New to CG and barely a 2a, need some help!
Hello lovely ladies,
I've JUST discovered CG method 2 weeks ago. I previously thought my hair was straight, but at my most recent haircut, my stylist asked why I don't wear it wavy, and showed me how to scrunch. Hooray! I've always wanted wavy hair!
But it's not coming to me so easily. I've been following CG for two weeks, and trying a variety of products and techniques. My hair is nice and wavy when wet ( although a bit messy/tangly/frizzy) but ALWAYS ends up flat and messy/straight when it dries. HELP!
My hair is very fine (like baby hair!), thin density, oily at the roots for second day hair, normal porosity and cannot hold ANY weight. My protein/moisture balance seems alright, though I need to use protein somewhat regularly. My hair is barely shoulder level at its longest, and the shorter pieces NEVER curl or wave.
Here's what i've been doing:
Daily- Loreal Evercurl sulfate free poo on roots and conditioner on ends, cold/cool water rinse and wide tooth combing while conditioning.
1x week sulfate shampoo wash followed by CNPF and DT or Leave in with evercurl conditioner
every other day- Ion protein treatment 2 min
scrunching upside down with a tshirt to semi-dry before products, plopping 5-10 min after products, scrunching as it dries
volumax mega gel
homemade sea salt spray (sea salt, water, a tiny drop of conditioner and a squirt of gel)
ocassionally pantene hairspray (hence the sulfate wash 1x week)
I don't use all of the products everyday. I've just been experimenting with them in different combinations. regardless of what I use, it looks nice wet and awful dry. It ALWAYS looks tangled, and at best semi-dry, looks like beach waves. I had the best waves from sleeping on a plop, but I actually was unable to sleep and they were still unruly. By the time I arranged them, they looked awful again. Most days I look like a person with straight hair who forgot to comb it (yuck).
Please, any advice would be helpful!! And please tell me if i'm doing something wrong!
Here are some photos at various stages:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95110110@N07/9175205891/ photo 1(9) | Flickr - Photo Sharing! my hair wet and scrunched
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95110110@N07/9175205411/ photo 2(6) | Flickr - Photo Sharing! this is how thin my hair is, and what happens when my waves clump with product too close to the root.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95110110@N07/9177422936/ photo 1(8) | Flickr - Photo Sharing! Probably the best semi-dry waves i've had, despite the tangles/frizz
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95110110@N07/9175204961/ photo 3(6) | Flickr - Photo Sharing! Almost dry, flattening out!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95110110@N07/9177423320/ photo 4(3) | Flickr - Photo Sharing! Dry, flat. How do I prevent this?
First off I want to say there's nothing wrong with having "barely 2a" hair and I don't think the final result looks tangled at all. It's got a little wave-swave and it's nice.
That being said I have a few suggestions:
1. protein. If you have baby fine hair you should probably be getting a regular intake of protein, so look for styling products with protein as well. My hair is on the fine side too (not baby-fine) and nearly all my products have protein. If your hair gets "stiff" then you may have over-proteined, but many fine-haired wavies have said they've never even experienced that. If it's too stiff just follow with a DT or a good RO. In fact, I actually don't need to follow my PTs w/ a DT, and sometimes I don't even need an RO.
Curl Junkie - Natural Hair Care for all types of Curly Hair!: My 2 cents on Protein/Texture/Porosity/Moisture Balance! :-)
2. Try putting in all your styling products on soaking wet hair by scrunching, and then go straight into a plop. Make sure the plop is there long enough to set the waves (at least 5min). Since you're so fine-haired, I imagine even the weight of water would pull down your waves so I think you may need to diffuse. Look into pixie diffusing. I wouldn't air-dry if you want more vavoom. Remember, once the products are in, they're in... don't keep re-scrunching while it's drying because you may actually be breaking the cast.
3. A hard-hold gel is probably a good choice for you. I wouldn't do an LI underneath. Just low-poo, condition (nothing terribly heavy/rich, definitely with protein) and scrunch in the hard hold gel. Remember not to touch it until it dries completely in its cast.
4. Just experiment with other things like mag sulfate. I don't know the difference bw mag sulfate and sea salt so just experiment. Remember these things are drying, but that may actually be a good thing for you since fine-hair can get overconditioned easily. You are right to use a low-poo; I wouldn't recommend cowashing fine and thin hair. I know there is the SM Line that is "thickening" for fine/thin hair (Yucca/Baobab). I don't know if it has more starch in it or what... I haven't used it but am curious about it.
