Having trouble with gel

wavesandsmileswavesandsmiles Posts: 59Registered Users Curl Neophyte
Lately, it seems that no matter what gel I use, I cannot get good results. My hair clumps way too much, the clumps are unevenly sized and my curls turn out wonky and separated. I get less frizz but my curls still go limp by the end of the day, and even with a hard hold gel I never get a gel cast. I've tried Volumax Mega, Equate Sports Gel, Flaxseed gel, Garnier Pure Clean. I've tried smoothing, raking, scrunching, and a combination. Same problem with all of them. The only time I was successful with gel was raking/shaking/scrunching into boo curl defining gel, but I can't find the gel anymore.

Most days I just style with some conditioner- my hair gets very wavy with just conditioner. But I seem to get the best looking curls and hold with a mousse (HE Totally twisted). A few days ago I raked in a leave in, dried my hair with a microfibre towel, and scrunched in mousse to damp hair. Then as it was almost dry I added more mousse. Then I scrunched out the crunch when it was totally dry, something I never need to do with gel. I loved the results and didn't even need to refresh my curls the second day- they stayed bouncy and neat. However my hair was less defined and did get frizzier than with gel when exposed to humidity- which is why I've been experimenting with gel again.

That was a lot of rambling (sorry) but in short:
- Gel seems to give me wonky waves and pull out my curl. Hard hold gels are less crunchy for me than mousse
- Conditioner only styling and mousse gives me softer, curlier, more even hair, but I'm more prone to frizz and poofiness and sometimes I get a little too much volume.

I'm not sure if it's my technique, the products I'm using, the weather (this was less of the problem I think in the winter) or maybe my hair really just can't do gel. One of my theories is that is that since gel is heavier, it breaks the gel cast and pulls out the curl on its own as it dries. Or maybe it is harder to distribute evenly through my thick hair and that is why I'm getting bad results?

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!
CG since June 2011 :)
2b/c, thick, medium/coarse, low-medium porosity
full Chinese Canadian

Comments

  • Marci PieMarci Pie Posts: 668Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Have you tried using a curling crème? Also, try watering down the gel make it a watery version.

    3b, Medium-Coarse (slight coarse charactericstics), Normal porosity & Low elasticity per Curl Wizard Profile.
    Low-poo: Nourish Shampoo, Cantu Quinoa Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair, Decadence No Poo
    Co-wash: Nourish Conditioner, Suave, Aussie Moist, Clairol Natural Blends Coconut
    Deep Conditioner: Loreal Total Repair Balm, Cantu Masque
    Leave-in: Nourish Conditioner (Trader Joe's), Decadence Conditioner
    Stylers: LA Looks Sports, Homemade Flax Seed Gel, Devacurl Ultradefining Gel, Coconut Oil
    Methods: Sleep with extra large satin bonnet. Able to get 7 day hair. Prior to getting 7 day:Wet plop or pineapple at night, diffuse in the morning. Scrunch w/joboba, coconut or almond oil.
  • wavypenwavypen Posts: 253Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    wavesandsmiles, I have similar hair properties to you and this summer my hair has just been blech, I just started experimenting with damp styling (like what you did) and so far much better results. I used a t-shirt to get the excess water out of my hair, used a styler and gel (don't remember which ones) and got much better defined curls and clumping than I have in a while. I wonder if it has something to do with low porosity.
  • wavesandsmileswavesandsmiles Posts: 59Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Marci Pie wrote: »
    Have you tried using a curling crème? Also, try watering down the gel make it a watery version.
    I've never tried a curling cream. Do you have any recommendations for affordable ones? Watering down the gel does help with distribution and now that I think about it, it might reduce the size of my clumps. But my hair really likes damp styling- when I add products to soaking wet hair I get good distribution but no hold, and my hair gets weighed down.
    wavypen wrote: »
    wavesandsmiles, I have similar hair properties to you and this summer my hair has just been blech, I just started experimenting with damp styling (like what you did) and so far much better results. I used a t-shirt to get the excess water out of my hair, used a styler and gel (don't remember which ones) and got much better defined curls and clumping than I have in a while. I wonder if it has something to do with low porosity.
    Yeah I've discovered that damp styling works better for me too! But gel I find is harder to apply to damp hair than mousse. I have a feeling it does have something to do with low porosity- my hair takes way too long to dry if I add product and by then I bet the curl gets pulled out. Plus the dripping water probably dilutes the product at all. I would diffuse to try and solve that but my hair hates diffusing as well. (Or I'm just not very skilled at it). What kind of technique do you use? Do you prefer thicker gels or thinner ones?
    CG since June 2011 :)
    2b/c, thick, medium/coarse, low-medium porosity
    full Chinese Canadian
  • sixelamysixelamy Posts: 4,157Registered Users Curl Novice
    You may want to try a gel with no humectants. My hair has reacted exactly as you described and the only gel that has worked for me is Curl Junkie Curl Queen.

