Getting to know my hair

SilverWishSilverWish Registered Users Posts: 10
First, I will say that I am 2b, maybe some 2c, fine-to-medium, I suspect high porous, with a good bit of silver throughout. This is basically an opportunity for me to document my hair journey. I apologize in advance if I begin to wax lengthy. :toothy9:

I have been following the CG method for a little while. I can't say exactly when I started co-washing & avoiding silicones in my hair products. My initial approach was pretty basic - co-wash with conditioner, de-tangle with the same conditioner, which I then also used as my leave-in, finish with a clear gel. I did notice some improvement in my hair, but was still getting frizz.

Recently, I decided to try Loreal's Eversleek reparative smoothing conditioner. It is silicone-free and thicker than the "cheap" conditioners I use to co-wash so I thought it might be a good option for a leave-in. This is the first "new" product I've really introduced to my routine so it's the only thing I know to blame. It was fine for awhile, but then one day my hair just felt "wrong" in the shower. I was getting no slip from any of my products, and my hair was just tangling and felt dry even though it was wet!

After doing a lot of reading on this website, I decided to try something a little different. I wanted to try a deep condition and an apple cider vinegar rinse. I also found a product at the Dollar Tree of all places that I decided to try - Softee Mango Butter hair dress. I don't have extra money to spend so I wanted to use items I already had on hand. So this is what I did:

-I started by washing my hair with a regular sulfate shampoo just to start with a clean slate.
-I made a deep conditioning treatment using a recipe I found on this website. Very simple - just 1/2 cup conditioner mixed with 1/4 cup olive oil. I added a little more conditioner b/c it seemed to be very soupy with that ratio. I applied this after shampooing, and then went about my regular shower hygiene routine.
-After several minutes, I rinsed out the DC with water first, then a vinegar rinse. I used distilled white vinegar b/c I didn't have ACV. I used a 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cup water ratio.
-I rinsed again with water, then applied the Mango Butter hair dress as a leave-in/sealer.

I did this at night so after my shower, I watched some tv to give my hair some time to air dry. It wasn't completely dry when I was ready for bed so I put it in 2 pigtail braids while I slept. The next morning I took out the braids & shook my hair. It was mostly dry, but still felt a little damp. I loath blow drying so I just left it down so it could continue air drying.

It soon became clear to me that I did NOT like what this routine had done to my hair. It felt nice enough to the touch, but my curls were stringy, limp, and looked greasy. My silver didn't seem to show up as well either, and that's something I actually like about my hair. My hubby said he liked the "thinner" curls, but I was not happy with the overall look.

So the next day, I attempted to start from scratch again by shampooing. I couldn't even get a lather in my hair. Still, it seemed to help to begin to put my hair "back to rights."

Which brings me today. I shampooed again, and was able to get a really good lather that gave me the clean slate I needed. I got out my trusty Suave Naturals conditioner, and used it to co-wash, detangle, and as a leave-in before applying my gel. My hair is now back where I started - better, but still some frizz. At least I feel like myself again.

I think I've decided that I don't need a lot of fancy products or routines. I'm not sure if it was the oil in the DC, the vinegar rinse or the butter that made my hair so stringy and greasy looking. I'm tempted to blame the butter because it was so thick, like a paste. Probably not necessary for my somewhat fine hair. I could probably do with the occasional deep condition, possibly even with the recipe I used, but with considerably less oil. I still haven't tried a protein treatment... not sure what that would do. But I definitely want to find something that will really help tame the frizz. Maybe something I can use after it dries, which is when I really start to notice the frizz. Would love your suggestions! Thanks for enduring with me!
Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you nothing about.


  • CGSince2002CGSince2002 Banned Users Posts: 1,073
    Hi, and welcome!

    I'm going to start with the L'Oreal CO. I read the ingredient list and most of the reviews and I'll begin by saying it contains "propyl alcohol" which is rubbing alcohol... not a good thing. In one review someone complained that over time her hair felt worse and worse... Then there's quaternium-87 which made me suspicious so I did a search and found this thread where someone complained it made her hair feel "waxy" after a couple of weeks. As if that weren't enough, there's "candelilla wax", and other than "natural vegetable wax" I think all the others would contribute to build up. If you decide to keep this product, just use it occasionally and at the first sign of buildup, clarify.

    After reading that you bought that Softee "mango butter" I shook my head... I'm a Dollar Tree fan and do peek in the hair product section because from time to time I've found good things there (and I do use the VO5K&L as my co-wash most of the time which I've bought there sometimes), so I'm familiar with those Softee little jars and I believe the main ingredient is either petrolatum or mineral oil, which is not good for any hair, much less your (and my) type, so if I were you I'd forget about it.

    OO is another that "we" must use with caution, as the saying goes "less is more". It has the ability to penetrate the hair rather quickly so it can leave the hair looking "greasy", but I'm still inclined to believe the real culprit here might've been the Softee. You could still do the CO+OO as an occasional DT but using less OO.