5. Remember that your hair is what it is. To a certain point you can manipulate it and encourage the wave, but if it doesn't want to climb up to a 2b+, love it as it is! 1c-2a is also beautiful! Good luck!
Don't get discouraged. This is a process and it can take awhile. It took me a good 6 months and a haircut before I started getting really consistent waves. It took about 4 months before it stopped looking so stringy and tangly. I'm going to make some suggestions below. I mean them in a helpful way, not a bossy know it all kind of way. :)
Yes to Carrots and the Shea Moisture lines are both available at drug stores like Walgreens and are a pretty good for sulfate/silicone free shampoo and conditioner. So if things don't start improving with my suggestions below, you might look at switching from Evercurl to one of those lines. Your might just not like the Evercurl line.
Try using the shampoo on your scalp only. Just put some on your fingertips and scrub/massage the heck out of your scalp. Then scrub it again as you rinse. This way your scalp gets clean without drying out or damaging the length of your hair. As long as you aren't using silicones (although if you see a silicone with PEG next to it - like PEG dimethicone, those are safe because they wash away in water), you shouldn't have any issues with buildup in your hair because the water will wash any product away. After a few weeks, you should notice your scalp getting less oily as it adjust to no sulfates. Oh, and stop using sulfate shampoo once per week. It just confuses your scalp. Sulfates strip your scalp of oil, so your scalp responds by producing more. I'm at a point now where I can easily go 5 days without washing my hair and it doesn't look greasy at all. It took me a year to get there, but I'm there. So, NO SULFATES except when you go get your hair trimmed by your stylist and there aren't any other options. :) Your hair might look gross the next couple of weeks, but you'll be thankful later as your waves get nicer and stronger. Getting rid of sulfates was the #1 best thing I ever did for my hair. I thought my hair was straight too until I went sulfate free and started letting it air dry and noticed it was getting really wavy. That was about a year before I went CG and started actually trying to encourage my hair to wave.
The only other thing I noticed is that you said you continue scrunching your hair as it dries. DO NOT do that. Scrunch right after applying your product and then don't touch it until it's dry. Gel works by creating a crunchy cast around your hair so it maintains that shape as it dries. Then once your hair is actually dry, you can scrunch gently to break up the gel cast. This leaves you with soft hair that maintains the shape it dried in.
Hold off on using sea salt spray while you're figuring out your waves. The whole purpose of sea salt spray is to create beachy waves, which are really loose and kind of stringy. It can dry out your waves too. I've got some sea salt spray, but I only use it occasionally when I'm going for that kind of messy wave look.
You might also try pixie diffusing your hair. It can help set the gel more quickly so that your waves dry in a tighter wave pattern.
Here's some photos of my journey. The first one is what my hair looked like when I was 100% sulfate free, but not doing anything with my hair to encourage wave or curl or anything. I thought it was straight with some bumps here and there. The next photo shows what my hair looked like on day 1 of going CG, week 7, 6 months, and about a year later. The 3rd photo was taken yesterday. I was being lazy because i was planning on going to a bonfire later and knew I'd have to wash it again when I got home, so I used NO product at all. Just washed, conditioned, put in some leave in conditioner, scrunched and air dried. I was pretty impressed. I really didn't think I'd get that much wave without product to hold it in place... as you can see, it's changed a LOT over the past year and a half as it got more hydrated, trimmed up, and less processed.
Good luck! Stick with it, you'll get there eventually...
- Lose the sulphates and hairspray because both damage skin and hair, CG is all about condition, condition, condition to define curl
- Cut back on the sea salt spray to occasional use, it's very drying and could well be contributing to tangling and frizz
- Where is the leave in conditioner? You need this to clump and protect your hair from the multiple drying products you are using after. Ends only is not enough if you shampoo: conditioner encourages the cuticle to lie flat and reduces friction reducing tangling and frizz
- Apply products to dripping wet hair, if your hair is frizzy/ tangly when dripping then you are using too many dehydrating ingredients or not enough conditioning ones or both
- Most fine hairs benefit from hydrolysed protein little and often, this helps boost wave/ curl
- Start out with one styling product not three or four
- For fine hair scrunching AND plopping is likely way too much water removal/ manipulation
- Clip the roots for volume and even the lengths to support the curl
- Choose your ingredients and products based on your hair properties and dew points/ humidity
- Don't chop and change every wash, give things a chance to work!!
