I don't know what else to try?!?!

I have been trying to embrace my curly hair for about a year and a half now. I have very fine, curly hair...and LOTS of it. My curls are fairly large. I got a really cute cut that looks great when it all works, but the big problem is that I can't get my hair to curl consistantly. It will start out great, but day by day it slowly starts loosing it's curl. Finally it will get to the point where it hardly has any curl at all. The odd thing about this, is that the ONLY thing that will bring back the curl is to straighten it for a few days. I have tried everything from vinegar rinses to expensive curl creams. I have tried more shampoos and conditioners than I can count. I have tried going without any products at all, with extra texturizing in the cut, various methods of scrunching.....yet it's always the same. The only thing that will make it curl again is straightening it. I'm about to give up because I hate the way it looks when it is straightened and I'm sick of the battle. Has anyone else experienced this? I have been to so many stylists and everyone who sees it thinks its bizarre and has no advice for me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
My question would be about products and routine. Are you CG or modified CG? My hair really loves the more natural products. After six months of cowash, I started to cleanse with natural soap bars. They tightened my curl and added volume.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
Yes, products and routine would be good to know. Also, what do you know about your hair's needs? Does it respond to protein? Crave a lot of moisture? What kind of weather are you having? And do you use different products when you straighten? Maybe those are having some sort of effect on your hair that results in increased curl.
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
I'll tell you what it sounds like to me... and I might be TOTALLY off, but it's KIND of like what mine does.

My hair ADORES being just ever so slightly dry. The curls are perkier, I have tons more body and I can get much more consistent results when I keep it from being 'perfectly' conditioned. lol, it's strange, but it's the way it is. It sounds like your hair is doing better after being abused some, and I think everyone will agree that straightening DEFINITELY sucks some of the moisture out of our hair.

How often are you washing, and what products are you using? there might be a way to maintain that delicate balance without having to resort to straightening...
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
MimsTx, I'm finding the same thing with my hair as well. It gets easily over-conditioned. I've been shampooing more often lately and that seems to help.

Back to OP, it would help us if youtold us what kind of products you use, how often you wash your hair, etc.?
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.


3a/3b
Mims - You are right! My hair doesn't love being overly conditioned. It doesn't like being too dry either though (it's a balancing act). Right now I'm switching between redkins curl shampoo, suave clarifying shampoo, and designline's curl lock shampoo. I use pantene's curl conditioner sometimes, but if I use it too much my hair feels weighed down. I use scrupples conditioner sometimes too, but if I use it too much my hair is too dry. I put a small amount of joico gel, and neutrogena leave in cream while my hair is sopping wet. Then I scrunch with a towel and pin up the areas in front. I CANNOT use any hair spray. Hairspray, mousse, or anything alcohol based will make my hair loose curl in a heartbeat. When I straighten the routine is the same (except that it ends with a curling iron). I've also started using a cider vinegar rinse....I can't really tell if it is helping yet or not.
I would encourage you to read up on the Curly Girl method here on the boards. Read the "sticky" on the Shampoo-less thread to get an idea of what it's like.
Getting the basics down, like sulfates, silicones, protein, etc. will be helpful in determining what your hair needs.
I like the Redken Fresh Curls shampoo, but like all sulfate shampoos, it can get drying after awhile.
I do know that the shampoos you listed can make hair dry. Pantene is known for overloading on silicones, which can be very coating to the hair.
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.


3a/3b
Here's what I would recommend.
Wash your hair with Suave clarifying shampoo...wash really really well.
Then use something like Suave Naturals conditioner or Alberto VO5 conditioner.
If you tend to need a leave-in for your hair, you could use Regis Olive Oil leave-in (it has a water soluble silicone in it) or Kiehl's leave-in (no silicones). Other people may be able to recommend other leave-ins...I've tried those two that's why I recommend them. :-)
Then, it's a trial and error, as far as what type of styler would work best for you. Some people just need a leave-in, as they don't need any hold. Some people like curl creams; others like mousse, and others like gel. some combine different ones. There are many people who can give you all sorts of recommendations for these stylers that won't weigh your hair down. Curl cream that I sometimes use is MOP C (Modern Organic Product, the Curl line...at Ulta). There are many CG (Curly Girl) gels and mousses.
You said you use gel...Herbal Essences has some good gels. It is a good idea to avoid alcohol; I see that yousaid you try to do that.
Some people have issues with too much protein, magnesium sulfates, glycerin or other humectants. It's all a trial and error thing.
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.


3a/3b
Let me add...the Suave clarifying shampoo should only be used this one time to get all the gunk out of your hair. It's not a good idea to use that shampoo often. You can use it once every two to three weeks if you find you have build-up issues...but if you go CG, you may not even have to shampoo that often.
On the shampoo-less thread, you will find that people clean their hair with conditioner. That's right...conditioner. That works if you use products that don't have silicone in it. If you feel like you need something more than conditioner to clean, there are shampoos out there that are less drying...they don't have harsh sulfates in them. I like Creme of Nature (red label) that you can get at a Sally's Beauty supply store...it's in the ethnic section.
I just wanted to clarify. I think my prior post made it sound like you should use your Suave shampoo every time you wash.
That's right, I said it! I wear scrunchies!!

I am a sulfate washing, cone slabbing, curly lovin' s.o.b. The CG police haven't caught me yet.


3a/3b

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