Newly natural; still figuring it all out

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  • 1 Post By Firefox7275
  • 1 Post By GoTLover
  • 1 Post By chloe92us
  • 1 Post By OregonRose

Hi, everyone! I've been lurking here about a month or so, ever since my hair looked at me one morning while I was flat-ironing it, gave a little sob and asked "why are you trying to set me on fire?", and then quietly died.

Until about a decade ago I let my hair do its own happy, curly thing. I wasn't aware of the problems with sulfates or silicones, so I used mainstream products, including haircolor, but my hair seemed pretty robust and didn't give me much trouble, other than the fact that I never felt that my hair looked particularly stylish or put together (see first pic, below -- that's my hair 20 years ago).



When I discovered the "magic" of the flat iron (oh, silly me), I was thrilled, and used it every day. As my hair got duller and more lifeless over the years, I chalked it up to age, a couple years of bleaching, and the Oregon climate. I'm sure those all played a role, but now I know I was mostly cooking my poor hair to death.

So, here I am, starting all over again. On Day One of going back to curly I discovered that a regular shampoo and conditioner left my hair looking like roadkill (see second picture below), so started doing online research, and arrived here (and a few other informative places, too). A haircut, getting rid of some of the most badly damaged hair, helped a bit with the roadkill effect, but I knew I had to figure out the right routine and products for me.



I sent away to have my hair typed by LCLF's service, and it came back fine textured, normal porosity and elasticity, which seems right to me. My curl "pattern" used to be 2C, I think, but now it's a combination of 2C and 3A, with some chunks doing their own special untyped fuzzball dance.

I've been playing with different routines and products, and haven't quite found the magic yet. The biggest issue so far is I can't sleep on my hair -- even with a satin pillow the curls are destroyed by morning, breaking up into frizzy individual strands. But if I do a full co-wash, it takes over three hours to dry, which means I have to get up before 5am to have hair that looks even vaguely decent in time for work.

So far I have found that my hair seems to love loads of conditioner, and I can leave in great gobs of it without going limp or greasy, despite it being "fine" in texture. I've been using Kinky-Curly's Knot Today the most, and have just started using Jane Carter Solutions Curl Defining Cream, and that seems to work a lot better than gel (which just gives me hard, crispy hair, even after "de-crunching" it).

I tried a protein treatment yesterday (Ion Effective Care in the little packet from Sally Beauty), and my hair looked truly great for the first time since going natural, but then I went to bed, lol. Based on that, though, I'm guessing that my hair really wants protein, so I think that's the next avenue I'm going to explore.

Okay, that's a good start on the epic novel. I'm really glad this forum is here; I wouldn't have even known where to begin otherwise. Thanks, and see you around!
Fine, normal porosity, medium density, & normal elasticity, 2C/3A curls. Over 60% gray; dyed.

Hair routine: No idea yet; still working it out.
Welcome and thanks for making me laugh!

TBH your hair sounds like it's behaving on the porous end of normal, which would make sense given your history of flat ironing and colouring. Good ingredients for damaged or porous hair include hydrolysed protein, coconut oil, ceramides and panthenol.

Kinky Curly Knot Today is not a true conditioner it is more of a detangler, it doesn't contain any oils and little fatty alcohols or cationic surfactants, these improve condition, aid clumping and frizz control. The crispy hair with gel is possibly down to not using a true conditioner. You may find part of the reason the curl cream is working is that it contains some of the ingredients 'missing' from the KCKT.

Are you diffusing to partially dry? As long as you use cooler temperatures, don't fully dry and use some ingredients known to protect from heat damage (propylene glycol, glycerin, some polyquats, protein), diffusing is not nearly as damaging as flat ironing.
http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/...s-too-hot.html
http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/...e-in-hair.html
http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/...ally-work.html
OregonRose likes this.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Boots Essentials gel
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect

Last edited by Firefox7275; 06-22-2013 at 01:45 PM.
Welcome OregonRose! Awesome picture of your curls/waves. I love the humor you put into your story Congrats on deciding to go natural and good luck this natural journey!
OregonRose likes this.
Welcome! I loved your story and pictures! (And the cockatiel is cute too, I have two of them!)

My hair's condition looked a lot like your second picture when I found this site- that was 6 months ago. It's a lot of trial and error! The key for me in the beginning was to drop the non-CG ingredients as you have, and to condition to the extreme. After I got my hair in better condition, I chopped off all the damage and really started experimenting with products and techniques.

I rarely get second day hair, so I feel your pain about that. I really have to diffuse every day....I use the low heat & fan setting and dry it about 10 minutes and let it air dry the rest of the way.

Good luck!
OregonRose likes this.
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, CJ Curl Rehab (both as RO & LI)
Stylers: UFD CM, CJ PP, JC Spiralicious, Darcy's Cream Gel & Cocoa bean whip
Ladies, thank you so much for your encouragement and your welcoming.

Firefox7275, I had no idea KCKT wasn't a real conditioner. I have much to learn -- I'm only starting to remember some of the names of the ingredients and what they do. Based on your advice, I used what I *think* is real conditioner this morning (Alba Botanicals Naturally Hawaiian Real Repair Cocoa Butter), and left a bunch in, with much better results, although still no real clumping. I've been doing the supersoaker method of "rinsing" (I suppose it rinses, just gently), and then plopping for about two minutes, so I don't know if that makes any difference to the result.

I diffused as well, for about 15 minutes (maybe half the time on warm, the other half cool), and that seemed to cut about an hour off the total drying time, so that may be an option for me.

GoTLover, thanks for your good wishes. I'm a GoT fan too; my life will have no meaning for the next 10 months, until Season 4 begins.

Here's what the hairpocalypse looks like today; I think it's hugely improved, even if it's not great yet. Chloe92us, it's nice to know improvement comes over time; that gives me hope:

Fine, normal porosity, medium density, & normal elasticity, 2C/3A curls. Over 60% gray; dyed.

Hair routine: No idea yet; still working it out.
That definitely looks curlier which might suggest better hydrated! Try using even more leave in conditioner and/ or even more curl cream, it truly is amazing what can appear to be 'absorbed' especially on porous hair. Unless the product is super greasy which that Alba Botanica does not look to be ... it's rich in fatty alcohols and a cationic surfactant (behentrimonium).
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Boots Essentials gel
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
Firefox7275, thanks for your helpful replies! I did as you suggested this morning, leaving all the conditioner in with no rinse at all, and then using the curl cream. My hair looked better today than it has since the big meltdown -- I'm thrilled! And it held up with no frizz, all day long. I don't know where the bowing-in-gratitude icon is, so please imagine one in this spot: ___
chloe92us likes this.
Fine, normal porosity, medium density, & normal elasticity, 2C/3A curls. Over 60% gray; dyed.

Hair routine: No idea yet; still working it out.

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