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MedusaWarrior 04-09-2013 03:55 PM

I'm going to start using gel and am in need of guidance
I've been CG for just over a month now. It has helped so much but I still have some problems and questions.

So my routine has been to shampoo and condition with silicone free products. Before washing, I'll do a deep condition with honey and olive oil because my hair was so dry and old(I haven't had a haircut for about 3 years). After I just put some coconut oil on my hair to keep down frizz and define the curls more. Lately I've started scrunching.

Now to the problems and questions...

I tried co-washing around the beginning of March but it wasn't really working. Firstly, it was difficult to actually reach my scalp to rub the conditioner in. This is understandable because I have quite a lot of hair. I've no doubt that with practice it will get easier. My scalp seemed gunky and had white stuff but it didn't seems like dandruff. The main problem was that it wasn't removing the oil from my hair. Yesterday I tried co-washing again and as I was washing I could feel the oil and it wouldn't come out.

Many curlies use a gel in their hair so I've decided to try them out. I bought a VO5 styling gel and a Garnier Fructis gel. Both are silicone free. Now I've never used a gel so here's my question.

How am I meant to use it? I gather that I use it in place of the coconut oil to set my curls. But how do I actually apply the gel? How much do I use. It's hard to scrunch my hair because it's so long (Just past my bum). If I use a gel instead of coconut oil will this mean that co washing will be easier as there wont be much oil to wash out?

I probably had more questions but during the time that I've been writing this I've most likely forgotten them.

If anyone could help me it would be much appreciated :)

justdoingme 04-09-2013 04:17 PM

you use as much gel as you need. i think you would need quite a lot with your long hair, the amount of gel is trial and error which you need to find out for yourself...i am currently in the process of working out how much is best for my hair haha

i also have some coconut oil questions, where did you buy it?...this last question is for another curly who may read this thread, but also relevant to mw...if you only use gel, which isnt a moisturising gel, can you seal with coconut oil? or is this pointless as you're not sealing any any moisturising ingredients if you see what i mean...i am asking this because ive looked at sooo many gels in the uk, and i havent found one without a humectant yet, so i was wondering, can i seal over just my gel with the oil to prevent my hair reacting to the humidity?

MedusaWarrior 04-09-2013 04:36 PM

I bought my coconut oil from Holland and Barrett. It's pretty pricey(around 15) but it's unrefined. And it was in a sale where you get 2 for 1. I know you can buy refined coconut oil from ASDA really cheap. But it's not as good.

I'm sorry I can't help you more. I have no idea about sealing or humectants. My brain has been overloaded with information it's just refusing to think now.

Geek_Chic 04-09-2013 05:18 PM

@Medusa - There are variations, I suppose, but most apply gel by raking it through, scrunching it in, or smoothing it on their hair. Raking and smoothing can both pull out some curl, so sometimes people scrunch afterward. Since you have a lot of hair, you might have good luck applying your gel in sections.

Cowashing should be a bit easier with gel instead of oil. I don't use straight oils myself, but I know some who use coconut have no issues cowashing it out, while others need to low poo to remove it. I don't know how you're cowashing with that amount of hair, but if you aren't already, try tilting your head back, and to either side when cowashing the back /sides, upside down (if you can) for the crown area. It should help the hair to fall away from your scalp so you can get to it with less difficulty.

My hair is a lot shorter than yours, but I rub the conditioner on only the fingers of each hand, then slide my fingers in underneath my hair near the roots, parallel to the scalp. That way more conditioner gets to my scalp, since I'm not cowashing through my hair from the top side. (Hope that makes some sense). I also continue to massage my scalp while rinsing to make sure all conditioner gets rinsed clean.

@Justdoingme - You can find coconut oil in the cooking section of most grocery stores, or in the pharmacy section with the other vitamins. Walmart has a few different varieties, I know.

lucyprimrose 04-09-2013 05:51 PM


You can seal your hair after washing even if you've not used any leave in products, because part of what you're sealing in is the water/moisture that entered your hair as you washing, or at least slowing down the rate of that moisture being released. I don't know whether sealing before or after gel is better - some people seem to seal last but most seem to seal before styling products (gel, cream). You could do leave in, oil to seal, styler - or reverse the first two, or miss out stages in that depending on your routine.

Re humectants in gel, I don't think that should be a big problem with the Uk weather in the next few months, although this is Uk weather we're talking about, who knows what will happen! It is partly trial and error, the Umberto Giannini gel in Boots in the pink packaging comes in a tester size so might be worth a try.

MedusaWarrior 04-10-2013 05:34 AM

When I've been co washing I split my hair down the middle and do each side individually. It's not my scalp that gets oily with the coconut oil but if I've got too much on my hair I can't get it out with conditioner.

When I apply the gel my hair feel hard and crunchy? Can I still let it air dry?

lucyprimrose 04-10-2013 10:48 AM

You can still air dry with gel, if it sets with a crunchy feel that is normal with many gels, especially if you use a fair bit. It is called the gel 'cast' and you can either leave it to wear off naturally or you can scrunch it out once the hair is dry - known on here as scrunch out the crunch (SOTC!). How your hair feels after gel will be a bit of trial and error, some people love them, some prefer other types of styler. Seems like with your long hair you'll want to find a gel that is quite easy to distribute. You will probably want to use a bit of leave in/coconut oil under the gel.

You may need to low poo sometimes if you use a lot of oil regularly, if and when you do co wash it out you can try putting a bit of cowash through the length, leaving for a minute then massaging over hair/rinsing out.

MedusaWarrior 04-11-2013 11:26 AM

I tried the gel last night and it was a disaster.

My hair is frizzy and really dry. The curls are undefined.It feels so horrible. I think I'll just stick to using the coconut oil

lucyprimrose 04-11-2013 05:57 PM

Oh no, I'm sorry to hear that. I have had some gel disasters too. It can be great for defining/hold, but sometimes it turns really dry or gets too sticky after a few hours. Don't know about the frizz though. It might be worth trying different ones/routines at some point but if the Coconut oil is working that seems good! Your curls seem to hold well as they retain curl even though your hair is so long.

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