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Curly Hair Care: 11 Best Protein-Free Deep Conditioners

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Protein plays a vital role in hair health as a primary element for strength. However, excessive reliance on protein-based products can result in dry, brittle hair that may lead to breakage. With our curated list of protein-free deep conditioners for curly hair, you can take charge of your hair’s protein intake. Although protein is essential, an overabundance can cause issues, emphasizing the importance of mindful product selection.

Protein-Free Deep Conditioners for Curly Hair

For your ease of reference, we have provided the ingredient lists for each product. Nevertheless, it is important to know that these lists may be outdated. Therefore, we recommend referring to the information on the product bottle for the most accurate and current details.

#1 Alikay Naturals Avocado Moisture Repairing Mask

Labels can be a bit tricky! Sometimes, when a product boasts about being a “repairing” mask, it might actually contain protein. But here’s something unique about Alikay Naturals—they’ve crafted a mask that’s completely protein-free.

How? By infusing it with shea butter, olive oil, and avocado. These ingredients work wonders by providing deep moisture and repairing your strands without using any protein. So you can revitalize your hair without worrying about protein overload!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol(Coconut derived), Stearalkonium Chloride(Coconut derived), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(Aloe Vera Juice), Persea Gratissima (Avocado Oil), Persea Gratissima (Avocado Butter), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Oil), Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Citric Acid, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ Oil), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Natural Detangling Agent), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Sorbic Acid(Food Grade Preservative), Arctium lappa (Burdock) Root, Fragrance (Parfum), Color additives, Botanical Blend Ingredients.

#2 As I Am Classic Hydration Elation

The As I Am Classic Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner stands out as a top-tier deep moisturizer, highly favored among many curly girls in the curly hair community (including me!). Packed with herbal goodness, it not only boosts manageability but also elevates the overall health of your hair.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Betaine, Cetyl Esters, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Quaternium-91, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Phytosterols, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Fragrance/Parfum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Ppg-1 Trideceth-6, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Abies Balsamea (Balsam Canada) Resin, Limonene. *Certified Organic.

#3 Aussie 3-Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner

Revive your parched hair in just three minutes with this transformative formula designed to replenish and hydrate. Using a blend of various oils, this treatment effectively locks in moisture. However, if you strictly follow the Curly Girl Method,1 take note that it contains silicone and might not align with your routine.

Ingredients: Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Fragrance, Glutamic Acid, BIS-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

#4 Camille Rose Algae Renew Deep Conditioning Hair Mask

Nourish and fortify your hair with this vitamin-rich, moisture-boosting treatment featuring blue-green algae, known for strengthening hair and preventing breakage. Ideal for 4C hair, it’s enriched with mango and cocoa butter to deeply moisturize and retain essential moisture.

Ingredients: Deionized Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (BTMS), Cetyl Alcohol, Theobroma Cacao ( Cocoa) Seed Butter, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Panthenol, (Honey) Mel, Vegetable Glycerin, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Phenoxyethanol (Optiphen ND), Caprylyl Glycol, Blue Green Algae, Biotin, MSM, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Phthalate Free Fragrance.

#5 Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment

If you’ve never tried this brand, then you’re truly missing out. This lightweight, moisturizing, protein-free deep conditioner uses aloe, herbs, healing butters, and oils to restore and revitalize your curls.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuaçu) Seed Butter, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Vanilla Planifolia oil, Cananga Odorata oil, (Soy) Lecithin, Fragrance/Parfum, *Benzyl Benzoate, Citric Acid.
*Fragrance Component.

#6 Curlsmith Double Cream Deep Quencher

This deep conditioning treatment was specifically formulated for ultra-dry hair. It has a thick, buttery consistency, delivering intense moisture to your curls. This is a great deep conditioner for 2C hair. Oh, and it’s a vegan formula!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Behentrimonium Chloride, Propanediol, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Cetyl Esters, Fragrance (Parfum), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Selaginella Lepidophylla (Rose Of Jericho) Extract, Carapa Guaianensis (Andiroba) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Leaf Extract, Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) Seed Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Panthenol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid, Disodium Edta, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Limonene. *Organic Ingredients.

