2a adventures - successes and failures

So I'm new here but after spending the last 2 months or so experimenting I wanted to share some of the things I learned in case it helps other 2as! I was able to find a lot of great content on this site but when it came to 2a's there was a lot less and most of it was about trying to move up to a 2b/c which (most often) sounded like a lot of work and was really intimidating for me. So here's what I've figured out so far - hope it helps anyone else avoid some of the trial and error and frustration I felt at the beginning!

Background
Like I said, I'm a 2a (with some 2b at times) - my hair is fine / dense / normal porosity and gets wavy when I let it air dry. It also can easily go straight when I blow dry and do some minor straightening iron to it. That was a lot of effort though bc of the density so I eventually decided I just wanted to embrace (&enhance) the wavy to cut down the amount of time it took me to maintain my look. Bonus: boyfriend likes it better wavy A blogger I follow mentioned the downfalls of silicone and why it should be avoided...which started me down this whole path. So for me the whole goal has been a healthy, low-maintenance, natural look.

What Didn't Work
  • Evercream: This was the first thing I tried - sulfate and silicone free. I liked the scent and the way my hair felt...to a point. But my hair stylist and I agreed that there was a lot of residue building up and it was starting to weigh down my hair.
  • Sebastian Light: After talking to my stylist this was the product he recommended. It worked well for a while, but it's only silicone free - it's loaded with sulfates. My hair got dry and brittle (i hated the squeaky feeling it had in the shower) and I broke out like crazy everywhere my hair touched in the shower - along my hairline, down over my shoulders and chest, in a line across my back. Ugh.
  • Kiss My Face Whenever: In trying to get away from the sulfates I tried both the shampoo and conditioner in this line, just made my hair feel dry and frizz easy.
  • Suave Natural: I considered trying to co-wash with this to combat the dryness of Kiss My Face...but it felt like the original evercream issue - like it never really rinsed all the way out and was just building up on my hair.

What's Working
So after a week or so of feeling really happy with my hair, here's what I'm doing (all silicone / sulfate free)
  • Shampoo with Dermorganic Conditioning Shampoo: smells good, gets some lather going, and is moisturizing. Feels good in my hair
  • Condition with Yes to Carrots: Again, I like the smell, and the moisture feels good - it gets my hair feeling soft and has some slip, but feels like it really rinses out and doesn't build up. I'm thinking about trying the shampoo at some point as well but for now I'm happy with Dermorganic. Anyways, I do a full rinse out (no leave in) but if it's feeling super dry I'll leave some in, or if I'm planning to blow dry I'll leave some...just on the ends. But I don't do anything separate as a leave in, just a little extra of this.
  • Spray with Garnier Fructis triple nutrition oil: I've poured over the ingredients so I'm pretty sure this is silicone free, but I spray this into my hands and run through my hair afterwards, just helps look in the moisture and fights frizz. I guess this might be considered a leave in?
  • Hold with Tresseme Curl Locking spray: Once my hair is dry I use a small amount (3 sprays max - one on each side and one in the back) of this just to hold the waves and fight back any frizz.
  • Aveda Heat Protectant: When I do blow dry / straighten, I use this to protect my hair. No silicone and really the only one i've found that doesn't use it.
  • Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo: I use this when i'm trying to go an extra day without a wash, especially if I have blow dried. I love it. I think it's silicone free (at least according to the reviews on this site) but it lists "silica" as an ingredient which sounds like it could be a problem? Still investigating but I may try the Keratin version of this, or try another brand like Tresemme or Batiste. Any recommendations?

As to my process: I keep it really simple and maybe even break some rules that the higher curlies (3/4s) would cringe at. I brush my hair before my shower to detangle, and I have a wide tooth comb in the shower to help with working the conditioner in if I need it. After my shower I do a simple turban with a microfiber towel (though I do make sure not to catch any of my actual hair in the twist of the turban) and then once it's dried a bit I brush it and part it how I want, then I use the nutrition oil. Then I just let it air dry overnight. In the morning (here's where I'll lose many of you) I brush it with a wide tooth comb, it's normally not completely dry at that point, but mostly. It does break up the waves a bit but they reform while I do my makeup and it's worth it to me to make sure it looks wavy and not tangled. Then I do my three spritzes of the curl locking spray, run my hands over the hair to smooth down frizz, and I'm done! I do keep a wide tooth comb in my makeup bag because I live in SF and the wind can really tangle me up, so I'll use it sparingly if needed throughout the day. I think that's a big difference between curls and waves - curls hide tangles so it's better not to comb, waves need to be detangled and can withstand some combing (or at least mine can it seems!)

