I'm at an absolute loss-considering a chop. Help!

My hair seems to be somewhere in between a 2b and a 2c. I seem to have both. My hair has a decent thickness, and it's probably mid-back at this point. I picked up CO washing about two years ago, and at first, it was great. Then it was just sort of meh. Perhaps I wasn't getting everything out, and should have clarified a little more. Anyway, I kept it up, for the most part, until I moved at the end of May.


My first time with city water, and I hate it. My scalp always feels weighed down and greasy -- and I can normally go FIVE days before I start to notice any grease -- I'm just at a loss. Part of me thinks a trim, some layers, and a touch up of my color would make me feel better...but I'm so afraid to let anyone touch my hair. I've been to beauty school -- they teach that curly hair has to be handled differently, but they never teach you HOW to handle it, and everyone CAN cut curly hair...but I want someone who KNOWS HOW, not just CAN. I've tried the deep V in the back cut myself. Turned out okay. But I'm tired of being super plain and careful with a one length blunt cut or "slight layers". I want something a little more my age, something playful, but I don't want to sacrifice too much of my length, especially since my hair shrinks like crazy. And the frizz. My God, the frizz.

I'm just so frustrated at this point. Everything I learned about curly hair seemingly doesn't apply with city water, and even if I were back home, let's face it, I'm in a rut. I'm seriously considering just chopping everything off at this point....

Plopping never did me too much good. I use a leave in conditioner most times when I get out, or some coconut oil/lotion. Occasionally some aloe vera gel. I feel like my ends still need the moisture, but even if I use shampoo (and I have been EVERY time I wash! Otherwise I feel like a grease pit!), my scalp is just horrible !

I need ideas, opinions, thoughts, anything you guys can give me.

Last edited by heyshortyhey; 07-08-2013 at 03:24 PM. Reason: added info
Do you know what the difference is between your old water and the city water now? If it's hardness, then ACV or citric acid rinses may help. Around here, well water is more problematic than city water--if I don't do regular citric acid rinses, my well water (hard + iron and other minerals) will make my hair look flat, greasy, and limp. I've done CA rinses for nearly four years now, and they've made a big difference. I also have to find the right conditioners, which has been something of a challenge. Most of the usual conditioners (Suave, VO5) just don't work well, and I think it's because of a reaction with my water. I wash with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle and condition with Tresseme Naturals Moisture. I rarely clarify, and even more rarely chelate. It just isn't necessary very often, which I believe is all due to the CA rinses.

ETA: About the cut-- I think I recognize you from LHC? Anyway, I had my hair grown out for several years, and you know how paranoid longhairs are about going to salons. I trimmed my own hair for about four years, but going CG I knew I needed to get a decent cut with layers. I was so afraid to go into a salon, but I did some looking, found a Deva-inspired stylist, and after hemming and hawing for a couple of months, I finally made an appointment. I'm so glad I forced myself to go! He was very careful, explained everything he was doing, and gave me a great cut. It really enhanced my curl pattern. He did such a great job, in fact, that I'm going back on Friday to have him cut another 4" off (last cut was just a month ago). Check the stylist reviews on this site and see if there's someone in your area. I live in a small town, so I kind of had to take a leap of faith, but it was very much worthwhile.
3a/b, F, normal porosity

Wash with either Suave Tropical Coconut, As I Am, or CJ Daily Fix
Condition with STC or Yes to Blueberries and detangle with Denman, rinse very lightly (baptismal rinse)
Add LAL gel, either Sport or Wet Look, scrunch with flour sack towel, and plop
Diffuse 5 minutes, then air dry

Last edited by CurlyInTheFog; 07-08-2013 at 03:35 PM. Reason: eta
Sorry to hear you are feeling so frustrated.

What products are you using and do you know the pH's? What is different about city water than country water? Have you had a diagnosis from your family doctor regarding your scalp? Have you clarified or chelated or done a protein treatment recently? Has your diet definitely not changed?

In general choose your ingredients/ products based on the humidity/ dew points and your hair properties, also water if that is an issue. Aloe vera is a humectant, that will give frizz in very high or low dews. There are curly hair specialists in many US cities, reviews on the main NC site.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
Do you know what the difference is between your old water and the city water now? If it's hardness, then ACV or citric acid rinses may help. Around here, well water is more problematic than city water--if I don't do regular citric acid rinses, my well water (hard + iron and other minerals) will make my hair look flat, greasy, and limp. I've done CA rinses for nearly four years now, and they've made a big difference. I also have to find the right conditioners, which has been something of a challenge. Most of the usual conditioners (Suave, VO5) just don't work well, and I think it's because of a reaction with my water. I wash with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle and condition with Tresseme Naturals Moisture. I rarely clarify, and even more rarely chelate. It just isn't necessary very often, which I believe is all due to the CA rinses.

