If you are a follower of the Curly Girl Method, you’ve probably heard everyone talking about protein. Protein is the building block of hair and is essential for your curls to stay healthy. Here’s our guide to the best Curly Girl approved protein products on the market today.
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
|Top Top||Cantu Natural Complete Conditioning Co-Wash, Shea Butter 283 g||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel 473 ml||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||Noughty To The Rescue Moisture Boost Conditioner||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||Giovanni Smooth as Silk Conditioner 250 ml||Buy on Amazon|
|Top||Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner, 8 oz||Buy on Amazon|
Why Is Protein Important To Hair
Approximately 85-95% of your hair is made of keratin and amino acids which are proteins. Keratin keeps your hair strands strong and healthy but these can be damaged by repeated heat styling and chemical treatments.
When this happens, the structural wall of your hair (the cuticle) is broken down and your hair can turn frizzy and brittle.
Too much damage to the cuticle can lead to conditions such as moisture overload, whereby your hair becomes limp and soft.
If the structural integrity of your hair is broken down too much, this can lead to hygral fatigue which is not easily reversible.
In this case, water will penetrate your hair strands and stretch out the hair so that it expands. Once the water evaporates, your hair strands remain stretched and weak and can then easily snap.
It’s therefore very important to use protein in your hair products if you’ve exposed your curls to chemical or heat styling in the past.
Also Read: The Curly Girl Method – Easy Refresh Routine
Signs Your Curls Are Lacking Protein
These are the common signs to look out for:
- Hair feels limp and stretchy
- Your hair has been color treated
- More breakage than usual
- Hair feels too soft and flat
- Curls have stopped forming
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may well benefit from adding protein products into your Curly Girl routine.
Remember, in general curls need to retain more moisture as it is harder for natural oils to reach the end of curly hair strands than it is for straight hair.
It’s therefore vital that you repair the cuticles of your hair so that moisture doesn’t evaporate. Using protein products will help achieve this.
Of course, if you suffer from protein overload then avoid protein treatments in general.
If your hair feels stiff, hay-like, or dry, try a non-protein CG product instead. This is especially the case for those who have low porosity hair as their hair cuticles are often more compact than high porosity hair.
This means that it’s harder for moisture to penetrate and evaporate and so you should be focussing on hydrating products instead.
The Best Curly Girl Approved Protein Products
This list contains all our favorite CG products containing protein as per the ingredients list.
Skip to the product type you’re interested in:
- Curly girl Approved Protein Co-washes
- Curly girl Approved Protein Conditioners
- Curly girl Approved Protein Gels
- Curly girl Approved Protein Deep Conditioners
Curly girl Approved Protein Co-washes
The As I Am Itchy Scalp Co-wash is a great moisturizing and soothing cleanser that helps improve impurities in hair by 98%. Effective for those who suffer from dry, sensitive, and itchy scalps. Contains olive oil and tea tree oil which helps Help prevent itchiness and Zinc Pyrithione which actively eliminates yeast and bacterial growth. Use alongside As I Am Itchy Scalp Conditioner for best results.
The Purify Me Moisturizing Co-Wash Cleanser from Aunt Jackie’s is great for those who suffer from dry hair which needs detangling. This creamy triple-action cleanser washes away impurities and product build-up while replenishing moisture and softness back into your curls. Contains flaxseed which is known for preventing hair thinning and shedding. Gentle enough to use daily.
The Cantu co-wash is a gentle cleanser which removes heavy product build-up. It contains a blend of over 15 natural butters and oils and helps to keep your scalp clean and moisturized. A great alternative to conditioner if you need a thorough cleanse on wash-day.
This is a really popular coconut co-wash cleanser from SheaMoisture. Helps to clean waves and curls without harsh ingredients and moisturizes dry and damaged hair. The product contains coconut oil which hydrates your hair and added silk protein helps to keep your locks shiny. Can be used regularly on wash days and will help to keep your curls tangler and frizz-free.
Curly girl Approved Protein Conditioners
This affordable conditioner from XHC is enriched with banana which leaves your hair feeling shiny, moisturized and smooth. The conditioner has a lovely scent and helps clean hair from impurities and product build-up. The texture is rich and therefore aids in producing soft and tangle-free curls. Suitable for everyday use.
SheaMoisture is a very popular brand with the CG community and their Coconut and Hibiscus conditioner is a firm favourite. Great for those with thick hair as the product has a rich, creamy texture which helps soften hair. The conditioner detangles dry, frizzy hair and infuses your curls with intense moisture.
This popular conditioner from Noughty Haircare contains a unique blend of plant oils which help restore and smoothe damaged hair. The hydrating formula which contains shea butter and coconut oil helps to reduce frizz and breakage. An affordable product that is gentle enough for everyday use.
Giovanni’s Smooth As Silk Conditioner is a budget-friendly CG friendly product that works well for a light-weight condition. It helps to detangle knots while increasing shine and protecting against split ends. This product is vegan and can be used daily.
This reparative conditioner from Aunt Jackie’s contains grapeseed oil, castor oil and tamanu oil for maximum hydration. This conditioner helps to repair damaged and dry hair and you should notice a different after the first wash. Can be used as an intensive repair treatment as well as a regular rinse-out conditioning treatment. Best used after a clarifying co-wash.
Curly girl Approved Protein Gels
This light gel from Bounce Curl is 80% gel and 20% cream which helps to lock in the shape of your curls whilst providing optimal hydration. It is vegan, colorsafe and its lightweight formula will allow you to create maximum volume. For best results, mix with other Bounce Curls products if needed.
This eco styler olive oil gel contains 100% pure olive oil and provides a medium to strong hold. Great for CG beginners and for those looking for budget friendly gels. The eco gel works great when layering with cremes or mousses and leaves your hair with a healthy shine. You may need more than you think for a superior crunchy cast but the gel is super lightweight and doesn’t leave white flakes.
The Giovanni La Hold Styling Gel offers a strong hold for your curls. This gel is colorsafe, cruelty free and won’t break the bank. Perfect for those who need extra frizz-control and if you’re looking for more defined curls. The formula contains moisturising ingredients such as aloe vera leaf juice, lavender extract and grapefruit.
This gel from Aunt Jackie’s is a styling gel that lasts all day. It contains moisturizing ingredients such as flaxseed, Shea Butter and extra virgin olive oil which helps to give bounce to your curly locks. The gel offers a really great hold without flaking or caking. Use more product if you have tighter curls.
Curly girl Approved Protein Deep conditioners
The Algae Renew Deep Conditioner from Camille Rose is full of incredible ingredients to help revitalise your curls. The formula contains a blend of blue green algae, mango and cocoa butter, as well as 65 minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. A fantastic deep conditioner that will help restore damaged hair.
This is a replenishing organic hair conditioner from Mielle. It works by reducing frizz and flyaways and infuses your hair with protein and rich hydration. The unique formula is made with babassu oil that contains sterols and tocopherols which helps protect your scalp. You’ll also find fatty acids, natural oils and complex amino acids which hydrate and give shine to your curls.
This hair mask offers an intensive reparative treatment guaranteed to prevent breakage. It contains blueberry extract, aloe leaf juice and chamomile extract which helps to protect your natural curls. Use once a week as part of your CG routine for bouncy, soft and hydrated curls.
This restorative treatment mask from SheaMoisture helps to prevent breakage and shedding. It is formulated with Jamaican black castor oil as well as Shea butter and should be used once a week for a deep condition. A firm favorite amongst many followers of the Curly Girl Method and works particularly well on heat damaged and chemically treated hair.
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