Beyond Sulfates, Silicones, and Proteins

I feel guilty making so many threads but I figure there are tons of newbies on this site, so I'm sure others will profit from more educational threads. I know to avoid sulfates and silicones, and I avoid protein because I have coarse unelastic hair...but what else should I be trying to avoid? I've heard people mention certain alcohols as being bad, and also people have said they're avoiding sodiums and polyquats, etc. Also, I thought glycerin was a good ingredient since it's moisturizing, but then how come on the curl mart website they say whether a product is glycerin-free? Or is that just for people who need protein not moisture? Could someone please give me some info/recommendations on this, and/or refer me to a corresponding curl chemist article? Thanks!
Type 2b/2c, med/coarse, low porosity, medium density

Co-wash: Suave Naturals Tangerine, Live Clean Moisturizing, CJ Daily Fix, GTTT, Tigi MM

Conditioner: Tigi MM, Jessicurl WDT, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Daily Smoothing, CJ H&B Deep Fix

Deep Treatment: same as rinse out

Leave-in: KCKT or my rinseout

Styling Aids: Alberto/V05 Gel, HETT/HESMU, KCCC
Okay I have another question to add to this...how can people tell which oils their hair likes or doesn't like? Do you have to be fairly far into your CG quest to figure this stuff out? I'm new to this and my hair is damaged enough that I can't necessarily tell if it likes something or not...it tends to look dry no matter what I use, but I figured that was because it takes awhile for it to get properly moisturized. Do I have to wait until it's in a more healthy state to really notice how each ingredient affects it?
Type 2b/2c, med/coarse, low porosity, medium density

Co-wash: Suave Naturals Tangerine, Live Clean Moisturizing, CJ Daily Fix, GTTT, Tigi MM

Conditioner: Tigi MM, Jessicurl WDT, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Daily Smoothing, CJ H&B Deep Fix

Deep Treatment: same as rinse out

Leave-in: KCKT or my rinseout

Styling Aids: Alberto/V05 Gel, HETT/HESMU, KCCC
Unfortunately, you won't know what works for you until you try! It's really a matter of trial and error. Struttswife has a great e-book that I can't recommend enough. It really helped me figure out my own hair and how to manage it!

http://livecurlylivefree.com/e_book.htm

Here is a link to Jessicurl's info on alcohols, which ones are good and which ones are bad (click on "Ingredients Philosophy").

But you don't necessarily need to be well into CG in order to start figuring out what works and what doesn't. I realized pretty quickly that glycerin makes my hair look wet and greasy. I looked at the ingredient list of those products and realized glycerin was pretty high up on the list for each one. So now I look for the glycerin free labels. (The labels don't mean that it's something everyone should avoid because it's bad for hair in general, by the way--other than sulfates and silicones. it just means that it's something a lot of people want to avoid for themselves because it doesn't work for them.)

On the other hand, my hair can handle larger amounts of epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) than others as long as I add some aloe to counteract the dryness, but nothing compensates for how dry too much of the chlorides makes my hair.

It can be overwhelming, so start with the general recommendations and go from there. Avoid sulfates and silicones for now and don't worry about 'quats, etc., yet. You would probably want to avoid proteins and focus on deep conditioning since you have coarse hair. Butters and heavier oils, like coconut oil, would work better for you than they do for my fine hair.

Otherwise, as you go you'll notice that certain products or treatments turn out "wrong" or don't really work. It takes a little bit of detective work (ie looking at the ingredients to figure out which one your hair doesn't like), but you'll figure it out. One thing that helps is looking for others here who have similar qualities to their hair and see what did and did not work for them. If nothing you do seems to work, look for any common ingredients that are higher up on the list and do a search to find out what they do to hair. For example, salts can be drying, others, like agave or honey, can make people's hair sticky or crunchy.

Good luck and HTH!
2b/2c, fine, thick, normal porosity/elasticity

Current routine: co-wash & detangle with AIA Coconut CoWash then RO. Experimenting w/AG re:coil, DCVF & All-Nutrient Hair Proteinizer.
Love: AO GPB, KCCC, PBH Gelatine Goo, ANHP, CNPF
Like: GDL, FSG, honey, HETT, JCNS, DCVF
Hate: glycerin, mineral oil

Last edited by Ceallachg; 07-24-2009 at 08:07 PM.

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