Curly Guy needs help with his hair

First of all I would like to say hello to all of you and thank you for the many pieces of information I have been able to gather from this site.

I have been for the most part been doing CG since the Summer when I stumbled onto this site and decided I would try to grow my hair and see if I would have better luck with my curly hair on CG. But after many months I still seem to have problems in trying in get my hair to look decent for any length of time. I can see how shampooing and conditioning with the Aveda Brilliant line might not of been the best products to use when I was not CG many years ago, but I still am struggling in finding a routine that my hair likes on CG. I began using Deva No poo, One C and Angell. I did buy the book and have tried to follow Lorraines plan, I have even gone to the salon twice since it is only a few blocks where I live and have asked for advice regarding the use of their products. But still I will have a good hair day and then 4 or 5 lousy hair days. In the interim I have mixed in a few other products since I started (I tried Suave Aloe Vera conditioner, since I thought the One C is too heavy, more recenly Activate conditioner which I think I either overdid or my hair does not like protein because hair became dry, straw like and flat. I also have used used Aussie Tizz No Frizz and HESMU gel). Right now I am back to the origianl No Poo, One C and Angell, but not with great results. My hair was flat and stringy when I just put the One C on yesterday and when I just used gel on Saturday there was hardly any curl and was very frizzy and dry. Today I did a Baking Soda Scrub, used One C and Angell and at least my hair is not flat and stringy, this seems to have degunked some of the stuff off my hair(I have nicer curls and was not as flat) although since I only use One C and Angell can this stuff really be building up? Especially since I did a lemon rinse on Wednesday and I used Low Poo last Sunday after using the Activate all of last week.

My routine is for the most part pretty basic since I do not want to fuss much in the morning. I have used No Poo about twice a week and have used One C about every day or every other day(part of my problem is I do not know when I need to use conditioner). After showering I will scrunch a paper towel through my hair and then scrunch about a nickel of Angell and then diffuse with a Conair Ionic Dryer. My hair is pretty thick and feels coarse when it is dry.

So if some of you ladies or men are still with this post and would be kind of enough and take a look at my photos maybe you can tell me what type of hair I have and suggest some products or a routine that could work.

I would be most grateful if anyone has any suggestions. I want to like my curly hair I just do not understand it.

Thanks again.
Hi and welcome to the boards.
I am the wrong person to answer your questions but there are a lot of curlies here that know what they are doing.

I found when I was using only Deva products my hair didn't feel right and it didn't hold my curls.
So, I have been experimenting. I have had nice results but I feel it is because I have added joiwhip mousse.

Today, I used Creme of Nature Shampoo.
Used small amounts of Deva one conditioner as a leave in.
Topped it off with tiny...tiny amounts of joi whip mousse.
Teeny Tiny amounts of this mousse is all that is needed.
I am not a true and blue CGer. I have failed several times.
BTW...your hair looks nice
Hello and welcome too!

From looking at your pics I didn't get the impression your hair is really thick (I've seen much thicker) nor coarse but that's the disadvantage of pictures, I'd have to touch it to really know! The only thing I can say for sure is that you appear to have "mixed hair" (but who doesn't?), I even saw some straight hairs sticking out.

While your post was long enough I don't think you mentioned if your scalp is oily, normal or dry as that would make a difference. However, the minute you mentioned "flat & stringy hair" it seems obvious your hair is getting weighed down/overconditioned which was confirmed by the fact that when you clarified with baking soda your hair seemed to respond. So I would say you don't need to use the OneC (or any other CO) as often as you have been.

The way to tell if/when you need CO is by running (or trying to) your fingers through your hair after wetting it in the shower; if they go right through chances are you don't need any Co, so just massage your scalp and rinse thoroughly with water, then just use a lavender or herbal rinse to get your hair smelling fresh and proceed to apply your gel and diffuse.

A possible problem could be that OneC has olive oil, which I find doesn't agree with some people's hair, ironically enough it can make the hair appear dry, personally I prefer jojoba oil as it's the most like our own. Other people feel the amodimethicone builds up on them, but if you think it could be proteins (people with healthy hair don't really need them) then switch to a CO without any. Aubrey Organics has several, Nature's Gate and Burt's Bees have a couple.

By the way, on pic #3 your hair looks pretty good!

P.S. If you're taking any medication that too could affect how your hair behaves.
2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

"Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC
Thank you Curlylew66, and HalfWavyHalfCurly for taking the time and posting some suggestions.

After reading your posts I do have a few new questions.

HalfWavyHalfCurly you said that one way of knowing if you need conditioner is by running your fingers through your hair. I tried that on Saturday and today even and the problem is that since my hair is short I never seem to have a problem running my fingers or a wide tooth comb through my hair. What I discovered on Saturday and today is that I defintely needed some conditioner. Today I decided to just rinse and scrub my hair with water first and when I got out of the shower I knew my hair would be like it was on Saturday with hardly any curl definition, flat on top and frizzy. So I went back in and this time put on some Activate(a dime size) since I was hesitant about using One C.

Now I feel I needed the heavier OneC because I do not have great curl definition and hair is poofy although it is not flat and stringy. Is it possible I should be using more gel. When I first started CG I was using like a quarter size glob and then a dime and now I use about a dime. I just felt that for my short hair all that gel was not needed and maybe building up. I also do not use any leave in since that would seem to complicate things. Like everything else I have a hard time finding out what works.

You also had a question about my scalp and I feel that it is for the most part normal, although I am not sure but I do not have any flaking which would lead me to believe it is not dry.

Regarding my shampoo, do you think I should stick to the No Poo or Low Poo or something else. Also how often do you shampoo or conditioner wash your hair a week?

I also am not on any meds right now but I might start if I cannot figure out a routine for myself soon.

