In a need of help; growing out thick wavy hair that's too dry and gets too big

AnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwnerAnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwner Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 5 Curl Neophyte

A bit of background: I have struggled with my hair for as long as I can remember. I had to tame it by putting it in ponytail almost every day. It was relatively nice and wavy one day, then frizzy and too big the next day. I got bullied for it, people threw things at me and laughed if it stayed in the hair. When I left the school I just cut it all off. (Quite literally – I grabbed some mirror and scissors and just got rid of it all one night.) Then I had short hair for many years.

Hairdressers never offered me any actual advice besides tips how to straighten it and my parents don't know how to manage this type of hair either, so I mostly just let it grow and washed it +- every two weeks.

This is quite painful to do given the memories, but I've decided to share some old photos of it when it was still long/longer. It looks very different on a day-to-day basis so I'm adding a variety. All of them are without any styling product (just shampoo+conditioner). God, I want to shorten it just looking at this.
My hope is that if it got long enough, thanks to its heaviness and gravity, it would stay down. Right now, it flies everywhere (like the bottom left picture, but it's shorter still). Comparing medium length to long hair:
But even back then, the long hair would be frizzy, undefined and only looked passable about a week or so after washing because it's so dry.

As for my problem now.

I really want to grow out my hair, but since I kept it short for so long, I don't know what works for it. I cannot afford going to a wavy/curly hair professional in a different city (I think there might be some, but that's out of my budget) so I have to figure it out at home. But if it's not manageable, and if it makes me miserable every time I look at it, I'll end up cutting it again.

I use a shampoo for dry hair and a conditioner (but I want to get a leave-in conditioner when this one runs out?). I tried using coconut oil and olive oil, and both get absorbed really well, but I don't notice much difference. Either way, I'd like to keep on using these sometimes.
My hair is also after bleaching (I'm growing that out, too), so I applied henna to it, and that made it a little better. It makes it more dry at first, but then it gets some shine and even bounce back.

I have limited budget and energy (mental health stuff), but I'd really like to try and make my hair healthier and prettier so that it could be long.

Hair summary: It's dry, coarse, with medium to high porosity. It's flatter on top and when styled (e.g. heatless overnight curling) it holds shape quite well, but it's super frizzy the first few days after washing.


What are some affordable options to managing this type of hair? And if I can only get 1 styling product, what could it be?

Best Answers

  • Guide 65Guide 65 Registered Users, Moderators Posts: 1,984 Curl Virtuoso
    Accepted Answer
    Welcome!  You have nice hair in those pictures - it's not nearly as bad as you describe.  Childhood bullies are mean and nasty and can make you feel bad about yourself.  But childhood is past (I'm assuming), and no one else for the rest of your life will treat you like that again.  It's only middle school/jr. high when that kind of stuff happens.

    I would suggest getting the book by Lorraine Massey, The Curly Girl Method.  For all of us who never had anyone teach us how to deal with curly hair, she goes through the whole process step by step.  You can find it on Amazon (free for prime members, for a limited time) or the library. 

    If you can only get 1 styling product, get gel.  If you need something really cheap, get LA Looks Extreme Sports gel.  If you decide to get something else, you'll need to find one with no drying alcohols and no silicones.  Gel is added to your wet hair after conditioning, then you don't touch the hair until it's dried.  It'll be stiff and wet looking, but that's ok.  Once it's 100% dry, just scrunch your hair and fluff the roots and the crunchiness will be gone and you should be left with soft, frizz free curls that hold all day.