#7 EDEN BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Strengthening Deep Conditioner

This is a hydrating, nourishing hair mask that has a thick consistency. This deep conditioner’s botanical blend of ingredients works to restore the smoothness of your hair that may have suffered from breakage.

It contains jojoba oil, tiare flower, and tea tree oil to bring nutrients and help smooth and repair hair.

It’s a strengthening formula without the protein!

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Coconut Oil, Tiare Flower, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-11, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Camomile) Flower Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor)Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid.

#8 Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment

This deep treatment does a wonderful job of moisturizing curls without weighing them down. It’s a creamy, moisturizing treatment that is made with all-natural ingredients to quench the driest curls.

It contains a blend of ultra-hydrating ingredients, including cocoa butter and shea butter, to help soften and smooth your hair.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Laurus Nobilis (Bay Laurel) Leaf Extract, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Althea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass) Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Lecithin, Cinnamal, Citral, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.

#9 OBIA Naturals Hair Care Babassu Deep Conditioner

This vegan-friendly formula enriched with babassu oil, avocado oil, and pro-vitamin B5 nurtures your hair’s natural moisture balance. This product is a reservoir of goodness for your hair and is free from sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, and a range of harmful additives. Reviews are consistently positive, making it a top recommendation.

Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Stearyl Alcohol, Vegetable Glycerin, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Seed Oil, Centrimonium Chloride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Panthenol, Gluconolactone and Sodium Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Leaf Extract), Phthalate-Free Fragrance (Parfum).

#10 Ouidad Coil Infusion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner

This product deeply conditions and moisturizes your curls, replenishing dryness with a potent blend of natural oils and botanicals. It’s worth noting it contains silicone, so if you adhere to the Curly Girl Method,1 this might not align with your preferences.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Bis-Hydroxy/Methoxy Amodimethicone, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Behentrimonium Chloride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Cetyl Esters, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Morinda Citrifolia Fruit Powder, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Leaf Extract, Cellulose, Polyquaternium-37, Quaternium-91, Palmitoyl Myristyl Serinate, BHT, Tocopherol, PEG-8/SMDI Copolymer, PEG-8, Panthenol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, C10-40 Isoalkylamidopropylethyldimonium Ethosulfate, Amodimethicone, Trideceth-12, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sodium Acetate, Vinegar, Disodium EDTA, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Isododecane, Propylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Dipropylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum).

#11 Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Moisturizing Masque 

Shea Moisture’s hair treatment is ideal for addressing dry, damaged hair, providing intense moisture and certified organic shea butter to protect and restore the hair’s natural balance. Enriched with vitamin E, argan oil, and sea kelp, it aids in repair and adds shine.

Ingredients: Water (eau), Cetearyl Alcohol, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Glycerin (Vegetable/VƒGƒTale), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter* ♥, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Behentrimonium Chloride, Brassica Alcohol, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Trehalose, Diheptyl Succinate, Brassicyl Valinate Ese, Polyquaternium_10, Sodium Chloride, Lactic Acid, Calcium Gluconate, Sodium Benzoate, Triethyl Citrate, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance (Parfum).

Understanding Protein Sensitivity in Curly Hair

Image of my daughter's hair with low porosity hair after using As I Am Hydration Elation protein free deep conditioner for curly hair.
During this period, my daughter had low-porosity hair. We found that her hair didn’t respond well to excessive protein but showed incredible results with the As I Am Hydration Elation deep conditioner.

Are you wondering if your hair is sensitive to protein? It’s a common question for many in the curly hair community. Protein-sensitive hair refers to when your hair doesn’t respond well to products containing proteins. This sensitivity can lead to various reactions, from frizz to stiffness.

The real question is if there really is such a thing as “protein sensitive.” Find out more about this phenomenon in my blog on protein-sensitive hair.

Protein-rich products are designed to mend damage along the hair shaft by filling in gaps and holes.2 But when there’s no damage to repair, the addition of protein can create issues, leading to an accumulation of protein molecules on the hair’s surface.

