Hard Water Buildup or Normal Transition Period?

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  • 1 Post By Firefox7275
  • 1 Post By Rytoka
  • 1 Post By ashleysb

Hello!
I've been a lurker for quite some time and CG for a couple of years. In the past I have always used a sulfate-free shampoo twice a week along with other CG friendly products and techniques. However there was never really any noticeable change in my hair. It was still just as dry and brittle as when I was using sulfates and silicones. I finally decided to give co-washing a go!

I started co-washing about 3 weeks ago and the products I use are: VO5 Kiwi Lime Squeeze Clarifying Conditioner (co-wash), V05 Strengthening Pomegranate & Grapeseed Extract Conditioner (rinse-out), Shea Terra Organics Argan Face and Body Oil, and FSG from Botticelli Botanicals OR LA Looks Sport Gel (the blue one).

Since starting co-washing I have been having a HUGE problem with a thick, waxy buildup near my roots. I co-wash every 2-3 days, but by the sixth or seventh day the build up is terrible and the co-wash doesn't provide any relief. (I make sure to massage my scalp well for a couple minutes while co-washing as well as when I'm thoroughly rinsing it out.) So each week I've ended up doing a BS wash/ACV rinse which in turn leaves my hair "clean" feeling again, but back to the usual dry/brittle problem. I know we have extremely hard water where I live and have read this can make attempts at co-washing difficult.

So my questions are, is what I'm experiencing the result of hard water buildup or am I just having the normal transition greasiness? Does anyone successfully co-wash with hard water? Should I just bite the bullet and stop the BS/ACV to see if the buildup goes away or go back to using a sulfate-free shampoo?

Thank you!
My guess is that is sebum. Baking soda is alkaline and irritating, every time you use that you are damaging your scalp and potentially setting yourself back. You'd be best to use a super gentle sulphate free shampoo at pH 4.5 to 5.5 which will respect the skin's protective acid mantle as well as being kind to hair.

Some people find they need to CO-wash daily initially, also are you using enough product and water to build up a light lather? Or using dilute vinegar rinses after each wash, or final rinse in distilled water? Or a (gentle) sugar scalp scrub as per the Curly Girl book?

Is the argan oil getting on your scalp at all? You might try cutting that out until your scalp adjusts, it is rich in oleic acid which is irritating to susceptible individuals.

Final thought is a different CO-wash product, it may be you are reacting badly to an ingredient in the V05.
ashleysb 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/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
You may want to look into a filter for your shower head too. I got one fairly cheap and its made a big difference with the build up. I still use a lo poo every couple weeks anyway. We have well water. Heavy minerals and very hard.
ashleysb likes this.
Katie
2C/3a, Medium Texture, Normal porosity, High Density, Normal Elasticity (so says the LCLF Hair analysis)
Co Wash: As I am
RO: Yes To Carrots / Ion
LI: Biotera / Samy Big Curls Defining Cream
Gel: FSG, Volumax (Original and Mega)
Color: Henna
Tools: Diffusing
@Firefox: Thank you for the suggestions, I will stop the BS washes! As for your questions, when I apply the co-wash, I make sure my hair is dripping wet and massage it all over my scalp very well. However it feels like it doesn't like to spread very well and I am definitely not getting any kind of lather, I didn't even know that was possible with the VO5! I will also look into the diluted vinegar rinse and sugar scrub. The argan oil I just bought within the last week and I only apply a tiny amount to the ends when they feel unbearably dry.

@Rytoka: I have looked into a filter, but have found contradictory opinions on whether it actually removes most of the minerals in hard water. I guess I will have to do more research on the topic!
@Firefox: Thank you for the suggestions, I will stop the BS washes! As for your questions, when I apply the co-wash, I make sure my hair is dripping wet and massage it all over my scalp very well. However it feels like it doesn't like to spread very well and I am definitely not getting any kind of lather, I didn't even know that was possible with the VO5! I will also look into the diluted vinegar rinse and sugar scrub. The argan oil I just bought within the last week and I only apply a tiny amount to the ends when they feel unbearably dry.
Originally Posted by ashleysb
Saying it does not spread well ... are you using enough of the V05? I use perhaps five palmfuls, sometimes I add extra water if I don't get a light lather especially if I am washing out a heavy coconut oiling. You might not need that much - I like the 'slip' and it's so cheap - but maybe try doubling or tripling the amount?

Some brands respond well to prediluting with water, that helps them spread and lather instead of remaining 'slimy'. People who do that often use an applicator bottle to apply to the scalp because the mix is obviously more liquid.

HTH.
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/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect
I just started co washing in between my shampoos just last week & I don't have any build up. But my leave in & all stylers I use are not heavy. They rinse right out thus no build up. But if you're just starting the cg method, I have heard that there is an adjustment period where you experience greasiness. But make sure your products won't leave build up on your hair.
Firefox I think you may be on to something! When I first started co-washing I was using maybe a palmful of the conditioner. After the first week of buildup, I thought maybe I using to much, and cut it back to about half of that. I have some applicator bottles and will try using more conditioner and prediluting this week.
Be careful about "thick, waxy buildups" on the scalp... you don't want to do any potential damage to the follicles. It's one thing to have a transition period of greasier scalp another thing to have a waxy buildup.

Cowashing isn't for everyone. What low-poos were you using before? Not all low-poos were created equal. Some are gentler than others, and remember you can get plenty of moisture from the right leave-ins and doing DTs as well.
2BC/f/II. fine - low/normal porosity - medium density - normal elasticity.

Currently using:
Low-poo: Jason Mango bodywash
Cowash: Cure Care diluted with water 1:1
RO: Cure Care, V05 Kiwi Lime
Styler: UFD CM (old formula), FSG + CNPF
PT: IAgirl's gelatine

light moisture, hydrolized protein, jelly stylers
guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, sulfates, jojoba oil
Neutral on cones.

iherb discount code: CFN646
It has been a couple weeks, but I have had some success! I used an applicator bottle and filled it about a quarter of the way full with conditioner. Then filled the rest with water and gave it a good shake. When I apply it to my hair and scalp it is so much easier to distribute, making the massaging process much more productive. I no longer have the sticky buildup!
Overall, my hair feels much better; improved curl definition and clumping as well as less frizz. I think I am going to find a richer RO for my ends though.
Thank you for all your help!
BRoberts0107 likes this.

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