Thanks again.
I've only got wavy hair, and I've found that the One Condition is a bit too heavy for my hair, especially if I'm using it over any length of time. Actually, using the No Poo on place of a conditioner works pretty well for me - it is very moisturizing. And with Angell, you need alot - my hair is not super thick, and just past shoulder length, and I usually use about a total of a palmful, in addition to a couple of dabs of one of the HE gels. HTH!
"A face without freckles is like a night without stars"

And here I thought women were the only ones who got stressed over hair problems! Well, everyone's hair is like the central focus of our appearance so I definitely understand how frustrated you must feel and let's hope you won't end up on Prozac as a result of this! My apologies because it's not so easy for me to relate to your hair length as mine hasn't been any shorter than it is now (jaw length) since I've been on CG. However, comparing to last year when my hair was much longer and tangled easily, my hands now go through my hair more easily BUT the hair doesn't always feel the same. I don't use CO or use less if after a good long rinse my hair feels soft.

I have the type of hair I can't manipulate hardly at all so I do better by applying my gel on barely squeezed hair, if I put a towel to it and/or comb it I will get stringy hair but since I have enough length I can always twist it all together (while my hair is hanging upside down) to make it reclump and gently scrunch to make the curl return. I'll also get stringy hair if I have too much CO on. Whenever I do a DT with oils my hair tends to go flat so I need a stronger gel that day. Since you don't DT I feel you are getting some build up, the test for that is if our curls spring back after clarifying and you did better after using the baking soda...

In my own experience, styling products are not really responsible for curl definition, as with a house the real foundation has to be laid first and all they do is enhance and protect it. How much gel you use will mainly determine how much hold and/or crunch you get: too little=soft hold, little or no crunch, just right= enough hold, some crunch that can be easily scrunched off, too much=stiff hold, a lot of crunch that won't all go away and possibly dull looking hair.

So it's important to start out right with a cleanser and finishing CO to match our hair type. When I started CG I was not fond of gels so I believe I was very blessed to soon find a good CO for washing and an even better one that on the first try made my hair feel and look really good while still wet (that's the true test of a good CO). I "instinctively" skipped the gel and had the most amazing "curl day" ever, so I became probably the only non-gel CGer in these forums back in '02 (but later there were more like me). Naturally, with no gel I had no need to clarify so my routine was very, very easy and cheap too. That blissful period lasted until I decided to lighten my hair, it didn't help to also have become a "product orphan" thanks to loss of my staple COs to reformulation.

I have no personal experience with the Deva line so I can only judge the products by their ingredients and the testimony of others. If you are build-up prone, the first thing is to find out the reason but since we cannot see or touch your hair only you can really do that by trying a few different things. It could very well be that NoPoo is not for you, perhaps you need the LowPoo instead, or some other mild shampoo (or even a diluted SLS shampoo ); or it could be that OneC is not your Holy Grail. I've been "here" on/off since '02 and I've seen a lot of curlies get great results with Natural COs so if you want to experiment try one of them, they cost a lot less than DevaCurl. Nature's Gate, Jason's and Kiss My Face have some that are CG-friendly and are among the least expensive, but there's also Aubrey Organics, Giovanni, Shikai, etc.

In response to your question, because my scalp is normal I only CO-wash once a week and generally rinse/condition every other day. In between I just spray my hair with distilled water or lavender mist. I don't always get good "2nd day hair" but since I stay home I only will rinse again if I have to go out somewhere.

By the way, if you ever decide to not use CO in the shower but after you step out decide you do need it after all, you don't have to go back in, just rub a little bit in your hands and then run them through your hair (as if it were a leave-in). This can actually be more effective and economical at the same time.

This is all for now but keep firing up the questions as you experiment, we'll do our best to help you find the answer, ok?

P.S. After reading other posts about AnGell I'm guessing it's a soft-hold gel, perhaps you can do better on a drugstore brand like the ones mentioned here (Aussie, HE, etc.).
2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

"Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC
In my own experience, styling products are not really responsible for curl definition, as with a house the real foundation has to be laid first and all they do is enhance and protect it.

After reading your reply this line kept on coming back to me and it finally made me realize that my foundation might not be all that strong. So I looked at ways that I could improve it that I had not tried before and one idea was that I might actually not be using enough conditioner. I have always used very small amounts. So after having another lousy hair day yesterday, this morning I decided to use a full palmful of One C(usually I use less than a dime), and I worked it through my hair with a wide tooth comb and left it on for a minute and then rinsed. I then scrunched a dab more of One C and then about a nickel size of Angell, and my hair responded alot better. Instead of being weighed down(which I feared) my hair had some nice curls and was much softer and was just the opposite of when I had used a small amount of conditioner.

Although I am sure the trial and error of nailing down a routine that suits my hair is not over, I do feel that I have gained some knowledge in the quest for my inner curl.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and encouraging posts.
I had to kind of laugh because I had suggested the total opposite of what very obviously your own "gut" was telling you. Some "hair symptoms" seem very similar even when the causes are different, so trying to give advice long-distance it's very often like taking shots in the dark, and in your case because I have not used the Deva products myself I probably should've let those who do be the ones to try to help you . I do know that with some of my COs I also have to use more but then with others "less is more" .

I think one thing that confused me is that not long ago I read one of the old interviews with Lorraine and one of the questions was about conditioning during the winter and she said to use less while my own experience has been of needing more, or a richer one (yeah, that's right, let's blame it on Lorraine, moohahaha! ).

"Anywho", the really important thing is that it appears you've made a breakthrough and seem to be on your way to great curls so I'm very happy for you!
2A/3A, medium length, layered, colored dark/medium ash blonde - "CGer" since April '02.

"Converting the 'curlskeptics' one curly head at a time..." HWHC

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