Feeling Discouraged

Well, I've been at this for 3-4 weeks now, and I don't feel like I've made any progress. My hair feels uglier now than when I started.
One of my biggest difficulties is the lack of standard, one-size-fits-all methodology. All the variables and methods leave me feeling overwhelmed. I've tried several methods/techniques but nothing has really helped.
I would love to bring out the wave in my hair, but right now, it feels like it's more trouble than it's worth.

I think it might help me if I could focus on one thing-- or aspect-- at a time. Any suggestions? I think I'm going to visit a curly stylist (maybe see if she'll do a consult?), but that probably won't happen until next month. What can I do in the meantime? Seems like it doesn't matter what I try, I always wind up with stringy, frizzy, unattractive hair.

Thank you all so much. I probably would have given up long ago, if it weren't for all the options and information available on NC.
2A, Low Porosity?, Medium Width, Medium Density
Low-Poo: Giovanni TTTT
Rinse Out/Leave In: VO5 Kiwi
Gel: HE Set Me Up
Don't feel discouraged. Everyone goes through a trial and error phase when they start something new. Some learn what works for them quicker than others. My first few months I think I tried every single product and technique that I read about and didn't get any success from any of them. I've been more or less cg for almost a year now. One of the things that helped me was to take a break and concentrate on the health of my hair and figure out what it liked and didn't like. I did deep treatments and protein treatments to get it back to better shape and realized that my hair is curlier when it's got more protein and is more moisturized. Another thing was to focus on technique to see what works and what doesn't, but also to only style it once at a time. If it doesn't work I no longer try to do it again for a better result the same day. I put it in a bun or half up and let it go for that day. A hair cut and consultation could also do wonders. They can usually give you a lot of advice that works for your hair specifically.
KAT
~Curly, Runner, Self-confessed Nerd~

2a no product/2b-c styled
Low Porosity, Fine
No poo-SM
Co wash-VO5 kiwi lime*
Rinse out- ION EC
Leave in - Giovanni Direct then SM smoothie (ends only)
Stylers-SM souffle topped with BRHG*

Hair hates: glycerin (high dews here in TX)
Hair likes: Coconut Oil*, protein

*=HG
Thank you KatMack! I guess my biggest question is how do I go about isolating the variables? How do focus just on protein/moisture, product, technique, etc? How do I know when I've got it right and can move onto the next thing? How long do I try something before deciding it doesn't work? Should I work on protein/moisture and forget about styling it? Sorry for all the questions, but this is kind of the crux of my disappointment: I wouldn't be so fed up if I felt like I had a game plan and wasn't just grasping at straws. Thanks again so much!
2A, Low Porosity?, Medium Width, Medium Density
Low-Poo: Giovanni TTTT
Rinse Out/Leave In: VO5 Kiwi
Gel: HE Set Me Up
It has taken five months for my just kind if wavy hair to start performing in a fairly regular manner. Also I hate to say it but as conditions change (like seasons) you may have to develop several game plans. However like anything it's going to take practice. 3 or 4 weeks is just the beginning. You really have to give it at least 5 to 6 months, I think. You tube really helps (IMO). Gives you ideas of what to try technique wise which is probably 70% of the battle.
You can see my wavy tutorials here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZNxhBHSXAW40OQ and my wavy blog is The Wavy Nation http://wavynation.wordpress.com
Thank you KatMack! I guess my biggest question is how do I go about isolating the variables? How do focus just on protein/moisture, product, technique, etc? How do I know when I've got it right and can move onto the next thing? How long do I try something before deciding it doesn't work? Should I work on protein/moisture and forget about styling it? Sorry for all the questions, but this is kind of the crux of my disappointment: I wouldn't be so fed up if I felt like I had a game plan and wasn't just grasping at straws. Thanks again so much!
Originally Posted by Hisreputation
IMO start with a really basic routine that follows Curly Girl closely. Research the method from a reliable source - the book itself or the Devachan videos or Waterlily76 on YouTube. By basic I mean a really simple low-poo or cleansing conditioner (VO5, Suave Naturals, Tresemme Naturals), a really basic conditioner than you use for both rinse out and leave in, a really basic gel, follow the CG techniques to the letter.