^I agree with Firefox about cutting the sulfates, and def experiment with one thing at a time.
I have to add that a lot of wavies, especially those w/ fine, thin hair don't necessarily need a leave-in conditioner. Actually I've seen other curlies as well say they skip the LI in the summer.
I can often skip the LI, or skip my RO if I'm using a LI. Fine & thin haired wavies can struggle with being over-conditioned on the CG method more so than coarse & thick haired curlies. I'd suggest experimenting, and seeing what best works for you!
Thank you everyone for the advice!! I'm going to try a lot of these ideas. Both yesterday and today I didn't touch it as it dried and it stayed a little more wavy when dry. I tried pixie diffusing after a plop and products in sopping wet, and I think I might just need to get the hang of the techniques. Pixie diffusing led to some hair flying around despite being diffused, so I tossed my plop tshirt over the diffuser as well. It looked better than it has, but dried mostly flat. I should only diffuse to like 80-90% dry right?
I think i have a good moisture level ( if not, too much moisture) but I will give more conditioner/leave in a chance. Plus i'm dropping all the sulfates/ products that aren't cone/alcohol free. So far I like the evercurl and am not rolling in cash so i'll finish those bottles off before maybe giving yes to carrots a try. Even just the two weeks on sulfate free shampoo has led my scalp to be less oily! yay.
Can anyone give recommendations for:
hard hold gel
products/ conditioners with protein in them
inexpensive leave ins that wont weigh my hair down (it is seriously weighed down by ANYTHING but hairspray, sometimes even hairspray)
Also, would a volumizing sulfate free shampoo/conditioner/products be a better choice that the curl enhancing? since I have problems with volume?
Glad you already have a less oily scalp, I had that the first week as well but some do suffer for a while!
Don't choose your products based on titles/ straplines (volumising/ curl enhancing) buy them based on ingredients and your hair properties. Some products are volumising because they ruffle the cuticle or contain salt which is not healthy for hair, others because they contain protein which is better.
AFAIK the only Curly Girl hairspray is Deva: commercial hairspray contains drying alcohols, often polyquats and/ or silicones.
Conditioner is not simply for 'moisture' it has multiple functions, encourages the cuticle to lie flat, reduces friction reducing tangling and frizz, encourages clumping, protects the hair from any negative effects from gel etc. You can use the same wash out and leave in conditioner, many of us do. Water it down a little if you feel it is too rich.
Wash and style upside down and use root clipping for volume. Hopefully regular protein will also help with curl and volume.
The Ion reconstructor doesn't actually seem to contain much protein, it does contain magnesium sulphate which is curl boosting but drying and propylene glycol which is a humectant. IMO buy some Colorful neutral protein filler from Sally's next time, you can use it straight up if your hair can take a lot of protein or add any amount of your choosing to any of your products.
Or consider Komaza Care Matani repair treatment spray - very lightweight, contains hydrolysed protein, ceramides and panthenol which are all hair friendly.
Sodium dodecyl sulfate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thanks again for more help!
I started using the colorful neutral protein filler, once each week, but maybe I can put a few drops in my products or conditioner or something?
I'll try YT cucumber!
My hair is 2a/fine/thin density/normal porosity/likes protein (as far as i know), color treated once (went darker not lighter, not that it matters much, but no bleach) I'm living in San Francisco, so normal range dew points (dew point was 60 today). My hair cant hold any weight.
Look! somewhat success! not touching it and pixie diffusing definitely help!
photo(19) | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
I'm also in the Bay Area, not quite as coastal as SF, and this week the dews are abnormally high because of the heat and recent rain. Dew point here today is 67. Normally we fall into the optimal range all the time. So if your hair is wigging out and frizzing more than usual, it may get better in the next week or so. I'm just mentioning this as an additional issue to what others have brought up already.
