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Curly Nikki

Can I Over-Condition?

By January 27th, 202118 Comments
Can I Over-Condition?
by Shelli of Hairscapades 
Back in the day … like 2 years ago, you couldn’t tell me that there was such a thing as
over-conditioning. As a 12 year natural, the first thing that I would
tell anyone transitioning, newly natural or interested in natural was,
“Condition, condition and condition again! There is no such thing as
over-conditioning!” Well, to tell you the truth, I still pretty much
stand by that statement. Buuuuutttttt, here’s the thing. That’s
because I think the term “over-conditioned” is a bit of a misnomer. I
think most of us, when we are seeking an answer to that question, want
to know whether we can over-moisturize our hair. And the answer to that is yes … a fact that I learned the hard way.

Out in the “real world” overconditioning, or
“tipping too far” on the moisture side of the protein/moisture balance,
is virtually rare …

The problem of overconditioning seems to
arise once the individual has been indoctrinated into all things hair.
By now, she has figured out which products are protein-based and which
are more moisture leaning-and here, the tendency to over moisturize
tends to develop. She develops an aversion to protein and throws all of
her resources into achieving a perpetual “moisture high.” The
proliferation of true “protein overload” stories may have gotten her to
this point! She knows that there is a gentle, often tricky balance to
maintain but she puts all of her eggs in her moisturizing basket just to
be safe. She may even realize that different proteins have different
properties, and some actually improve the hair’s elasticity rather than
toughen the strands-but she’s not taking any chances with protein
period. This aversion causes her to moisturize and overcondition her
hair until the cows come home.
In 2010, I discovered the term, “protein sensitivity” and
thought that I’d finally diagnosed the problem that I had with many
products formulated for black/”ethnic” hair. These products, especially
the conditioners, most often made my hair hard when wet and brittle and
hay-like once dry. So, when I discovered that this was because they
contained protein, I started to avoid anything with protein like the
plague. Instead, I began using henna as my strengthening treatment.
However, an over-zealous henna routine (i.e. multiple full-length
treatments in a short period of time) resulted in significant
Therefore, in 2011, I started doing roots
only treatments of henna, for color and strength without the resultant
curl-loosening. But, I didn’t incorporate anything else to strengthen
the length of my strands. By October 2011, my hair felt incredibly soft,
but it was also flyaway, snagged at the slightest touch and was
shedding (and probably breaking) like crazy. Every time I touched my
hair, strands were littering my hands. At this point, I realized that I
had omitted an important part of my regimen: strength. I began
researching protein and revisited it after learning how to use it the right way (see this post for deets).