For my cut - I still do a straight style every so often so I didn't do anything too special. Basically it's medium length (past my shoulders) with LOTS of layers, which is the key for me. Most of the curl tends to happen around the bottom of the hair so layers really amp that up for me, plus it lays really nice when I do go straight. Other than that - side part, with a sweeping bang...easy!

Your Turn!
Like I said, I'm pretty new to this and still trying to navigate what works so would love to hear what you've done and hope any of the above helps!

Last edited by katie.vandom; 06-10-2013 at 12:00 PM. Reason: added dry shampoo info
Funny, the Amazon link for Yes to Carrots has very different ingredients than what's listed here (Yes to Carrots! Pampering Conditioner - NaturallyCurly.com).

I'm using what's in my sig at the moment. I've only been here a few weeks to I'm just learning. My hair is frizzy and messy today, but it's raining. It's still better than it was with this weather pre-CG.
Salt & pepper wavy mix 2B/2C
Low to normal porosity, coarse, kinky, normal elasticity
Current favorites:
Low poo: Yes To Cukes Color Protection (the no sulfate one)
Conditioners: Renpure MPHIP, CJ Smoothing Lotion, AB LI, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Argan/Olive, Darcy's Pumpkin
Style: FSG, BRHG
Pre-poo/DT: Conditioner with honey & coconut oil

iHerb discount code: PNQ285
I am also new to the whole CO/CG method. I actually believed all my life I had straight hair. Since I am so new, I cannot recommend anything.

Right now I am in the process of silicone/sulfates withdrawal ... which, pretty much makes me put my hair in a bun or a braid because it doesn't look good at all. Another disadvantage of being new, is that I don't know for sure the details of my hair (all tests seem so ambiguous) ...

Since I haven't bought anything new (and don't want to start just trying stuff around) I am currently just washing once a week with Rainforest Shine Shampoo from the body shop, CO with Vo5 lime and kiwi and conditioning with Vo5 passion fruit smoothie.

I really loved your honest and simple post...
So helpful. Thanks!
CG since 2011

Hair Type:
2b/c(top layer) 2c/3a (under layers)
Porosity: Low
Density: High
Width: Fine on top/Medium underneath

blonde hi-lights

Products & process:
(still figuring this out!!)

Trader Joe's Mint Tea Shampoo every 3/4 days
Trader Joe's Nourishing Conditioner
Deva One Condition LI or Shea Moisture LI
Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Creame
Plop about 20 minutes
Clip roots
Air Dry

Lavender Mist as needed to revive curls
Pineapple at night
Thanks - this does help alot. It's great to see that others are going for a simple, no fuss route too! I'm new to this as well...started at the beginning of this month. My intentions are to reduce frizz and dryness after years of straight ironing, blow drying, permanent straightening processes, etc...not particularly to increase curl pattern, although that would be a nice addition if that happens! My routine so far has been to co-wash with Tresemme naturals, and I rinse it all out with cool water (I couldn't do it too cold because it was way too uncomfortable :P). I comb/detangle while my hair is covered in the conditioner. After rinsing out with cool water, I quickly rake some of the Tresemme naturals back into my hair, and then a blob of gel(Boo Bamboo) on top of that and squeeze out water with scrunching motions. I try to do this while the water is still cold in my hair. Then I scrunch out excess water from my hair with a cotton t-shirt and let it air dry. And that's it. I've had less frizz, softer, more moisturized hair and fairly defined, "clumpy" waves already..and it's only been a little over a week since I've started. My hair is never crunchy probably because I use very little product and I think it helps that the gel mixes in with the conditioner while my hair is still sopping wet. It's been cheap too because I'm only using two products lol.. When winter comes I think I may add a heavier leave-in if needed..
Welcome! It is nice to see a 2a making a post about what works for them. It's neat to see other people's routines.

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but the GF spray you're using has a silicone. It's cyclopentasiloxane. Is that on the bottle you use? I feel like Amazon product descriptions can be out of date. For me, my best bet for ingredient lists are drugstore.com and walgreens.com. Cones usually end in -xane, -cone, or -conal. You can keep using this spray if you find a different shampoo with coco betaine to wash it out with or start using clarifying sulfate shampoos occasionally. Otherwise, it will build up.