    Distilled vinegar is OK to use if that's all you have BUT 1/3 C. is way too much and could end up drying your hair. When I lived in S. FL where the water was hard I used 1 tbsp. at most but I'm pretty sure I kept it at 1 tsp. per cup. And I much preferred doing a "Lemon-aid", which is your usual amount of CO mixed with the juice of a lemon (if your hair is long and full), I got by perfectly well with half a lemon or lime, you can even use reconstituted juice for this, some have even tried grapefruit juice which has the added bonus of the natural sugars acting as a humectant. Some even use citric acid, but I'm guessing that's because they have it home, I do because I use it as a supplement, but have never tried it for clarifying yet (because I really rarely need to...).

    The Suave Naturals are IMHO sort of 'bottom of the barrel' COs because they have very little, if any, really good ingredients (and I'm one who doesn't have money to spare so I'm not saying this lightly), so you can bet your bottom dollar that's why you have only experienced minimal improvement with CG. But you can do better than that for the same price, more or less, go back to the Dollar Tree and see if they have the Daily Defense "Cherish Love" Moisturizing CO (pink), it contains 3 types of protein which may be helpful with the frizz. Hair is mostly protein, so very often when it's slightly damaged it cannot hold the moisture, then the cuticle remains "open" trying to absorb it from the air. Btw, DD used to be a Clairol brand that was discontinued and it's now being made in Canada.

    The above CO doesn't contain any oils so it'll be up to you to decide whether you may want to add a few drops to it (not in the bottle!) or directly to your damp hair before styling, BUT, interistingly enough, keep in mind that "too much" oil in the hair can cause frizz and separation of curls (as you just saw for yourself..). In my vast experience with CG I noticed that during the warmer months most curliers needed way less oil and some none at all, except maybe in the occasional DT or, as I still often do, when SOTC (scrunching off the crunch) from my gel, I would just put a couple of drops of j.o. (jojoba oil) in one hand, then rub both palms together before touching my hair. J.o. is the only CG-friendly thing one can put in the hair after it dries to prevent frizz, but I find it easier to apply on damp hair

    Applying an oil to prevent frizz is referred to as "sealing" but not all oils work for this and that is because they penetrate the hair and a good "sealant" must sit ON the surface of the hair. Another thing used successfully to "seal" is shea butter, a lot of ethnic beauty supply stores sell tiny little tubs for 99 cents, which contains more than enough for several months. I don't need to "seal", most of the time, so the way I use it is by melting a little (on a spoon held over a tea light candle) and add to my bottle of VO5 Shea Cashmere (because I know they don't put much in there at all...).

    Ok, this should be enough, HTH!

  • SilverWishSilverWish Registered Users Posts: 10
    Wow! That was SO much helpful information! And I pretty much had to come to most of those conclusions myself after this little disastrous experiment. I'm glad I only paid a buck for the Softee so at least it wasn't an expensive experiment too!

    My bottle of Loreal CO is almost empty anyway... I may use it occasionally to finish it off, but not as a regular part of my routine for sure. In general, I believe I have learned that less is more for me - less OO, less vinegar. I'm still learning my hair so I think it may be worth trying again, but less!

    As for Suave Naturals, I hadn't thought about that being part of the problem. I have used VO5 in the past to co-wash, but I liked the Suave because it was thicker for roughly the same price. I noticed in your sig that you use White Rain to co-wash. I have also because I read somewhere at some point that it was 'cone-free. So I didn't think about it when I bought the last bottle, but then I actually read the label & it did have 'cones in it! I can't remember which - amethicone I think? It was Apple Blossom scented so maybe not all versions within a brand are created equal?

    I am going to keep an eye out for Daily Defense as you suggested. In fact, I may print your entire response & keep it for reference! Thanks so much!
    Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you nothing about.
  • CGSince2002CGSince2002 Banned Users Posts: 1,073
    You're welcome!

    I actually went and updated my signature because the W.R. is only an occasional RO, I have used it as a co-wash in the past but not regularly, at the time I had not even noticed there was dimethicone in it and "outraged" I stopped buying it, I was convinced it didn't have it before... maybe they did "sneak" it in later, you know how hair product companies are, always fiddling with the formulas! Anyway, after a while I told myself that if the 'cone had not posed any problem using it once in a while I should not stay away from something I liked, so I recently bought it again. I don't outright recommend to any newbie to continue to use 'cones but the whole point of CG is to "rehabilitate" hair that's been either abused or neglected. But once one has a good grasp on the routine and knows one's hair "inside and out" some of the rules can be broken, at least within reason, if you know what I mean.

    So, enjoy your CG journey, it can really be a very rewarding one. Perhaps you already looked at the before and after pics on the General Discussion Forum, if not, go take a look to keep yourself motivated, especially on the not uncommon bad hair day.

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