Revisiting Protein – ApHogee

After my first ApHogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor, I saw an
IMMEDIATE difference in the feel of my hair … it was harder, but
hard-strong, not dry or brittle … and my shedding/breakage drastically
decreased. So, I was a convert and began to incorporate protein into my
regimen more regularly, typically every 3-4 weeks.
Then, in February, I tried my first (and
thus far, only) heavy-duty ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment. It went
well and I would have done more, except that I didn’t have the proper
bonnet dryer to safely and efficiently dry the first step.
Enter Aubrey Organics GPB
Back in May, I decided to try Aubrey GPB (Glycogen Protein
Balancing) Conditioner for the first time. Something happened that I
haven’t seen in a long, long, looooooong time … my shed hair
was curly!!! That’s right. I’m a natural with curly/wavy hair who is
telling you that I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d seen curly
shed hair … maybe a year or two? My strands just seemed wavy and some
were essentailly straight. But, after my first GPB treatment, I looked
at my shower stall and, to my surprise, saw curly strands for
the first time in ages! And, I got excited!! Every wash session with
Aubrey GPB, the amount of curly strands seem to increase! This past
Saturday, after my haircut, I had a shed hair that was a complete,
collapsed coil and I ran into the living room to show Wei! I told him,
“I know that this seems silly, but I’m so excited because my curls are
back!! It’s a coil!!” 
Can I Over-Condition?
Now, this isn’t an entirely fair comparison, but I had to show you a pic
of my “curls” (i.e. waves) in February and my curls (i.e. CURLS! *lol*)
now. The reason the comparison isn’t really fair is because I got a
haircut last week to get rid of my henna-loosened ends and my hair is
freshly washed after being straight for 2 weeks in the pic on the left
whereas, in the pic on the right, it is 7 days old and shrunken.
Can I Over-Condition?Can I Over-Condition?
So, what’s my point in all of this? First, I wanted to clarify
the term over-conditioned, because I think that most of us call both
moisturizing and protein-based post-wash treatments “conditioners.”
Therefore, when I say that “over-conditioned” is somewhat of a misnomer,
it is because I think that most of us are really referring to
over-moisturizing the hair and not using too much protein. We tend to
refer to the latter as “protein overload.” Second, we can dip too far to
either side and the key is to give our hair what it needs when it needs
it. Sometimes it’s moisture, sometimes it’s strength/protein. So, how
do you know what your hair needs? It’s all about elasticity.
  • Take a few strands of shed hair and hold one set of ends in the
    fingertips of one hand. Then lightly tug and release the other ends with
    your other fingers.
  • Does your hair stretch and stay there (i.e. it doesn’t shrink back like a spring)? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your normally curly hair appear limp and curl-less? Then you probably need protein.
  • Does your hair snap/break immediately or quickly? Then you probably need moisture.
  • Does your hair stretch, then spring back? Sounds like you have the perfect balance of protein and moisture!
The above is nothing new and you’ve probably
read it before. So, what I hope to add to the conversation is what I
think that I’ve learned.
  • One, the fact that my shed hair no longer had any curl was an
    indicator that something was off. Though a variety of factors can
    contribute to this, over-moisturizing should have been one of the “Usual
  • Second, Aubrey GPB restored the curl that I thought had somehow been
    lost. That says to me that not all proteins are created equal for all
    people. Though my shedding/breakage decreased drastically with the
    ApHogee 2 Minute Reconstructor and the 2 Step Treatment, my shed hair
    still had little to no curl. However, with the introduction of Aubrey
    GPB, my curls are springing back to life and elasticity is returning in
    leaps and bounds.
So, all this to say, if you have avoided
protein and your strands have become limp and lifeless and your curls
have seemed to all but disappear, you may want to try experimenting with
different types of protein. However, remember, just as
“over-moisturizing/conditioning” is a real thing, so is
protein-overload. And, it’s easier to correct over-moisturized hair than
hair with too much protein. So, do your research, proceed with caution
and always listen to your hair!
How do you know when you need moisture or protein? Have you
experimented with protein treatments/conditioners/reconstructors? Which
one(s) have you found work(s) the best for you? 

CN Says:
Funny Shelli should mention GPB.  I went on a PJ run a few days ago and picked up Aveeno’s Conditioner (impressed, especially since the price is right) and Aubrey’s GPB.  I remembered it being super slippery, strengthening yet moisturizing, oh and did I mention super slippery?! It detangles like an Aussie or  Herbal Essence conditioner!  Check out my original review HERE.  
After 3 years, I will most certainly add it back to my regimen… it never left my hair hard or dry like some other protein conditioners, specifically ones containing hydrolized wheat too far up on the list.


  • Anonymous says:

    Great post. I actually never thought I could "over condition" my hair being that I suffer for dry scale and dry hair. However when I started use the shea mostiure products specifically the smoothie (I forget what its called) my hair did a complete 180 and started breaking even more than when my hair was too dry. Happy with how supple my hair felt but horrified at how much it was breaking I stopped using it. Now I think I'll try adding a some type of protien treatment and try using it again being that I did really like the product. Finding the proper balance is key and a bit tricky but its all about trial and error to get the result ya want. Thanks again

  • Anonymous says:

    I use Aubrey GPB everytime I wash my hair. I have been using it for over a year and I love it. It is a light protein conditioner. I shampoo with SheaMoisture Shampoo and I use yes to carrots when I want to co-wash but Aubrey GPB is my go to condish.

  • drea says:

    Sounds great I use Nature's Gate herbal daily conditioning conditioner it has all kinds of good ingredients including chamomile ,lavender and it also has soy proteins and panthenol which adds strength and shine to hair and vegetable proteins which condition and moisturize and reduce the appearance of split ends. It sounds pretty similar to Aubrey organic GBP since this conditioner is pretty balanced. I got it at whole foods for 7.29 for an 18oz which isn't bad.

