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Name Stolen 06-11-2009 03:59 PM

I'm about to Give Up!
I posted this as part of another discussion, but I think I have it in the wrong spot so I'm copying it here. Sorry if any on sees it in the other place!

I just joined today, but have been trying to figure out a plan for my hair care by using this site for the last 6 weeks. It is not going well.

I have very fine hair, but a lot of it--like my ponytail is 3-3.5 ". My hair is wavy/slightly curly (the longest pieces will create a large ringlet at the end). It think it is porous because it feels a little bumpy when I move my finger up the strand, and it doesn't seem to break when I stretched it. It takes forever to dry. I let it air dry everyday and it takes hours. Humidity makes it puff up, I actually like it better when it is humid. During the winter it looks blah.

I don't know if it's my cut or my products, but I am forever battling the triangle hair demon. I recently had my long layered hair (it was to the bottom of my shoulder blade) cut with more layers since the hairstylist said it looked like I had a pyramid on my head and hat head since the crown was barely wavy.

Now the longest part is just below my shoulders when dry and the crown is 7.5". All this cut did is add volume to my hair. Yes, it doesn't look like a pyramid, but the crown still looks even straighter. The shorter my hair gets the more volume it gets and less like a triangle, but more straight as well. I would like it to be curlier but not a curly triangle with a straight crown, so I guess my first question is does any one have any ideas on a good cut for me? I will return with my product questions because that is going even worse. Please help me!!! I beg you curly mavens with all the expertise!

Name Stolen 06-11-2009 04:01 PM

I'm about to give up part 2--the products
Alright so I gave you a run down of my hairtype in the previous post. Here is all the mishaps with the products since coming to this site.. Remember I have done this all in the last 6 weeks.

I got rid of my sulfate/cone shampoos & conditioners. These are the things I tried.

Tate Family Natural Miracle Shampoo
: Diluted it and it still striped my hair.

Kathy's Family Shampoo & Conditioner: Shampoo striped it of all moisture and the conditioner wasn't enough to combat this.

Aubry Organics JAY Shampoo and White Camellia Conditioner: The shampoo makes my hair feel squeaky while washing it; I'll let you imagine how dry it feels out of the shower. The conditioner is okay for use one day, the next time I use it my hair looks like I greased it up all day. This happens everytime I use it.

Suave Naturals Conditioner: I used this to conditioner wash for a week. My hair felt overly dry, extra frizzy, and the tangles are horrible. It's like a rats nest.

Burt's Bees More Moisture Raspberry Shampoo & Conditioner: The shampoo made my hair feel squeaky in the shower and very dry out of it. The conditioner did not repair this. My hair was frizzy, dry and tangled all day the one time I used this duo yesterday. Today I just did a co-wash with the BB Raspberry conditioner. Not nearly as dry but there was still considerable frizz and more tangles than I would like.

Aloe Vera Gel: I have used this off and on during the 6 week period. Sometimes I dilute it with water and spray on and other just like a gel. It has helped a bit I think with the frizzies and curls but not enough to make a significant difference in the face of my bad hair.

Before I began my foray into products that were better for my hair, it was a little frizzy around the crown (which was still horribly straight but I'm guessing that's due to not having the right cut) and maybe a few tangles, but fairly soft. I wanted to enhance my curls, eliminate the last of my frizz, and make it softer, all while using products better for my hair.

Now my hair look horribly frizzy, crunchy dry, and no curlier. I want to cry. Any ideas for me before I go back to sulfates and cones (which, believe me, it has to be really bad for me to want to do this since I have recently developed a slight sensitivity to sulfates, and cones make my skin break out.) You are my only hope I think.

kathymack 06-11-2009 04:11 PM

It's really hard to answer with no products, technique or pictures--essentially no data. (Your products came up when I was writing this) It actually appears that you wash and condition, but don't use any stylers or do any DTs, either protein or moisture. Most of us complain of long drying times--especially those with low porosity.

Don't want to be harsh, but I'm not sure if you've read the threads in the newby forum, or just what you've been doing on the site for the last six weeks.

My first suggestion would be to read the newby forum threads, if you haven't. Find people that have hair like yours and "stalk" them. Look at what products and techniques they are using.

Speckla 06-11-2009 04:19 PM

I'd get a copy of Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey and read it cover to cover. I don't follow CG or really even Mod CG right now but I did learn a lot about curly hair and it helped me to understand my hair better. I didn't want to buy the book so I borrowed it from the library. What type of curl do you have? My hair tends to look pyramidish if I don't use products with enough weight. Rich, creamy conditioners and plenty of moisture really make the biggest difference for me.

