porosity hair – This also means you have protein-sensitive hair, so your hair won’t respond well to protein treatments. Instead, you might feel like your hair is stiff and hard after you apply products. That’s because low-porosity hair will hardly absorb moisture — and protein will only suck the moisture out of the strands, causing brittle hair.
  • You have protein buildup – This is caused by too much protein and not enough moisture on the scalp. Even if you don’t have low-porosity hair, protein buildup will still be a problem. You’ll notice it if your hair is dry, brittle, and harder to style than it should be.

How Often Can I Use Protein-Free Shampoos and Conditioners?

Generally, you should use your protein-free shampoo and conditioner two to three times a week.

However, the goal is to maintain the right balance between protein and moisture. Because of that, depending on your natural hair, you may need to use protein-free products more or fewer times than the average.

What Proteins Should I Avoid in Hair Products?

The proteins that hair products contain depend on where the company sources them.

Because of that, some common proteins you should be wary of in your hair products include:

  • Amino acids
  • Rice protein
  • Quinoa protein
  • Hydrolyzed proteins
    • Keratin
    • Oat flour
    • Silk
    • Silk protein
    • Soy protein
    • Wheat protein
    • Collagen

How Do I Fix and Get Rid of Protein Overload in My Hair?

If you’ve noticed that you have protein overload hair, there are several ways to counteract that.

Some things you can do to fix protein overload are:

  • Regularly soak your hair in warm water and use clarifying shampoo.
  • Trim around two inches of split ends where protein might have accumulated.
  • Don’t use heat styling tools, hair dye, or any other protein treatment as long as your hair is showing signs of damage.

How Can You Moisturize Your Hair Without Protein?

There are many trusted protein-free shampoos on the market these days — and most of them will also moisturize your hair.

However, some will only act as a gentle cleansing shampoo to create a healthy environment that will encourage new hair growth.

In these cases, you can follow up your hair care routine with a protein-free conditioner for moisturized hair.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Protein-Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Every protein-free product is different.

So, aside from ensuring the product you’re getting is protein-free, you’ll also need to pay attention to several factors. These include:

  • Your natural hair – Your natural hair plays a huge part in deciding which product to buy. If you have relaxed hair, you’ll want something that can also prevent frizz and flyaways. If your hair is naturally curly, you can focus on something that will prevent dryness and breakage since it’s prone to that.
  • Ingredients – If you’re sensitive to fragrances, steer clear of products that have those. Or, if you’re allergic to coconut, check if your shampoo has virgin coconut oil. That’s because manufacturers tend to use coconut oil in exchange for protein. Align the ingredients of your product with what you want to happen with your hair too. So, if you’re dealing with exceptionally dry hair, ingredients like avocado and olive oil are great options.
  • Price – You should consider the price alongside how often you plan to use the shampoo. If you have protein-sensitive hair, then it might be your main shampoo. As such, you might want something that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. But if you won’t be using it as much, then you might be able to afford something a bit pricier.

Conclusion – Why Do We Consider Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo the Best?

There are many protein-free shampoos on the market these days. But our #1 pick is Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo.

This gentle shampoo will strip your scalp of impurities WITHOUT messing with your hair’s natural composition. It’s even gentle enough to be used every day!

This sulfate-free shampoo contains ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil to deeply moisturize your hair follicles and keep the whole hair healthy. It even slows down graying.

Best Choice

Amazon best-selling product B008R42AA4

Our rating

Aunt Jackie’s Oh So Clean! Moisturizing & Softening Shampoo

  • Coconut Oil Monoethanolamide
  • Shea Butter
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have more questions on low-porosity hair and protein-free shampoos? We got you covered below:

aida turner

Aida

Founder & Hair Beauty Specialist

I’m Aida and this is my blog where I write mostly about beauty and make up related stuff, but I like to spice it up a bit with lifestyle and photography posts. Or with whatever that comes to my mind. Hope you will enjoy the reading enough that we will ‘see’ each other more often!