First time long hair with more than a few questions

Hello all!! I am 23 and have been growing my hair out from shaven for just over a year and a half and it is about 10.5 inches long. Unfortunately i don't know anyone male or female who has the same hair type as me and both my folks have straight hair so this has been a rather steep learning curve!! Until recently i had been using john frieda products with average results and using coconut oil as an overnight treatment. After finding this site ( which is amazing! ) i read up on the CG method and found that john frieda products were full of cones and i used the entire curly range!. So about 2 weeks ago i started the CG routine. I travel all around the world because of my job and i am currently in italy where i have managed to find some CG conditioner and CG mousse (more on the mousse later on!).

Now for the questions!

1) I have major issues with knots, mainly on the back. Almost every morning (except the hungover sundays!) i wash my hair with conditioner and i have been doing this even before CG. While the conditioner is in my hair i finger comb and then use a wide tooth detangling comb and if necessary a slightly smaller comb. This process is taking on average between 25-40mins. Is this knotting due to the length of my hair ( neither long nor short) or the condition?

2) I have never really used styling products (other than the mentioned freida serums and dream curls spray) and i always drip dry. I think that this may be a reason why i have quite a lot of rogue hairs. The other day i used mousse for the first time. I scrunched it onto dripping hair then sponged with a t-shirt. This seemed to help a lot especially after i had crunched it when dry. This was also the first time that i have been able to go out on the 2nd day without doing anything like a ponytail etc... But i am not too keen on the crunchiness and i would like to know of any other products ( general types please not specific brands) and how to use them.

3) I had been using coconut oil sparingly in the past on dry hair and then leaving it on overnight and washing in the morning. My friend who comes from mauritius and hence has straight black hair said that she puts a lot on so the hair looks wet then brushes it through and leaves it on overnight. I tried this last night ( only without the brushing ) and this mornings shower was a real chore my hair was matted and full of knots. The coconut does seem to work but frankly it is not worth the effort i went through today.

4) I am far from my ideal length but my hair now has some weight which is making it a little easier to manage. I have not had a trim since i started growing as i did not want to lose half a years growth. I am no expert but i don't think i have a problem with split ends. I do find the occasional strand that has knotted itself which i did not think was possible! I would prefer to wait another 4-6 months before getting a trim unless i am told that a trim would be a massive help.

Sorry for the length of this post but i felt it was better to ask everything then create lots of separate posts. I really appreciate any helpful advice as i am fairly lost!! My hair is 9 inches onger than it has ever been before and hair is not your normal pub topic
Hello! And Welcome to!! Great to have another guy on here lol. Ok i'll try to answer your questions as best as I can.

I get the knots sometimes too on the back of my head. And usually it takes me about 10-15 minutes to detangle my whole head depending on how tangled it is. I figured out my problem was because throughout the night i go from sleeping on my stomach to sleeping on my back and my hair gets matted and tangled up when i sleep on my back. The one thing i do differently is I brush instead of combs.. My hair doesn't like combs at all. Brushing is definitely faster because of the more that'll cut down on the time.

I'm not much of a style product user either. Before i started CG i never used anything on my hair after i washed it. Then when i started CG(in October) people said i should use a clear gel for hold and hair doesn't really like gel that much either because it makes it hard and dry..but i found out it was because the gels I was using had protein in them and protein makes your hair dry and hard. I haven't found a gel that doesn't have protein in it yet but i haven't really been looking either lol. But I would suggest using a leave in conditioner instead of a gel. I think leave ins are more moisturizing than gels. I'm going to be trying the Mixed Chicks Leave in this week, heard good things about it. So yeah try a leave in for styling.

You might want to try a different type of oil. I've never tried coconut oil so i don't have any personal experience from it. But i do know that what works for one person might not work for another. Like some people put extra virgin olive oil in thier hair hates it! Vitamin E oil seems to work for me..i never leave it in overnight though, I just put it in my hands along with some condition and slather it in my hair when I'm in the shower and let it sit for like 5 minutes or so..and then rinse it out. SOOO silky and soft afterwards. You might also wanna try REAL I know it sounds sick but it's a GREAAAT deep conditioner! If you put it on your head and put a shower cap on for like 45 turns into's awesome trust me! lol Just make sure you rinse thoroughly COOL water...warm/hot water will cook the eggs inside the mayonnaise.