    Also - don't bother with leave in conditioner.  Leave ins are very light, and it sounds like you need a very moisturizing, heavier conditioner.  You can leave in some of your regular conditioner for more moisturization.
    Formerly known as Janiegirl
    2B/2C, fine hair, low density, mixed porosity, protein loving hair
    Current products:
    Changing up my shampoos because I can't find one I like
    Deva Curl One Condition (original formula)
    Innersense I Create Volume
    Deva Curl Ultra Defining Gel
  • BrittanyMBrittanyM Registered Users Posts: 1,218 Curl Virtuoso
    Accepted Answer
    @Guide 65 gave you excellent advice. You can buy drugstore products so you don't blow a budget on high end. It's the ingredients that matter not the brand. The curly girl method will help you. Since you want your hair to be weighed down, I would suggest Shea Moisture for shampoo and deep conditioners (deep conditioning can wait if you can't afford a masque). For a rinse out conditioner, I suggest Generic Value Products Conditioning Balm Compare to Matrix Biolage, this can be found at Sally's for cheap. It is extremely moisturizing and you can deep condition with it rather easily by mixing it with aloe and honey (even by itself if needed). When you go to rinse out the conditioner, just rinse your scalp, whatever is left in the ends will act as a leave in. LA Looks Sport Gel is another good started gel. There is also Eco Styler Argan Oil found at Sally's. There are quire a few curly girl friendly products found at Sally's too if you have easy access to a store.
    PS, my hair looked like yours in middle school and I remember people dumbly laughing at my hair too. Now I get compliments on it all the time. Middle schoolers and elementary school kids are dumb and just plain mean for no reason.


  • AnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwnerAnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwner Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 5 Curl Neophyte
    @Guide 65 Thank you so much! For the advice but also for the encouragement. I really do want to give my hair a second chance, but wow, is it hard. I've seen a lot of talk about that method around here, I'll be definitely looking into it! I may not be ready for the transition to using little to no shampoo, but it seems it's full of good tips.

    Thank you! I'll start my search for the gel on monday. :) I don't think the specific one you recommend is available here (at least according to quick google search) but it's a great reference as to what to look for!

    @BrittanyM Thank you, too! I will look for similar products :) We don't have Sally's here, but I'm sure there must be alternatives in the local stores! Also, looking at your profile picture, it's hard to believe it looked anyhow similar to mine. It's so neat and pretty!
  • BrittanyMBrittanyM Registered Users Posts: 1,218 Curl Virtuoso
    My hair has been bleached which makes it quite a bit thinner and a looser curl pattern so your hair will be much better than mine. It just used to be unruly thick and puffy because I didn't know how to care for it, so I just put it in a low pony tail in middle school.
    As far as the curly girl method, you can definitely use a sulfate free shampoo. People rarely stick to the 100% conditioner washing only since it tends to create build up. A sulfate shampoo once in a while is beneficial to remove any build up you feel you may have. I just found that sulfate shampoo every wash is way too harsh and drying for my hair... and many here feel the same.
    Also you can look in the swap board here for wherever you are from and find what products others have obtained. Also you can use the search bar to see what others are saying about any products you find on your own.
  • AnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwnerAnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwner Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 5 Curl Neophyte
    Update... too much gel? Or not scrunched enough? >< I'll have to keep on trying...

  • BrittanyMBrittanyM Registered Users Posts: 1,218 Curl Virtuoso
    It's not bad at all and just looks like you are in the transition phase. How did you apply the gel? On soaking wet hair or damp? Since my hair is really porous I prefer on soaking wet since I want the gel to seal in moisture. Did you style up right or upside down? If you feel it's too producty or too greasy (it doesn't look it but this is just based on if you feel it is so), try rinsing out more conditioner and using less gel.
  • AnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwnerAnonymousFrustratedWavyHairOwner Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 5 Curl Neophyte
    edited September 2018
    @BrittanyM Thank you! It's not greasy (it still feels super dry to touch despite doing this right after overnight oil moisturizing), but anything feels too product-y to me as I'm not used to it, so it's hard to say! I applied it on wet hair, then put it in old t-shirt to dry.

    Since you mentioned having similar hair beginnings, can I ask how it went for you when you were figuring it out? What was your hair doing?


    Edit: I tried to fix up some of the ends that were too wild by curling them on my fingers individually ...

    ... and I think it helped a little, too? But I still have no idea if this is getting anywhere close to how my hair's supposed to look like. Either way, it's been fun! It jumps around but doesn't try to float away so far, that's a nice change.

    (Oh, and I have undercut – a bit on sides and quite a bit at the back – so that's why it looks like I have less hair than I used to. That was another way I tried to reduce the unbearable amount of hair.)

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