Product philosophy?

I have started a series of "single-product experiments" where I use only one of my many products per day (besides condish) to sort out what they all do for my hair. I have been combing each one through without plopping or anything, trying not to touch for a couple of hours. So basically I am not following the application instructions for the products--I am just trying to get them into my hair evenly, mess with them minimally, and see what they *do*. I also test them out on 2nd day hair by just scrunching in plain water the next morning.

My initial plan is to identify the two "best" products for my hair. Based on what most products do or claim to do, I am tentatively expecting that there will be one that produces the best hold, clumping, frizz control, and definition but doesn't do much for my curls, and another that produces the best curl enhancement, shine, and bounce, but has no hold. Or something like that... I imagine some of those characteristics will overlap. Anyway, once I identify the two "best" in the general categories of hold and curl enhancement, I would then know which were the best two products to layer and make my hair look as good as possible. Then I could quit trying so many combinations of 2-4 products and not being sure which one was doing what.

Obviously there are flaws in this plan. So I was looking for thoughts on the following issues:

1) Do you believe based on experience that there are products that, when layered, are truly better than the sum of their parts? I ask this because Re:coil, for example, made my hair dull, straight, and sticky when I wore it by itself. Now that this has happened, I feel like I only wanted to like it in the past because it looks great on other curlies' hair (truth be told, I was always sort of suspicious that it wasn't doing anything for me, but I figured it had to be enhancing my curl in some way because that is what it's supposed to do). But if it is not curl-enhancing by itself, and my hair only looks good when I combine Re:coil with something else, then it would seem like a product that is curl-enhancing on its own without needing to scrunch, plop, or otherwise baby it would be a better choice to layer with whatever the best hold or frizz-fighting product turns out to be. But it's possible that there is some weird alchemy that goes on between Re:coil and other stuff that makes it worthwhile, and that is not something I can really take into account very well.

I will say Curl Keeper alone was more curl-enhancing than Re:coil alone, but still did not look as good as it does when I wear both--too undefined and fluffy. But I always wore gel with the Re:coil/CK combo in the past, so maybe it's the gel? Ack. I am so confused. I will eventually try all of the gels and sprays and leave-ins and stuff by themselves, so that should answer some of this confusion, but...

2) Do you think a product's basic function should be apparent no matter how you apply it? I am a little worried that I'm "sabotaging" some products by combing them in, but on the other hand I feel like whatever a product does, it should do to some extent no matter how you apply it, and I want to minimize the variables here. Once I identify the best products, then I can optimize how I apply them, but they shouldn't act that different based on application method. Or am I wrong about that? Of course if I comb gel through and it "sticks" in a straight position, then that doesn't reflect what the gel would do if you scrunched it in and plopped. But in practice I am scrunching while the hair is still damp, so I don't think that should be an issue.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts! Particularly since I am sure most of you have more important things to do than help ME figure out what products are best for MY hair. ME ME ME. On the positive side, I am taking pics each day so it's possible this could be somewhat instructive for other folks with similar hair to mine.
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!
your first question is interesting to me because for the first year (maybe more) after I stopped straightening I used only Rockin Ringlets (along with Jessicurl poo and condish), with a tiny bit of Confident Coils toward the end of that time period. Then suddenly I went over some sort of PJ ledge and now I can't exist without a few condishes in rotation, leave-in, a few gels in rotation, something for second-day hair, etc. I obsess over what products, in what order, etc., and have gone so far as to make a spreadsheet in order to figure out the different combinations, but when I look back at pictures, my hair really did look good with just RR. Maybe not every day, but there was something about it that definitely worked by itself and seemed more reliable than trying multiple things in multiple combinations so that I'm rarely doing the same routine twice.

as for your second question, I think application and technique is just as important as product. If they weren't, we wouldn't spend so much time plopping and scrunching and raking and pixiecurl diffusing, pineapple-ing, etc etc.
2c who can't seem to find enough moisture! Trying to figure this out once and for all 7 years after going CG!
allie95--that is really what I'm wondering--thanks for sharing about your experience with RR. On the most basic level I am wondering if any of these products actually make any difference, or if there is maybe one that will make my hair look good enough that I can just chuck the rest. That would be the ideal.

Your second point is well-taken, but I wonder if application of a specific product is that important? I mean, let's say I only use conditioner and no styler. My hair will certainly look curlier if I plop and diffuse than if I comb it out and put it up in a turban.

