2 questions for a 2c that's new here :) --clarifying shampoo? ponytail holders?

Hi all--

My hair is anywhere from a 2b-to-3a, so I'll just average it out and say it's a 2c I'm brand new here, and pretty happy with my hair these days, but have 2 ongoing dilemmas that arise that maybe some of you might be able to help me with. My routine is in my signature and I'm mostly happy with it!! (sorry I didn't use abbreviations but I don't understand them yet!!)

1) I recently moved from Pittsburgh to Fort Worth, TX. My hair tends to go from oily-in-a-second, to dry-in-a-second (my skin in general is like that). After I discovered the curly girl book, I followed the directions for wavy girls to-a-t for about 6mos, until I realized my hair was SO dry from the gel and my scalp SO oily from the conditioner. My hairdresser recommended coconut oil, which made a WORLD of difference, and using a shampoo on my scalp a few times/week (really getting down at the scalp and rubbing in circles), but I've continued to have some oiliness at my crown that makes my hair in that area seem very dull and gross after a day or two, even grey under some lights. I'd LOVE to use something natural for a shampoo -- but nothing so far cuts it.

About 2 months ago I started using Neutrogena Anti-Residue once/week out of desperation for my hair to just feel CLEAN in that area, darnit!! I cover my hair with conditioner prior to using the shampoo, and while it's slightly drier than it usually is the day after, it's nothing major, and it finally feels really CLEAN...I then just 'spot clean' it with something gentler a few times/week in between. But, has anyone else found anything less harsh than the Neutrogena that REALLY works to clean the hair in the crown, and get rid of the 'gunk' that builds up?? I'd be all ears!! (all curls...??)

2) This is the more pressing issue.
Generally:
-Short hair just does NOT work on me -- I much prefer it longer.
- I get warm VERY quickly/easily if my neck is warm. Ergo, wearing hair down in muggy weather=I sweat up a storm=curls are ruined for the day. (this neck thing is weird, I know).
- Fort Worth is hotter than Pittsburgh, but places here are ALWAYS air conditioned (I love Pittsburgh, but many people just can't accept that its summers are 'horribly swampy' and not 'pleasantly balmy'). In Pittsburgh, I rarely had the chance to 'cool down' as I was doing home visits for work and often clients' homes weren't AC'd. So I'd wear it in a pony tail all day. This leads to the next point --
- Ponytails are very unflattering on me.
- This has all led me many times to consider hacking off my hair.
- Last summer, before nearly doing just that, I instead taught myself to do fancy braids as a last-ditch effort. IT WORKED!! Now in the summer I can make my hair look reliably cute AND stay cool.
- BUT, I miss my curls, and as I work JUST in a very AC'd office now, no home visits I have a shot at being able to manage wearing my curls down some days!!
- EXCEPT, my hair is very pliable (except not when I want it to be!!) If I wear an elastic for even a short period, I'll get a huge, weird ridge in my curls that lasts the full day. I obviously can't be a shut in though, I've gotta go outside some!! But really any period outdoors with my hair down makes me sweat and ruins my curls. But ponytails ruin my curls in a different way.
-My hair is CRAZY thick and there's LOTS of it, and most 'claw' clips don't hold my hair. The ones big enough to are so enormous they dig into my neck, and keep my hair 'bunched' in a way at my neck that I will still be really warm.

So, as a result of all this, I need to find good, BIG clips or ponytail holders that look presentable when I'm outside and it's hot, but don't totally ruin my curls, or aren't just generally uncomfortable. Alternately, I'd love easy ways to pull my hair back that would somehow preserve or even enhance my curls. I really wish big old scrunchies were in fashion for this issue!!

Anyway, thanks for hanging in with me this far, and I'd love, love, love any suggestions anyone can offer!! Thanks so much!

--Bethany

PS including a few pics. The pic where I'm in purple was on a crazy hot, humid Pgh day where I was dying to put it up!! It was my wedding shower though and I wanted to wear it down But it went up the second it was over!
Attached Images
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My routine:
1) Clarifying Shampoo: Neutrogena Anti-Residue 1x/wk (gotta really get at the scalp, rubbing in circles)
then 'Spot cleaning' Shampoo: Pravana Invigorating Cleanse or Neuma Renew Shampoo daily
3) Conditioner: Garnier Fructisse Triple Nutrition
4) Cold Rinse
5) Squeeze out excess water a bit, just with hands, no towel
6) Neuma Tangle Me Free and light finger comb
7) Scrunch in Neuma Argan Oil
8 ) Plop for 20 minutes
9) Pravana Beach Spray
10) Air dry or occasionally diffuse
Welcome to the board!
I am new here too, but I can relate to the heat /hair issue :-)
We are really hot and humid here in the summer and one thing I have discovered last summer before I ever heard about cg and learning to really take care of my curls are hair forks.
I just washed my hair and I had great curls, they were dry and I had some of my gel cast still left and not scrunched out and off course I had to get out of the A/C and into the "sauna". I took my hair fork ( mine are thin metal hair forks ) and loosely secured my hair at the back of my head. A few hours later back at home I took the fork out, let the hair down and scrunched the curls . They were almost perfectly preserved.
There are many different types of hair forks ( the wooden ones don't work well for me but that could be because I have used the metal ones for 20 years and I am just stuck with them ) and there are many ways to put the hair up without stretching, crushing or "denting" curls ad waves. For me it was the perfect alternative to the dreaded ponytail.
I will try to get some pics up to show soon.
I really like Redken Fresh Curls. It is a very gentle, sulfate shampoo. It actually is less itchy for my scalp (one of my main probs, sigh) then most low poos. And less drying.

I'm afraid I can't help with the claw/pony tail issue. This summer, we regularly hit 110-115* with the heat index so my hair was in a bun most of the time!
Coarse texture, normal-high porosity, normal elasticity (Komaza Care), very weak waves
cleanser: Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix

rinse out: CJ Beauticurls, CJ A&OO, CJ Smoothing

jellies/creams: Mop C, KCCC, SCE FSG
gels: CJ CQ, BRHG

For ponytail holders, I avoid anything elastic at all. My preference is flat narrow banana clips not much more than 4 inches in length. These clips give a sort of cascade look to waves when used. I find them in dollar stores and they can also be found on ebay. I hoard these clips, lol!

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