A lot of your products (the sprays) contain alcohol denat. That is a drying alcohol. If you start noticing dryness, that might be the culprit. It's fine if it's working, though. I wouldn't consider an oil based spray to be a leave-in, I would consider it a styler or sealant. It wouldn't be super moisturizing. It might be that your hair doesn't need a ton of moisture. However, you mention a lot of detangling. I only detangle in the shower. Do you have a lot of problems with tangles? It might help to put a little bit of your YtC in as a leave in, or use another moisturizing leave in. That really cuts down tangles for me. Also, you can try putting your hair in a pineapple (ponytail on top of your head) or getting a smooth satin pillow case. All of that would help with tangles.
Fine Texture, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity. Dyed to brown a few months ago.
Lowpoo:
Trader Joe's TTT Shampoo
Rinse Out:
Yes to Carrots, AOHR, Aubrey Organics Rosemary Peppermint
LI: Yes to Carrots
Stylers: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, LA Looks Sports, Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Whipped Mousse
Yesterday I spent sometime at Target and smelled and touched some of the products... Some seemed so heavy that I got scared and decided not to get them. There is so much information when it comes to ingredients (silicones, protein, glycerin, SLS) ... it was easy to get overwhelmed.

Since I am not even sure I got right my hair diagnosis, I am going to start with some protein. I got Palmer's coconut protein pack. I will use it this weekend and report back.

I still need to find some stylers and leave-ins, but I want to try one thing at a time.

Today I washed my hair with conditioner only and I did a vinegar rinse. I can see some waves on my hair...

This trial-error process is quite tiring

Oh no, thanks rainboe!

I always forget about -xane when looking for cones! I checked my other products though and it seems it was just the spray that had it. I kept a bottle of pantene aqua-light (silicon free, but with SLS) in the shower as a cleanser just in-case I experienced some build up so I'll use that to remove it.

I think for now I'll try just using some Yes to Carrots as a leave in and skipping the oil entirely and just see where that gets me before deciding about another styler.

Also thanks for the heads up on the alcohol denat - I hadn't even really thought about that at all. So far my hair feels pretty moisturized so I think I'll play it out and see what happens - I use so little of the sprays at all that it might not really affect it that much.

I noticed in your signature that you use a styler with silicone but are still sulfate free - how are you washing the silicones off? is it that your shampoo has coco betaine? do you find that's enough to get it out?
2a wavy in San Francisco - fine / dense / normal porosity.
  • Shampoo: Dermorganic Conditioning Shampoo
  • Conditioner: Yes to Carrots (rinse out, sometimes I leave in a little)
  • Stylers: Tresseme Curl Locking Spray, Aveda Heat Protectant (for when I blow dry / straighten), Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo (for going an extra day)
(*all of the above are silicone/sulfate free - at least to the best of my knowledge!)
Oh no, thanks rainboe!

I always forget about -xane when looking for cones! I checked my other products though and it seems it was just the spray that had it. I kept a bottle of pantene aqua-light (silicon free, but with SLS) in the shower as a cleanser just in-case I experienced some build up so I'll use that to remove it.

I think for now I'll try just using some Yes to Carrots as a leave in and skipping the oil entirely and just see where that gets me before deciding about another styler.

Also thanks for the heads up on the alcohol denat - I hadn't even really thought about that at all. So far my hair feels pretty moisturized so I think I'll play it out and see what happens - I use so little of the sprays at all that it might not really affect it that much.

I noticed in your signature that you use a styler with silicone but are still sulfate free - how are you washing the silicones off? is it that your shampoo has coco betaine? do you find that's enough to get it out?
Originally Posted by katie.vandom
Glad to help! I've been there with accidentally using a silicone.

I use a different shampoo than the one in my signature right now. I use the Loreal Sulfate free shampoo for color treated hair. It's purple and comes in a tube. It has coco betaine. It also has the a-cone in it, I think, but I figure having a bit of that in my hair isn't causing any problems.

