Took a long break, looking for product recs!

modelKTfordmodelKTford Posts: 95Registered Users
Hello, all!

I need to get better about visiting this site more--it's full of such great tips!

Here's my story: I'm a 2-ish wavy (b or c, I want to say?) that had a pixie awhile ago and now it's down past my shoulders. I've been working on growing it out, and I'm sort of underwhelmed with it now. Let's see if I can explain why.

The roots seem to get greasy and dandruff-y quickly, but my hair itself can feel sort of dry and stiff. I like to play with retro hairstyles, and since I'm currently afraid to use any kind of mousse/gel/hairspray, they fall out pretty quickly and generally go limp. My hair seems to like protein to hold curl more, but I haven't done a good PT in awhile (I fell off the wagon a bit :/)

Right now I'm using:

Suave Naturals Coconut Shampoo + conditioner as RO
Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab conditioner (it's sort of heavy on my hair, and I haven't noticed much in the way of extra protein).

A few things to keep in mind:
- A LOT seems to weigh my hair down. Even the tiniest bit of oil makes it look like I haven't showered in ages.
- I have sensitive skin, so a lot of products seem to irritate/cause acne.
- I have very fine hair but a LOT of it. :P My main issues are lack of body, general limpness and lack of curl definition.
- I've tried scores of mousses/gels in the past, and they've all given my hair sort of a gummy, "coated" feeling if that makes sense.
- I'd prefer to keep the budget as low as possible for now while I'm still experimenting.

And that's it. I use a terry cloth Turbie Twist thing and try to let my hair air dry as much as possible after detangling with a wide-toothed comb.

I'm kind of a notorious PJ, but that's only because I have yet to find my HG. Any recommendations? I'm about to run out of my current conditioner and I don't mind trying something new.

Thanks in advance for all your help!
Back to CG after a few years away! :)

CO: Suave Naturals Coconut/Nature's Baby Vanilla Tangerine


  • SpiralHamSpiralHam Posts: 477Registered Users
    You might be a hair twin of mine, and maybe even a skin twin! I also have pretty picky skin. :cyclopsani:

    Here's what I've learned from my more-porous-than-not, finer than average, fairly dense hair:

    If I leave it to air dry, it's pretty limp. Even water weight will drag things down. So I pixie diffuse, supporting the curls from the bottom until the gel sets up. You could give that a try.

    I really need a hard hold gel. Volumax Mega is my go-to: it has protein, in an antihumectant, and is the best holding gel I've found (for me). And it's pretty cheap at Sally's or Bed Bath and Beyond. I wanted to like BRHG, but it has PVP, which my hair also doesn't care for. I haven't yet found a mousse with enough hold for me.

    Suave coconut did nothing for me and I was glad to use it up when I first went mod-CG. I low poo about every other wash, and switched to V05 condishes, which I find lighter and cleaner rinsing, if that makes any sense. Suave always left me with some gunky feeling something.

    I don't do a dedicated PT but most of my products contain protein.

    As long as my hair is well moisturized, I can skip leave in (which can contribute to hair feeling weighed down). I use the spritz and condish method as a pre poo instead of oil treatments, etc, that my skin doesn't like. I'm lazy about it, maybe once a week if I'm thinking about it. But in a cold dry winter climate it seems to be working for me.

    Good luck with it - I am also cheap cheap and my routine is really basic. My favorite things to use are in my sig.

