||04-05-2013 06:04 PM
Curl pattern is transient and not the most important factor in picking products. As far as texture, I mean do you have fine (small individual strands), coarse (large individual strands), or medium (in between sized individual strands)? In terms of porosity, does your hair get wet quickly, dry quickly, and tend to dry out over the course of the day? Is it permed, highlighted, colored, and has it been flat ironed or blow dried or curling ironed frequently or semi-frequently? Or does it take a while to get wet, take forever to dry (hours, even without product), and do heavier products tend to sit on top and not absorb?
Double check your sulfate free shampoo and make sure it's also silicone free. If you see ingredients ending in -cone, -conol, or -xane, those are silicones. If those silicones have PEG- or PPG- in front of them, they are water soluble and CG friendly because they will cowash out of your hair. If the sulfate free shampoo has silicones (without PEG or PPG), then you'll need to clarify again with either a silicone free sulfate shampoo or a silicone free low poo (sulfate free shampoo).
An olive oil pre-poo (before shampoo dt) and a followup dt afterward may have been way more moisture than your hair needed. The curly pudding has several oils /butters too, which might have been too much if you have fine hair or low porosity hair. Does your hair feel producty (coated) or look weighed down? Is it feeling mushy and looking less curly than before? If so, it may well need some protein, or at least less moisture on your next wash day.
On the gel thing, usually gels are best applied on soaking wet hair. Some people can use them on damp hair, but for many it's soaking wet or not at all. You could rake it through, scrunch it in, or smooth it over your hair, and curl pattern will vary depending on which application method you use. Scrunching can give tighter curls (but can be harder to get even application), raking can pull them out a bit, as can smoothing. You can even do a combo rake then scrunch or smooth then scrunch. Scrunching can help "reactivate" curls if raking or smoothing has pulled them out a bit. Once gel was in, did you touch your hair while it was drying, or did you wait till it was completely dry before scrunching out the crunch (SOTC)? Not touching your hair while it dries allows the gel to form a cast on your hair which holds your curls and helps to reduce frizz. Once dry, you can SOTC to release the cast, giving you soft curls with hold. Hold can be a factor too. Many prefer medium to hard hold gels instead of soft hold, simply because their curls stay better defined when they use a gel with more hold to it.