Newbie confused...can someone help?

Hi, I just discovered this miraclulous site a minute ago. Well, my name is Staci, and I'm 13 years old, getting ready to enter 8th grade. This is my final year before highschool, and I /need/ it to be a great one! I have incredibly thick, I'll say it again, THICK, dry curly hair. When it's out and curly, it goes just above my shoulder blades. When it's straight, it goes a couple inches past them. Now, I do really like how my hair looks when it's wet. But, my mother, who's maybe a little controlling but she thinks it's for the best, hates it out and would rather me put it into a high bun everyday. And I don't wear it wet that often anyway, since once it dries...poof!!! Now, I have L.A. Looks 10+ Sport Look Gel, and I tried it, but I just don't get how to do it. I use Citre Shine Shampoo (once to twice a week) and a LOT of Citre Conditioner. I've been thinking about year bok pictures a'd be nice to wear my hair natrually curly, though love my hair straight, it seems...wrong to take my yearbook picture with straight hair, since it's just not natrual. So, I have my gel. What do I do now?
About my straightened hair:
-I get it done at a salon, because I don't know how to blow it myself, and my mom does a bad job...
-I use a flat iron less than twice a year, but sometimes I get my hair blown for 3 out of four weeks...
-When my hair is blown(during school year only), I often don't wash it for a week.
I know, I'm a sinner.
infinite love, Staci<3
Also, I don't know how to classify my hair (I see you use letter and numbers...)Can someone direct me to where I can find out what type my curls are?
infinite love, Staci<3
Hi sunglassed! Welcome!

First off, I believe the "newbies, welcome" has answers on how to classify your hair type. Basically, if it's straight, you're a type 1. If it's wavy, you're a type 2 (with A, B, and C specifying just how wavy you are). If your hair is curly, then you're a type 3 (with again, A B and C). If your hair is kinky, then you're a 4-- which I believe has type A and B normally, but I'm not positive.

Second, if you venture onto the "General Discussion about curly hair" board, you'll find a lot of people talking about CG, no poo, 'cones, etc. A lot of terms like this are confusing, but you can find a glossary in, hmm, well, there used to be one somewhere around here. In any case, the curlies are all very helpful.

But the philosophy held by most board members, to whatever extent, is that curly hair needs to be treated gently. Many members here try to avoid hair products with ingredients that are drying, like alcohols and sulfates, because dry hair = split ends and frizzies. So that means conditioner is important! Happy curls are pretty curls. Experiment with your hair and figure out what it likes, and be nice to it!

As for applying gel, most everyone applies it when their hair is wet, but there are disputes over the best way to apply. Generally there are two camps, those who rake and those who scrunch-- and many (like me) who do a combination! Raking involves combing the gel through your wet hair with your fingers from roots to ends. Scrunching is squeezing the gel onto your curls from the bottom upward. The advantage of raking is that the gel (or whatever product) is distributed evenly, while the advantage of scrunching is that your curl formation isn't broken up.

Speaking of breaking up curl formation, one of the easiest ways to reduce poofiness is to NOT break up the curls! Don't brush your hair, and only comb in the shower when it's wet and conditioned... that way your curls stay in nice ringlets. And try not to touch your hair as it dries, as hard as that is!

Anyway, this is just a very brief summary of all that can be learned here. Explore, read, ask questions! You'll get more replies if you post in the Hair forum, by the way. And have fun! Curly hair is a blast!
Previously Joy4ever.
Changed because the "number in place of a word" thing was bugging my no-longer-14-year-old self.

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