ETA: About the cut-- I think I recognize you from LHC? Anyway, I had my hair grown out for several years, and you know how paranoid longhairs are about going to salons. I trimmed my own hair for about four years, but going CG I knew I needed to get a decent cut with layers. I was so afraid to go into a salon, but I did some looking, found a Deva-inspired stylist, and after hemming and hawing for a couple of months, I finally made an appointment. I'm so glad I forced myself to go! He was very careful, explained everything he was doing, and gave me a great cut. It really enhanced my curl pattern. He did such a great job, in fact, that I'm going back on Friday to have him cut another 4" off (last cut was just a month ago). Check the stylist reviews on this site and see if there's someone in your area. I live in a small town, so I kind of had to take a leap of faith, but it was very much worthwhile.
Originally Posted by CurlyInTheFog

Do you know what the difference is between your old water and the city water now? If it's hardness, then ACV or citric acid rinses may help. Around here, well water is more problematic than city water--if I don't do regular citric acid rinses, my well water (hard + iron and other minerals) will make my hair look flat, greasy, and limp. I've done CA rinses for nearly four years now, and they've made a big difference. I also have to find the right conditioners, which has been something of a challenge. Most of the usual conditioners (Suave, VO5) just don't work well, and I think it's because of a reaction with my water. I wash with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle and condition with Tresseme Naturals Moisture. I rarely clarify, and even more rarely chelate. It just isn't necessary very often, which I believe is all due to the CA rinses.

ETA: About the cut-- I think I recognize you from LHC? Anyway, I had my hair grown out for several years, and you know how paranoid longhairs are about going to salons. I trimmed my own hair for about four years, but going CG I knew I needed to get a decent cut with layers. I was so afraid to go into a salon, but I did some looking, found a Deva-inspired stylist, and after hemming and hawing for a couple of months, I finally made an appointment. I'm so glad I forced myself to go! He was very careful, explained everything he was doing, and gave me a great cut. It really enhanced my curl pattern. He did such a great job, in fact, that I'm going back on Friday to have him cut another 4" off (last cut was just a month ago). Check the stylist reviews on this site and see if there's someone in your area. I live in a small town, so I kind of had to take a leap of faith, but it was very much worthwhile.
Originally Posted by CurlyInTheFog


Sorry to hear you are feeling so frustrated.

What products are you using and do you know the pH's? What is different about city water than country water? Have you had a diagnosis from your family doctor regarding your scalp? Have you clarified or chelated or done a protein treatment recently? Has your diet definitely not changed?

In general choose your ingredients/ products based on the humidity/ dew points and your hair properties, also water if that is an issue. Aloe vera is a humectant, that will give frizz in very high or low dews. There are curly hair specialists in many US cities, reviews on the main NC site.
Originally Posted by Firefox7275
I use that Aussie 3 minute miracle stuff, with what I have left of my Herbal Essence conditioner. Then when I get out I use my leave in conditioner which is that Curls Unleashed stuff. Then add aloe vera/skip the aloe and plop.

No diagnosis on the scalp because I don't think it's a medical issue.

No treatments in at least 2-3 months.

And my diet...hmm. No, it's about the same as usual!

I'm trying to find a Devacurl salon somewhere...hopefully I find someone I can trust.
[/QUOTE] I use that Aussie 3 minute miracle stuff, with what I have left of my Herbal Essence conditioner. Then when I get out I use my leave in conditioner which is that Curls Unleashed stuff. Then add aloe vera/skip the aloe and plop.

No diagnosis on the scalp because I don't think it's a medical issue.

No treatments in at least 2-3 months.

And my diet...hmm. No, it's about the same as usual!

I'm trying to find a Devacurl salon somewhere...hopefully I find someone I can trust.[/QUOTE]

It sounds like product build up to me. I think your leave in is part of the problem, it has a bunch of cones in it. You might want to try clarifying with a cone-free sulfate and get rid of that LI before you try a ACV or CA rinse, in fact, that would be a last resort for me. I would also reccomend a DT post clarifying. Double check all of your products for cones.
Type 2B - 3A
Med-High Porosity (partial highlights), medium & corse mixed textures

CG Day 1: May 16, 2013

Poo: CJ Daily Fix Cleansing Condish (as needed)
CO: Tresemme Naturals Vibrantly Smooth Condish
RO&LI: CJ Beauticurls Argan & Olive Oil Daily Hair Condish
Styling: CJ Pattern Pusha or FSG, TRESemme Flawless Curls - Bouncy Curls Defining Gel, Giovanni LANaturals HardHold Gel (canopy only)
DT: CJ Curl Rehab, Coconut oil, SS Repairing PT

Techniques: Scrunch-n-pump, tshirt wrap
Definitely clarify first if the Aussie has cones; cones and my water don't mix well at all, so the problem could well be cones alone.