This summer I haven't been using that mousse. I'm mostly using the gel and creme, because I get better hold with that. When I do use the mousse, I try to use a coco betaine shampoo within a week or nine days. I don't notice build up right away anyway. It's not noticeable when using a silicone a couple times for me, and I do feel like the shampoo (and other coco bet. shampoo) prevents build up.
Fine Texture, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity. Dyed to brown a few months ago.
Lowpoo:
Trader Joe's TTT Shampoo
Rinse Out:
Yes to Carrots, AOHR, Aubrey Organics Rosemary Peppermint
LI: Yes to Carrots
Stylers: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, LA Looks Sports, Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Whipped Mousse
I tried the palmer's protein pack this morning. I put it on damp hair, worked out and the washed as usual.
My hairs smells nice and is super shiny. The frizz is still present, but not as bad as before. I did not used any stylers or oils after washing.
I noticed that is straighter though. Is this something that protein does?
Cyclopentasiloxane actually evaporates off of your hair. See this article by the curl chemist: Cyclomethicones: A Different Category of Silicones

Ideally, your hair shouldn't get straighter after a protein treatment... I think there are typically 3 reactions to protein treatments: 1. The hair completely hates it (you'd know if this was how your hair reacted to it) 2. The hair LOVES it. Bouncy, more elastic, healthier waves. 3. Hair doesn't like protein and goes soft and straight.

Maybe it got straighter for some other reason? It doesn't sound like your hair hated it.
Wave Pattern: 2A
Hair Properties: Normal/Low Porosity, Medium Density, Medium Texture w/Fine Straight Underlayer
Co-wash: Suave Naturals, Cure Care
Low-poo: Renpure Brazilian Keratin
Rinse Out & Leave In: Tresemme Naturals
Gel: LA Looks Mega Mega Hold Gel, Garnier Fructis Spray Gel
I tried the palmer's protein pack this morning. I put it on damp hair, worked out and the washed as usual.
My hairs smells nice and is super shiny. The frizz is still present, but not as bad as before. I did not used any stylers or oils after washing.
I noticed that is straighter though. Is this something that protein does?
Originally Posted by arel
These are the ingredients:
WATER (AQUA) , stearyl alcohol , PEG-40 Stearate , Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , CyclopentaSiloxane , Cyclohexasiloxane , Cetyl Alcohol , glycerin , Hydrolyzed Keratin , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) , dimethicone , Butylene Glycol , Behenyl Alcohol , Cetearyl alcohol , Hydroxyethyl Cetearamidopropyldimonium Chloride , fragrance , Cocos Nucifera Fruit Extract (Coconut) , Tocopheryl Acetate , Hydrolyzed Silk , Nonfat Dry Milk (Sine Adipe Lac) , Citric Acid , Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil , Stearalkonium Chloride , propylene glycol , hydroxyethylcellulose , Quaternium-26 , Disodium EDTA , Diazolidinyl Urea , Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate , Benzyl Benzoate , Coumarin

It is not CG, if that matters to you (dimethicone) and it claims to be deep conditioning. It may be that even with the protein it is too moisturizing for your hair (four fatty alcohols & 2 humectants), or the silicones and oils could be weighing you down (coconut & castor & 3 silicones). I had this same issue with the GVP K-pak and Copolla PT/DT, maybe try something CG with few to zero oils/butters.
2A / F / MD / LP / ?E / BSL --- CG since Dec. 2012

This is what I'm happiest with right now.
Co-wash: CJ DailyFix
Lo-poo: DermOrganic low-poo
RO: SS Caitlin's co
Leave-in: SheScentIt Okra Repair condish
PT: SS Caitlin's + SS PT
Stylers: Volumax Mega Gel, Max Green Styling Gel, DermOrganics Spray Gel
Techniques: Plopping & Pixie Diffusing.
glycerin, honey, oils & butters Protein!

Last edited by Lynaea; 06-15-2013 at 06:34 AM.
Cyclopentasiloxane actually evaporates off of your hair. See this article by the curl chemist: Cyclomethicones: A Different Category of Silicones

Ideally, your hair shouldn't get straighter after a protein treatment... I think there are typically 3 reactions to protein treatments: 1. The hair completely hates it (you'd know if this was how your hair reacted to it) 2. The hair LOVES it. Bouncy, more elastic, healthier waves. 3. Hair doesn't like protein and goes soft and straight.

Maybe it got straighter for some other reason? It doesn't sound like your hair hated it.
Originally Posted by HairObsessed
Number 3 seems more like what happened to me. My hair is shinier and softer. But I noticed it was straighter last week. Yesterday I tried it again, and I must say it got a bit curlier... I could see some really defined waves, but of course after I touched it and touched (I was amazed), the waves starting to disappeared.
I will continue experimenting and see where this takes me. I must add that yesterday I used yes to cucumbers conditioner as a leave-in, maybe that is why I saw improvement in the curl pattern.