Trust me you'll know when you need to trim your hair. I didn't plan on trimming my hair either when I started to let it grow out, but because of me not knowing how to take care of it and not having anyone to tell me..i damaged it alot! Especially this past summer. So by September..I cut about 1-1.5ins off. My ends where DRY, ROUGH, COARSE, and felt like it was i knew i had to get them off. So I bought some shears and did it myself..i won't trust anyone to cut my hair but me. I wasn't too upset about cutting it off though because i knew it would be healthier afterwards and plus my hair grew ALOT over the 3ins, so 1in wasn't too big of a loss. Unless your ends are like that..then you don't need to worry about it. And knots just come with the territory of having curly hair i believe. Every once in a while when detangling i'll come across a single strand that some how knotted itself..if i can't undo it i just pull it out. I have super thick hair so one missing strand isn't going to hurt me lol. The only thing I can tell you about preventing the knotting/tangling is to either sleep with a satin scarf/bonnet on (HA!) or sleep on a satin pillowcase. I actually have both but mainly only use the bonnet if i know I won't have time to fix my hair the next day and want to keep the condition of my curls pretty much the same (although it always somehow comes off during the night lol) but the satin pillowcase will keep your hair from drying out and also from matting/tangling up because your curls won't bunch up against the pillow..they'll slide and move across it with ease.

Anywho I hope that helped some! Let me know if you need anymore tips or have more questions!
Welcome. Your current routine sounds like you have done a bit of reading on this site already LOL.

I have pretty tight 3b/c curls and am growing it out as well. It has been about a year since I did the big chop. I did do a trim in July and one just last week. A dusting is what I call it. My stylist does just a teeny bit off the ends. Even though I don't have any split ends, just sleeping and rubbing around on the pillowcase can damage the ends a bit. I sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent too much damage.

I use my fingers and/or a wide tooth comb in the shower while my hair has conditioner in it. I too, sometimes use a brush but I would only use a Denman brush. The bristles are well sealed and have nothing that will "catch" on the hair strands and rip or split them. I mainly use the Denman to distribute product. It seems to do that really well for some products like my leave-in conditioners.

My hair loves coconut oil, but I don't use it every night. Once a week or even once a month is fine for most. Coconut Oil is very protein rich. Protein is usually good for building the strength of your hair, but some are sensitive to high amounts of protein and it can make your hair very tangled and brittle. I am not sensitive, but my hair is very healthy so I don't over do it.

I always use some type of gel. Without it, my hair would frizz and increase in volume.

Here is a sampling of my routine:
  • Rinse thoroughly and apply inexpensive CG friendly conditioner (VO5 Tea Tree Therapy)
  • De-tangle and rinse
  • Rake through Jessicurl Aloeba Conditioner
  • Get through the rest of my shower while that sits on my hair
  • Rinse thoroughly
  • Add a nickle sized dollop of SheaM leave-in conditioner in soaking wet hair and distribute with my Denman brush
  • Use a quarter size dollop each of Jessicurl rockin ringlets and confident coils on right and left side of my hair
  • Rake well all over
  • Scrunch well all over to encourage a uniform curl
  • Plop while I get out of the shower, get dressed, etc., about 10 minutes
  • Take towel off, arrange or twist and wonky looking curls
  • I will then scrunch in a little Betiza&Aleez or Biosilk Rock Hard gelee all over to prevent frizz
  • air or diffuse dry. (depending on weather and time allowed)
I ALWAYS deep condition at least once a week. I use Jessicurl deep conditioner. Even If I can only leave it on for 15-20 minutes. I like to do an hour + when I have the time and I use a heat cap to deepen the treatment.

Sorry this is so long, but I also did not want to do a lot of back and forth on this. I am sure you will have a lot of responses on this.

Good luck!
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
Curl Junkie Stuff

Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Last edited by mpgirl; 12-14-2008 at 02:50 PM.
Firstly thank you both for your thorough replies. I have done a fair bit of reading both here and on another hair forum 'mens long hair hyperboard'. I don't know if plugging other sites is frowned upon but I say the more people who can encourage diversity in mens hairstyles the better!!

The idea of mixing olive oil with conditioner sounds more appealing than using pure olive oil as i imagine it washes out more easily. I will give this a go before I leave Italy for the UK as it's obviously the best place for olive oil!! leave-in conditioner also sounds like a better alternative to mousse, how much do you use?

