Where to begin?

Hello Curly Folk,

I've been a lurker for quite some time and decided it was high time i joined up.

I've read the forums till im dizzy and just don't know where to begin.

I've done the usual hair typing methods but since coming over here i thing i can improve my curls.

I've never been happy with my curls and although i don't straighten my hair often (maybe once every 3-4 months) i do think it looks better that way but i think that's because i don't know how to look after my curls.

My current routine is to wash and condition my hair once a week, i've used both sulphate and sulphate free shampoo and my hair is fine with either of them, i just don't like the expense of the Tigi hair products (recommended to me by a hairdresser). I tried silicone free conditioner and my hair was like velcro so i went back to silicones to try and calm it somewhat. I've just recently dyed my hair with henna and it's change the texture of my hair making it coarser than usual but i knew that would happen and it may also relax my curls (it hasn't).

I've posted a few pix to let you see what my hair looks like in the hopes you will have some suggestions on how i should take care of it.

You will probably all scream at me because of my next statement... I brush my hair.... If i don't brush my hair it matts itself and it's virtually impossible to put my fingers through.

Pic taken for hair typing, freshly washed left to dry naturally.

Pic taken the day after henna

As you can see it's quite a handful so any suggestions are more than welcome!

Welcome, Dawnrader! Many of us were dazed and confused when we began here. There's so much great information and sorting it all out in a way that works best for our individual hair properties can be overwhelming. I assure you that it all starts to fall into place and it gets easier!

Many of us also started with salon products but have found great success with less expensive ones. Maybe the non-silicone conditioner you used was the wrong product. There are many conditioners without silicones that may work for you. My hair is fine and if I use a conditioner that works well on coarse hair, I'm left with a mess. Finding the right conditioner will be easier if you know your hair properties. Here are some links that may help:
Live Curly Live Free - Curly Hair Basics

Your curls will be at their best with the right amount of moisture balanced with the right amount of protein. Have you done any deep treatments?
You'll find less matting of your hair if it's properly moisturized.

Keep reading, try other products and hang in there! It will be worth it!
3B, fine, normal to low porosity
Modified CG since June 2010
HGs: FSG, anything with glycerin, Tresemme Naturals conditioner, Curls Like Us cloths, satin pillowcases.
Hi mhen, Thank you for the welcome and the links!

I have a deep conditioner i use every 2 weeks or so, made up of cone free conditioner, honey and olive oil.

My new conditioner is cone free, strangely it worked amazingly well when i had the trial sample, i just hope it works as well now. I've been using SLS shampoo up till now, so i'll come off of that and do conditioner only for a while and see how that goes.

Thanks again

2c/M/ii waist length mess
What products do you currently use? It looks fine and possibly dry.

There are tons of cone free drug store products to try: Giovanni, Kinky Curly, Tresemme Naturals, Shea Moisture, GF Pure Clean, V05, Suave Naturals, Aussie Instant Freeze, etc.

I like to run a wide tooth comb through my hair after it's been coated w/ conditioner in the shower. My hair is naturally pretty tangle free but has not always been this way!

What are your goals? More curls, better clumps, more definition, etc...?
Coarse texture, normal-high porosity, normal elasticity (Komaza Care), very weak waves
cleanser: Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix

rinse out: GVP Conditioning Balm, CJ Beauticurls, CJ Smoothing

jellies/creams: CR Curl Maker, KCCC
gels: CJ CQ, CJ Pattern Pusha, BRHG

I've tested my hair and it's not porous(according to the test), high density, medium width, waist length 2b/c hair.

I have used SLS, SLS free shampoos on and off for a while now not realising SLS free would make no difference if i had cones in my hair. I recently bought SLS free poo and cone free conditioner and it was horrific, i could barely get a brush through my hair (don't shout, i know it's bad) so i went back to cones.

Having read through the forums i'm quite willing to give conditioner only washing a try as i know the conditioner i have now is cone free.

At the moment my hair feels very smooth and silky, that's partly to do with the henna i used last month.

I only wash my hair once a week, the only thing i use now and again is EVOO to the ends of my hair, so im looking for a low maintenance solution that gives me tangle free curls and more definition.

Is that possible?

2c/M/ii waist length mess
My hair is low porosity (you just said that your hair isn't porous) and rarely tangles. So if your ends are tangling and your hair is matting, it's time for a haircut. A good cut with some shaping and long layers might help you with some curl definition. Right now, the weight of your hair is pulling the curl out.

As asianrunner implied, your hair looks dry. You obviously aren't getting enough moisture in. Just oiling your hair isn't enough. I use really rich products, so don't need to DT. Getting more moisture into your hair should also help with the curl definition.

I know you want low maintenance hair. It's hard to have beautiful, curly hair if you don't really want to take care of it. When your hair is as long as yours is, it takes work for it to look great. To be perfectly blunt, IMHO, there's nothing really nice about a lot of hair, if the hair itself isn't pretty.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
I don't know anything about henna so I'm not sure how that affects your hair.

I bet if you got some layers put in your hair it would take out quite a bit of weight and some of the tangling issues. I have very thick hair, about 4.5 inches in circumference so I know what it means to have a lot of hair!

I would at least try gel or a jelly like product. It's hard to recommend something since you have a lot of hair, but products like LALSG, Ecostyler Krystal, Aussie gels are pretty cheap. If you want, you could try making flax seed gel which is also cheap. http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlta...did-twice.html

I would also use a deep treatment or moisture heavy conditioner. Try Yes to Cucumbers, GVP conditioning balm (Sallys) or my fav, Curl Junkie Curl Rehab. the Curl Rehab is expensive but totally worth it. You can buy it at aveyou.com (cheapest w/ coupon), curlmart.com or curljunkie.com
Coarse texture, normal-high porosity, normal elasticity (Komaza Care), very weak waves
cleanser: Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix

rinse out: GVP Conditioning Balm, CJ Beauticurls, CJ Smoothing

jellies/creams: CR Curl Maker, KCCC
gels: CJ CQ, CJ Pattern Pusha, BRHG

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