But what I'm mainly wondering is, are there products that won't work at all if you don't apply them "right," but provide a huge advantage over no-product if you do apply them right? I don't know, just thinking out loud. Like, Re:coil didn't enhance my curls at all when combed through. So if I scrunched it, it would be curlier, but would it be that much curlier than just condish scrunched in?

i.e. If the mag sulfate enhances curl, then shouldn't hair with Re:coil combed through be at least curlier than hair with only water or condish combed through? Obviously if I am comparing Re:coil combed through to other products scrunched in, plopped, and diffused, then that wouldn't be a fair comparison. I don't know if that makes any sense.

Maybe I'm just frustrated with Re:coil. I really want to like it. :P
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!
Sounds like a good experiment!

1) Do you believe based on experience that there are products that, when layered, are truly better than the sum of their parts?

I will say Curl Keeper alone was more curl-enhancing than Re:coil alone, but still did not look as good as it does when I wear both--too undefined and fluffy.
Originally Posted by spacedcowgirl
Yes. Some products work a lot better in combination. However, I'm not sure they would be more curl-enhancing (i.e. Re:coil), but they would be less likely to cause loss of volume, frizz, etc.

You got curl enhancement from CurlKeeper?! I haven't found this to work for my hair in that way. It does seem to help with frizz, but not with curl enhancement. When I used CK alone, my hair lost volume and was flat and greasy looking with stringy curls. That's why I layer it with Re:coil. I haven't tried Re:coil alone yet, but I may.

2) Do you think a product's basic function should be apparent no matter how you apply it?
Originally Posted by spacedcowgirl
I think it's probably a good experiment to try combing it in, however I would try other methods as well because they could make a big difference. I agree with alli95, application is important. Personally, I almost never comb products in so it wouldn't give me a good idea of how they would work. When I try new products, I smooth them in and scrunch as I normally would, then see how well they work. If I combed, my curls wouldn't clump well at all and I would have waves only. HTH

allie, I think I went over the pj ledge too! I'm trying so many new products, I forget what worked and how it worked. That's why I take pictures so I can look back and see if I'm remembering it right. Then my husband thinks I'm nuts and my kitty thinks I'm taunting her with my curls when I pose for the pics (she thinks they're a toy)

~ Always naturally lazy and curly! ~

Photo album password: curly
Blog: lazykerri.wordpress.com
Curl Type: 3a Fii
Current Favorites:
  • Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner
  • Jessicurl Confident Coils
  • Rockin Ringlets, and
  • Herbal Essences Set Me Up Gel
Well, bear in mind that "enhancement" for me is not much of an endorsement. My hair is not that curly so anything that gives me a few spirals and does not actively pull them out is an A-OK "curl enhancer" in my book. It seemed I ended up with some spirals on CK and little frizz, it's just that there wasn't much definition or clumping either.

I may not have mentioned that the combing is only because I feel like that's the only way I can get the product distributed evenly. Once I decide on my favorite products, I would probably scrunch them in and just accept the usual fact that I didn't manage to get any product at the crown of my head so there is a frizzy spot there... or the fact that now I have tangled my hair up trying to scrunch so it's not going to look that good today... but for now I want to make sure as much of the hair is coated as possible so I can get a better feel for what the product does. Or maybe my hope is that if it looks decent combed through, it will look AWESOME scrunched in! Or something like that. :P

Aww!! See, even your kitty benefits from your PJ experimentation! How cute. Mine just want to get up on the kitchen table, where they are not supposed to be, to try and figure out why I am standing there by myself posing for pictures.
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!
I think I understand what you mean. It does get to the point where if we have to lean forward at a 45 degree angle, scrunch 17 times, touch our toes then do a backflip (exaggerating but you know what I mean!) in order to get a product to work, is it really worth it?

