I saw this topic online so I figured I'd post my answer here.
PROTEIN made my hair thrive and grow longer than ever. My last relaxer was April 2, 2010. By that summer I was APL for the first time ever and I hit BSL for the first time ever in December/January of 2011. Immediately after I had the Aveda Disaster. Can't win 'em all!
Before the forums, my hair was a mushy, over-moisturized mess. I used a lot of random products without reading any ingredient labels. If it promised volume or shine, I was sold. My hair practices weren't great. I was impatient and rough with my hair. I assumed that breakage was shedding. I blow dried and then flat ironed my hair 2-3 times a week. I was insane.
My first encounter with protein was Aphogee 2-minute reconstructor. I started a regimen and began washing my hair every other week. One week moisturizing products, the other week a protein treatment. I rotated this until the bottle ran out.
Joico K-Pak Reconstructor product I tried. I didn't have a problem with the Aphogee. At this point my hair was thriving, but I had found a board member with my ideal hair so I started using the products that she used. I'm lucky that our hair had similar likes, because this could have caused a setback. I don't recommend blindly following someone else just because you like their hair. As a natural, I still use K-pak reconstructor and the entire line in between my henna treatments.