Cause for straw hair not protein or over conditioning

Hi I'm new and this is my first post. Searching the forums today I found lots of information to help me and my newly CG sister. We both have better hair today because of what I read here last night.
My hair type is a 2 medium wave, fine, very poor elasticity (won't and never has grown past my shoulders), porous to extremely porous (I think). I'm still using cones until I use up my cone products. I plan to buy no cone replacements as needed.
Here is my issue. These four conditioners (used for cowashing) cause me to have straw hair.
White Rain volumizing extra body (and the energising citrus version, similar ingredients)-
Water; Cetyl Alcohol; Dicetyldimonium Chloride; Citric Acid; Stearyl Alcohol; Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine; Panthenol (provitamin B5); Glycerine;Ceteareth-20; Behenyl Alcohol; Fragrance; EDTA; Methylchloroisothiazolinone; methylisothiazolinone
Suave Naturals Juicy Green Apple Conditioner-
Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Potassium Chloride, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit, methylisothiazolinone, Glycerin, yellow 5 (CI 19140) Blue 1 (Cl 42090)
Garnier Frutisfortifying conditioner Body Boost-Aqua (Water), Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Starch Acetate, Cetyl Esters, Parfum (Fragrance), Pyrus Malus (Apple Fruit Extract), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Propylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine HCl, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Saccharum Officinarum Extract (Sugar Cane Extract), Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Panax Ginseng Extract (Panax Ginseng Root Extract), Citrus Medica Limonium Peel Extract (Lemon Peel Extract), Camellia Sinensis Extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract)

I only used the Garnier once. I seemed to be making a straw head instantly worse. I don't think any of these conditioners have protein (as far as I can tell) so protein isn't the problem. When my hair turns to straw from these conditioners, adding lots of other conditioners and leave in conditioners will fix my hair in about a week. Since conditioners fix it, I don't think I'm over conditioning. Also, my hair is dry and seems to like conditioning.
I added some vitamin e oil to my silicone containing conditioner and did a DT this morning and my hair is soft and lovely now for the first time in years. So I don't really need advice on how to recover.

I'm wondering what it is about these 4 conditioners that makes my hair straw like. They all have "something" chloride as the third ingredient. Could that be the problem? Any ideas? I don't want to buy yet another conditioner that's bad for my hair.
Hello and welcome!!

I am kind of new to this, too, so I don't know a whole lot. My hair is very similar to yours. I have used Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner (it contains amino acids, which I believe are building blocks of proteins) and VO5 Strawberries and Cream Conditioner. Both work well and are cheap. They make my hair very silky. I'm not sure why you are having a straw-like reaction.

Also, I was told that when your hair is finer, then it will do better with more protein and less humectants and emollients. (The Suave Tropical Coconut conditioner contains amino acids).

Here are the ingredients of the Suave Coconut:

Water (Aqua), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, Fragrance (Parfum), Distearyldimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, 2 Bromo 2 Nitropropane 1, 3 Diol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Propylene Glycol, Silk Amino Acids, Honey/Mel, Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Extract, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Extract, Coconut (Cocoa Nucifera) Extract
Hair Type - wavy/curly, fine texture, thin/medium density

Last edited by anniemae; 09-11-2009 at 07:42 AM.
Do you have hard water? This is what gets to my hair. Try a shower filter (I have the Aquasana). Also, to give CG a fair trial, you should clarify first (Try Redken hair cleansing cream) and then use no-cones from there.
2B/2C wavy
Don't Breed and Buy While Shelter Dogs Die - Adopt your next best friend!
Cetrimonium chloride always makes my hair feel coarse and dry. Stearalkonium Chloride makes my hair very soft and poofy (like cotton candy). That's why Suave and VO5 are no no's for me which is too bad because they're so cheap.

My hair is also very porous and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that C. chloride can lift the cuticle.
3b/c fine, thick, porous, protein sensitive
Modified CG, CJ Rehab, JCWDT, KCKT, VO5 Chamomile Tea Therapy, CJDF, HEBE Gel/Mousse, Bioinfusion Rosemary Mint shampoo, occasional protein

Experimenting with BRHG

"If you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain"
Cetrimonium chloride always makes my hair feel coarse and dry. Stearalkonium Chloride makes my hair very soft and poofy (like cotton candy). That's why Suave and VO5 are no no's for me which is too bad because they're so cheap.
thanks, maybe this is part of my problem.
shoulder length inverted bob; fine; 3A-3B; med-thick density; normal porosity; normal elasticity- my hair loves keratin, ACV, silk protein ,Curlkeeper and AG:Recoil ; seems to hate moisturizing products and oils except mineral oil; CG- Jan/'09-mod CG Sept/'09;CG again Jan/'10/mod CG from Mar'10

receive $10 off 1st order of $40 & up, or $5 off on smaller orders, when using iHERB code: GIK909
Cetrimonium chloride always makes my hair feel coarse and dry. Stearalkonium Chloride makes my hair very soft and poofy (like cotton candy). That's why Suave and VO5 are no no's for me which is too bad because they're so cheap.