Also I relate to your really wanting to like re:coil. unfortunately my hair was greasy and stringy every time I used it, so I finally gave up on it and swapped it away. sometimes I think about trying it again since I feel like I know much more about how to make it work now. but I swore to myself that I wouldn't buy anything new (except for occasional drugstore cheating of course...) until I use something up.
2c who can't seem to find enough moisture! Trying to figure this out once and for all 7 years after going CG!
I think I understand what you mean. It does get to the point where if we have to lean forward at a 45 degree angle, scrunch 17 times, touch our toes then do a backflip (exaggerating but you know what I mean!) in order to get a product to work, is it really worth it?
Yes, that is what I'm clumsily and wordily trying to say. Thank you. Shouldn't a good product do good stuff regardless of application, and then you can "fine-tune" it even further by changing the application method? vs. its performance depending entirely on application method? I'm not even sure why I'm harping on this as I don't really care what method I end up needing to use. I think it's just more a general suspicion that if a product is too "fussy" to apply, then at some point maybe the product isn't doing anything and it's all the method. But I honestly don't know.

Also thanks for sharing your Re:coil experience because sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't like it. It is particularly popular among my fellow wavies so it's easy to just figure I am doing something wrong (I do usually scrunch it in under normal circumstances so I don't think it's the combing that's the problem). But maybe it just doesn't do anything for my hair.

So far I have added Aussie Dual Personality Volumizing Foam + Leave-In Conditioner and Herbal Essences Body Envy to the list of products that I have tried solo. The leave-in really seemed to confer no advantage over using nothing--but then I suspected that from using it all this time under other stuff. Basically I am just trying to use it up at this point.

My hair is still wet but I have high hopes for the gel. Maybe Lorraine was right... I think in the routine in the CG book, gel is pretty much the only product used. Sure would save me some money...
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!
Are you following a modified CG or a regular CG routine?
My hair, on second day, becomes pretty straight with only a few waves, especially if I comb it.
And since I have to order products from Italy, If I want to try the ones most of you are using, I don't want to spend money for something that might not work on its own.
So I am really interested in your experiment.
I may not have mentioned that the combing is only because I feel like that's the only way I can get the product distributed evenly. Once I decide on my favorite products, I would probably scrunch them in and just accept the usual fact that I didn't manage to get any product at the crown of my head so there is a frizzy spot there...

Aww!! See, even your kitty benefits from your PJ experimentation! How cute. Mine just want to get up on the kitchen table, where they are not supposed to be, to try and figure out why I am standing there by myself posing for pictures.
Originally Posted by spacedcowgirl
When you scrunch them in, do you also smooth them over the top of your hair? For me, that seems to help with distribution. I never understood how scrunching was supposed to distribute the product very well on its own.

This morning was a key example of kitty shenanigans. I had clipped a curl up and then let it down and it was a bouncy ringlet, then I had to pick her up (she was getting into mischief) and she kept looking at me attentively. I thought, aww how sweet, she loves me. Then she batted at the curl! I told her no, but she still hasn't learned the meaning of that particular word. She's adorable, but silly.

~ Always naturally lazy and curly! ~

Photo album password: curly
Blog: lazykerri.wordpress.com
Curl Type: 3a Fii
Current Favorites:
  • Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner
  • Jessicurl Confident Coils
  • Rockin Ringlets, and
  • Herbal Essences Set Me Up Gel
Butting in to say that for me, weather has a huge impact on how my products perform. I can use exactly the same products and techniques, but get completely different results depending on how dry/humid/rainy/windy it is. I's very frustrating! I'll think I have the perfect combo, only to have it fail miserably a few days later.
Couple of inches past shoulder length 3A. Shampoo every 3rd or 4th day w/ baby shampoo; Tigi Fashionista conditioner; back to Condition 3-in-1 mousse . Alternate days water rinse, conditioner and mousse.
lazykerri--that is adorable. The phrase "a key example of kitty shenanigans" is also hilarious. I plan to adopt it as we have many such key examples in my house. Anyway, if she doesn't know the meaning of "no," then at least you can pretend like she would obey you if she did know it. Rather than, like with my cats, facing the reality that they know "no," they just choose not to heed it unless there is something in it for them. Like I say "no," and they will look at me and just keep doing what they're doing until it becomes clear that I am about to squirt them with water or pick them up. If I don't approach them they just ignore me.

Smoothing seems like a key step--for whatever reason I have trouble getting products into my hair and that is probably the least "disturbing" way to distribute them. But it frustrates me because the hair is smooth the second I step out from under the water, but as soon as I flip it over or scrunch, smooth, finger-comb, etc. it's tangled up again, looking sort of "ratted" and frizzy, and I end up shedding a lot of hair, which I hate the feeling of on my hands. So my inclination is just to scrunch a few times, but as you say, that is not likely to distribute it very well.

