the science of clumping?

Is there any scientific approach to clumping?
Has anyone figured out what things affect clumping?
Things like:
Texture, haircuts, oils, dewpoints, products, hair too dry vs overmoisturized?
Or is it just how our hair is naturally?
I know that some folks get great clumps with one product while for others the same product will cause stringyness, but does anyone know why!?!?!?

I am really stumped on the clumps!!!

I am looking for soft, fluffy (not frizzy) clumps (think of msgiblet) rather than “wet” looking ones but all I seem to get are stringlets or, on really awful days, wormy ramen noodles, YUCK!!

I have been trying to diagnose this problem based on products but can’t find a pattern.

These things give me stringlets:
Vo5 Tea Tree Chamomile condish
JCWDT
DM Leave-in
Elucense condish
Suave coconut
Boilage condish balm
AOHSR
KBB butter
KCCC
Quehmet balm
FOTE
BB flax gelee and brulee
Moisture maniac
Curls whipped cream
KBB milk
Deva one-c
BRHG
Tweek
HHSMU
HETTG
Joiwhip
Lustrasilk
JC Twist & lock
QMAOB
MPO-C curl cream
L'Oreal ProVive



These things give me instant ramen noodles:
Mag sulfate in low dewpoints
Honey in low dewpoints


I’ve went protein free for 6 weeks and that made no difference on clumping (but it helped with the straw dry problem).
I’ve tried every method I can find on these boards - icequeens, scrunch and pump, plopping, raking, twisting and pinning, not ringing at all, combing, denman, putting in product wet and putting in product damp….. but it get stringy. Scrunching makes it worse.

I have gotten good soft thick clumps exactly 2 times in 3 months—once when I used DMHJ (never repeated) and just yesterday when I doused my hair with fresh sea water. (I got it on a trip to the ocean—but that isn’t a practical everyday thing since I live 5 hours from the ocean- no to mention how drying it would be)

ARGH! Any input on how to diagnose this issue- trial and error is getting me nowhere except into PJville!
I'm obsessed with clumping (I dream of my hair clumping into 3-4 huge curls), so I will be watching this thread carefully.

So far, I know that clumping is definitely encouraged by moisture.
Brunette, almost BSL length, growing out.
CG since Feb 2008, modified CG since September 2008.

I now know my texture/porosity!! (TY, Tiffany!) Medium texture; ends on a porous side; new growth - normal porosity.

Wash: Suave; EO Sweet Orange shampoo

Conditioner: GVP Balm, Mango Lustrasilk

Styling: KCCC, BRHG and LA Looks

Want to try: CJ
im interested as well!!!
--xxmisschrisxx
3a since going CG!
CG on 10/12/08. free of cones, sulfates, and shampoo! added shampoo bars 1/80/09.
using:
shampoo bars (wind blossom)
condish - burts bees super shiny
styling - confused and running out of products. TRYING LOOB!
trying: tweek...barely.
WAITING to try: Melting Gel...resisting the urge to become a PJ...kind of...
Dislikes: molasses and CK so unfortunately...
Is there any scientific approach to clumping?
...
I am looking for soft, fluffy (not frizzy) clumps (think of msgiblet) rather than “wet” looking ones but all I seem to get are stringlets or, on really awful days, wormy ramen noodles, YUCK!!
...
Originally Posted by hmixon
Hahaha, Ramen Noodles! That;s a pretty good way to describe my hair as well! Well, actually, my hair at the roots looked like a block of uncooked ramen noodles. curls all tight and hard like that. then at the ends, it looks like a whole buncha cooked ramen. I'm waiting for my hair to get a tad longer so i can chop it all off!

BUMP!!!
para los gustos se hicieron los colores

i has no hair type? (medium, f-iii), normal porosity, LOW elasticity.
CG journey began 2/8/09 - 4-08-09.. and then mod cg 4/14/09 -... 03/02/10- Barely CG but I like CG products
wash with Low Poo or Poo
condition with GVP Conditioning Balm or CJ BC Daily, Loreal Color Vive for Color Treated Hair Thats Normal
Leave ins- Garnier S&S; Marrakesh oil
style with - Ohm SHP; KCCC- BRHG or Boots- KCCC- BRHG; CIAB; CCCC
Protein- GVP Joico K-Pak
Play with ACV
My technique isn't foolproof, but works pretty well most of the time (when it doesn't work, I have no idea why):

After my shower routine, I smooth in some leave in and finger comb through, then I flip my head over and finger comb upside down until all is smooth. Then I take curl creme and finger comb through my upside down hair. Finally, I twist my hair, which at this point is in about 20 small clumps, into about 8 larger clumps be combining curls that are next to each other and curling the same way (sort of like the skip curl method, but much simpler). I just run my finger down the curls smoothing them together. Then, I take my hair towel, and scrunch my hair up as if I were about to plop, hold it for about 10 seconds, release, and repeat the towel scrunch once on each side (3 scrunches total, that is it, any more and my clumps fall apart). Then I slowly stand up, trying not to disturb the curls, arrange my hair like I want it, clip the front, and air dry.
botticelli-ish bob.

