Caring for Protein-Sensitive Hair

woman with protein sensitive hair and fine natural hair


Fine Type 4 protein sensitive hair

Okay, so you’ve put in the work. You’ve tested your curls, researched your products, and realized that you may have protein-sensitive hair. Now that you’ve learned the stiffening effects that excess protein can have on your delicate, fine curly hair, what’s next?

If you have protein-sensitive hair, the key to maintaining silky, healthy strands is to be aware of the products and ingredients you put in your hair. Rather than relying on protein-enhanced products for strength, turn to ingredients that are kinder to your fine, sensitive curls.

Wondering if you have protein-sensitive hair? Check out our easy guide to find out how you can more deeply investigate your hair’s possible sensitivities! When it comes to caring for especially delicate hair types, knowledge is power. The more you know, the better you can take care of your gorgeous curls and coils! Read on to learn more about how you can help your protein-sensitive hair thrive.

Step 1: Know Your Proteins

Proteins can be listed in your products with different names, making it a little hard to decipher what is and isn’t safe for your fine curls. By ensuring that you know these common protein terms, you are guaranteeing you can spot them under the ingredients list before your next product purchase.

      • Hydrolysis is the process in which proteins are broken down. Look out for the word hydrolyzed in your product labels, which hints that there may be excess proteins hidden within your haircare products.

      • Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They may be listed as an ingredient on your haircare as silk amino acids, or by names like glutamic acid, cysteine, and arginine.

      • Peptides are short strings of amino acids. Be wary if you see this or any other related term listed alongside your other natural ingredients!

    Step 2: Look for Natural Products Containing Protein

    Not all proteins found on the ingredients label are lab-made, chemical creations. Some natural ingredients contain hidden boosts of protein; however, unlike hydrolyzed proteins like amino acids, these are whole proteins and will likely not be as harsh.

    For this reason, some protein-sensitive curlies react just fine to whole proteins. When it comes to finding out whether or not these natural proteins will negatively affect your hair, it may be best to learn through trial and error.

    Natural ingredients that contain protein include:

        • Eggs

        • Yogurt

        • Avocado

      Typically, if used in small doses, these ingredients should still be fine. By understanding the effects that even natural protein can have and proceeding with caution, you should be able to find the information you need while protecting your delicate strands!

      Step 3: Steer Clear from Protein-Retaining Products

      Products like coconut oil and henna, as well as clay or mud washes, prevent hair from losing protein. When applied, your protein-sensitive hair may feel the same way it would after being drenched in protein-based products: stiff, brittle, and weighed down.

      Another ingredient to be cautious of is shea butter. When applied to low porosity, protein sensitive hair, its thick consistency can leave hair weighed down. For us fine-textured curlies, that can be especially disheartening, in more ways than one!

      Instead of using these protein-rich, heavy oils, turn to moisturizing products with lightweight oils. Our van + veronica Shampoo contains moisturizing ingredients such as argan oil, grapeseed oil, and apricot oil, which cleanses your hair without stripping it. Its protein-free formula works well for low porosity and protein-sensitive naturals, meaning your hair will be left strong and defined without the stiff side effects of protein imbalance!

      Step 4: Check the Order of the Labeling

      Are you trying to get in just a little bit of protein to address dull hair? Consider checking the order of ingredients of your hair products on the label.

      Most products will list products with the least amount of concentration towards the bottom of the product label. Naturals with protein-sensitive hair should typically choose products with proteins listed towards the bottom.

      Step 5: Know Which Products to Trust

      Do you have to do away with protein altogether due to your hair’s sensitivity? Absolutely not!

      Since hair is made out of keratin, you do need slight amounts of protein in order to repair keratin bonds. The trick is to use smaller-sized proteins and the right type of proteins, supported by a moisturizing treatment to add movement back to your strands. For fine haired naturals, getting that moisture from lightweight products that won’t weigh your hair down is pivotal.

      Our van + veronica Conditioner has low protein, but it is also packed with lightweight oils made for fine hair that will leave your hair feeling nourished and smooth. No stiff strands here!

      Our van + veronica Leave-In works in a similar way, relying on the power of argan oil to deeply nourish and strengthen hair, sealing the hair cuticle without weighing down fine hair. Its minimal keratin formula will keep hair protected from damage while eliminating frizz and restoring shine.

      Follow up your Leave-In with our van + veronica Styler, infused with flaxseed, which helps seal cuticles to retain moisture in your hair strand. It is humidity-resistant, low in protein, and glycerin-free to address dry and dull hair needs.

      van + veronica for Protein Sensitive Hair

      With the right care, you’ll have no problem keeping your protein-sensitive hair soft, strong, and protected. It’s all a matter of balance and learning the products that love your hair back! When used as a system our van + veronica protein sensitive hair-friendly products protect hair against breakage and leave fine curls stronger. 

      Find your protein-sensitive curly hair regimen at

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