The fundamental ingredients of a 'true' conditioner are the fatty alcohols and cationic surfactants. A really gentle low poo would be based on a betaine and/ or glucoside surfactant and ideally pH 4.5 to 5.5. Any oils, proteins or humectants will alter results, you don't want products rich in any of these for cleansing.
Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Care Products

Maybe experiment with simple things like how much leave in conditioner and how long you plop for. Then experiment with products containing oils, proteins or humectants, as indicated by your hair properties and dew points/ humidity. Try to make one change at a time.

It seems to me from the other thread part of the reason you are grasping at straws is you have substantially modified the method, you've not been adhering to the fundamentals of condition, condition and condition some more, nor to very low manipulation as soon as you have applied your products - rubbing at your roots with a towel, running your hands through your hair for example.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect

Last edited by Firefox7275; 09-16-2013 at 05:21 AM.
Chupie: Thanks for the encouragement! I have looked at several YouTube videos and they are helpful for me too!
FireFox: I've got access to the CurlyGirl book so I'll definitely take a second look at that, as well as watching the YouTube channels you suggested. Do you know of any low-poos off the top of your head that are good?

Concerning the root rubbing. When my hair is sopping wet, it lays totally flat against my scalp and clumps into two or three sections. I was rubbing my scalp fresh out of the shower (no products applied) to try to fluff up my roots and keep from having these two or three hair "sticks" from hanging off my head. I know we want clumps to form in wavy/curly hair, so what should I do? Is it common for hair to clump so sparingly like this? I know a lot of people clip their roots, but I can't picture how I could do that with my hair being sopping wet and plastered to my scalp. Any suggestions? I'll have to find a YouTube video...

Thanks for everyone's patience with the newbies! I'm definitely going to get back to basics and then go from there. Yeah! Now I have a game plan!
2A, Low Porosity?, Medium Width, Medium Density
Low-Poo: Giovanni TTTT
Rinse Out/Leave In: VO5 Kiwi
Gel: HE Set Me Up
Thank you KatMack! I guess my biggest question is how do I go about isolating the variables? How do focus just on protein/moisture, product, technique, etc? How do I know when I've got it right and can move onto the next thing? How long do I try something before deciding it doesn't work? Should I work on protein/moisture and forget about styling it? Sorry for all the questions, but this is kind of the crux of my disappointment: I wouldn't be so fed up if I felt like I had a game plan and wasn't just grasping at straws. Thanks again so much!
Originally Posted by Hisreputation
IMO start with a really basic routine that follows Curly Girl closely. Research the method from a reliable source - the book itself or the Devachan videos or Waterlily76 on YouTube. By basic I mean a really simple low-poo or cleansing conditioner (VO5, Suave Naturals, Tresemme Naturals), a really basic conditioner than you use for both rinse out and leave in, a really basic gel, follow the CG techniques to the letter.

The fundamental ingredients of a 'true' conditioner are the fatty alcohols and cationic surfactants. A really gentle low poo would be based on a betaine and/ or glucoside surfactant and ideally pH 4.5 to 5.5. Any oils, proteins or humectants will alter results, you don't want products rich in any of these for cleansing.
Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Care Products

Maybe experiment with simple things like how much leave in conditioner and how long you plop for. Then experiment with products containing oils, proteins or humectants, as indicated by your hair properties and dew points/ humidity. Try to make one change at a time.

It seems to me from the other thread part of the reason you are grasping at straws is you have substantially modified the method, you've not been adhering to the fundamentals of condition, condition and condition some more, nor to very low manipulation as soon as you have applied your products - rubbing at your roots with a towel, running your hands through your hair for example.
Originally Posted by Firefox7275
Firefox7275: What are some examples of a basic conditioner? I have been trying to find one but I am not having any luck. They all seem to have so e sort of humectant in them, etc.
The fundamental ingredients of a 'true' conditioner are the fatty alcohols and cationic surfactants. A really gentle low poo would be based on a betaine and/ or glucoside surfactant and ideally pH 4.5 to 5.5. Any oils, proteins or humectants will alter results, you don't want products rich in any of these for cleansing.
Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Care Products

Maybe experiment with simple things like how much leave in conditioner and how long you plop for. Then experiment with products containing oils, proteins or humectants, as indicated by your hair properties and dew points/ humidity. Try to make one change at a time.