    PS - I am usually underwhelmed with my longer hair. I just got my length chopped back to above my shoulders, and I am loving it - the length of my own hair isn't dragging itself down anymore. So know I have the wild and crazy shorter hair that I love, but I can still pull it back if I want to... I'm just not meant for really long hair, it bugs me personally LOL
    Smorgasbord of finer, porous 2a-3a; straight underlayer

    :thumbleft: collagen
    :thumbdown: humectants outside of optimal dews, PVP, oils/butters, anything remotely comedogenic

    poos: Giovanni TTT, WF365FF, Suave Clarifying
    condishes: VO5 VMT, KLS; IonEC
    stylers: FSG, 4NSBCC, VolumaxMega, AIF, GFPC

    Mod CG since 11/2012. My waves occasionally look best when combed out, so you can pry my combs from my cold, dead hands :laughing6:
  • SereneCurlsSereneCurls Posts: 1,145Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I think some of the v05 conditioners have more protein than the Suave, maybe you could take a look at some of those. Nature's Gate conditioners also have protein, and I think they're less heavy than the Shea Moisture ones.
    3a, dense, fairly coarse, normal porosity and elasticity, just below shoulder
    Low poo: Giovanni 50 50
    Co-wash: aia, suave coconut, salon care
    R O: Tresume Naturals, gvpcb
    L I: KCKT, gvpcb
    Stylers: cjpp, re : coil, kccc, brhg
    Oils: coconut, argan
    Experimenting with: curls rock amplifier, pantene mousse
  • Geek_ChicGeek_Chic Posts: 1,275Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Nice to see you back KT! The SheaMoisture Yucca and Baobab does have protein, but it's vegetable protein, which is a whole protein that will rinse off instead of sticking around for longer term benefits. Additionally, it has 4 total oils and butters higher up in the ingredients list than the protein, which to my mind makes this more of an emollient /softening conditioner than something I'd call "protein rich". If your hair gets weighed down with oils, no wonder this conditioner feels heavy!

    My fine hair responds best to protein products with a good amount of hydrolyzed protein in them (at least the middle of the ingredients list). Hydrolyzed proteins are substantive (stick well) to hair, so they provide more lasting benefits than amino acids or whole proteins which both tend to rinse off.

    I'm with SpiralHam on the Suave Coconut. I used it as cowash and RO when I first went CG, and although it has some silk amino acids, I'd consider it more of a moisturizing than a "protein rich" conditioner. I much prefer VO5 and go back and forth between VO5 Kiwi Lime (high in hydrolyzed collagen, like IAGirl's gelatin pt) and VO5 Strawberries & Cream (has soymilk, but again, a moisturizing conditioner) for cowashing and RO. Summer through Autumn, the VO5 Strawberries even makes a nice light LI.

    I think if I were you, I'd get a good pt in, then invest in a decent protein conditioner to rotate into your routine as needed. Limp curls falling out may be partially due to the dry winter weather or the lack of a good styler, but that's also a big indicator you lack protein. Even in the winter I need to use some sort of protein each wash day, plus do periodic pt's for optimal curl. Cure Care or Ion Effective Care are both Sally's conditioners with a good bit of protein in them that are worth trying. Several VO5's have a good bit of protein too, a lot more than Suave Coconut, although they're all light conditioners. You can check out ingredients lists here. Since you're using a sulfate shampoo every wash, you might also want to look into a more moisturizing RO or LI too, just to rotate in when needed.

    I'm with SpiralHam too in suggesting a good gel to help with curl retention. If you aren't polyquat sensitive, Aussie Instant Freeze is hard hold and protein and glycerin free. If you're looking for increased definition and clumping, FSG does that for me, though the plain gel is more of a soft hold. I can top it with a hard hold gel when I want longer lasting curls, and it's cheap and easy to make at home (just flaxseeds and water for the basic recipe). If you don't mind a water soluble silicone, I also use L'Oreal Studio Line Clean gel. It has VP/VA Copolymer, which holds up well for me regardless of dewpoint.

