HELP a newbie with "mushy"/undefined curls and new gels!!

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I need major HELP! I've been reading and researching as much as I can to no avail, so I need the expertise of my fellow curlies!

I have been CG since June 2012, but for the past 5 months have used strictly Deva products which worked well for me. This past month, I've ventured out, trying new gels/products that are HG products for other curlies with similar properties to me (see my siggie!). I've tried the Ecostyler gel, ic hair polishing gel, and KCCC all with and without the addition of SM Smoothie. Every single time, without fail in all of these combos, my hair turns out with awful curl definition, the hair "separates" and becomes "airy" although not frizzy, and might qualify as "mushy." Even when I put on A TON of gel, it still comes out as if the gels have no hold at all, although so many other curlies say that these gels usually give them too much crunch!!! I WISH I HAD CRUNCH TO SCRUNCH OUT! Ugh.

I'm a newbie at these other products, and despite intense researching of the forums, I'm clueless as to what the issue is here. Maybe an ingredient such as protein or glycerin or something that my hair is reacting to? A part of my routine that I'm doing incorrectly? I'm using the Deva no-poo roughly once a week, the Suave natural condish when I co-wash instead of no-poo, and Generic Conditioning Balm from Sally's as my moisturizing condish. I can always go back to the Deva gel (the arc anGel), but it's so expensive and hard to access. Anyone have any insight, diagnosis, anything??? The first two pictures are of happy, defined curls with the Deva gel. The third picture (I apologize for the low quality) show the unhappy, undefined "mushy" curls. THANKS to anyone helping me figure this out! It's so frustrating
Attached Thumbnails
HELP a newbie with "mushy"/undefined curls and new gels!!-happy-curls.jpg   HELP a newbie with "mushy"/undefined curls and new gels!!-defined-deva-gel.jpg   HELP a newbie with "mushy"/undefined curls and new gels!!-musyhair.jpg  
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.
Deva gel has protein, so it sounds like your hair likes some. The other gels you listed are more like jellies, and won't give you the same hold possibly. I always have to use a gel over jellies and my hair properties are similar to yours. Gels I'm liking right now, in add to arcangel, are garnier pure clean and herbal essences set me up. Lots of curlies rave about la looks sport gel (blue one). I haven't used it, but plan to- it also has protein, so would be a good one for you to try. It's dirt cheap, too. I hope you find a solution- there's definitely a huge difference between your pics!

Forgot to say that I don't use the smoothie now as a styler- it is very heavy and weighs my curls down. Every now and again I use a teeny tiny bit to seal my ends only. It will probably end up on the swap boards.

I also like the HE mousse...has crunch and hold if you use enough (3 palmfulls for me). But mousses, IME, tend to flake.

Since arcangel was working so well, you can order it on amazon- that's where I get mine! It's $16/ 12 oz, or $27/ 32 oz...a 6 oz tube of HE was $4 I think, which would equal $20/ 32 oz, so if you buy the huge bottle of deva, it's really not that much more expensive in the end.
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, CJ Curl Rehab (both as RO & LI)
Stylers: UFD CM, CJ PP, JC Spiralicious, Darcy's Cream Gel & Cocoa bean whip

Last edited by chloe92us; 04-10-2013 at 07:25 AM.
My hair gets like that with Ecostyler. It's not good. With KCCC too if I dont use a gel over the top.
I need a hard hold gel to get good definition. I use LA Looks Sport gel
Also over conditioning can cause mushy hair.
I'll second the LALSG suggestion. It has glycerin and protein, like the Deva gel you like. Also, as Crimson said, "mushy" hair is a giveaway for overmoisturized hair, which can be corrected by increasing your protein. KCCC and SM Smoothie are both fairly moisturizing. You might want to try Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee, which is super hard hold (a little goes a long way). It has protein but is glycerin free.

