Help for an overwhelmed 3a newbie?

Hi all,

I stumbled here by accident and now feel 100% compelled to try out this whole CG thing. As far as I can tell, my hair qualifies as the following:

3A
Waist-length (at least when wet or in French braided pigtails. )
Medium Width
High Density
Medium-High Porosity

Here's the deal. I've been on pretty much the same four day cycle for about a decade, since middle school, which, coincidentally, was the last time I got a haircut. First day: shampoo with Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Care (I used to just condition until a few years ago, when I was getting lots of flakes), condition with Dove Intense Moisture conditioner, comb through while wet with wide-tooth comb, rinse, apply got2b Glossy shine serum, Garnier Fructis Soft Curl Cream (and I'm on my last jar, which is how I ended up here in the first place!), and got2b kinky mousse, lightly towel dry and pin up on top of my head loosely and messily with bobby pins and clips. It usually stays like that for about 36 hours, at which point I take it down when I want to look good, like going out to dinner, and it looks nice for a few hours before it gets frizzy. Then it goes back on top of my head to stay out of my face and I start the cycle again the following day.

It's always done the trick, I guess, and I do love my hair, but I'm getting kind of tired of having to plan two days in advance to wear my hair down. It blows my mind that people can wake up, wash their hair, and have it look good an hour later. If I don't let mine "set" and dry up in a messy bun thing, it ends up light, fluffy, and frizzy with absolutely no curl definition.

I should add I've never color-treated my hair, it hasn't been straightened in a decade (and even that was only twice), I don't use brushes, I only comb when wet, and I don't blow dry.

I just spent some time perusing the before and after photos and trying to learn about the CG process, but I'm completely overwhelmed. I'm all for trying something new, but I would love some solid pointers. As far as products go, I'd like to keep it in the inexpensive/easily accessible category, like drugstore brands. I'd rather save that extra cash for new shoes!

Okay. I've said too much. I've never been good at concise. So, to sum it all up... help! What do I do?!

Last edited by SpiritKid; 12-04-2012 at 11:15 PM.
It sounds like your hair is probably already in very good shape because you've been taking care of it, so I want to preface that you may or may not see a drastic difference with CG. From what I've seen, the really dramatic changes seem to be mostly people who chronically straightened or had otherwise very damaged hair (heat or chemical). That being said, even though I no longer always follow a strict CG routine, I think it's a great thing to try because you will learn so much about your hair.

Have you tried gel? I found gel to be the one single product that made the biggest difference in curl definition and frizz reduction. I normally air dry my hair (I will diffuse roots for a few minutes in the winter because the temps in NY can get pretty low). Mousse I great for volume, but I end up with no definition and tons of frizz by the time my hair is dry. Gel gives me exactly the opposite result. A few popular choices to try include Aussie Instant Freeze, Herbal Essences Set Me Up, LA Looks (most people use either Sport or Nutra Curl, but I've also seen some people really like Power Spikes), or Biotera Gel from Sally's.

3a/f/iii
Modified CG since 11/5/11
CLEANSE: VO5 Vanilla Mint Tea Clarifying, DevaCare No-Poo, CHS Treatment Shampoo
RO: DevaCare One Condition, SS Caitlin's Conditioner, Mop Top Daily Conditioner
LI: SS Repairing Protein Treatment, CHS Silk Leave-In
STYLE: Re:Coil, Curl Keeper, Deva Ultra Defining Gel, Curls Rock Amplifier and Strong Hold Mousse, Sweet Curls Elixirs Okra Gel and Hard Hold Gel, SS Curl Enhancing Jelly and Firm Hold Gel

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