This buildup can leave your hair feeling stiff and straw-like, making it challenging to style. Overusing proteins is a primary reason for sensitivity for those with low porosity hair. Using the wrong protein or size for your hair type or size can also contribute.

Consider smaller protein molecules, which might be a better fit for your hair compared to larger ones. If you notice buildup, clarifying your hair is a good solution.

Maintaining balance is key. Alternating between protein-based and protein-free treatments can help prevent protein overload and keep your hair healthy and vibrant.

Is Protein Essential for Low Porosity Hair?

Consider incorporating protein if you notice breakage or reduced hair elasticity, as this could benefit your hair’s health.

It’s crucial to manage protein treatments with care to prevent potential damage. If you frequently swim in chlorinated water, timing your protein treatment after swimming can help your hair recover from the exposure.

How Frequently Should I Apply Protein?

Using protein treatments every other week or once a month might suffice if you frequently include them in your hair care routine.

Pay attention to your hair’s response to protein. If you overuse it, your hair might feel dry and brittle.

For a deeper understanding of protein used for low-porosity hair, explore articles like “Best Proteins for Low Porosity Hair.”

Common Protein Ingredients to Look For

If you’re not familiar with how to recognize proteins on a product label, here are just a few prevalent protein ingredients:

  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Keratin
  • Silk amino acids
  • Collagen
  • Peptides
  • Hydrolyzed silk protein
  • Oat
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Modified proteins, like cocodimonium hydroxypropyl hydrolyzed keratin, wheat, etc.
  • Rice

4 Key Points for Choosing a Deep Conditioner

1. Understanding Your Hair’s Needs

Selecting the right deep conditioner starts with understanding your hair’s unique requirements. If your hair has undergone chemical treatments or heat styling, a protein-rich deep conditioner can aid in restoring its strength. Conversely, if your hair feels stiff or lacks flexibility, seek a deep conditioner focused on providing moisture, such as any of those listed above. Recognizing your hair’s specific needs is crucial for finding the ideal match.

2. Protein and Moisture Balance

Protein is vital for repairing damaged hair, while moisture maintenance is key for overall hair health.3 If your hair’s requirements are uncertain, seek professional advice. Understanding your hair’s needs simplifies the selection process.

3. Embrace Natural Ingredients

Opt for protein-free deep conditioners containing natural ingredients. These elements gently nourish the scalp, offering essential vitamins, minerals, oils, and botanical extracts. Natural ingredients are typically gentle, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin or scalps.

4. Emollients and Humectants

Emollients like glycerin and propylene glycol create a smooth, non-greasy film on the hair’s surface, enhancing softness and manageability. These ingredients also aid in detangling and provide a healthy shine.4

Humectants, like honey, lock in moisture and prevent dryness. They’re ideal for hydrated and manageable hair, making detangling easier.5,6

Choosing a deep conditioner that aligns with your hair’s needs and contains natural ingredients, emollients, and humectants ensures better nourishment, moisture retention, and easier hair management.


Why is deep conditioning important?

Deep conditioning is vital for curly hair as it restores moisture, repairs damage, and enhances the overall health and appearance of the curls. However, it is not for everyone. Hair type, cuticle condition, and various other factors play a role in determining if it’s suitable for an individual’s hair.

How can I put moisture in my hair without protein?

Moisture without protein in hair can be achieved using water-based products, humectants like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera, and incorporating emollients such as natural oils (coconut, olive, or argan) to seal in moisture. Look for conditioners specifically formulated without protein and focus on regular moisturizing treatments.

These blogs feature protein-free products for curly hair:



I’m just a girl who transformed her severely damaged hair into healthy hair. I adore the simplicity of a simple hair care routine, the richness of diverse textures, and the joy of sharing my journey from the comfort of my space.

My mission? To empower others with the tools to restore, and maintain healthy hair, and celebrate the hair they were born with!

My Favourite Things

Great hair goes beyond using shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. Shop my favorite must-haves.

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Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure and make sure to pack these essential items to take with you on your journey.


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