My hair is also very porous and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that C. chloride can lift the cuticle.
Originally Posted by Magoo

I added some vitamin e oil to my silicone containing conditioner and did a DT this morning and my hair is soft and lovely now for the first time in years. So I don't really need advice on how to recover.

I'm wondering what it is about these 4 conditioners that makes my hair straw like. They all have "something" chloride as the third ingredient. Could that be the problem? Any ideas? I don't want to buy yet another conditioner that's bad for my hair.
Originally Posted by putaheya
Actually you do need advice. Your solution won't work in the long run and will only make your hair worse.

While it is definitely true that a person can have problems with individual ingredients, I don't think this is your problem (see below). Centrimonium chloride is a conditioning and detangling agent and stearalkonium chloride is an antistatic ingredient. Both can raise the cuticle but your products also contain neutral conditioning agents to neutralize the affect. However, as I said above, I don't suspect that they are causing your problem.

I believe that your hair is reacting to going CG but not fully giving up cones Since you are no longer washing with sulfate shampoos your cones are not washing out of your hair. Even though the sulfate poos are drying they do one thing well and that is to get rid of cone buildup. Since you are still using them they are building up in your hair AND THE CO-WASHES ARE NOT ABLE TO WASH THEM OUT OF YOUR HAIRThey are suffocating your hair which cannot get any moisture in. The only solution is to mask it with cones, which make your hair feel nice. You are experiencing the evils of those deceptive trickster cones. This will cause your hair to be straw like and dry because your is completely sealed. You cannot go CG and still use cones and expect your hair not get buildup. You must get rid of those cones. There is no use in "using them up". Throwing them away is not wasting them or money. In fact it will save you money in the long run because you won't have to buy tons of sulfate products to wash them out, then tons of moisturizing products to correct the drying nature of sulfates, then tons of other products because your hair has built up tolerance to those other products.

The reason why your solution "worked" is that you masked the straw like feel with more silicone. This is what cones do: they coat the hair making them feel smooth and nice, but then they build up and suffocate your hair and thus make you think you need more cones and more of other products in general. If you keep this up, you will have a never ending cycle of straw hair-cone fix-build up-straw hair-cone fix-build up, etc.... OOPS sorry I'm repeating myself, but I can't say enough about the evils of cones.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Thanks for the advice so far.
I need to apologize. With all the info I posted, I forgot a very important piece of information. I shampoo, mostly low poo, when the cones in my hair build up. I do this approximately every 2 weeks.

I still confused. I found an old, empty bottle of cone conditioner that didn't cause straw. If I dismiss the conditioner I used once, the only ingredient in the straw causers and not in my cone conditioners is Dicetyldimonium Chloride (web says it's a conditioning ingredient). That doesn't sound like a likely suspect. If it's not a single ingredient issue, I don't see any pattern in the ingredients that would cause a problem. Any ideas? I think I'm stuck.

I'll give a short history in case this is important. Throughout this entire time below I use shampoo approximately every 2 weeks and conditioned with a cone containing conditioner. I began in June when I found a post on the internet about water washing. Did that 2 times, shampooed third time in the shower. Continued that pattern for a few weeks. Then toward the end of June I found a CG post and started co washing with my cone conditioner for a week until I bought suave for co wash. After 3-4 co washes, straw. Went back to cone cowash and it got better. Tried citrus white rain co wash, 3-4 times, straw. Switched to cone cowash and it got better. Tried other white rain cowash 2-3 times, straw. Immediately tried garnier cowash and seemed to make it worse. Did a vitamin E (had in house) and cone conditioner DT & leave in conditioner. (2-3 days ago) My hair seems great when it's dry and somewhat better when wet. I'd assume it will keep improving.

Tycho 19-I do have water on the hard side. I'm sure this doesn't help the situation. But, I have no doubt that the conditioners are the problem. (at least the first three listed, 4th only used once) There was a clear cause and effect reaction. Shower filter would be a good idea, but no $$ at the current time.

anniemae-Thanks for your suggestions. The suave coconut conditioner seems to be quite similar to the suave apple conditioner I used, but with some protein ingredients thrown in. It's possible I do need protein also. From what I've read, instinct, and initial results, I'm pretty sure I need conditioning more.

bleasuna-I'm so sorry I forgot to add that I was occasionally shampooing. Because I forgot that one sentence, you had to write a long post. I would have really needed the advice about cone build up if I hadn't been shampooing. Thanks for the help.

I plan to start CG in 1-2 months when I run out of my current products. Even if I started today, I would still need a non straw causing no cone conditioner. I'm on a tight budget and need to stick with inexpensive options. If I can't find a "no straw" conditioner and go CG, my hair is already better with my current routine (cone co wash and condition and occasional shampooing) then it was with daily shampoos.
Thanks for the advice so far.
Originally Posted by putaheya
I need to apologize. With all the info I posted, I forgot a very important piece of information. I shampoo, mostly low poo, when the cones in my hair build up. I do this approximately every 2 weeks.