Name Stolen 06-11-2009 09:00 PM

[Don't want to be harsh, but I'm not sure if you've read the threads in the newby forum, or just what you've been doing on the site for the last six weeks.]

I have been trying to digest all of the overwhelming information on this site. I have read the newby stuff which is why I was trying to eliminate sulfates and cones and why I have tried the conditioner washes. I'm just really confused as to why doing these things would cause more frizz and crunchy dryness.

As for needing more info on my hair, I know I didn't post a picture, but I tried to give all the information I could. I just can't post a picture for a bit. I had just read the newby thread about elasticity, porosity, and texture, and gleaned from that thread that those were more important info than the curl type. The best I can give you on that without a picture is wavy/slightly big curl. I don't know that I fit into any of the descriptions of curl types perfectly. I'd say I was a 2b/c except that I have a lot of very fine hair and 2b/c have a medium to coarse texture. I really couldn't decide what i was.

There are so many products on this site, and I have pruchased so many failures in the last month and a half that I thought I needed some advice. Obviously, based on my performance, I don't know what to buy. Do I need heavier conditoners since the suave co-wash made my hair feel dry, frizzy, and tangled? Any suggestions as to what to try?

As for not using styling products, I don't because I don't know where to begin. Do I use a cream or a mousse? I'm thinking a cream, but seriously, I don't know what to think anymore. Literally, tears are coming to my eyes when I think about making another failing decision about what products to use. Just a few suggestions might help me. I know I need to read the book and I'm hoping to get it soon, but what do I do right now?

Name Stolen 06-11-2009 09:02 PM

[My hair tends to look pyramidish if I don't use products with enough weight. Rich, creamy conditioners and plenty of moisture really make the biggest difference for me.]

So what are these products with weight that you use, and what are the rich conditioners that you like?

Speckla 06-11-2009 09:12 PM


Originally Posted by Name Stolen (Post 993957)
[My hair tends to look pyramidish if I don't use products with enough weight. Rich, creamy conditioners and plenty of moisture really make the biggest difference for me.]

So what are these products with weight that you use, and what are the rich conditioners that you like?

Well, since you asked, mind you that I'm not CG or mod right now so I have no problem with 'cones. I really like Aussie products. I try to use the ones that have aloe and jojoba oil. The conditioners are really rich and do help to weigh my hair down. I like Garnier Fructis leave-in curl cream. Coconut oil mixed with a bit of conditioner (any condish I happen to have) and used for a leave-in will make my hair shiny, soft, and curl without frizz. Coconut oil left on dry hair - I can't mix it in my wet hair unless I mix it with conditioner first - overnight makes a big difference in how dry my hair is. Olive oil or mineral oils are too heavy and too hard to get out. Honey is too sticky and doesn't work for me. I try to avoid proteins unless it's collagen and only if I need a treatment. It's just a matter of trying different products and then sticking with what works. I also know that I can have good hair with my Aussie products. They're cheap and smell good too.

kathymack 06-12-2009 04:07 AM

It's the styling products that are going to enhance the waves/curls and help hold back the frizz (once your hair is in good condition.) You haven't said how often you are washing your hair or if your leaving conditioner in your hair. If you're washing more then once a week--I'd cut back. Curly hair does need moisture, but once the humidity starts--you need to be careful. The AO conditioners are VERY moisturizing. I wet, use a rinse out and style everyday--I can only use my AO conditioners two times per week.

My hair likes the more natural products, such as those in my signature. I cowashed for six months and then switched to cleansing with natural soap bars every three days. My hair likes that better. Right now, I do the rinse out, a leave in, curl enhancer and gel every day. It may change as the weather changes--I at least lighten up the products as the weather gets more humid. I apply all my styling products using mysteryflavored's technique:

It looks like you're using drugstore products, so I can't help you there since I don't use them very much.

It's hard to advise you about products because you're reporting all the hair textures. If most of your hair is fine, you probably want to add some protein to your hair routine--in products or treatments (if you do treatments, you may want to moisturize after.)

PS. I never used anything but shampoo/conditioner until 8/07 when I added gel. The stylers came in 1/08. It's really not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

kathymack 06-12-2009 04:29 AM

Forgot to mention. You may want to buy and read Struttswife's new ebook. It may help you determine more about your hair. Once you do, it will help you determine the types of ingredients you need in your products--not the specific products.

Here's the link to her website. You can get to the book at the top of the box in the left hand column of other links.