On glycerin, it's a humectant which will pull moisture from the air and into the hair when the dewpoints rise. That's fine for some, but for others, esp. if they're high porosity, the glycerin can pull in too much moisture, causing frizz and poof.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
EVERYONE THANK YOU SO MUCH for your advice!! It's so interesting, I've always read on forums here about most people staying away from protein, and wanting more moisture, but apparently my hair is the opposite! I will try a harder hold gel probably the LALSG since several of you mentioned it and it's not as spendy As for the Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee, where can you find it? I looked for it at Sally's and Super Target but neither of the stores carried it. Is it one of the products only available online?
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.
Walmart should have it. I know my local one does.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
I'm surprised Taghet didn't have it! That's where I got it. Me, I'd spend the extra fit the super big Deva gel. I think it really does bring the price down. I'd try saving elsewhere. You can spend an awful lot of money searching for a gel that works that you could have used toward the one you already know does work.
You can see my wavy tutorials here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZNxhBHSXAW40OQ and my wavy blog is The Wavy Nation http://wavynation.wordpress.com
Target not tahget.
You can see my wavy tutorials here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZNxhBHSXAW40OQ and my wavy blog is The Wavy Nation http://wavynation.wordpress.com
Okay thanks, I'll check a Walmart then. Maybe that Target just ran out? And yes, I likely will go back to the Deva Gel seeing as these other products so far just don't compare unless LALSG wins me over. I got the 32 oz arc anGEL for $40 at the salon that did my Devacut back in October, now that I know from Chloe92us gets it online for only $27 I am thrilled!!!
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.
I need major HELP! I've been reading and researching as much as I can to no avail, so I need the expertise of my fellow curlies!

I have been CG since June 2012, but for the past 5 months have used strictly Deva products which worked well for me. This past month, I've ventured out, trying new gels/products that are HG products for other curlies with similar properties to me (see my siggie!). I've tried the Ecostyler gel, ic hair polishing gel, and KCCC all with and without the addition of SM Smoothie. Every single time, without fail in all of these combos, my hair turns out with awful curl definition, the hair "separates" and becomes "airy" although not frizzy, and might qualify as "mushy." Even when I put on A TON of gel, it still comes out as if the gels have no hold at all, although so many other curlies say that these gels usually give them too much crunch!!! I WISH I HAD CRUNCH TO SCRUNCH OUT! Ugh.

I'm a newbie at these other products, and despite intense researching of the forums, I'm clueless as to what the issue is here. Maybe an ingredient such as protein or glycerin or something that my hair is reacting to? A part of my routine that I'm doing incorrectly? I'm using the Deva no-poo roughly once a week, the Suave natural condish when I co-wash instead of no-poo, and Generic Conditioning Balm from Sally's as my moisturizing condish. I can always go back to the Deva gel (the arc anGel), but it's so expensive and hard to access. Anyone have any insight, diagnosis, anything??? The first two pictures are of happy, defined curls with the Deva gel. The third picture (I apologize for the low quality) show the unhappy, undefined "mushy" curls. THANKS to anyone helping me figure this out! It's so frustrating
Originally Posted by shalomcurls
Ok this is off your topic, but I like the way your hair is in the bang area and the area that frames your face. How do you get volume there or style it? Mine is always too flat to my head! Thanks!
...now that I know from Chloe92us gets it online for only $27 I am thrilled!!!
Originally Posted by shalomcurls
I am an amazon JUNKIE. I literally order anything and everything from them! The other thing to consider, is you pay no sales tax, so it's like an additional discount!

Here's the link:

Amazon.com: Deva Care Arc Angel Firm Hold Defining Gel, 32-Ounce Bottle: Beauty
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, CJ Curl Rehab (both as RO & LI)
Stylers: UFD CM, CJ PP, JC Spiralicious, Darcy's Cream Gel & Cocoa bean whip
YES! Try LALSG c: It's my staple, and I have thiiiiick 3a curly/wavy curls! It gives a lot of hold, but don't touch your hair when it's wet, because that can give you some frizzies and mushy curls.
Also, I've tried IC curl polisher.. That's a lighter hold gel for me as well, which can pave way to some frizz. it's better for braidouts or pin curl sets or something, but i don't do those too often
Ok this is off your topic, but I like the way your hair is in the bang area and the area that frames your face. How do you get volume there or style it? Mine is always too flat to my head! Thanks!
Originally Posted by Chris1965
No worries about being off topic Chris 1965- the forum threads are really just tools for all of us curlies to support and learn from one another, right?! I'm guessing you are referring to the first picture? It's kind of hard to tell, but my very front piece of hair is actually pinned back with a really small clip. I'll put a picture down below from that same day. I'm smelling a candle in it that I got as a gift, I know it's kinda odd but that's the only picture I had where you could see the clip at all.

