Newbie ?... at my wit's end with my hair!

Ok I am new to all of this and I am at a loss as to what to do. I have hair that is all over the map. It is extra curly in the back and wavier on the sides and pretty straight all over from my scalp to about 3-4 inches down the strand. It is SUPER curly underneath. It is really fine with the underneath a little coarser. It is also kind of thin, I used to have a ton of hair but lost about 1/3 of it over the years. It is just past shoulder length.

My issue revolves around frizziness, which I know is a huge problem for curly hair, but I cannot seem to tame it no matter what, and it can get extreme. I currrently use whatever shampoo/conditioner is on sale and I try to use a deep conditioner 1x/week. For styling products I have a variety I use, L'oreal Studio Lane Melting Gel, Moroccan Oil (actually it is a different cheaper brand), Suave Professionals Conditioning mousse, and a spray leave-in. It doesn't really seem to matter what I use, the result is more or less the same. I put whatever combination of products in, comb it into the left part with a large tooth comb, and let it air dry.

What I want is medium sized wavy curls (not super curly -- more like very wavy) all around, natural looking and clean feeling (I am picky about my hair feeling clean). What I end up with is super frizzy waves on the sides, poodle looking curls in the back, flat to my head on top. I end up with it in a ponytail every single day to control it. Even on low humidity days, we are still talking a good amount of frizz, esp. on the sides and in the front.

I don't color my hair, I don't blow it dry or use heat tools (it breaks if I do) and I am not often in the sun. So why is my hair in such bad shape? It used to be better, shinier, smoother, etc. It got really bad after my 2nd baby 10 months ago.

Any advice? Don't know if I need to be using a sulfate free shampoo or what. My budget is pretty tight so I can't waste a lot of money trying everything under the sun, wondering if any of you had ideas or tips. THANKS!
It sounds like all the sulfates and harsh cleansers in your shampoos are wreaking havoc on your curls! Even if you don't heat style -- which, by the way is GREAT that you don't! -- the harsh cleansers in your shampoo dry out your curls and leave them frizzy and dry and stripped. Have you heard about the CG method? Lots of curlies here do it to add extra moisture to their hair and cleanse their curls gently. (It's also known as CO-washing, or using a cheap, light conditioner to clean your scalp instead of shampoo.) Here's a link to explain it:

The College Curly: Laura Lee's All In One Guide to Going CG: Now Revised and Updated!

It also explains all about silicones, or 'cones for short. They end in -cone, -conol, and -xane and will build up on your hair if you don't use sulfates. Just plain old going sulfate free is great, too. I used to CO-wash, but it just wasn't for my sensitive scalp. My hair loved all the extra moisture, but I couldn't find a fragrance free conditioner to CO-wash with (I have terrible fragrance sensitivities). You don't have to commit to a full on CG routine, but you should use something a lot gentler to cleanse with.

You might also want to check out all the stickies at the top of the page. They are super useful and full of great info. There is one on all the abbreviations and lingo we use on NC.com, and there is a Techniques Link to all the methods that curlies have come up with to get their hair looking its best. Here's a link to that:

TECHNIQUES LINKS: SuperSoaker,Spritz&Condish,Plopping,Frizz,Clipping IceQueen, etc

HTH! Good luck with your hair.
Type 2c/3a with lots of hair and a super sensitive scalp! Med/slightly coarse texture, low porosity and elasticity.

Favorite...
Low poo: Organix TTM, Essential Wholesale Free & Clean
RO/LI: TN, GFTN, YTC
Stylers: EcoStylers, GF Curl Shaping Gel, Aussie Aussome Volume Mousse & Instant Freeze Gel, GFPC, LALNC, La Bella Lots of Curls, Apricot Oil, KMFUM, AO B5DG
Extras: sugar scrubs, AVG washes, pre-poos with EVCO, oiling scalp before washes, plopping, gelatin PT.
Mod-CG since 12/1/10!
Yeah, I'd eliminate silicones and sulfate shampoos for a while. That should kill the frizz. I say go for a daily condish that's natural i.e. Aubrey or ANY of the ones offered at Curl Mart. Play around with different ones until you find a good match. Isn't mousse supposed to be drying? You might want to lay off of that as well. If you still have frizz after all of that, you can always braid your hair in a couple of braids at night. Your hair will dry smoothly and uniformly.
My signature style: the "braid n' curl"
High porosity, normal elasticity, high density, thick strands, DRY (must moisturize/oil and DT a lot), tangles easily. Highly textured...curl softener+demi-perm color.
Straightened length: Waist (layers)
Textured length: (variable) full SL to BSL