Elphie2983 06-12-2009 07:29 AM

I know it's really frustrating, but don't give up just yet, it sometimes does take a lot of trial and error to find something that works with your hair. I think I read in the beginning when I went CG that when you give up sulfates and cones your hair goes through an adjustment period, that could be why your hair is so frizzy and dry. But really, as it mentions in Struttwifes book, dry frizzy hair stems from lack of moisture, so your hair needs to be infused with it.

kathymacks soap bars are great, and very moisturizing. Many people, myself included like Giovanni tea tree shampoo which is sold at target. Giovanni also has nice moisturizing conditioner, which can also be found at target.

If you want a list of drugstore sulfate free/cone free products you can check here:

Hope this helps a little bit...

Name Stolen 06-12-2009 08:40 AM

Thanks for the replies. I'm only using drugstore stuff because I was afraid to choose out of the hundreds of stuff available off this site. Before I tried to get rid of the sulfates & cones I was using salon purchased products from my stylist (ISO). Seeing as how I have chosen everything possibly wrong that I could recently, I'm not sure how I could do any better on the internet. I feel that I might as well close my eyes and point.

I saw that there were so many using the suave naturals for co-wash that I thought I could try that, but as reported earlier, no luck.


KathyMack, before this I was shampooing and conditoning everyday. I've cut it back in the past 6 weeks to either co-washing daily, sometimes a water wash, shampoo probably 3x a week mostly beacuse I've been trying out different products to see if they can make my hair less dry. Does co-wash count as the one wash a week or do you mean just shampoo 1x a week?

Also Kathymack, what do you mean that I'm reporting all the hair types? Was the description of my hair contradictory or impossible? I'm not sure I understand.

kathymack 06-12-2009 08:55 AM

"I'd say I was a 2b/c except that I have a lot of very fine hair and 2b/c have a medium to coarse texture. I really couldn't decide what i was."

This was the statement from which I made that comment. I didn't mean your curl type--I meant that your hair was across the board. Since different ingredient types are recommended for various textures, it's hard to make specific recommendations when you're reporting fine, medium and coarse hair texture. You probably want to target the texture that's predominant and go from there.

Recommendations are only generalizations. Everyone's hair responds differently, but the generalizations are a place to start. So there is a lot of trial and error, experimentation while you're getting to know what works for you. Sorry it's been so frustrating.

loewin 06-12-2009 09:12 AM

Hi. I'm still new at this too, so I understand your frustration. I am by no means an expert, but I can give you my thoughts.

From reading what you wrote it sounds to me (and I could be wrong) that you should probably lay down the shampoo's for a while if you are going to try this. They all sound like they are doing more worse than good for your hair.

Also, which suave co. did you try? there is more than one formula (which can be overwhelming) but they all have different ingredients and can act differently. Also, vo5 is used by many here as well, have you tried that? Also, if you need protein, another conditioner to try is Loreal Vive Pro Nutri Gloss in the light pink bottle. Make sure it says for LONG hair. Also, a very creamy conditioner that I like is from sally's called GVP conditioning balm. I also like to use it as a leave in when my hair is feeling extra dry.

Mousse may not be enough to keep down the triangle effect. You may want to go for a stiffer gel (LA Looks is cheap) If you don't like the crunch you can light scrunch that out when its dry.

Are you using a leave in? You don't have to buy a separate one right now, just use some of your rinse out or co wash conditioner. It will help.

Also noticed that you are trying to use a lot of the more "natural" products, which is your prerogative, but you might want to consider this :

It is a list of the cheaper products to start you out with... as trying this cg method out can cost some money trying all the different products until you know what works best for you.

Curls=Beauty 06-12-2009 09:27 AM


Originally Posted by Name Stolen (Post 993954)
I'd say I was a 2b/c except that I have a lot of very fine hair and 2b/c have a medium to coarse texture. I really couldn't decide what i was.

Who says? I have 2c/3a hair and it is fine texture with some strands of medium smooth.
Your hair type (2s, 3s, 4s) doesn't really have a lot to do with hair texture. You can't use products based on your hair type. You have to decide which products to use based on your texture, porosity, and elasticity. Check out the link kathymack gave you (the
Sorry it won't work when I do it, yet it does when everyone else links it. This has been happening to me a lot lately, when I link something someone else can do perfectly fine it won't work for me, and there are not typos or anything).
Also check out the Live Curly, Live Free main website and forum that are linked from the blog. It will help you a lot.

Name Stolen 06-12-2009 10:30 AM

[ it's hard to make specific recommendations when you're reporting fine, medium and coarse hair texture.]

I'm sorry, I must not be expressing myself very well. I know I have very fine texture hair. However, it seems that the description of curl types don't fit me. According to the descriptions on this website of curl type (as I understand it and feel free to correct me if I am misunderstanding) 2a is fine textured but very loosely waved, 2b has medium texture and more tightly waved, and 2c has the coarsest texture and is even more tightly waved. So if I have VERY finely textured hair but and definitely more than loosely waved, where does that put me? That is what was confusing me, the definitions provided, not my understanding of my hair texture. There is no doubt about it, I have very fine hair and a lot of it. Does that help clarify what I meant?