I have ordered some satin pillow cases for home, however as i spend 75% of the year travelling these will be more of a luxury than part of my daily routine. What about silk? i have a few shirts i use for hot countries and maybe i could wrap a pillow with one. Is the only reason i don't see silk as a suggestion the high cost in the western world or is there a hair based reason?

mpgirl : i count six products including the deep conditioner!! i tend to carry three weeks worth of product with me and that amount is not really feasible for me. Which ones are a must have and which ones could be reluctantly left out? Also lurking around this site i have noticed a fair number of people talking about proteins. What are the signs of protein sensitive hair and what are the typical protein ingredients to look out for ?

I would like to post a few pics, but i would rather not use photo sharing sites. I have seen in other threads that some people have been able to post mid sized photos. How do i do this as i can't seem to get my photos bellow 200Kb (using .jpg). Is there some software available to scale photos to this size (i have photoshop but i am by no means an expert).

Again i apologise for the length i just seem to get carried away!!
Protein sensitivity apparently will cause straw-like feel to the hair and lots of tangling. I don't know first hand since i don't have it.

Instead of separate products you can combine. Use whatever conditioner you detangle with as a leave-in. Just a dime size (based on your pic) well distributed is probably all you will need. I would also add a good gel since you might encounter some humidity. If it is a dry day then your leave-in could be enough.

Silk is great too. I have a couple silk pillowcases that I use as well. When I travel I actually take a pillowcase with me and cover whatever pillow I get at the hotel. Doesn't take up much room but a silk shirt will work too.

You need to have your pics on a website. Go to the website and right click your photo. Select "Copy Image Location." In your post, click the "link" button. Looks like a chain link in front of the earth. Copy the image location there and click OK.
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
Curl Junkie Stuff

Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

From your description i think i am lucky and don't have an issue with proteins. I will definatly try the silk pillowcase / shirt idea in the new year. I would not mind carrying conditioner, leave-in and deep treatment so i guess i just need to find a leave-in and deep trteatment that works for me.

I don't know how to add a signature, but i caved in and joined fotki. So follow this link for a few pics

PW : curlymat
You are rockin' some great curls! Moisture, moisture, moisture! That will make your curls look sleeker when dry. You have great 3b curls and if they are anything like mine, they look great when wet, but look a bit dry and fuzzy when dry.

Deep conditioning treatments will help a lot and using a good moisturizing leave-in will too. A good leave-in will prevent any gel you use for control to not be so crunchy too.
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
Curl Junkie Stuff

Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Haha the effect of the hairdryer was horrific! Definitely use a diffuser if you decide to blow dry. But i remember you said you normally drip dry..which is best! Yeah your lucky you aren't protein sensitive, most of us curlies are, including me. I guess we are both on a mission to find a good leave in...the one i use to use pre-CG..isn't CG so i'm on the hunt again. I'll let you know if i find something you might be interested in!!
yoyogongzuo, what was that?

Any-hoo, everyone gave pretty good advice. For what its worth, I sleep with a satin cap or scarf. Once a week when I wash and style my hair my routine is as follows:

Dt with yogurt and molasses.

Then I rinse and co-wash or use a tbs of baking soda in 2 1/2 in warm water.

Then I use a leave-in conditioner (you can stop there at if you like).

Lastly, I style my hair with wiped shea butter and flax seed gel.

It's four steps for me and I'm pretty much done. But finding what works for you is key. You seem to be on the right track.
4/b with 4/a kinks at the back of my head.

Keep it kinky, curly, wavy- whatever.
Just keep it natural and keep it you, from head to toe ^_^


Just a quick update to tell you all about my progress. Now my hair is a little longer and i have found some products that work the amount of time spent detangling has been greatly reduced. I am using a variety of conditioners, but my styling products remain the same boots curl creme (this stuff is incredible!) and cg mousse. I have bought a microfibre towel and use this to scrunch my hair a little to assist with drying. I have not bought any sleeping caps mainly because my stupid male pride would have objections! I do intend to bring a satin/silk pillow case with me on my travels. I am in China at the moment but when i return to the UK i will purchase a couple. There is still many aspects i wish to improve but i am no longer as frustrated with my hair. Thank you all for your advice and support.
3b, below shoulders when wet
CG since Dec '08

PW: curlymat

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