Uggggh, it's snowing! Gel vs Leave-in.

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Hey, lovely people!

I'm having trouble finding a protein-free gel that goes well with either of my leave-ins. I use vo5 ocean refresh conditioner or herbal essence naked moisture conditioner. Ive tried gorilla snot gel and ny style gel and neither of them go with the ocean refresh or naked moisture. They give me those pesky little white gunk balls.

My hair was not a fan of kccc, which is one of the most popular protein-free gels. I've heard about la looks nutra curl but I can't find it on the ground and I don't want to spend shipping and handling on a $4 dollar product that may not even work.

I need a gel to cut down on some frizz, this is one of the most humid Miami summers ever!
My hair is sensitive to formulations with too many plant extracts, aloe, and coconut.
Suggestions, application techniques, alternatives.


TIA!

Last edited by FrostiiLove; 08-29-2014 at 12:06 PM.
I'm forever on the hunt for protein free gels. Over time, I've noticed other ingredients that cause problems for me (aloe, panthenol, glycerin, certain polyquats, sometimes sorbitol, the list goes on!)

But so far I've been able to use the following gels: Aussie Instant Freeze, Herbal Essence Set Me Up, and Naturelle Volumax (Sally's). There's also TRESemme Bouncy Curls (has panthenol and PEG-12 dimethicone). I saw a Suave Captivating Curls spray gel which seems to fit the no protein criteria.

I only pop in here every once in awhile, so I'm not sure if you've already tried/dismissed these.
Thanks for the suggestions Rebecca! I've seen these mentioned around here and different forums but didn't know they were protein-free. I'm so excited to have more options and they're all cheap!
RebeccaK likes this.
I don't ever get notifications for threads that I've posted to... need to figure that out!

You had also asked for technique suggestions - not sure if this would work for you, but in very humid weather I mix some oil (almond, grapeseed, or mineral) into the gel in my palm and emulsify it before applying. I also have to make sure I get every single strand coated. Then, sometimes, I get decent hold/definition without too much poof.
Tresemme Bouncy Curls has gelatin/keratin amino acids, so it isn't protein free. It does appear toward the end of the list though, so may not be problematic.
RebeccaK likes this.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
Good catch, Geek-Chic, I think my eyes glossed over that one. I've only used it a few times, and thought that maybe the humidity + panthenol was causing the problem (which wasn't major, but it was noticeable). For me, at least, keratin is ok (and actually helpful) in a pre-treatment but always problematic with any leave-in or styler.

Of course, there's another non-hair related issue going on.... I need to bring my reading glasses to the store when I go to buy product!! LOL
I too, overlooked the keratin amino acids and tried this on Saturday. It made my hair crispy and frizzy, now I know the issue. While at the store I saw the suave kids line has a new product called cool ocean blast styling gel. The ingredients are as follows: water, pvp, polysorbate 20, carbomer, glycerin, triethanolamine, DMDM hydantoin, propylene glycol, fragrance, peg-45m, tetrasodium EDTA, butylene glycol, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.

I'm going to try the cool ocean blast today after another dc. I have to make a trip to another walmart or walgreens because the ones by my house don't carry the instant freeze or set me up.

Think I'll also try mixing grapeseed into my gel, that is a really good idea.
If it's humid where you are, it might be the PVP. That polymer works well to provide hold in midrange dewpoints, but can fail in higher dews, causing frizz and poof.

According to the Curl Chemist:

"PVP (poly N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone) excellent film-former, substantive to hair, forms clear films, completely water soluble, but it absorbs water which in humid weather can make it sticky or tacky to the touch and can cause frizz and a dull appearance to the hair. In dry weather, it can become brittle and flakey."
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
Argh - PVP too? So my goodness, what's left? Gel seems to be a necessary component to keeping my hair in some semblance of manageability... but without protein, panthenol, glycerin, aloe, and now PVP I may actually end up having to go with my back-up threat. Elmer's Glue!

Sorry, FrostiiLove, I didn't mean to guano your original request.
Argh - PVP too? So my goodness, what's left? Gel seems to be a necessary component to keeping my hair in some semblance of manageability... but without protein, panthenol, glycerin, aloe, and now PVP I may actually end up having to go with my back-up threat. Elmer's Glue!

Sorry, FrostiiLove, I didn't mean to guano your original request.
Originally Posted by RebeccaK
I love me some plain FSG for curl /clump enhancement, but if you like hard hold gel, you'd probably need to top it with something else or add additional ingredients to increase hold.