    Sounds like you may need a protein in your styler, and as many anti-humectants as you can find.
    2c-3a - med-coarse - normal-high porosity - high density
    :bunny:
    NP/LP: CJ Daily Fix, KMF Whenever / Giovanni TTTT
    RO/LI: Aussie Moist, CJ Argan & Olive Oil, Hask Keratin Protein
    DC/PROTEIN: KC Stellar Strands / CNPF
    STYLER: CJ Curl Queen
    COLOR: henna, amla & indigo
    :thumbdown:: glycerin in high/low dews, polyquat-10 & 11, parabens
  • Marci PieMarci Pie Posts: 668Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    Marci Pie wrote: »
    Have you tried using a curling crème? Also, try watering down the gel make it a watery version.
    I've never tried a curling cream. Do you have any recommendations for affordable ones? Watering down the gel does help with distribution and now that I think about it, it might reduce the size of my clumps. But my hair really likes damp styling- when I add products to soaking wet hair I get good distribution but no hold, and my hair gets weighed down.
    wavypen wrote: »
    wavesandsmiles, I have similar hair properties to you and this summer my hair has just been blech, I just started experimenting with damp styling (like what you did) and so far much better results. I used a t-shirt to get the excess water out of my hair, used a styler and gel (don't remember which ones) and got much better defined curls and clumping than I have in a while. I wonder if it has something to do with low porosity.
    Yeah I've discovered that damp styling works better for me too! But gel I find is harder to apply to damp hair than mousse. I have a feeling it does have something to do with low porosity- my hair takes way too long to dry if I add product and by then I bet the curl gets pulled out. Plus the dripping water probably dilutes the product at all. I would diffuse to try and solve that but my hair hates diffusing as well. (Or I'm just not very skilled at it). What kind of technique do you use? Do you prefer thicker gels or thinner ones?



    I know Garnier Frutis has a curling crème. Also La Bella has one which I forgot the name (comes in a tube). Target sells it and keeps it on the end cap. I have also seen it Walmart.

    3b, Medium-Coarse (slight coarse charactericstics), Normal porosity & Low elasticity per Curl Wizard Profile.
    Low-poo: Nourish Shampoo, Cantu Quinoa Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair, Decadence No Poo
    Co-wash: Nourish Conditioner, Suave, Aussie Moist, Clairol Natural Blends Coconut
    Deep Conditioner: Loreal Total Repair Balm, Cantu Masque
    Leave-in: Nourish Conditioner (Trader Joe's), Decadence Conditioner
    Stylers: LA Looks Sports, Homemade Flax Seed Gel, Devacurl Ultradefining Gel, Coconut Oil
    Methods: Sleep with extra large satin bonnet. Able to get 7 day hair. Prior to getting 7 day:Wet plop or pineapple at night, diffuse in the morning. Scrunch w/joboba, coconut or almond oil.
  • wavesandsmileswavesandsmiles Posts: 59Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    sixelamy wrote: »
    You may want to try a gel with no humectants. My hair has reacted exactly as you described and the only gel that has worked for me is Curl Junkie Curl Queen.

    Sounds like you may need a protein in your styler, and as many anti-humectants as you can find.

    Hmm you might be on to something in terms of humectants. My hair hated the Garnier pure clean curl cream and I'm pretty sure it is all the glycerin in there. A lot of people say it enhances their curls but it made my hair straight with loops and spirals at the ends. Although I haven't been having luck with flaxseed gel either- isn't that an antihumectant? Does your hair like FSG?
    Also is there a reason why you think my hair may need protein? I've always been kind of cautious with it since I thought low porosity coarse hair would probably be protein sensitive. I have a few conditioners with protein that I use once in a while and haven't gotten had anything bad happen but I do usually err on the side of more moisture
    I know Garnier Frutis has a curling crème. Also La Bella has one which I forgot the name (comes in a tube). Target sells it and keeps it on the end cap. I have also seen it Walmart.
    Thanks, I will have to take a look and see if those are in stock where I live :)
    CG since June 2011 :)
    2b/c, thick, medium/coarse, low-medium porosity
    full Chinese Canadian
  • wavypenwavypen Posts: 253Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Yeah I've discovered that damp styling works better for me too! But gel I find is harder to apply to damp hair than mousse. I have a feeling it does have something to do with low porosity- my hair takes way too long to dry if I add product and by then I bet the curl gets pulled out. Plus the dripping water probably dilutes the product at all. I would diffuse to try and solve that but my hair hates diffusing as well. (Or I'm just not very skilled at it). What kind of technique do you use? Do you prefer thicker gels or thinner ones?

    My hair takes too long to dry also and I think the weight of that pulls curls long (my hair will still spiral, but really pulled out). When I was wet styling I preferred thicker gels, but with damp styling you have to make them thinner to use them, so usually I wet my palms, put in some gel and rub my hands together and I will scrunch my hair again if I think it will do anything. And I agree on the dilute products with wet hair. If I diffuse I do I guess modified pixie method, but I don't turn off the dryer in between placing it one place then another. I also when it's about 3/4 dry put in a tiny bit more product (usually a small amount of thick hard hold gel on wet palms, rub then scrunch in), I want to experiment with more methods of applying products (rake and shake etc) now that damp styling seems to work better, so far I've just been scrunching them in.
  • SpiralHamSpiralHam Posts: 477Registered Users
    I also pixie diffuse - the weight of water pulls my curls groundward! Supporting the curls as they dry is really helpful for me.