Thanks so much HairObsessed

These are the ingredients:
WATER (AQUA) , stearyl alcohol , PEG-40 Stearate , Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine , CyclopentaSiloxane , Cyclohexasiloxane , Cetyl Alcohol , glycerin , Hydrolyzed Keratin , Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut) , dimethicone , Butylene Glycol , Behenyl Alcohol , Cetearyl alcohol , Hydroxyethyl Cetearamidopropyldimonium Chloride , fragrance , Cocos Nucifera Fruit Extract (Coconut) , Tocopheryl Acetate , Hydrolyzed Silk , Nonfat Dry Milk (Sine Adipe Lac) , Citric Acid , Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil , Stearalkonium Chloride , propylene glycol , hydroxyethylcellulose , Quaternium-26 , Disodium EDTA , Diazolidinyl Urea , Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate , Benzyl Benzoate , Coumarin

It is not CG, if that matters to you (dimethicone) and it claims to be deep conditioning. It may be that even with the protein it is too moisturizing for your hair (four fatty alcohols & 2 humectants), or the silicones and oils could be weighing you down (coconut & castor & 3 silicones). I had this same issue with the GVP K-pak and Copolla PT/DT, maybe try something CG with few to zero oils/butters.
Originally Posted by Lynaea
I must say I love the shine and softness of my hair. Again, I go blank when I start reading ingredients of the products... anyway, at least was just a little pack of $1.50 and not a huge bottle of expensive product.
Do you have any product to recommend?
Since I found the Yes to Cucumbers for way cheaper than expected, I was thinking on splurging some money on stylers. Maybe treating myself to my first kinkycurly custard or gel? Let's see....

Thanks for your comment Lynaea
sometimes it feels like one step forward two steps back - I was so happy with this set of products (though I replaced the oil spray with the cone to the Be Curly gel from Aveda) and for a couple days i had this incredible hair. It was like magic...just wash/condition/add a little bit of product and let air dry. all last week and this weekend it looked great and the second day would look even better...then I don't know what happened but both yesterday and today it's been *completely* off. I'd say worse than even where I started. Almost stick straight with only slight kinks around the ends. The weather isn't different, my process isn't different. It's so frustrating and disheartening. I can't tell if it's under moisturized, or if it's too moisturized / getting weighed down. I don't even know what to try to fix it. Has this happened to anyone else? Did it just magically start working again or what did you do to try to fix it?

I'm thinking about going back to the oil with the evaporating cone rather than continuing with the aveda product...as a gel it's heavier than the oil...maybe that's the culprit? Though I used it this weekend when it was amazing so I don't see how it could be?

I feel silly but all I can think of is getting through the day so I can shower and try again. ugh.
2a wavy in San Francisco - fine / dense / normal porosity.
  • Shampoo: Dermorganic Conditioning Shampoo
  • Conditioner: Yes to Carrots (rinse out, sometimes I leave in a little)
  • Stylers: Tresseme Curl Locking Spray, Aveda Heat Protectant (for when I blow dry / straighten), Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo (for going an extra day)
(*all of the above are silicone/sulfate free - at least to the best of my knowledge!)
OK, here are some recent failures for me:

- VO5 Strawberry Moisture Milk as a leave-in. It left my hair feeling producty and gross.
- Scrunching in gel rightside up. It made some sections straight and some weird curls that stuck out from the straight sections for 2 days.
Salt & pepper wavy mix 2B/2C
Low to normal porosity, coarse, kinky, normal elasticity
Current favorites:
Low poo: Yes To Cukes Color Protection (the no sulfate one)
Conditioners: Renpure MPHIP, CJ Smoothing Lotion, AB LI, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Argan/Olive, Darcy's Pumpkin
Style: FSG, BRHG
Pre-poo/DT: Conditioner with honey & coconut oil

iHerb discount code: PNQ285

Ok, so here is what I have so far:
I've been COing with Kiwi lime and using Yes to Cucumbers as leave-in. Is been working pretty well.

Yesterday I finally tried HE mousse after washing my hair and it helped the formation of curls/waves. But, either I need to put more product or I really need a stronger "hold" gel because the foam itself, doesn't help to keep the waves properly shaped.

Now, here is the failure: I put more foam (on dry hair) and scrunched to see if that will help the curls. When I applied the product upside down it seemed like it was working as planned. But then (:facepalm I decided to plop it for a few minutes. Big mistake! the waves were a mess and my hair was a poof ball . So I had to put it up.

I will keep trying and see if I can make this hair behave lol...

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