Oh, thanks for all the advice everyone? Do people with fine hair and a lot of it like hair styling creams, or gels? I personally hate crunchy hair or hair that looks wet when it is dry, but maybe I need to get over it. Also, is aloe vera gel an okay substitue for a styling gel. I saw that someone was using it and thought I might try it.

I'm trying to use natural products because I seem to be having a lot of sensitivities and many hair products (like cones) make my skin break out. I think that aloe vera is non pore cloggiing so I thought it would be a good choice.

Seriously, I'm a mess. The SLS in my toothpaste has caused a rash around my mouth, something in the new face wash (Avalon organics lavendar milk for sensitive skin) caused my lips to go numb, the Dr. Bronners made my legs burn when I used it diluted for the first time, and Giovanni gave me an asthma attack in the shower.

I guess that's part of the frustration--I'm having to change all my products at once because of these reactions to chemicals. I guess I was hoping someone would look at my routine and say, "Quit doing that," (which I see that many said I need to cut down on the shampooing--does that include co-wash as well?). And, "Try these products . . . they are good for people with fine hair and a lot of it." I was overwhelmed with all the choices (not just with hair but with trying to find something to use on my skin and in my mouth that will cut soen of the reactions.) I know--a tall order. :-)

This morning I water washed, used Burt's Bees moisture conditioner, put a pea sized amount of it as a leave in as well, and then aloe vera gel all while using mystery's method that Kathy mentioned. My hair will take at least 3 hours to air dry, maybe more since it is humid outside, so I won't know the results fo quite a while.:clock:

Thanks again everyone!

Morgan_Adcock 06-12-2009 10:54 AM

The texture, thickness, porosity, and elasticity (not to mention the dewpoint) are much more important than curl types IMO. Curl typing can be fun, but it isn't going to make much difference in your hair care.

Curly/wavy hair always does better with more weight, which means length, and for fine hair means adding protein. For the life of me I've no idea why the vast majority of American hairdressers insist on shortening, thinning/razor cutting/severely layering curly hair (and doing it when it's wet too), since experience should have taught them otherwise, but all too many do (and I've had the misfortune of sitting in way too many of their chairs).

Your hair has to be dry when cut for the hairdresser to be able to see what the curl and weight do to the visible length. If s/he cuts it dry, in its 3 dimensional state, curl by curl, removing whole curls, it will look harmonious, and much more even than if it's cut strictly even when wet. Deva trained hairdressers, and some self-trained hairdressers do this. There's a Find a Salon feature here on which should help you locate a hairdresser who actually has a clue (as opposed to delusionally thinking s/he has a clue) how to cut naturally curly hair.

I suspect that part of your problem with products is that you're relying too much on shampoo, even if it is sulfate free, and, as far as I can tell not using a gel/curl cream/mousse, or deep treatments. I'd suggest cutting way down on your low-pooing, concentrating on your scalp when you wash your hair, and refraining from piling your hair on top of your head and rubbing (like they do in shampoo commercials) it much while you're washing your scalp. You may find that applying some conditioner to the lower half or so of your hair before washing your scalp helps protect it. Try washing with conditioner ("co-washing") some of the times when you would have low-pooed. As time goes by, you should be able to decrease the frequency you feel the need to low-poo, based on scalp oiliness. After low-pooing or co-washing, squish conditioner into your hair, finger comb, then scrunch, and leave it on while you go on about the rest of your shower. When you're all washed, rinse the conditioner out, then apply a small amount of (possibly higher quality) conditioner to your ends. Then apply mousse, curl cream, or gel; squish it in; and scrunch. The styling product will help keep your hair in place while it dries, and help maintain your clumps and waves once dry, as well as decrease frizz.

Use your better quality conditioner, preferably a high protein one (for your fine hair) to deep treat. You wet or wash your hair, apply the conditioner of choice, cover with a cheap plastic treatment cap, and wrap in a towel or sit under a hood dryer for 20-30 minutes, then rinse out and use your styling product. Do this once a week until it seems like it's more than your hair needs, then back off on the frequency.

So try: one non-sulfate poo; a cheap, cone-free conditioner (which you will use lavishly); a better quality conditioner with protein; and a styling product. If you're not happy with the results, it may partially be that your hair is still getting used to this new approach, or it might be a product choice or application method. Try not changing more than one thing at a time, so that you can tell if that one thing was the culprit. By not changing more than one thing at a time, you'll actually be able to narrow down your list of good products faster. Once you have a routine that works for you, you can start experimenting (if you want to) to see if other product choices make the Curly Girl system work better for you.