Current Routine:
-Suave Aloe & Waterlily cowash/leave-in
-Giovanni Direct Leave-In
-FOTE aloe vera gel
Applying product to very wet hair, starting with a generous amount of AVG, and then, for me, combing it thru helps with clumping as much as anything. Once it's well distributed, I scrunch upside down first with hands only to get the curls going then with a Curlease towel or t-shirt. Diffuse upside down for a couple of minutes, flip over, clip the top, pixie diffuse a little more then allow to totally air dry, keeping my hands out of it until ready to SOTC. Plopping for 10-15 minutes in between scrunching and diffusing helps clumping when my hair's long enough. I like double plopping as MsGiblet describes.

I think it's finding a technique that works for you that helps with clumping more than the particular product(s), although I personally like KCCC and Boot's pink.

Jessicurl Rockin' Ringlets and Confident Curls Curling Solution give me excellent clumping when applied to very wet hair in the manner their instructions describe. I just can't use it often because of some ingredient that disagrees with my skin. But when I need to be assured of a good hair day, it's often my go-to regime.

The Ice Queen method is the latest 'hot' clumping method, though my hair's too short right now for it to do much for me.
2C/3A/3B - mod. CG, med. to fine, normal to low porosity/normal elasticity

Current Main Rotation: MG217 medicated, GTTT or Aim2Health 'poos as scalp needs, YTCarrots or Elucence cond., Spiral Solutions Protein Trtmt & Deeply Decadent Cond., CJCCCC reg or lite, KCCC, AO Mandarin Magic, Giovanni LA Hold Hair Spritz + lots more, sporadically

HG Method: Super Soaker + Smasters-ing, brief upside down diffusing then clips or clamps & air dry. Blend gray w/henna glosses

www.fotki.com/auntnett

Last edited by auntnett; 04-01-2009 at 09:48 AM.
I agree with a lot of what's been said... but above and beyond that, I think a LOT of it has to do with your hair's natural curl pattern.

My curls are big and loopy, and I have a LOT of strands that follow the same pattern as the strands around them, which results in massive clumps. I can't get small clumps if I try (and it's only stringy when the product is utterly wrong, and it completely takes the curl out as well). There are things i can do to break up the clumps some, but as a rule, they're always there.

Burgundy Locks, for example... I think your hair might clump more with some added moisture (just judging from your pics in your fotki) but your curl pattern is a LOT smaller than mine and your strands seem to section off in smaller groups, so I don't think you'll ever have HUGE clumps. Unfortunately, it's all part of embracing your natural hair pattern. I'll never have lovely frizz free waves, or nice, small ringlets. Much as I try to get both :P
CG/Mod CG (soap bars) since 8/12/08
CO wash/Cond: Kathymack & Flowermoon Castille soap bars, V05 Chamomile Tea, Suave Ocean Breeze, Biolage Conditioning Balm
Styling loves: DIFFUSING! CK, KCNT, KCCC, FOTE (on dry hair only), Re:coil, Proclaim gel
Not sure about: Boots, Tweek, KBB Milk, DMHJ
HATE: plopping, FOTE on wet hair, BRHG
I agree with Mims. My hair is thick and has a very loose curl pattern, so I tend to end up with large clumps and big curls. Other than that, I don't think I really do anything differently than most here. I put product in soaking wet hair and I do most of my styling upside down along with a lot of scrunching. I can end up with stringy curls if I overdo the combing or use too much product or one that's way too heavy.
http://public.fotki.com/msgiblet/ - pw: gibber -- Pics Added 7/10/11
Fine, Thick, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity

Countess Balashi of Divi Beach in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

If I'm Going To Have A Bad Hair Day, It Might As Well Be In Aruba!

hmixon, I love this question because I think we've all had it at one time or another. After months of trying to get my hair to do things that it clearly had no mind to do, I finally came to the conclusion that MimsTX and msgiblet did -- by and large, curl pattern determines clumpage.

This is not to say that a good hair cut, the right products, and proper moisture don't play a role, as well. (Most of us learn fairly early which products will give us stringlets -- it varies for everybody.) But mostly, it's just what you're born with, I think.

