New and confused
Hi! I recently started doing the Curly Girl method of taking care of my hair and I've been very gratified with the results. After dipping my toe in the water I'm ready to dive deeper, but I'm still really confused about what my hair needs. I'm using the Deva Curl basic products right now and they're ok but I'd like to have more curl definition. I don't mind paying that much if I love the product but I find I have to use SO MUCH of their products (a huge handful of the no poo, twice, and a handful of the conditioner) so it makes it even more expensive. I'm also really unsure of what to do about 2nd day hair (or maybe I should say 3rd or 4th day hair, because I only no-poo it twice a week). After day 1 or 2 it usually just gets stuck in a ponytail.
I would say that I'm basically a 3a Botticcelli-type. Like, I never really considered it curly, just naturally wavy. The kind of hair that "has its own mind". Generally pretty frizzy. Like even when most of my hair is behaving itself I always have some sort of corona of frizz around it. Once I started doing this curly girl stuff I discovered that I have actual CURLS, not just wave. It's definitely mixed - the back underneath section of my hair by my neck will not curl or hold a curl at all, but the top layers get some nice round curls when scrunched and left to dry. I think the Taylor Swift categorization is the closest I've seen, where you're never really sure whether it's curly or wavy or not. Just not straight.
I would say it's quite dense. I overall seem to have less of it than I did when I was younger - a ponytail wrapper can wrap farther around it than it used to. But I still have a lot of hair. I guess it's pretty fine , though. Maybe the density hasn't changed as I've gotten older but the width has? Is that possible/typical?
I always thought it was porous but when I do the strand test it feels very smooth. I do color it (about once every 3 months) but I never blow dry it or heat treat it or chemically relax or curl it. But it takes FOREVER to dry. If I scrunch it with a low to moderate amount of product, "plop" for 1/2 hour or so, and yjrm let it dry naturally it is still very damp hours later. Today, I washed it at 12:00 and put it into a single very, very loose braid. Right now, at 4:30, it's still very, very damp. But maybe that isn't due to porosity after all? Any ideas?
I see a lot of stuff about protein good and protein bad but how do you know if your hair likes it or not? What would be a good product to try if I want to understand my hair's reaction to protein, and what should I look for in order to come to any kind of conclusion?
Any advice would be really appreciated.
Just as a heads up, braids do lengthen the drying period. But if your hair takes a long time to dry, it takes a long time to dry. My hair (from full saturation) takes about... 6 to 8 hours to dry? I have medium/low porosity hair for the most part, so I can sympathize with you. Even after plopping, I usually have to wait an additional 4-ish hours, and that is extended based on the dew point and products I use...
But yes, generally, drying time does correlate to both hair porosity (and possible damage), and product use. If you want to cut down on dry time, I say invest in a diffuser attachment for your hair dryer; that's 8 bucks (or less) for a huge reduction in drying time. While others may diffuse to dry their hair, because my hair is so dense and takes so long to dry, I really only have the time to diffuse it to dampness, which is still a whole lot better than wetness.
As far as protein is concerned, you hit the nail on the head. Experiment. There are several lines that are extremely protein heavy, but I'd really just inch it up at a time. Start with something cheap, like Suave Naturals Coconut, which is a pretty light protein condish, and test your hair with the stretch test. (Ignore their product recommendations). If you need more protein, shift to a more protein based line, such as CJ, AO, or whatever knockoffs you can find (though Curly Junkie and Aubrey Organics are on the cheaper side).
Really, I wouldn't invest in any major products to "try out" the protein, but keep a general hair diary, even just in your mind, so as you surf the forums you can find people with hair kind of similar to yours. That's basically what I did, and it's been working out, to an extent. Also, be aware of other products that curlies have sensitivities to, such as magnesium sulfate or glycerin.
The biggest part to protein, besides making sure you have enough, but not too much (which will make your hair feel like straw), is balancing the amount of protein with the amount of moisture. :)
Oh yes, and the first thing you mentioned---frizz. Well, for a lot of people, that just comes with the territory. I don't think I'll ever have a frizzless head by the end of the day, and I'm okay with that. But I am curious, what is your routine? You said you use Deva products, but some description might be helpful in assisting those who are trying to help you.
This may sound like a long process, and it kind of is, and kind of isn't. Everyone's hair journey is different, and I hope you have a good time on yours.
+1 to her advice especially regarding the diffuser. I also use a diffuser to about 80% dry and it cuts down the overall drying time by a lot. I diffuse in 3-4 sections, two minutes each. I also use Curls Like Us cloths to scrunch before drying and they decreased my drying time even further.
Welcome, Cindypsych! Glad you've joined us here in our curlyworld!
+1 on the diffuser and curl towels to speed up the drying time.
Many of us start out with Deva, think we like it and then move on to other things that our hair likes better. A lot of us also rotate products. My hair has always satiated on products--even back in my shampoo/conditioner only days. I wet, use a rinse out and style every day. Seldom use any one product more then once every five days.
My fine/low porosity hair LOVES protein. I do at least one PT a week and use a lot of products with protein.
Since hair properties are the best way to determine what ingredients/products your hair might like, you should look for folks with hair like yours and see what they use (in signatures.)
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