Curls=Beauty 06-12-2009 10:59 AM

I see what you mean now. I haven't looked at the typing system for a while. But no, it is wrong. You can't say they have "this" textured hair because they have "this" type of curl. It is ridiculous.
My hair proves it wrong because I am 2c/3a with fine hair and some medium smooth textured strands. My hair is not thick either. It is normal density, bordering on thin. My sisters hair also proves it wrong. She has 2a/2b hair and it is very thick in density with medium smooth hair and some fine strands.

You have to be careful with fine hair. It can get weighed down quite easily and styling creams are generally heavier than gels. You will just have to try and see.
Aloe Vera gel doesn't give me a lot of hold.
One thing you may want to try is Flax Seed Gel (
I have found that the easiest way to strain it is to put the flax seeds in a tea ball and put it into the pot, when it is done you take the tea ball out rinse it off and store it in the fridge. You can use the flax seeds 2-3 more times).

kathymack 06-12-2009 11:27 AM

I have fine hair, too. When I was young (57) I had a ton of it, but medication and thyroid issues have take their toll through the years. Before I found my current routine, I was a 2 something in the winter and a 3a during the summer. Now my hair looks like my signature picture all of the time. I also have roseaca and significant skin allergies--a few of the products made my scalp burn and something I used last week gave me hives, so I know where you are coming from.

Last Aug/Sept, I made the switch to more natural products and my hair has been much improved--tighter curl and more volume even during the cold, dry winter.

I get a wet cut that I think is good (I get followed around in stores and asked about it, so others must think so, too.) But I do think that a great haircut is the foundation of good hair.

The technique and product advice you received from Morgan_Adcock is right on. Aloe gel won't do it. It provides moisture, but no hold. You may want to consider diffusing or the hard bonnet hair dryer (search R2D2 for the thread) that's currently very popular. Either will really cut down on your dry time. If you have a lot of hair and it only takes three hours to dry, you're probably not low porosity, LOL! My hair is fairly short, I don't have much--and it takes three hours to air dry! There are also curl towels that take out some of the water--Curlease and Curls Like Us. They remove water without causing frizz.

I'll pm you.

goobernut 06-12-2009 11:32 AM

Hey Name Stolen :)

I honestly know how frustrating the search is. I am sensitive to an ingredient that most people don't have a reaction to. While my reactions aren't as severe as yours, they do build up over time. I know that you're tired of experimenting, but really, that's basically what you're going to have to do. However, here's the good news! you don't have to use really expensive products!

Follow Loewin's link to the cheap drugstore products. Several things I learned that I didn't know. The Suave formulations are actually different. For all these years I thought that they were just different scents. Ha! If you are having a hard time with the coconut, try the lavender lilac or the aloe leaf. If you don't like the suave at all, then try the Vo5 (its a buck!). I bought one of each, and my hair HATES the Vo5. But that's the bottom line, we are all so unique and different, no one is going to be able to magically be able to give you the answer just from us telling your hair type.

The LA Looks is a great place to start. Just co-wash and use that for a week and see if your hair improves from frizzy. If your conditioner isn't working, switch to a new one.

Keep a product journal of all the things you try. That way, on really good hair days you can look back and see what's going on. Make a list of the things you want to try. Kathymack sells samples and so does jessicurl.

With all your sensitivities you're really going to have read up on what is irritating to skin. What has helped me with face care is That website helped me immensely.

There are a dozen factors that could be affecting your hair. Just relax, take a deep breath. You can conquer it, and we'll help you.

Name Stolen 06-12-2009 01:02 PM

Gee, I feel like a really stupid newby. Kathymack, what does "I'll pm you" mean?

After, my routine this morning: water wash, conditioner, pea sized conditioner left in, a ton of aloe vera gel, mystery's application method, and 3.5 hours to be mostly air dried, I am pleased to say that I have soft hair, no frizzies, and my waves/curls look pretty defined. Of course, I am afraid to even move since I'm sure normal living will disturb this beautiful balance. I have to get something to hold this.

When my hubby gets home, I'll try to get him to take some pics for me. I am very excited. Now if I could find a shampoo that will not strip my hair when I need to use it!

Will long term use of the aloe vera gel do anything bad to my hair?

Yeah, I finally am beginning to feel better about my hair oddessy. Thanks for all the advice. I'm really trying to put it to good use.

Anyone know of any curly hairstylist in central MA? The ones I looked up through this site are mostly out toward Boston.

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