I guess the Deva one is the only CG one I know of. Most commercial hairsprays contain alcohol denat or alcohol SD, drying alcohols that you should stay away from. If you notice, none of the CG-brands make hairspray. What exactly are you looking for in a hairspray? If it's hold, you may be better off with a hard hold gel. What might be a good spray for you however would be a protein spray. I've got one coming in the mail from SS, I can keep you posted. Komaza Care makes one, as well as the SM C/H line... however the latter one has coconut oil which may weigh you down a bit.
Hard hold gel:
This is a good choice for many wavies as it helps keep their waves in shape. Some popular ones are BRHG (Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee), Volumax Mega gel (from Sally's) and LA Looks Mega.
Conditioners/products with protein
I have an idea for you since you say many things weigh you down. You can add Colorful Neutral Protein Filler (from Sally's) to Suave Naturals Coconut conditioner and you'll have a condish that you can use as a leave-in or rinse-out that has a good amount of protein but will still be light.
Otherwise, as far conditioners/products with protein... things I can think off of the top of my head: Shea Moisture Coconut/Hibiscus line (try the spray), Giovanni Smooth as Silk condish (good protein hit), Nature's Gate Biotin, Spiral Solutions Caitlin's Conditioner, protein spray, & PT; some like Cure Care and Ion Effective Care & Reconstructor from Sally's
If you go to the Products tab of this site, you can check off "protein-rich" when searching for products.
I think your hair will benefit from regular PTs, even once a week. I love IAgirl's gelatin PT: Pedaheh's Hair Blog: Science-y Hair Blog Recipes
Keep in mind humectants and dew points when choosing products!
Some home-made products might work for you as well, like FSG (flax-seed gel). You can also add protein to them.
Mousses might be a very good choice for you. I recently tried the DermOrganic mousse I got and I got some good definition and definitely more volume than other products I've tried. There's lots of "favorite mousse" threads on the board, many of them recent.
Other than that, for volume it's mostly a matter of diffusing (so water doesn't weigh down your hair) and clipping technique.
Take a look at this thread as well and search for other "fine and thin" threads. I think "fine and thin" curlies are definitely a special category. Many curlies come on this board and they're fighting volume and hair that is "too thick." The products that may give them the results they're seeking won't necessarily work for "fine and thin."
I also have very thin, fine hair. Mine is 2a-2b. It was normal porosity but might not be anymore since I got highlights. I like the jessicurl products because they have mag sulfate and I like spiral solutions (I heard they are made for fine hair) but other than that I can't give great advice because I have been inconsistent on my CG journey :/. Hopefully I can get better at my hair will transform like jkrussel. I also like homemade FSG which is basically what the jessicurl products are. I recently started using the volumax gel and like that too. My best waves happen when I apply products to soaking wet hair and then once it is all dried and I scrunch out the crunch I apply a little more gel to get more definition. But I never have time for all of that :(
I don't know if you would consider using a cone. I wouldn't necessarily advise it right now as you're trying out CG. If you like CG but find that you're using a sulphate free shampoo with a decent cleanser like coco betaine in occasionaly, then you could try a light spray leave in with amodimethicone. It will weigh you down less than some heavier conditioning ingredients but still help with tangles etc. I had one from TKMaxx (only time I've seen it in a Uk shop but if you're in the US you can probably get it) - the Michael di Cesare Thicken range- leave in with copper peptide. It is really light and does give some appearance of thickening. The Aussie leave in in the Uk has amodimethicone as the only cone so you could look at the US version too and see if it is similar. Those are just an idea for if you decide to 'modify' a bit later down the line. The advantage of needing the odd shampoo (non sulphate ideally) is that you can get away with the odd lightweight cone. Just wanted to mention those, but keep going with all the good advice you've had.
Thanks again for the feedback. I think I'm doing most of what is suggested. I don't quite like pixie diffusing, I need more practice. Today I got a head of frizzy disaster from it. Hopefully in a few months I can post a before and after photo!
While I only diffuse for a few minutes on each side after plopping, I'm starting to think it might be too much at once. My next plan is to try a 5-10 min plop a very quick diffusing to set the gel and then small jaw clipping the ends to reduce the weight while it continues to dry. I was hoping for a quick set and go style, but I don't believe that's what I'll get.
In wonder is it okay to go product and technique free on occasion? There are definitely going to be some days I don't have time to even scrunch or plop. Just leaving it as is post shower gives me straight very soft hair with a tiny wave at the ends.
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