My hair never clumped before going CG, but now that it does, I understand how it will clump (size, staying power, frizz level), and that's the thing that is individual to every head.

I still want msgiblet's hair, though.
3a and strictly CG since August 2007. Porous and on the fine side. No to magnesium sulfate and glycerin. Yes to protein! Favorites:
CO-WASHES: Suave Coconut
CONDITIONERS and LEAVE-INS: Mop Top Daily Conditioner, KBB Nectar, Aubrey GPB or Island Naturals, Robert Craig, Any Jessicurl
CURL ENHANCERS/CREMES/MOUSSES: KCCC, JoiWhip
GELS: Fuzzy Duck, B5 Design, MGA Scultping, BRHG


Fotki password: chuckle
Blog: http://jillipoo.blogspot.com/
Twitter: nopoojillipoo
lol, EVERYONE wants MsG's hair...
CG/Mod CG (soap bars) since 8/12/08
CO wash/Cond: Kathymack & Flowermoon Castille soap bars, V05 Chamomile Tea, Suave Ocean Breeze, Biolage Conditioning Balm
Styling loves: DIFFUSING! CK, KCNT, KCCC, FOTE (on dry hair only), Re:coil, Proclaim gel
Not sure about: Boots, Tweek, KBB Milk, DMHJ
HATE: plopping, FOTE on wet hair, BRHG
lol, EVERYONE wants MsG's hair...
Originally Posted by MimsTX
Amen!
2C/3A/3B - mod. CG, med. to fine, normal to low porosity/normal elasticity

Current Main Rotation: MG217 medicated, GTTT or Aim2Health 'poos as scalp needs, YTCarrots or Elucence cond., Spiral Solutions Protein Trtmt & Deeply Decadent Cond., CJCCCC reg or lite, KCCC, AO Mandarin Magic, Giovanni LA Hold Hair Spritz + lots more, sporadically

HG Method: Super Soaker + Smasters-ing, brief upside down diffusing then clips or clamps & air dry. Blend gray w/henna glosses

www.fotki.com/auntnett
Aw thanks, guys! Wonderful compliments considering the beautiful heads of hair they're coming from!!
http://public.fotki.com/msgiblet/ - pw: gibber -- Pics Added 7/10/11
Fine, Thick, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity

Countess Balashi of Divi Beach in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

If I'm Going To Have A Bad Hair Day, It Might As Well Be In Aruba!

Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 15,533
ITA with everyone who loves Ms. G's curls.

For me, honey mixed with water, added to my conditioner, made the difference. So, it was very diluted. I know you've had poor luck with it in low dew points, but perhaps try again in a lower dosage?

HTH
Try agave nectar instead of honey. Seems like you can use it in lower dew points. I have been doing an agave rinse that's really helping with my clumps.
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

I have to be really careful with my curls if I want them to clump. This means absolutely no brushing or combing my wet hair. If I have snarls, I brush before my shower. I can't even rake my products through or my touchy curls will stretch out, and I'll have major stringies.

I have tried MANY products, but it seems that if I don't use LOOB, (L'oreal "Out of Bed") I don't get the clumps I long for.

On sopping wet hair (mine's shoulder length) I smooth about 1 Tbs of LOOB on the underside, then flip my head upright and smooth the same amount on top. Then I scrunch it all over to distribute it throughout. Then I add my gel or mousse and scrunch with an old t-shirt.

I'm still looking for the best gel or mousse, but I believe I will never be without LOOB.

CG since March '08

2b
Currently Using:
Wash: ACV rinses, Suave Coconut Conditioner
Conditioner: Tigi MM, Suave Coconut with honey
Style: (Not all together, but this is what I'm rotating through right now) Glycerine/water spray, Re:coil, LOOB, Joiwhip, Garnier spray gel, BRHG.
To SOTC: Deva Set it Free, and/or Garnier water based wax

Thanks for reading my post. I hope you can help. I'm new to this site, as in I've been a member for about 30 minutes and I'm loving it so far. But what are all these methods about "ice queen," "deva," "no-poo," and how do I find which one is right for me.

I've been reading post after post and I figured out my hair type. I'm a 2b I think. My hair gets kind of oily if I don't wash it everyday. I live in CO and I'm very outdoorsy and by some miracle when I get out of the reservoir or the river and I let my hair air dry with not a comb run through it or a product touching it I let it airdry in the sun and it dries in wonderful medium sized chunky defined curls and I would love to figure out how to get that at home.