Have you watched those Jessicurl videos? She just rakes products right through her hair and the hair still looks perfectly smooth and untangled. I wish mine was like that. I hate that feeling of my hands being coated with hair strands, and then it looks all tangled and frizzy before it even dries.

soleluna--awesome--hope it ends up helping you!! I would say I'm "strict" CG except I washed my hair a week or so ago. But I don't use anything with non-water-soluble cones. I believe everything I own is CG-compatible.

linda_m--Grrr--I forgot about the weather aspect for a minute! I was going to say that I do like the gel by itself better than any other individual products I have tried so far, but it's not controlling frizz that well, which surprises me. But... it's pouring down rain here today, so maybe I should cut it some slack. Oh well.
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!

But it frustrates me because the hair is smooth the second I step out from under the water, but as soon as I flip it over or scrunch, smooth, finger-comb, etc. it's tangled up again, looking sort of "ratted" and frizzy, and I end up shedding a lot of hair, which I hate the feeling of on my hands.
Originally Posted by spacedcowgirl
YES! This happens to me, too! ARGH! And then I plop and it exacerbates it and I end up with areas that are tweaked and funky.

Have you watched those Jessicurl videos? She just rakes products right through her hair and the hair still looks perfectly smooth and untangled. I wish mine was like that. I hate that feeling of my hands being coated with hair strands, and then it looks all tangled and frizzy before it even dries.
Originally Posted by spacedcowgirl
I watched longingly as she did all of that, too. I wish I could comb/rake products in and still end up with nice thick clumps like that. Alas, I get strings and frizz.

2c (Fia) with some 3a in the middle layer
TwistedChick--well, I'm glad I'm not the only one... I identify completely with everything you have described. When I take my hair down from the plop there are pieces "stuck" together in a weird orientation (one curl hanging down OK and the other bent or something) and I have to pull them apart. Of course then I have pulled out the curl, and when I try to scrunch it back in I break the curls up even more until I have a stringy mess. Jess's hair looked like it just fell pretty smoothly into place. My cuticle seems to be like velcro.

I am getting really tempted to switch to her products.* Esp. since I am starting to suspect this is a protein issue and I believe the Jessicurl stuff is protein-free. I ordered a trial pack and got it in the mail today. Now I just have to make myself try them one at a time...

*Not that I will have Jess's hair no matter what I do, dammit...
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!
I am new to CG language and have a question. What is plopping? Thanks!
See article on plopping here: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlco...les.php?id=140

And I guess I lied re: proteins--Jessicurl has hydrolyzed oat flour...
2b/2c/3a
Back on CG (OK, I'm a little indecisive).
pw: curls
Currently using: Whole Foods 365 Herbal Mint Conditioner (co-wash), MOP Mixed Greens Conditioner, Paul Mitchell Lite Detangler, CK, ISO Bouncy Creme. Gave up on plopping due to tangles/"stickiness" and now I just comb through products and diffuse. It looks basically as good and dries a lot faster (I wasn't getting good clumps from plopping anyway). Still wish I were a lot curlier!
SCG, have you had any luck with the Jessicurl products? what were your results? I'm about to try them now, since I got some in a swap. I have tried the Awe-Inspiralling spray already and it seemed to work really well. I tried spraying it though, and it bothered me--but sprays often do. So I tried spraying it on my hands first, and that worked better. I think I need the unscented products.

I plan to try the Gelebration spray and maybe the CCSS today along with my usual routine. It's hard to try out new stuff when I have to go to work every weekday! It doesn't leave much room for possible bad hair days. (I liked it better when I was home, I didn't care how my hair looked in cases where the products didn't work for me, but I didn't like that I didn't have any money for new products, either!)

For more kitty shenanigans, check out my www link, I have some new photos there of my hair (many of which she got in on somehow) and a whole album for her if you're interested (the Kiki Neko album)

~ Always naturally lazy and curly! ~

Photo album password: curly
Blog: lazykerri.wordpress.com
Curl Type: 3a Fii
Current Favorites:
  • Jessicurl Too Shea Conditioner
  • Jessicurl Confident Coils
  • Rockin Ringlets, and
  • Herbal Essences Set Me Up Gel

Trending Topics


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2011 NaturallyCurly.com