Need a new conditioner...

I am at a total loss!

My hair (2a, dye over bleach) was recently over-conditioned (spent the first two months after bleaching/dyeing using conditioner as shampoo...whoops) so I've spent this last month trying to fix it, and while it is getting better (the waves are getting there, but they're still not clumping right and my hair is flat), I've reached a standstill.

For the past week I was using a daily shampoo (Loreal EverPure Moisture) and keratin conditioner (Suave Infusion) but two days ago, I decided to start only shampooing every other day (the way I used to before this whole debacle) and only used the conditioner. But then when I showered last night with shampoo again, my hair became so tangled AFTER washing the conditioner out that I couldn't even run my fingers through it! I had to use a deep conditioner to untangle it.

What does that mean?! I can't figure out what my hair is trying to tell me! I feel like the answer is a new conditioner, but I don't know if I should get one with protein or not.
I am at a total loss!

My hair (2a, dye over bleach) was recently over-conditioned (spent the first two months after bleaching/dyeing using conditioner as shampoo...whoops) so I've spent this last month trying to fix it, and while it is getting better (the waves are getting there, but they're still not clumping right and my hair is flat), I've reached a standstill.

For the past week I was using a daily shampoo (Loreal EverPure Moisture) and keratin conditioner (Suave Infusion) but two days ago, I decided to start only shampooing every other day (the way I used to before this whole debacle) and only used the conditioner. But then when I showered last night with shampoo again, my hair became so tangled AFTER washing the conditioner out that I couldn't even run my fingers through it! I had to use a deep conditioner to untangle it.

What does that mean?! I can't figure out what my hair is trying to tell me! I feel like the answer is a new conditioner, but I don't know if I should get one with protein or not.
Originally Posted by amtserg
Your hair may be telling you a couple of things...

1. You didn't need to shampoo that day - You didn't mention how your hair felt after the shampoo, before you conditioned, but if it felt drier or more tangly or stripped, as opposed to simply clean, then a cowash might have been a better choice.

2. Your hair has had enough protein (for now). Hair in ideal moisture /protein balance should feel smooth and not be tangled after using rinse out conditioner. Since you've been using a protein rich rinse out conditioner for every wash and you mentioned in another thread that your ends recently started breaking off, I would think your hair probably needs additional moisture. Is it also tangling, not clumping like it "normally" does, and/or frizzing (especially at the ends)? Does it feel dry and/or straw-like? Straw-like is more of an extreme protein overload symptom, but it sounds like you might be in the early stages.

3. I checked out the ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner and both contain non-water soluble silicones. There's Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer and Amodimethicone in the shampoo. It has detergents that will remove silicones, but it also deposits a new layer immediately. While the amodimethicone won't build up, both silicones are non-water soluble. The conditioner has Dimethicone and Amodimethicone, both of which are non-water soluble.

If you're happy with your shampoo /conditioner, that's fine, but I would consider switching to silicone free products, at least a silicone free low poo (sulfate free shampoo). There are silicone free alternatives available on the ground. You might well find your hair stays better hydrated when it's off of silicones, although you might need a little something extra to help seal (currently silicones are doing that).

As far as a new conditioner goes, I would rotate in a protein-free one. You've corrected your overconditioning issue, but what you've said indicates you might be on the edge of over-correcting and getting into a bit of protein overdose. Consider rotating between a moisturizing conditioner and your protein one depending on how your hair looks and feels both before and after washing. A little dry, a little tangly, frizzing? Use moisture. Overly soft, a little limp, losing curl? Use some protein. This blog page is a good reference, and the excellent article linked there has a nice description about how to wet assess whether your hair needs protein or moisture, and how much it might be needing.
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
Thank. You. So. Much.

Do you think it would work if I switched to a conditioner that wasn't mainly protein (like keratin) and just had protein in it (like wheat protein) and kept the routine? Thing is, after the emergency deep condition last night after the tangling, my mother said this morning that my hair felt too soft. It seems like I keep fluctuating between too much protein and too much moisture without finding a middle ground. What used to work for my hair was a sulfate free shampoo every other day, and daily washes with conditioner with wheat protein and a deep conditioner. I cut out the daily deep condition after over-conditioning but maybe I should start using it daily again if I keep protein in my regular conditioner? Would that be a good balance?
Thank. You. So. Much.

Do you think it would work if I switched to a conditioner that wasn't mainly protein (like keratin) and just had protein in it (like wheat protein) and kept the routine? Thing is, after the emergency deep condition last night after the tangling, my mother said this morning that my hair felt too soft. It seems like I keep fluctuating between too much protein and too much moisture without finding a middle ground. What used to work for my hair was a sulfate free shampoo every other day, and daily washes with conditioner with wheat protein and a deep conditioner. I cut out the daily deep condition after over-conditioning but maybe I should start using it daily again if I keep protein in my regular conditioner? Would that be a good balance?
Originally Posted by amtserg
Happy to help.