Anyhow, thanks to everyone who has been posting on this thread. I have tons of new ideas for styling and product.
I get bigger clumps when I don't touch my hair after initially scrunching the crunch. The less touching the better.

I've also found that diffusing upside down may help with volume, but it breaks up my curls (less clumping). So, it's a toss up: less volume = better curls and more clumps or more volume = waves and less clumps.

I get bigger clumps after a DT or a more moisturizing conditioner. I use Jessicurl's WDT which is on your failure list. I had clumpy hair today after using AOHR.

BTW, I cringed when I saw your list of product failures. That must be very frustrating! I noticed one glaring omission though: Kinky-Curly! Have you tried KCCC and/or KCKT? Given how much you've bought, you might want to check the swap board for samples.

Good luck!
Loose botticelli curls and waves
No silicones/no sulfates since March 2008

Last edited by LoloDSM; 04-01-2009 at 06:29 PM. Reason: grammar
Lolo, I think KCCC is actually on her fail list, but I don't think I saw KCKT.

I am absolutely obsessed with clumping. That is almost my only hair goal. For me, moisture is pretty much it. I need to be in great condition moisture-wise, otherwise it's ramen noodle city.

I can't rake, either, but here's what I've been doing that gave me on gorgeous day of clumps and other days of certain promise:

I brush my hair with a real brush when it's saturated in a heavy rinse-out (I used a Biolage knock-off with success, but anything heavy will probably work), with my head upside down. So I brush starting at my nape and brush down to the tips, and I make sure to run the brush from my hairline at my forehead to my tips, too.

I let it sit (upright) as I finish my shower, then I brush it one more time, and rinse upside down.

Before I do anything else, I smooth in my leave-in, lately it's been Lustrasilk Olive Oil Cholesterol (Sally's), without distrubing the shape it's taken after rinsing. I carefully stand up, and smooth more in on the crown area, and lean side to side to scrunch in hard to get-to areas.

Get dressed, plop for 5 or 10, unplop, airdry, diffuse (if I must) only when it's developed adequate crunch or stiffness (prevents frizz).
3b/c, CG 9/18/08
Last process: 04/05/08 Big Chop: 08/08/09
Currently: Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, Herbal Essences Set Me Up gel (summer only), Boots Curl Creme (winter only)
Thanks for reading my post. I hope you can help. I'm new to this site, as in I've been a member for about 30 minutes and I'm loving it so far. But what are all these methods about "ice queen," "deva," "no-poo," and how do I find which one is right for me.

I've been reading post after post and I figured out my hair type. I'm a 2b I think. My hair gets kind of oily if I don't wash it everyday. I live in CO and I'm very outdoorsy and by some miracle when I get out of the reservoir or the river and I let my hair air dry with not a comb run through it or a product touching it I let it airdry in the sun and it dries in wonderful medium sized chunky defined curls and I would love to figure out how to get that at home.

Anyhow, thanks to everyone who has been posting on this thread. I have tons of new ideas for styling and product.
Originally Posted by wonkagurl
Most of us here follow the curly girl method. Go read this blog entry by Laura Lee on how to go CG, and read Struttswife's site. These could give you a better idea of what everyone is talking about and how curls need special care. Also at the top of the page there is a google custom search bar that you can use to find things like the icequeen method and deva. After you've read a little bit come back and post any questions you might have in your own thread and we will be happy to try and help you any way we can
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

Has anyone figured out how to make the weather CONSISTENT??? Here is GA right now I can wake up to a 10 dewpoint (yes, I check it every morning before showering......) and an hour later, after I've done all my hair stuff the dewpoint is at 56!!!! YIKES!! And it can go the other way too!

Anyway, this natural curl pattern idea is a real eye-opener for me. How did I miss that? I am going to think this thing through with my mirror and really try to understand my hair as it is rather than how I imagine it to be!


Today I did the sea water again and I've got clumps except in the back where I have tighter curls rather than looser waves-- so that's the CURL PATTERN!!! I think I get it now!

So my goal is to get the clumps in the areas that have the right curl pattern for it.

I know my list looks long but I did get most of those as samples so I don't feel too bad about it--very thankful for kathymack and empressri

I have tried KCKT but forgot it on the list.

I've tried Agave Nectar (just a few drops) and would love to know a good recipe for a rinse-- so you rinse just before leave -in? I've overused honey and what a crunchy sticky mess that was!!

I think I also need to be more vigilant about touching my hair- and I was wondering if all the upside down stuff was breaking up any potential clumpage.

Oh the choices we have to make--volume or clumps.....clumps or volume………???

Maybe one day I’ll just choose products based on their smell and not worry about how I look!!!

Thanks for all your replies.

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