What to do if you’re in Protein Overload

by Gaia Tonanzi

Protein overload can cause hair to lose its elasticity, becoming stiff and more prone to breakage. But don’t worry, there’s simple ways you can go about fixing your protein overload and returning to gorgeous, healthy hair. 


If you’re in protein overload, this means you have used too many products with proteins in your routine, which have accumulated on your hair making it stiffer than needed. You have lost your protein moisture balance.

Hair in protein overload will have some distinctive symptoms:

  • If you pull one strand of hair it will have no elasticity, but instead it will snap and break
  • The hair will feel dry, brittle and stringy, because it won’t have enough moisture to stretch and support elasticity
  • The hair will lose shine and look dull
  • You will have more frizz than normal, a wiry, stringy type of frizz
  • You may notice additional shedding, due to the hair breaking when brushing

Whilst none of the signs of protein overload sound good, there are easy ways you can go about addressing the issue. Check your current haircare products and if they include protein ingredients, amino acids or keratin make sure you only use these products every few washes, or you use less of them at the same time. Finding out your hair porosity will help guide you in how many protein-rich products you should keep into your routine.  


Restoring the protein moisture balance in your hair takes a few simple steps. From removing excess protein, to deep conditioning, your locks can be restored to all their glory in no time!

To restore your curly hair balance, you should first clarify your hair and scalp. We recommend using our Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic, to remove product build up that can contain protein residues. It also works to strengthen the scalp’s natural microbiome, creating the perfect healthy scalp environment for your hair follicles to grow healthy hair.

Balancing moisture and protein is essential for beautiful, healthy hair. So after clarifying, follow with a moisturizing deep hair treatment such as our Double Cream Deep Quencher. This should be left on the hair for at least 30min, allowing it to really hydrate the hair. On your next wash day, avoid using any protein products. 

Going forward, make sure to use less protein-rich products in your routine. You can substitute them with hydrating formulas that are gentle on the hair. Our Moisture Recipes collection has a fabulous range of products perfect for just this.

About Curlsmith 

We specialize in curl loving products to give you the hair you dream of. Working in collaboration with trichologists and hair stylists we have created formulas to tackle all your curly girl problems. From leave-in conditioners, to co-washes, to clarifying shampoos, our products combine natural ingredients and kitchen cupboard staples. We’re also proud to be cruelty free.