It seems to me from the other thread part of the reason you are grasping at straws is you have substantially modified the method, you've not been adhering to the fundamentals of condition, condition and condition some more, nor to very low manipulation as soon as you have applied your products - rubbing at your roots with a towel, running your hands through your hair for example.

Firefox7275: What are some examples of a basic conditioner? I have been trying to find one but I am not having any luck. They all seem to have so e sort of humectant in them, etc.
Originally Posted by heather
It's fine to have a little humectant or oil, just way down the list - some products have glycerin or shea butter as the second ingredient. AFAIK Tresemme Naturals or some of the Yes To ... line are fairly basic tho watch for cetyl esters which are a wax, they do need shampoo to shift.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect

Last edited by Firefox7275; 09-17-2013 at 08:47 AM.
I started off really simple while I waited for my hair to get in better shape and I got the hang of washing, clipping, and diffusing. I bought devacare low poo, devacare one condition, and devcurl arc angel. That was all I used for the first 4 months. Then I added AG Recoil and began trying clumping techniques like super soaker, plopping, etc. Too much extra work. Now I low poo and condition the per the wavy directions in the curly girl book, smooth a leave in over my hair, a curling cream over my hair, and then gel or mousse. Then I scrunch, squeeze it all into my hair, clip and diffuse. I don't plop or dry with a tshirt at all. Then at night I sleep with my hair in a pineapple, release it in the morning and smooth some more leave in over the canopy. I don't have to wash again until day 4.
Hair Properties: 2A/2B, Medium-fine, Normal porosity, Normal elasticity, Medium density
Low Poo: DevaCare, Yes to Cuc's
Rinse Out: DevaCare One Condition, Yes to Cuc's
Cowash: Suave Naturals Lavender, Yes to Carrots Scalp Conditioner
Curl Cream: AG ReCoil, Organix Moroccan Oil Curl Cream
Gel/Mousse: Sweet Curls Elixirs FSG w/ Mag Sulfate added, Sweet Curls Elixirs hard hold gel, DevaCurl Frizz Free Foam, Aquage Uplifting Foam
Protein: Spiral Solutions Protein Spray for daily use
Try doing everything from rinsing out your condish, to putting in products, to scrunching....upside down. This really helps your hair not to stick to your scalp, then you won't have to ruffle it. I don't clip my roots, ever. I either diffuse, or lately I've been scrunching and holding each section (while upside down) with a microfiber towel after applying all my products. This has eliminated the "need" to diffuse. It's been a life changer for me.

I would advise you to focus on making sure your hair is well conditioned in the beginning. Use lots of conditioner, leave some in or add some back in after rinsing, do weekly treatments (I like straight up coco oil). Once your hair is moisturized, it is easier to work with. Eliminate sulphates. Trim off any damaged ends. Basically focus on treating your hair gently.

I also feel like product application/technique is more important (okay, we'll just as important) as products. Work on that second. Explore the stickies; there's a good one called technique links, I believe. Scrunch and pump is a miracle worker for me.

Good luck!
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, CJ Curl Rehab (both as RO & LI)
Stylers: UFD CM, CJ PP, JC Spiralicious, Darcy's Cream Gel & Cocoa bean whip
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions!

jakrussel3: I've been looking around for a low-poo to use that is on the lighter side. DevaCurl low-poo is on my list, but I read something about them changing the formula for the worse? Have you noticed anything like that? BTW, what did you do for styling before you starting experimenting with clumping techniques. My wave is so loose that it won't really wave at all if I don't style it.

chloe92us: tonight's a shower night so I'll have to try everything upside down! The few times I've tried it before, though, my hair has gotten kind of... crazy and tangled like (not sure how to describe it). Maybe it's because it's so long? I'll definitely try it again though.
2A, Low Porosity?, Medium Width, Medium Density
Low-Poo: Giovanni TTTT
Rinse Out/Leave In: VO5 Kiwi
Gel: HE Set Me Up

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