Suggestions for newbie please, sorry so long

Growing out my hair from a "desperation pixie", it's just above shoulder length right now, slightly A-line bob with 90 degree layer and bangs. The cut works well for me I've had it many times in the past. Hoping for long layers in the future. Very fine texture, and I don't have a lot of hair in general.. looks like a lot but it's 10% hair and 90% air, I'm pretty sure it's 3A when it's happy although it looks more like 2C when it's not. 2C mentioned coarse texture and resistant to styling, and that is not my hair, it's very easy to straighten even tension like a ponytail or bun will pull the curl out over time. It is very porous. Generally dry and frizzy. Not sure about the other "hair qualities" everyone talks about. It is colored as well (single process to cover gray). I live in S. Louisiana where it is humid year round and ranges from warm to extremely hot.. I can count on one hand how many times it has dropped below freezing in the past five years. My hair was workable before but when we moved here it went nuts, I straightened extensively for the first two years, basically fried my hair, then cut it all off. Started growing it out over a year ago, stopped straightening about four months ago once it got long enough to cut into a curl friendly style.

I've been trying a lot of different techniques/products and keep running into the problem of either "dry, frizzy, fluffy, weak curl", "greasy, sticky mess", or "beautiful curls that look wet and are so hard and crunchy they feel like they will snap off". I also have the problem that it takes FOREVER to dry, I'm sure the local humidity does not help. I'm literally living in wet/damp hair, it's not truly dry until my day is over, and if it's a good day and my hair is gorgeous it doesn't matter because by that time I have a few hours before bed.. and then I'm begging it to curl the next day, dealing with a frizzy out of control mess, or looking at greasy limp hair... or I wash again which puts me right back to wet hair.. and winter is coming, I'm going to be miserable once the temperatures drop. I do use satin pillowcases and can't pineapple, it gives me horrible headaches. I can't even wear a ponytail or ball cap for the entire day, don't know why. Only about half my hair reaches the top of my head anyway. I have a diffuser but it tends to break up my curl badly(hello fluffball) and by the second day I have very little to work with.. plus it still takes at least an hour to dry if I leave it on low heat and I don't want to damage it again with high heat.. unless it won't damage it because of the diffuser?

I went shampoo/silicone/sulfate free three weeks ago hoping it was the miracle cure. Co wash with VO5 pomegranate, use it as rinse out as well, Shea moisture coconut hibiscus milk for leave in (less than dime size amount), and Garnier pure clean gel, both on sopping wet hair. Scrunch dry with shamwow (that I love), plop in microfiber wrap while I get dressed and do makeup, shake out a bit, part, comb down bangs, and let air dry. This gives me beautiful curl but it's very heavy and a bit greasy while at the same time kind of dry underneath the grease.. if that makes any sense at all, lol. It's also very dull. The next day it's rather limp and even greasier.. I've been using a spray bottle with 50/50 avg (which my hair loves) and water to spritz/scrunch and get ok curl but quite a lot of frizz. Third day it's flat out nasty, very greasy and stiff, like I can grab a piece and stretch it out and it will stay there. Only option is pulling it up and even then it looks like I haven't washed it in a month.

Any suggestions are appreciated. Am I using the wrong products? Should I stop co washing? I do have the Shea Moisture C/H shampoo on hand. Should I be skipping leave in, or rinse it out instead? More of a lighter gel (like my avg) or less of a stronger one? I bought a satin cap, will give it a try tonight. My hair loves evoo, but I stopped using it when I went no-poo because it made it even greasier. I had the best long term results (second/third/or even fourth day hair) when I was using Aussie moist S and C, with evoo and avg as leave in and Garnier curl cream.. but it was frizzy and limp the first day and nowhere near as much curl, 2C if I was lucky... and of course they are both loaded with sufate/silicone as is the curl cream. I colored it today for the first time since the big change.. I used the pretreatment and conditioner from the kit (only the conditioner had a silicone and it was a light one), used the SM shampoo (I always shampoo after the color, I just can't stand the residue on my scalp), use the SM milk as leave in and then only avg,.. and my hair feels fantastic (soft, light, smooth, shiny) and only took about two hours to dry completely, has defined yet small curls (about pencil width where they were about an inch across before) and is already starting to frizz. So good and bad. It has been pouring rain all day so some of the frizz may be due to that.

**Update on the frizz today. Went outside to feed my horses, hair looked like a mushroom cloud when I came back in LOL. It was quite impressive. So no go on just avg.**

Thank you in advance for any help.

Last edited by waymire01; 09-20-2013 at 07:08 PM. Reason: update on hair
Wow, that was long, lol!

Ok, just a couple things I can think of. The milk from Shea moisture- I feel it makes me look greasy, and my hair can handle oils, so I don't know what the deal is with that stuff. I like their shampoos, but I don't feel the conditioners are that great. Just my opinion, but it could be happening to you too. I would say keep experimenting with conditioners. Ideally, your RO would be more rich than the suave, but not as oily as the Shea moisture. Maybe try Yes to Cucumbers as a leave in, and tresemme naturals as a RO.