I have SO much stinkin' hair, so I often pin the front piece back. For me, bangs just don't work (or at least pre-CG they didn't) and it gets really tiring having so much hair in my face all the time LOL! As for volume, have you tried using a duckbill clip at the roots for volume when your hair is airdyring? I do that because I plop after washing my hair which makes it really flat on top. I usually struggle with volume at my roots even despite using clips, so I'd love to hear other advice anyone has about that!!

Chloe92us, YOU ROCK! Thanks for the link dear

Neekolassify, you just might convert me... and thanks for the warnings! I'm awful about not touching my hair. I need to be more disciplined about that!
Attached Thumbnails
HELP a newbie with "mushy"/undefined curls and new gels!!-pinned-back.jpg  
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.

Last edited by shalomcurls; 04-18-2013 at 01:13 AM.
Oh! Another question. So, the SM Smoothie has Silk Protein in it, however it sounds like from some of your posts that one of my problems could be a lack of protein since not using the Deva Arc Angell that has protein in it. Is silk protein lighter or not as protein-rich as other kinds of protein? Should I be looking for other sources/kinds of protein to add to my daily routine? Or do you think that just a true "gel" instead of "jelly" on top of the Smoothie should do the trick? I know I'll need to try it out, but the next few months are crazy busy for me since I'll be graduating soon! I won't really have extra time to focus on experimenting. I'm still pretty unfamiliar with kinds of protein. Thanks!
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.
Thanks Shalomcurls! I have thought about duck bill clips but have never tried them. I guess I will try to figure that out now!
Cashing your post too! I'm liking the DevaCurl Gel, but not the price as well. For those who have tried the LA Gel, does it work like Deva angel? I hate the hard cast that some gels give, but really like how the Deva products break the cast and leave soft pretty curls.
stefflg79, I'm going to try the LALS gel in a week or so, and I'll be sure to let you know how I think it compares to the Deva gel!!
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.
Another gel suggestion -- Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel. It's CG, available on the ground at Whole Foods (but perhaps other places, too. I got it at WF), and definitely more affordable that DC Arch AnGEL. I haven't used it long myself, but so far I like it very much and plan to keep it in my rotation of products.

Btw, I learned long ago that it's touch and go when it comes to trying products that other curlies rave about. It just comes with the territory when dealing with hair...What works miracles for one head of hair just doesn't for another.
3b / Fine / Low (to Med) Density / Normal Porosity & Elasticity

Currently Using [*Holy Grails*]
Cleansers: DC No-Poo / DC Low-Poo / *BaSo & ACV*
Co-Washes/ROs: CJ Beauticurls Argan & OO / DC OneC / Organicals DC Creme
Additives: *Silk Amino Acids* / Honeyquat / Fragrance Oils
LIs (found some!): KCKT / CJ Beauticurls LI / CJ Curl Assurance Smoothing Daily Condish
DTs: *Coconut Oil* rinses / *Honey*, EVOO, & DC OneC / CJ Curl Rehab
Sealer: *DM Super Buttercreme*

Goal: APL Hair
I thought I would follow up and let you all know how things worked out for me in case anyone ever is wondering. I got the LALSG, and my hair definitely likes it. I have defined curls once again, YAY!!! Thanks so much for your advice everyone! However, if I try for 2nd or 3rd day hair, my roots start looking like they are greasy, but they aren't when I touch them. This only happens on 2nd/3rd day hair when I originally used the LALSG. I don't know if this is common or not for others. My curl pattern is also a lot less curly when I use LALSG, but I have still been using the SM Smoothie so perhaps the combination is too heavy for my already long weighed-down hair.

I think I'm going to try the LALSG without the SM Smoothie for awhile to see if it makes a difference in the curl pattern and appearance of greasiness. I might also try the biosilk rock hard gelee and see how that works for me. In the end, I will probably go back to the deva Arcangel, because so far it's worked better than anything else!!!

I'll try to remember to post again after results of trying the others in case anyone in the future reads this thread trying to find the solution to the same issues I have.
rainboe likes this.
CG since June 2012
2c/3a mix
High Density, Normal-High Porosity, Medium/Coarse Thickness
Cleansers: DevaCurl "No Poo", Suave Natural Conditioner
LI: One Condition, GVP Conditioning Balm
Stylers: SM Smoothie, DC Arcangel

{Looking for advice on what works well-products or tips/tricks- from similar curly girls!}

Joy, Love, Peace, Freedom: this is the Shalom Life I am called to by God. What beauty.

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