Slightly over-proteined, then too soft after a deep condition makes reasonable sense to me, actually. My hair isn't damaged, and I typically need to pt (deep protein treatment) occasionally. However, dt's are too much for my fine hair. Instead, when I need more moisture than my lighter conditioners provide, I'll use a more moisturizing rinse out conditioner (RO) and perhaps add some back in as a LI. That's typically enough to restore hydration, without over-conditioning. If you'd had a moisturizing RO, that probably would've been fine to use to combat your tangles. Basically you went from slightly over-proteined to a little over-conditioned.

Definitely don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and revamp your entire routine just because you got a bit overproteined, then over-corrected. Sure, you could try something with less protein in it first, before jumping to a protein-free conditioner. Perhaps pick something with protein that appears after the first 5 ingredients (after water). Then, if you find your hair continues to be dry /tangly or gets more so, then grab a moisturizing conditioner. I wouldn't necessarily jump from protein RO to dt though, since your hair is closer to balance now (a bit overly soft). Think about moisture /protein balance as a continuum, and dt's /pt's as the big guns of moisture /protein. You want to make small corrections (protein or moisture in a regular conditioner as needed) when your hair is slightly over-proteined or slightly over-conditioned, and use dt's or pt's as needed when your hair shows you it needs a big dose of one or the other. Using a dt to correct slight over-proteining is sorta like drinking a gallon of water because you're thirsty, instead of starting with a glass or 2, or maybe like bringing a gun to a knife fight, instead of, y'know, a knife.

So, when do you need to dt or pt? I'd do those when using a normal conditioner isn't bringing your hair back into balance. "My hair was dry, so I hit it with a good moisturizing conditioner, but it still seems dry." - Consider a dt. "My hair has been going limp and overly soft, so I hit it with a protein conditioner, but it still isn't back to normal" - Consider a repeat of your protein conditioner, or for a big dose all at once, try a pt.

In terms of protein type, hydrolyzed proteins will tend to stick to the hair even after a rinse, and the size of the hydrolyzed protein will determine whether it can absorb into the hair shaft or acts more to coat the outside and patch repair damage. They're generally helpful for both fine and damaged hair. Amino acids will tend to rinse away instead of providing longer term benefits in a rinse out product, although they might be beneficial in a leave in or styler. Whole proteins are usually too large to penetrate the hair shaft, but they're aren't substantive (sticky) like hydrolyzed proteins. So they will also tend to rinse away (some might coat the outside of the hair shaft).
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 have found one that says it has "Zea Mays (Corn) Silk Extract" in the first five ingredients. (It's Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner)

Would that work? Or should I try to find one that has hydrolyzed proteins?
I have found one that says it has "Zea Mays (Corn) Silk Extract" in the first five ingredients. (It's Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner)

Would that work? Or should I try to find one that has hydrolyzed proteins?
Originally Posted by amtserg
Sorry for the delayed reply, Amsterg. Hello Hydration isn't anything particularly special in a conditioner, although some love it for its slip and aid in detangling. Plant extracts aren't proteins, and though they may contain trace (very tiny) amounts, 1 in a formula isn't going to "act like a protein" in the hair. It does have a fair amount of a non-water soluble silicone, which is part of what gives it slip. I'd typically avoid 'cones in a conditioner, but my hair hates the non-water soluble sort. Since you don't mind them, sure, feel free to pick up a bottle and try it if you want. Hello Hydration definitely qualifies as a protein-free conditioning option.
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 find that the worst thing you can do for your hair is to obsess over protein being in products. If it's a good quality conditioner with protein, there will be enough moisturizing ingredients to balance out the protein on its own. Finding a great moisturizing conditioner that has protein will take all of the guess work out of it, because a product in balance won't throw your hair off the edge. Chances are, your protein conditioner doesn't have enough moisturizing ingredients in it, so every time you use it, its just way too much. But that should never steer you away from protein in general.

My favorite conditioner in the whole world is Mop Top Daily Conditioner. It has protein in it, but it leaves my hair moisturized for DAYS. When I detangle, my hair feels like buttery silk. It's far from over-proteined and far from over-conditioned. You need to find a conditioner that works like that for your hair. It won't necessarily be the same as mine, but I would definitely recommend the Mop Top.

3a, med strand thickness, high density, low porosity
CG since April 2012
BC October 2012
Cleanser: CJ Daily Fix
RO Conditioner: Mop Top Daily Conditioner
Leave In: As I Am leave in or KCKT
Stylers: FSG and Curlisto Control II Gel
Sealer: Pure Argan Oil

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