The garnier gel- I have it, I've used it. It's been good to me at times. But not in the summer! It has a lot of glycerin which makes my hair go POOF! Also, it takes forever to dry. Ditch it for now, try it again in November-April. Then put it away again, lol.

Since your hair loves aloe, I would suggest using two styling products. First put AVG throughout, then top with a another gel. Anything that doesn't have tons of glycerin (herbal essences set me up, Aussie instant freeze, biosilk rock hard gelee, Giovanni la naturals, kiss my face upper management (old formula), LAL mega gel). Use a lot of AVG, and not so much regular gel.

For an alternate as your "middle" product (AVG), I highly suggest trying out homemade okra gel or FSG. THEY ARE AMAZING.

I hope these suggestions help. Also, try putting everything in upside down, and once your products are all raked in, scrunch and pump it all through. Then use your chamois towel to scrunch out the excess water and product, scrunch and squeeze each section slowly and deliberately. Let it air dry a few mins while you do other things, then diffuse. I stopped plopping.
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: AIA cowash, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, Tresemme Botanique
Stylers: flax/okra gel or KCCC + CJ PP or JC Spiralicious
Experimenting with Got2B Ultra gel and loving it so far!
Okay, that was a lot of information to take in, but I will try my hardest to keep it straight. Right away I would like to say that co-washing is not for you. It isn't for me either, so you're not alone! Use that shea moisture shampoo, I love their stuff! I would skip the silicone laden conditioner, only because it tends to create problems in the long run. Try a silicone free one (like giovanni smooth as silk, tresemme naturals, a shea moisture one, GVP conditioning balm, *bed head moisture maniac*, etc.) if you keep hating the results no matter what else you use, go back to a light silicone and just see what happens. Keep using a leave in, you're porous and your hair needs some moisture because it loses a lot of what you try to put in. As for the garnier pure clean gel, get rid of it! My hair hated it as well and I never understood the great reviews. Yuck. Try another water soluble one. Probably a little stronger for more frizz control, but don't go overboard I like LA looks sport gel, and devacare arcangel is my absolute favorite. Since it's super humid by you, You might want to stay away from humectants though, whereas my generally hair likes them.

As for sleeping on your hair, Definitely keep using a satin cap, and maybe try braiding your hair, especially when your hair doesn't want to cooperate. The number of braids is up to you, maybe more because your hair is shorter.

3a, fine/med strand thickness, high density, low porosity
CG since April 2012
BC October 2012
Cleanser: SheaMoisture Manuka Honey or CJ Daily Fix
RO Conditioner: Mop Top Daily Conditioner
Leave In: KCKT
Stylers: Either Raw Curls Spray Gel, Raw Curls Medium Hold Gel, or MopTop Curly Custard, and always topped with Curlisto Control II Gel
Sealer: Pure Argan Oil
Thank you chloe92rs.. that was very helpful. You gave me specific product suggestions with actual reasons why. I really appreciate it. Will try another gel w/o glycerin. The SM milk did not leave me greasy today, however I used about half as much as usual. Re: the plopping... my hair turns out much better w/o as well but falls in my face while I'm trying to do my makeup, especially since I have bangs, and if I pull it all up it stretches out my curl.. so I've been plopping just for containment. Will try arraigning it and then pinning just my bangs up and see I can work with that.
Thank you JessiiLeighh. I agree about the SM shampoo, I've never in my life used a shampoo that was so moisturizing, I was able to detangle my hair with it, it was great. It was so smooth and soft I almost skipped the conditioner but figured I'd better just because I had colored. I noticed you mentioned a oil for sealing in your signature.. where does that fit in your routine? Between the leave in and the gel?
Your hair seems similar to mine--fine/low porosity (hours to dry.) I find the SM Coconut & Hibiscus products way too heavy (and I use a lot of really rich products.) They just sit on my hair and need to be washed out.

My hair prefers the products from the online, boutique lines. You can look at my signature to see some of my favorites right now. I'm product strumpet, so look for new things all of the time. I also rotate products. Although I wet, use a rinse out and style every day, I seldom use any one product more then once every five days, if that.
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 use the SM Milk as a refresher and love it, but it can be overdone, so I'd try less first (pea-sized amount) and see if that does the trick.
3a/b, F, normal porosity

Suave conditioner, LAL gel
Changed routine. Applied evoo to my ends on dry hair, shampooed roots with shea moisture c&h shampoo and rinsed out through the ends, conditioned/detangled with Vo5, rinsed well, applied a pea sized amount of shea moisture milk as leave in, generous portion of avg, then about a quarter sized amount of la bella lots of curls gel (which I heard was light hold), scrunched out water, left loose and used a thin headband to keep it off my face instead of plopping. Totally different hair. Soft, shiny, good volume, no crunch, took about an hour and a half to dry totally (and a good portion of that was while I was getting dressed/doing makeup so it was a lot less time with wet hair after), decent curl and barely any frizz even though it was very humid and trying to rain all day. I need a little more definition, going to try more of the curl gel next time or maybe mix it with a stronger one.

Thank you so much to the people who offered advice, so much happier with my hair now.

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