    Are you planning to return to full CG, or are you liking the current sulfate shampoo? If you're sticking to the current shampoo or switching to a low poo (with cocamidopropyl betaine), you might like Renpure's Brazilian Keratin Straightening conditioner. It does have a polyquat and amodimethicone, a non-water soluble silicone that doesn't build up, but is otherwise a nice protein rich but moisturizing conditioner. Works well as a RO or LI. It does have a good amount of coconut oil in it, but it doesn't weigh down my hair. Many of us here liked the old silicone-free formulation, and they didn't change much when they added the amodimethicone.
    CG since 11/2011
    2c /3a F /Mii, low porosity

    Go To Products /Routine:
    Clarifying: Suave Essentials Strawberry
    Low Poo: Renpure Luxurious Argan Oil
    CO: Suave Essentials Strawberry, V05 Kiwi Lime
    RO /LI: Tresemme Perfectly (un)Done, Cure Care, V05 Kiwi Lime Squeeze, Suave Essentials Strawberry, Renpure Brazilian Keratin (old formula)
    Stylers: LALSG, AIF, HETT, Suave Professionals Firm Control
    PT: IAGirl's as needed
  • chupiechupie Posts: 5,280Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I find I absolutely have to dilute sulfate wash at least every other time. AIA Cowash seems ok for in between. Also, my last dilute sulfate wash, I still used the AIA cowash on my length, plus a rinse out conditioner. I am having amazing hair so I think this may be a way to keep my crown happy AND keep my length more moisturized. My hair was equally "light" all over so I could use my stylers and sealers for definition.

    For body in the length, if I don't at least partly pixie diffuse to set the curl, I'm going to have limp hair. Now what I am discovering is I don't necessarily need hard hold gel (like you, they seem to make my hair dull. Yes I get more long lasting BOUNCE but it's kind of crappy feeling). So this winter I am experimenting with good gels of say mediumish hold. I AM finding that combining those are giving me some nice waves and finger combable hair. Now they aren't going to keep the BOING like a HHG will but they do make my waves nice and even combed out I have kind of shiny "glam" waves. Yesterday, I did a mostly Camille Rose day where I used her leave in, light Carol's Daughter Marula oil seal, small amount of Camille Rose Love Moisture Milk and then a fair good amount of her CurlMaker which is a KCCC like product only (IMO) much better, easier, less finicky to use. I got light fluffy waves that were pretty dang easy to revive today and I still have non-coated feeling hair.

    Another good combo was Briogeo Leave in (which does have a little hold) and Curlmaker. This experiment, at least for winter, is going well. I'm getting at least partially major hold for the day, good waves, soft and shiny hair, and it refreshes well. So these are ideas to try. It's starting to look like two mediumish hold products may act like just a notch below HHG, without the heavy drying results.
    2a medium porous, You can see my wavy tutorials here: and my wavy blog is The Wavy Nation
  • modelKTfordmodelKTford Posts: 95Registered Users
    Ohh, I can't wait to try some of these! :) I might give the VO5's another spin--I had no idea that the Suave one wasn't exactly doing much for me, but the way you guys broke it down makes sense!

    I try to stick to CG, but I guess honestly I'm more Mod-CG. I'm about to try out the new L'oreal Curve it Elastic Mousse, and maybe I'll research some more V05's..I think I tried the strawberry one once and it made me feel waxy, but I haven't tried the protein-y lime kiwi one!
    Back to CG after a few years away! :)

    CO: Suave Naturals Coconut/Nature's Baby Vanilla Tangerine
  • bringingcurliesback?bringingcurliesback? Posts: 1,308Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I'm wondering how your waves would react to the Tea Therapy VO5. I used to love that one! I'm going to try to hang out more on the wavy boards from time to time if that's okay? I consider my hair to be 2cish sometimes so maybe it can qualify lol

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using CurlTalk App
    *Current Routine*
    LP: SM RSB
    CO/CW: CJ Daily Fix, GR Restorative, SM RSB, SM SFC
    DC: SM, CJ Rehab, G.Nutrafix, DIY
    LI: a CO, KCKT
    Sealers: an oil, JC N&S
    Stylers: just CO, CJ CIAB, KCCC, aloe gel, FSG
    Once in a while: ACV, Lemon-Aid

    Oils to seal, rinse, and/or pre-poo as needed :love10:

    2c/3a/3b coarse, normal porosity
    :toothy4: CG since 2007 :flower:

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