You should be able to go on your local water agency's website and get a report on the water, which will list hardness, among other information. If you find that your water is hard, then you will probably need to clarify regularly, and possibly chelate as well. I dislike clarifying, and chelating even more so, because I find them very harsh, which is why I started doing the (weak) citric acid rinses. I grew my hair from chin to hip in less than three years, using CA final rinses with every wash, with virtually no need to ever clarify. That's why I'm such a big proponent of them in situations where the water is hard or has other minerals such as iron. CA is a mild chelator, but not harsh in small amounts. I use 1/4 teaspoon in a gallon of water. ACV rinses never did much for me, but perhaps that's because ACV doesn't actually chelate, and I need the mild chelating action.
3a/b, F, normal porosity

Wash with either Suave Tropical Coconut, As I Am, or CJ Daily Fix
Condition with STC or Yes to Blueberries and detangle with Denman, rinse very lightly (baptismal rinse)
Add LAL gel, either Sport or Wet Look, scrunch with flour sack towel, and plop
Diffuse 5 minutes, then air dry
Definitely clarify first if the Aussie has cones; cones and my water don't mix well at all, so the problem could well be cones alone.

You should be able to go on your local water agency's website and get a report on the water, which will list hardness, among other information. If you find that your water is hard, then you will probably need to clarify regularly, and possibly chelate as well. I dislike clarifying, and chelating even more so, because I find them very harsh, which is why I started doing the (weak) citric acid rinses. I grew my hair from chin to hip in less than three years, using CA final rinses with every wash, with virtually no need to ever clarify. That's why I'm such a big proponent of them in situations where the water is hard or has other minerals such as iron. CA is a mild chelator, but not harsh in small amounts. I use 1/4 teaspoon in a gallon of water. ACV rinses never did much for me, but perhaps that's because ACV doesn't actually chelate, and I need the mild chelating action.
Originally Posted by CurlyInTheFog
Oops! I didn't mean to quote you twice, CurlyInTheFog, I meant to reply! D'oh!

I don't really know the difference. I do know that at home, my tub and sinks would turn orange because of the high iron deposit. Here, that doesn't happen. The water tastes and smells like chlorine. In order to drink it, I have to leave it sit out all night in a container.

I think it was product build up. I made a solution of lemon juice and water last night and dunked my head in and scrubbed. It didn't feel greasy and built up and horrid while I did it, and today things feel better. I can't really tell if it was too damaging or not, because my boyfriend decided to screw my hair up today while it was drying so it's more friz than curl...lol.


Yeah, looking back, ACV made my hair...fluffy? I guess you could say. I wonder if a weak lemon juice/water rinse once a month will work. I need to get some cone-less conditioner, but right now I'm just trying to work through what I have. I don't have a job and don't feel right spending bfs money on conditioners.

Side question, but when I first started CO, I really liked suave and vo5. After a while I had the same build-uppy feeling, even after shampooing. Sound like build up, too?
I would chelate - gets rid of mineral deposits and chlorine - then from now on final rinse your hair and scalp in water that you have boiled and cooled or left to sit out to get rid of the chlorine or with bottled water. When you have some money again consider fitting a shower filter, chlorine will do your scalp and hair no good at all.

The more you shampoo, especially if you are using a sulphate one or product that is not acidic enough, the more you irritate your scalp and the more sebum it is likely to pump out to protect itself. Eating an anti inflammatory, nutrient dense wholefood diet can help strengthen the skin barrier, reduce underlying inflammation and alter the amount and composition of sebum.

If none of that works you need a diagnosis, if your skin is unhappy that is a medical issue since the skin is your largest organ. All the common scalp issues are worsened, influenced or triggered by lifestyle factors be that healthy/ unhealthy habits, topical chemicals (products and water) or environmental factors like weather or pollution. It's rarely as simple as one single cause, so the most effective 'treatment' is often to address several factors at once.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
Hmm...I'm considering getting some sort of jug from the store and storing my rinsing water in there. Do you think I need to boil it, or will just letting it sit out do the trick? I leave my drinking water sit out overnight and it tastes so much better.

ETA: I'll see about the shower filter, too. We're living in an apt right now, and I don't think we can mess with that. Might be better to just get a rinse jug going

Last edited by heyshortyhey; 07-10-2013 at 12:26 PM.
This report may be of interest to you: Using Vitamin C to Neutralize Chlorine in Water Systems. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an effective neutralizer for chlorine. This may be why the lemon juice rinse was helpful. I agree with Firefox that doing a chelating shampoo (if you can buy the shampoo) is a good idea, because then you'll have a clean slate, so to speak, and can see what seems to work after that.

This thread may also be of help: The Long Hair Community - Site Notice. My rinse is based off the miracle water recipe, except I don't use AA because I don't have chlorinated water.
3a/b, F, normal porosity

Wash with either Suave Tropical Coconut, As I Am, or CJ Daily Fix
Condition with STC or Yes to Blueberries and detangle with Denman, rinse very lightly (baptismal rinse)
Add LAL gel, either Sport or Wet Look, scrunch with flour sack towel, and plop
Diffuse 5 minutes, then air dry

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