    I also apply gel with a wet hand to not-dripping hair. After the shower I wrap my hair in a microfiber towel for a few minutes while I get dressed; a lot of the water from my hair is absorbed this way.

    One other trick to try might be to add a thin layer of gel over mousse. I get some decent results this way. Or to mix mousse with a little gel in your hand before applying. A mousse I've been playing with right now is HE Body Envy (orange can) and it has nice hold! A little gel over it, especially if I use a watered down spray version I made at home, keeps some of the frizzies at bay.
    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:
  • sixelamysixelamy Posts: 4,157Registered Users Curl Novice
    sixelamy wrote: »
    You may want to try a gel with no humectants. My hair has reacted exactly as you described and the only gel that has worked for me is Curl Junkie Curl Queen.

    Sounds like you may need a protein in your styler, and as many anti-humectants as you can find.

    Hmm you might be on to something in terms of humectants. My hair hated the Garnier pure clean curl cream and I'm pretty sure it is all the glycerin in there. A lot of people say it enhances their curls but it made my hair straight with loops and spirals at the ends. Although I haven't been having luck with flaxseed gel either- isn't that an antihumectant? Does your hair like FSG?
    Also is there a reason why you think my hair may need protein? I've always been kind of cautious with it since I thought low porosity coarse hair would probably be protein sensitive. I have a few conditioners with protein that I use once in a while and haven't gotten had anything bad happen but I do usually err on the side of more moisture

    FSG is a mild humectant. I can only use FSG in moderate dew points, it doesn't work for me in low or high. The Garnier Pure Clean made my hair a frizzy dry mess, that stuff was awful!

    I only recommended protein, because protein can enhance curls and help them stay. I use mine in a styler, because it goes over my leave in, but still enhances my curl without totally drying my hair out. I tend to get 4th day hair when it was always hard to even get 2nd. I always pair protein with conditioner to create a good balance. If you don't feel like you can use protein, then certainly do not - but if nothing else works you may want to try that. "Probably protein sensitive" doesn't tell you much - you need to go by how your hair reacts, not the way someone told you it may react. I have coarse hair and use protein all the time mixed with a rich RO and in my everyday styler. It helps my loose 3a pattern out a lot and can give me some 3b spiral up in the front on a good day. It's an option to explore anyway. Protein gets a really bad reputation, and I have no idea why.
    2c-3a - med-coarse - normal-high porosity - high density
    :bunny:
    NP/LP: CJ Daily Fix, KMF Whenever / Giovanni TTTT
    RO/LI: Aussie Moist, CJ Argan & Olive Oil, Hask Keratin Protein
    DC/PROTEIN: KC Stellar Strands / CNPF
    STYLER: CJ Curl Queen
    COLOR: henna, amla & indigo
    :thumbdown:: glycerin in high/low dews, polyquat-10 & 11, parabens
  • wavesandsmileswavesandsmiles Posts: 59Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    FSG is a mild humectant. I can only use FSG in moderate dew points, it doesn't work for me in low or high. The Garnier Pure Clean made my hair a frizzy dry mess, that stuff was awful!

    I only recommended protein, because protein can enhance curls and help them stay. I use mine in a styler, because it goes over my leave in, but still enhances my curl without totally drying my hair out. I tend to get 4th day hair when it was always hard to even get 2nd. I always pair protein with conditioner to create a good balance. If you don't feel like you can use protein, then certainly do not - but if nothing else works you may want to try that. "Probably protein sensitive" doesn't tell you much - you need to go by how your hair reacts, not the way someone told you it may react. I have coarse hair and use protein all the time mixed with a rich RO and in my everyday styler. It helps my loose 3a pattern out a lot and can give me some 3b spiral up in the front on a good day. It's an option to explore anyway. Protein gets a really bad reputation, and I have no idea why.

    Ah that makes sense.
    And you are right. I suppose risking one bad hair day is worth it if it could lead to many good hair days :)
    CG since June 2011 :)
    2b/c, thick, medium/coarse, low-medium porosity
    full Chinese Canadian
  • wavesandsmileswavesandsmiles Posts: 59Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I managed to take some pictures...
    This is what my hair looks like with pretty much any gel I try (I used volumax mega)
    ddmkj9_th.jpg
    BIgger: Image - TinyPic - Free Image Hosting, Photo Sharing & Video Hosting
    Less frizz but the curls wrap around each other and curl into each other and it curls a lot more at the bottom than the top. It's hard to see but there are some pieces that look like super stretched curls- like what happens when you take curled ribbon and stretch it to the max so it almost becomes flat.

    This is with just leaving in regular conditioner:
    2m2zwjt.jpg

    There's more frizz but the waves are much more even.
    CG since June 2011 :)
    2b/c, thick, medium/coarse, low-medium porosity
    full Chinese Canadian

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