I haven't tried it yet, but I think I'm gonna pick up some L'Oreal Studio Clean gel (strong hold) for potential use while I'm on vacation. It does have some panthenol and some ethylhexylglycerin, but it's protein and aloe free. It does have VP/VA Copolymer and a water soluble silicone, however it was originally formulated to rinse clean in the shower and not build up.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
The panthenol got me on that one - at least, that's what I think it was. It's well past time for me to get a hair analysis... I have the hairs "harvested" (LOL), just need to get 'er done!

FrostiiLove, any luck with other gels for you?
Oh boy, more no-no ingredients! I didn't know about pvp.

Geek_chic, do you make your own fsg or buy online? I've never tried it but I don't mind a light hold as long as it helps with some of this frizz. I have some flax seeds in my pantry so I will be on YouTube looking for a good tutorial.

RebeccaK, the suave kids gel mixed well with my conditioners but seems like a better twist/braid-out gel but didn't clump well enough to use on a wash and go. I'm going to have to go to the far walmart sometime this week and hunt down the set me up and instant freeze.
Oh boy, more no-no ingredients! I didn't know about pvp.

Geek_chic, do you make your own fsg or buy online? I've never tried it but I don't mind a light hold as long as it helps with some of this frizz. I have some flax seeds in my pantry so I will be on YouTube looking for a good tutorial.

RebeccaK, the suave kids gel mixed well with my conditioners but seems like a better twist/braid-out gel but didn't clump well enough to use on a wash and go. I'm going to have to go to the far walmart sometime this week and hunt down the set me up and instant freeze.
Originally Posted by FrostiiLove
I make my own, Frostiilove. The first time I definitely wanted to try the basic recipe, and I figured I could customize the next batch based on how the first one acted in my hair. Plain gel gave me amazing results, so I haven't bothered with additional additives. Sweet Curls Elixirs on etsy makes customizable FSG, if you decide you don't want to deal with the hassle of making your own.

I use IAGirl's recipe from the Science-y Hair Blog. Mine ends up being egg white consistency, and it gives me good clumps /curl enhancement on wash day. I do get some halo frizz during high dews (60's, 70's) going into 2nd day, but I can pull my hair back into a very nice looking curly ponytail since the length stays nicely defined overnight.

The stuff is good in the fridge for about 2 weeks, but I don't like to carry my big bottle to the bathroom as everytime the gel warms it gives an opportunity for microbes to grow. So, instead I keep a week's worth of gel in the fridge and take enough for a single wash day to the bathroom in a separate squirt bottle (like the sort restaurants use for ketchup).

It's easier for me to strain the gel through a pair of knee highs (I have heavier support hose I use) than to use a strainer. I also figured out it strains better if I bring the top of the hose around the funnel mouth from the bottom. The seeds fall through the funnel easier that way, and into the toe of the hose. Tongs didn't work all that well for me, so I put on a pair of rubber kitchen gloves and squeeze the last bit of gel out of the seeds that way.

I do prefer to go through the process once a month instead of more often, so I make a batch, strain, make another (with the same seeds), strain, etc. One batch of seeds will make enough gel (in multiple batches) to fill a 32oz squirt top bottle. I pour it into ice cube trays, freeze, and store in baggies in the freezer.

I figured out a typical amount for wash day for me is 2 full sized ice cubes worth of frozen gel. I thaw out enough for a week and keep it in an old clean lemon juice bottle, then I squirt enough for wash day into a clean condiment bottle (color applicator bottles would work well too).

ETA: PVP isn't necessarily a "no-no" ingredient. It just doesn't work well in high dews. If you have a gel you love and it has a lot of PVP in it, there's no need to toss it, just save it for moderate dews.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed

Last edited by Geek_Chic; 09-02-2014 at 02:50 PM. Reason: Added info.
I went to the far Walmart today(lol) and the didn't have the set me up gel but they had the instant freeze. I tested to see if it mixes with my conditioner and IT DOES! Now all I'll just have to see how my hair reacts. Today was supposed to be wash day but eh, I don't feel like it. So tomorrow I will be doing a wash and go with the instant freeze.

I'm going to attempt fsg on Sunday, I don't have the time or patience during the week. I have a question for you geek_chic, do you do loc or put leave in before the fsg and does it take long to dry?
I don't do LOC, since I have fine hair that's easily weighed down, but I do occasionally scrunch a bit of coconut oil into my ends if they look dry. I do use LI almost all the time, including under my FSG. I maybe use a bit less of it, but I like a little LI in my hair before I add FSG, just for a bit of added slip. (I needed that bit of foundational slip when I raked in my FSG, but not so much now that I scrunch it in).