Condish/Shampoo: VO5
Pre-poo: mild protein(VO5)+castor oil+tea tree
Steam treatments: 1-2x weekly
Daily routine and DT: Moisturize w/ Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose+Olive oil and seal w/ Avocado oil
Mousse can be drying, but there are some good moisturizing ones out there.
You may have better luck with a silicone free gel. I always thought gels were to heavy for my hair, but it turned out my hair loves them, as long as they are water soluble and light but with really good hold. I am using La Looks Sports Gel. It is super cheap. It is the only thing that holds my crown frizz down! I lost quite a bit of hair due to a medication I was taking, and now that I am off of that med the hair is slowly growing back, but those shorter hairs up top are all over the place. Gel has been the only thing to get them to behave. I also hated the crunch, but found out that it scrunches out quite well, leaving me with soft defined waves that don't fall flat and don't frizz up.
http://www.facebook.com/sweetcurlselixirs
I forgot to add, I haven't spent a whole lot of money on my new CG routine.
I was already using suave naturals shampoo and conditioner, so I just put the shampoo up (Can still use it to wash combs, make up brushes, and just in case I need a sulphate shampoo for build up) and continue to use the conditioner for my conditioner wash.
New sulfate free shampoo - Organix $6 - $7 (some curly girls conditioner wash only, so this might be optional for you! I don't shampoo every day, only 1 -2 times a week, I go longer if I can!)
New moisturizing silicone free conditioner for a rinse out and leave in - Renpure $6 -$7 (again, you might even be able to get away with using the same cheap - o conditioner you use to wash with and may not need another)
New hair towels (regular terry cloth towels cause frizz) - old cotton t-shirts I used to sleep in and color my hair FREE
Bag of organic flax seeds for my new homemade flax seed gel - $4 (again - optional!)
La Looks Sports Gel - $2!!!! for HUGE bottle
coconut oil for pre-shampoo treatment, deep conditon treatments etc - $4 (again, optional but a little goes a LONG way, and works better for me than any deep conditioner I have ever bought)
Honey for adding to flax seed gel for hold, and adding to coconut oil for deep treatment, nothing, I already had it in my cabinet.
Total - $22!! And all of this stuff except for maybe the suave will last for quite some time.
This link has a long list of curly girl friendly budget conditioners
Start out CG on a budget

more helpful links!
Start here
TONS of useful information for new curlys
Introduction to the no-poo method
Questions for people trying the Deva Curly Girl routine for the 1st time

And if you haven't already, figure out what type of curls you have! Then you can ask questions on the curly talk board for your curl type from people who share some of your hair qualities
http://www.facebook.com/sweetcurlselixirs

Last edited by swtndspcy; 05-02-2011 at 10:55 PM.
Thank you all so much for the advice and all the details! They really help. One question though. I spent quite a while looking at the before and after CG thread, about 50 pages worth so far. I noticed most CG people's curls look super shiny and defined but also heavier. I don't have a lot of hair so I would want to ditch the frizz but keep a lighter, fluffier feel to my hair. Does that make sense? If I just got rid of the cones and sulfates and used sulfate free shampoo instead of cowashing, would that be effective for what I am looking to achieve? I just don't want to overcondition and have those heavy ringlet curls... not a good look on me.