I'll give a short history in case this is important. Throughout this entire time below I use shampoo approximately every 2 weeks and conditioned with a cone containing conditioner. I began in June when I found a post on the internet about water washing. Did that 2 times, shampooed third time in the shower. Continued that pattern for a few weeks. Then toward the end of June I found a CG post and started co washing with my cone conditioner for a week until I bought suave for co wash. After 3-4 co washes, straw. Went back to cone cowash and it got better. Tried citrus white rain co wash, 3-4 times, straw. Switched to cone cowash and it got better. Tried other white rain cowash 2-3 times, straw. Immediately tried garnier cowash and seemed to make it worse. Did a vitamin E (had in house) and cone conditioner DT & leave in conditioner. (2-3 days ago) My hair seems great when it's dry and somewhat better when wet. I'd assume it will keep improving.
Originally Posted by putaheya


There is no need to apologize, I'm just trying to help based on the info you gave.

When you started CG with the Suave co-wash (blue highlight above), did you wash one last time with a sulfate shampoo. This is very important to remove all the cones. A low poo will not remove all cones. They will only get rid of water soluble cones that have PEG- and a few others like

Amodimethicone
Cyclomethicone/Cyclopentasiloxane
Trimethylsilylamodimethicone

And for some people (like me) low poos don't even get rid of the above cones. If you have any other cone in your product only a sulfate shampoo will definitely remove them. So if you started CG with the Suave and still had cones in your hair, this could be the problem.

Also, a lot of curlies don't react well to Suave or VO5. I personally don't like suave or vo5. Suave left my hair feeling dry. I know cost is a concern, but you might try Loreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss for curly hair. It is not expensive and lots of curlies use it to co-wash. I just saw it on sale at CVS for 2.99. I think its 4.99 normally. Here are the ingredients

Water (Agua), Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Glycerin, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Fragrance (Parfum), Octyldodecanol, Methylparaben, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citric Acid, Myristyl Alcohol, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Citronellol, Alpha Isomethyl Ionone, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Red 33 (CI 17200)

Lastly, even though I personally wouldn't recommend it, if your hair can tolerate the cone conditioner then you should do what it is best for you.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders
Here is my new theory. I think it is an acid vs. base problem. The 3rd ingredient in all these conditioners is "something chloride". Although these ingredients serve different purposes (detangler, antistatic), they are all cationic. Cationic means they are basic. Here's my theory:
1. Assume my hair actually is porous. (pretty sure)
2. If cider vinegar (acid) closes the cuticle then a base would open the cuticle and make it more porous. I'm guessing the base made my hair really porous. I think really porous= straw like.
3. My cone containing conditioners (didn't cause straw) seem to have a more neutral formula. Cone conditioner #1 had behentrimoniym chloride as the 6th ingredient listed right before fragrance. That should mean that there is significantly less then in the conditioners that give me straw like hair. Also, it is possible there was another ingredient that neurolized the OH negative ions. Cone conditioner #2 actually had and acid in the ingredient list. Lactic acid, listed 6th after fragrance.
So, if my theory is correct...All I need to do is find a no cone conditioner that either has a neutral or very slightly acidic formula. I think I solved my problem. Woo-Hoo!

Belasuna- I have to apologize again. I said low poo. When I wrote that I though that meant adding conditioner to your hair before you shampoo. After a read a bit more I realized it means using a non sulfate shampoo. I did it to you again. Sorry. I'm new. Thanks for your continuing help. I tried to buy the L'Oreal nutri gloss. When I got home I realized that I had grabbed two shampoos instead of conditioners. I do that a lot. Grrr. The ingredients don't fit my new theory, so I'll have to keep looking.
On another positive note- I've been using lots of conditioning agents (oils, honey, DT's, aloe) and today my hair had curls that formed coils. Coils I tell you! Growing out of my head. Always thought I was wavy at best. Maybe I'm curly after all and my hair was just in terrible shape. I'm totally excited.
You are a correct about the effects of acids and bases on porous hair and your theory about a basic (ph) conditioner causing the problem may be correct. I always thought that usually products sold on the market have a balanced ph. In many products cationic ingredients are often neutralized with other conditioning agents. The cationic ingredients open the cuticles to allow the moisturizing ingredients to get into the hair. Many products also add citric acid to lower the ph (for many different reasons). If you notice this is the case with the WR conditioner so I think the cationic properties would be neutralized with the citric acid.

In the mean time while you try to figure this conditioner thing out, you could do a simple apple cider vinegar rinse after you co-wash. This will seal the cuticle and is super cheap--just plain water and vinegar. Try this and see if it helps in the mean time. ACV rinses are good for porous hair.
~belasuna
3a/b, very dry, fine/med-coarse, high porosity
CG since 7/27/09
Bella Curl Products
CW: protein free-cleansing creme
CO: protein free MRcondish
Styler: FSG + protein free LI Elixir, Gellie, Shine & Seal Serum
Lady of Elixir, Keeper of the Secret Blend, in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

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