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5 Protein-Free Hair Masks for a Balanced Mane

Hair needs protein to thrive, but protein overload is a real thing. With so many products on the shelves these days boasting protein as their main benefit, it’s no surprise that people are searching for an alternative that is actually protein-free. If you’re looking for a protein-free hair mask, then scroll on!

Person with a protein-free hair mask on their dark hair | Mane Addicts
(via Getty)

Why Should I Avoid Protein?

For some, protein can be a bit too much. Just like our bodies and skin, too much of a good thing is a real thing. Many haircare brands claim that protein is the cure to your hair woes, but in fact, it can actually exacerbate them.

Protein overload is pretty much how it sounds. When too much protein is pumped into the hair via products and treatment, the hair stops accepting other forms of nourishment. This means that moisture and other necessary vitamins and minerals cannot make their way inside of the hair strand.

Protein overload often shows up in the form of stiff, straw-like hair. It can even feel gummy or almost cotton candy-like. Hair experiencing a protein overload can snap easier and feel heavy and lifeless. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, check the backs of your product bottles. You may find that many of them contain protein. Look for words like hydrolyzed (wheat, oat, soy) protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed collagen, and amino acids (silk, milk, wheat, etc.).

If these texture troubles have been getting your hair down, it’s time to try out some protein-free hair masks.

Best Protein-Free Hair Masks

The Best of the Best: As I Am Hydration Elation Conditioner

The Hydration Elation Conditioner from As I Am is a much-loved favorite that everyone is talking about. This intensive protein-free hair mask boosts shine and moisturizes deeply within the hair shaft. It’s also infused with herbal ingredients that help promote healthy hair growth from a follicular level. Best of all, it is insanely affordable.

As I Am Hydration Elation Conditioner
(via As I Am)

All Organic: Mielle Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner

Another much-loved favorite, Mielle’s Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner is tied for first place. This organic option is also incredibly affordable and formulated for all hair types. Made with almond oil, sacha inchi oil, and Sub-Saharan African mongongo oil, this protein-free treatment delivers long-lasting moisture and results.

Mielle's Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner
(via Mielle Organics)

Double Duty: Biolage Ultra Hydrasource Conditioning Balm

Biolage’s Hydrasource Conditioning Balm works not only as a deep treatment but as a regular use conditioner for extremely dry hair. Made with aloe, apricot kernel oil, and cupuacu butter, this conditioner is safe for color-treated manes and will help smooth out thick and coarse strands.

Biolage Ultra Hydrosource Conditioning Balm
(via Ulta)

For Over Processed Hair: Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Hair Mask

Carol’s Daughter started in Brooklyn in 1993 and has had its hand in transforming the world of natural haircare. Their Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Hair Mask is made with powerful ingredients like aloe, almond oil, shea oil, and rosemary leaf extract. These ingredients work together to soothe the most damaged and over-processed hair.

Carol's Daughter Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Hair Mask
(via Carol’s Daughter)

For Day To Day Care: Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner

For a protein-free mask you can use daily, try the brand Giovanni. Giovanni offers a Balanced Hydrating and Calming Conditioner that deeply moisturizes and restores ultra-dry hair without protein overload. Using a blend of organic oils and botanical extracts, stressed tresses will find themselves revitalized and frizz-free. This particular conditioner is also color-safe and vegan-friendly.

Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner
(via Giovanni)

Thinking you may need some protein? HERE’s what protein really does for your hair and when you need it!



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