BTW, I have a bunch of bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my closet from where I stocked up on sale prices and I checked and EVERY ONE of them have cones! Even the shampoos! Ugh!
My Blog: http://www.peterepeat.net
I think a lot of us here are obsessed with clumping, in which we try to get big clumps of curls instead of smaller clumps. You certainly don't have to have to go for the big clump look! Most of us have certain techniques we do in our shower routine to promote clumps, but I am sure skipping those techniques and maybe finger combing products in and then scrunching instead of scrunching products in would help keep from clumping too much. I will admit, finding a technique to give you your ideal curl look takes trial and error, but well worth it!
Also, getting a cut with some long layers would add fullness. (Which i desperately need to do!)
Co-washing, if done properly with a light moisturizing conditioner doesn't weigh hair down too much, however, a lot of fine haired curlies do find they need to a mod CG routine. I low poo maybe about 1-2 times a week, and alternate water and co washing as long as I can until my hair gets that weighed down feel.
I do think eliminating sulfates and 'cones will make a difference, but I would give a co-washing a try! I too thought it would weigh me down, and when I wasn't doing it properly it did, but when I realized you really have to work the condish through and continue the friction while rinsing is KEY to get your hair and scalp clean. It's just different from sulfate poos where the suds do all the work.
http://www.facebook.com/sweetcurlselixirs
Since you don't use heat or color on your hair and you say it breaks if you use any heat, I'd guess your hair is porous. Many people have porous hair because they abuse it. But some people have porous hair naturally.
You say you have thin hair (small # of hair's per square inch). Do you also have fine hair (small circumference of an individual hair)? If your hair is either fine or medium thickness, I'd suggest trying IAgirl's gelatin protein treatment (PT). It is super cheap and works really well. A PT will help add strength to your hair (among other benefits). Follow a PT with a deep treatment (DT) or a moisturizing conditioner.
PT recipe - as promised
This article explains protein and moisture balance.
The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balancing for Black Hair Care - Associated Content from Yahoo! - associatedcontent.com
http://pedaheh.blogspot.com/ (a blog to help new wavies, go to the how do I get started page)
2a (nc.com) 2bFi (Fia), very fine, thin, low/normal elasticity, porous, CG, doesn't get weighed down
Cowash: Tresemme naturals
Rinse out/leave in: Renpure Organics (red)
Curl enhancer: FSG
Gel: BRHG, Salon care aloe, Ecostyler Krystal (normal dews)
PT: ION effective care, IAgirl's gelatin PT
Low Poo: renpure (red), Ion swimmers
BTW, I have a bunch of bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my closet from where I stocked up on sale prices and I checked and EVERY ONE of them have cones! Even the shampoos! Ugh!
Originally Posted by shamity
Of course you can always donate extras to a soap pantry. But if you would rather hang on to them:
Shampoo: use for occasional sulfate wash, use as a shaving gel, body wash, wash combs and make up brushes
Condish - in shower body lotion, shaving lotion
http://www.facebook.com/sweetcurlselixirs
I would also suggest, if you do choose to eliminate sulfates and cones, to start with the very basics - cowash, condish, and one styler (gel, mousse, curling creme, etc.) and build up from there. You want as clean of a slate as possible. Sometimes using too many stylers or oils can cause frizz as well (I found this out the hard way). Keep us posted and let us know if you are able to start controlling your frizz!

Products:
Cleanser: Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Shampoo (every Sunday)
COWash: Suave Tropical Coconut
Condish/Leave In: Garnier Fructis TNT
Styler: La Bella Lots of Curls
Thank you all so much for the advice and all the details! They really help. One question though. I spent quite a while looking at the before and after CG thread, about 50 pages worth so far. I noticed most CG people's curls look super shiny and defined but also heavier. I don't have a lot of hair so I would want to ditch the frizz but keep a lighter, fluffier feel to my hair. Does that make sense? If I just got rid of the cones and sulfates and used sulfate free shampoo instead of cowashing, would that be effective for what I am looking to achieve? I just don't want to overcondition and have those heavy ringlet curls... not a good look on me.

BTW, I have a bunch of bottles of shampoo and conditioner in my closet from where I stocked up on sale prices and I checked and EVERY ONE of them have cones! Even the shampoos! Ugh!
Originally Posted by shamity
You're quite welcome. Like Southernfiber said, lots of people's hair looks that way because of the products they use. Most of the curlies here didn't use any or that many products before going CG. Adding more products WILL make your hair heavier! If you like the lighter look, you may want to CO-wash anyway and use a light gel or a non-drying, CG friendly mousse (mousse is generally drying, though, so you might want to just look for a lightweight -- or softer holding -- gel). But, then again, I do find that CO-washing weighs my hair down and makes my roots and hair a bit flatter. But it's all about what your own hair does. My hair isn't your hair! You may find that CO-washing actually gives your hair MORE volume, and you can always pick up on the different techniques on here to give your hair more bounce and a lighter look (like clipping). It's almost worth it to try CO-washing for a while first. The conditioners that many recommend on here for newbie CGs are Suave and VO5, which are super cheap (like $.99 cheap!). Low poos are more expensive (like $7). Experiment a little, and see what you like! That's all the fun! But, generally, for a direct answer to your question, low poos might help it look a bit lighter and bouncier (there is no guarantee, though), but it might not give it the moisture it needs.

Ah, yes -- all of the shampoos in my shower had 'cones in them, too, before CG! I hate that they hide them in sulfate shampoos now. It's bad enough that they're in almost every conditioner. At least the 'cone free shampoos are cheap, though!
Type 2c/3a with lots of hair and a super sensitive scalp! Med/slightly coarse texture, low porosity and elasticity.

Favorite...
Low poo: Organix TTM, Essential Wholesale Free & Clean
RO/LI: TN, GFTN, YTC
Stylers: EcoStylers, GF Curl Shaping Gel, Aussie Aussome Volume Mousse & Instant Freeze Gel, GFPC, LALNC, La Bella Lots of Curls, Apricot Oil, KMFUM, AO B5DG
Extras: sugar scrubs, AVG washes, pre-poos with EVCO, oiling scalp before washes, plopping, gelatin PT.
Mod-CG since 12/1/10!

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