  • Unknown says:

    i love Aubrey Organics GPB! I get the peppermint rosemary one. I use it every week as my staple deep conditioner.

  • Anonymous says:

    You can over-moisturize, I was "baggying" for a little while, like a week, and my curls almost disappeared. As soon as I quit, my curls recovered.

  • Anonymous says:

    I LOVE Aubrey Organics GBP–I tried to use the Aphogee 2 step a couple of months ago and it dried my hair up like it was nobody's business. My usually soft, fluffy, moisturized hair was dry, tight, and angry. lol

    I use GBP every other week with my steamer–so far so good. It does the job in an all natural way without taking out all of the moisture–love it!


  • Annabel says:

    Great post, I love AOHSR and will try AOGBP as well. I had the opposite occur when I was going natural… I used too much protein. Now, I assess once per month whether my hair needs it or not (spring test: gently tug coil, if it quickly bounces back, not needed, if it just sits there I do a treatment). Also if my hair is breaking at the touch of my finger, I typically add in protein. Currently, I use Nivea Cashmere conditioner, which has rice protein or add a little silk protein to a moisturizing conditioner.

  • Anonymous says:

    I just use egg protein from eggs or silk or my one n's only argan oil mask with moisture and keratin protein, only when I straighten my hair I use keratin or eggs mixed with coconut oil. I use silk every week because it softens,but not wheat protein even if it is lower on the list my becomes like hay. I use moisture more and protein in small amounts.

    Megan Montgomery

  • Anonymous says:

    Had it in my hands today and put it back!

  • Lola says:

    Very good information. Going to try the GPB. Have heard only good things about it.

  • Nikell says:

    So informative! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Anonymous says:

    uh yeah you can over condition..and I know first hand.

    When I first went natural I stayed on these message boards and tried to incorporate every bit of advice from natural veterans.

    I co-washed, oiled, moistured, sprayed, sealed, co-washed, conditioned, deep-conditioned with heat, eliminated proteins, etc. Chiled my hair was so moisturized it was never dry. My hair was limp, and lifeless. It broke off at the touch. It was hair was thriving simply washing my hair with a moisturizing shampoo, regular conditioning it and callin it a day! It took me a good trim and literally leaving my hair alone for a month to get it back.

    Lesson learned.

  • Anonymous says:

    I like to use aphogee keratin reconstructor & if I want a lighter protein treatment I add an egg to my henna gloss.

    Brooke B.

  • Anonymous says:

    I layered GPB and 2 Minute ApHogee. My hair felt strong and moisterized. The two products were great by themselves, over the top when mixed together. I had curls for days, my hair was soft and stronger. I will be using this at least twice a month.

  • hairscapades says:

    I started using the Aubrey GPB last month and haven't used the 2 Minute ApHogee Reconstructor since nor do I have any plans to re-up on it. I wash weekly and have been using the Aubrey Honeysuckle rose for 2 weeks and the GPB on week 3, then repeat. I also mix it both Vatika oil. It seems some use it as frequently as every wash though and others use it less frequently (maybe once a month). So, again, I think that you have to decide what works best for you. I may go to an every other week schedule and see how my hair does … or maybe I won't:). Once every 3 weeks is working okay for right now. One thing I'll mention as well is that it works when I follow the deep condition directions …. meaning, I apply it to dry hair before shampooing. I leave it in more than the 15 minutes they indicate though. I leave it overnight or for an hour or two, depending on what I'm doing. Then, I shampoo with diluted DevaCare One No Poo and my hair has detangled like a dream thus far.

    Thank you!


  • The Curly Oenophile says:

    Interesting. When I still had relaxed hair, I tried a keratin protein treatment. The application was normal but as soon as the water hit, my hair felt hard like hay! In retrospect, I may have used too much. I may give protein another try. I used the Organix Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy Hydrating Keratin. I won't be trying that one again though. Thanks for the heads up on this conditioner.

  • amyahsmom says:

    Wondering the same thing Anonymous. I have mostly relaxed strands and am considering transitioning (again). Should I use GPB every week when I wash my hair, or every 3-4 weeks like I would an Aphogee treatment??

  • Anonymous says:

    So how often do you use the Aubrey Organics GPB and do you still use the Aphogee Reconstructor?

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