Join Date: Nov 2011
OC'd! Protein, porosity questions, and more
Apologies ahead of time for length everyone... This is gonna be long, but I'm throwing all my questions into one thread instead of overloading the boards with multiple, possibly related posts. I'm 5 weeks into CG, and realized today my hair is way overconditioned. It's been feeling super moisturized on the day I cowash, which is fairly new, frizzing while I applied RO and when cold water rinsing out the conditioner (a week or 2 now). My ah-ha moment today was noticing an entire row of tiny short hairs in my crown. I'd been complaining to myself about frizzy ends no matter how much I conditioned and how moisturized it all felt. Apparently it was breakage, not frizz. I've been cowashing every other day with Suave Naturals clarifying conditioner, using GFTN as my RO, either GFTN or Garnier's Pure Clean for a LI depending on what the dews are doing, and HESMU. I get frizzies and a bit of scalp itch by then, so I haven't tried going longer between cowashes. Am I cowashing too often?
Long story short, I'm really wondering how much protein I should add back into my routine. Today I used some Suave Coconut as cowash, realized my hair still felt overly moisturized, tried a low sulfate shampoo (better feel, but not dried out like my pre-CG days), then Suave Coconut as RO, skipped the LI entirely, and used LALSG for styling. Straight out of the shower I noticed better curl. As it dried my ends were getting flyaway so I added a couple drops of some Palmer's Body Oil (soybean, sesame, safflower oils, and cocoa butter - the only other oils here are for cooking). Now that it's dry, the shortest hair especially has visibly shrunk up and curled better. The rest is looking bouncier /curlier as well, despite more "frizz" than I'm used to. Should I just stick to some proteiny products when I cowash, at least for a while, or do I need a full on PT? If I PT, should I mix one up at home, or buy a commercial one?
As far as type, texture, and porosity go... I think I've got a mix of 2c (longer layer) and 3a /3b? (shorter layer), and medium texture aside from some scattered coarse grays. I've tried the strand test, and my hair mainly squeaks, but feels slightly bumpy (more bumpy on some grays). Squeaking = Low, Bumpy = High? My hair was fairly healthy before I started CG, aside from the typical sulfate shampoo /silicone conditioner and products, I pretty much followed CG otherwise (no to color /blowdrying /combing when dry, yes to pineappling at night). I never notice products sitting on my hair instead of absorbing, and it doesn't take ages to get wet or dry. If I plop for more than 10 minutes or so, my ends are dry when I take it out. It's been years since I had highlights, but I got good results using the time stated on the box. It does seem to take a lot of conditioner to get that wet seaweed feel, but I can do a quarter size gel or less and feel like I have enough on my hair.
I've seen some say a strand test needs done on dry hair, and others who say it has to be clean and dry. I never remember to pull some hairs to strand test before I add an LI or LI /gel. So, any testing I'm doing is on hair that is dry but has some product on it. Beyond the seemingly contradictory results, I'm not sure they're even accurate if I'm not strand testing properly. Any idea what my porosity actually is? I've only succeeded in confusing myself.
If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. Any advice much appreciated!