FSG does take a long time to dry, longer than commercial gels do for me. It's a film-forming humectant, though I don't have issues with it in high dews like I do with glycerin. Science-y Hair Blog compared water retention capabilities of FSG to a plush bath towel. Glycerin was compared to a thin washcloth. That article is here, if you're interested in reading: Science-y Hair Blog: Film Forming Humectants - What They Are and Why You Need Them

What I do is apply my LI to soaking wet hair, then scrunch in FSG till my hair feels slimy and sounds like a wet sneaker. Then I scrunch with a cotton t-shirt. I can do a loose variation on a plop if I want. The FSG and the scrunching forms awesome clumps, so I don't need to plop to enhance them, though I can do a loose /short one just to keep the wet hair off my neck.

FSG is moisturizing on its own, so if you use a LI for additional moisture, you may find you don't require one, or that you need less of it. I found that I can use a more protein heavy LI with FSG than I could when I used commercial gels. VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze now works great as a LI for me, where with commercial gels, it left me with a ton of frizz in the midlength to ends. Once you figure out how the plain recipe works, you can customize the next batch (if you like), with additional ingredients for more moisture, more hold, scent, etc.

Don't be afraid to use a ton of FSG when you get yours made. My hair is medium density and about armpit length, and I use between 1 and 2oz on a typical wash day. Absolutely no weigh down! I couldn't do that with a commercial gel without feeling like I had helmet hair.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
I'm going with plain fsg, my hair usually responds well to simple formulations. I also think I'll patch test a section with leave in and without. Sometimes my hair needs the weight or else my w&g will just turn into a curly fro.

I did a bun on a three day old w&g yesterday and used the instant freeze and grapeseed oil to slick down my hair. It dried frizz free and not crunchy at all. When I started sectioning my hair this morning prepping to wash it later, I didn't see any gel flakes. I'm am so ready for my bf to get home and watch the baby so wash my hair and try it out. I feel like such a loon getting so excited over gel. Thank you for the recommendation Rebecca!
RebeccaK likes this.
I'm going with plain fsg, my hair usually responds well to simple formulations. I also think I'll patch test a section with leave in and without. Sometimes my hair needs the weight or else my w&g will just turn into a curly fro.

I did a bun on a three day old w&g yesterday and used the instant freeze and grapeseed oil to slick down my hair. It dried frizz free and not crunchy at all. When I started sectioning my hair this morning prepping to wash it later, I didn't see any gel flakes. I'm am so ready for my bf to get home and watch the baby so wash my hair and try it out. I feel like such a loon getting so excited over gel. Thank you for the recommendation Rebecca!
Originally Posted by FrostiiLove
This method may not work for pre-testing tendency to flake, but I've heard about a way to figure out whether a certain LI and gel will play well together before you ever combine them in your hair. You take a bit of the LI and a bit of the gel and try emulsifying between your hands. If you get weird lumps and clumps, it's not a good combo, but if they combine into a smooth result, you're good to go.

ETA: Good luck with your FSG! Hope it works well for you.
CG since 11/2011
2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

Autumn Products /Routine:
Clarifying: ACV rinses, Suave Professional Men Deep Clean Peppermint
Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
Co-washes: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze or Strawberries & Cream
RO: VO5 KLS or S&C, Cure Care
LI (if needed): VO5 S&C, VO5 KLS, Cure Care
Stylers: FSG, L'Oreal Studio Clean gel, Tresemme Flawless Curls Bouncy Curls gel
PT: IAGirl's as needed
Glad the IF worked - I totally get the loon-like feeling. We're all just a little loon-y with all this hair stuff LOL
I've finally got my hands on some set me up, yay me! Only used it once and it's really good. More clumping, less build up and I can use less than the instant freeze. I still looooove my instant freeze but will probably use it for braid/twist outs, edge control and pony slicking and use the set me up for the wash and go and any wet styling. I have two of each gel and by the time I finish them, I'll probably pick which one that I like the most.

I tried something new a few days ago. I have a bottle that I mix conditioner and water as refresher. I added a tip of the instant freeze and it totally helped combat the frizzies. I wash my hair every 4 or 5 days so I use this on 3rd or 4th day hair.

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