Hi! I need help with extremely brittle hair in an arid climate.

ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
Hi! I'm newly-signed-up here, though I've read articles and discussions from here for many years now. I struggle with extremely brittle hair; so much so that it's constantly breaking off (when handled or not) and coats the floor, leaving me with anemic-looking locks that grow down into "nothing". The worst of the visible breakage starts around the ears, but it breaks off near the root as well. I live in a very arid climate, and it seems that no matter what I've tried to do so far, my hair is still extremely dry and dries out easily and instantly.

My hair is completely unprocessed (no heat or chemicals); it's medium-width, and ranges from 3b to 3c to some very tiny Type 4 hairs around the hairline (Type 4 also of varying tightness). However, my hair is so extremely weak and lifeless that even the Type 4 has no form or curl -- I rarely get to see them and they look like straight hair. I've lost enormous amounts of hair due to my very troubled scalp, so between this and the extreme brittleness of my hair, it's pretty thin right now. It seems to be medium-low porosity with porous ends. It's naturally very shiny and silky, but some products make it gunky, tangly, dull and draggy (such as the Shea Moisture conditioners mentioned below. I tried the matching shampoos and got those results too.) I do the very basic curly hair things-- i.e. using a wide-tooth comb, airdrying, and using cotton t-shirts or paper-towels (usually the latter) for blotting and scrunching the hair.

I was hoping for recommendations regarding good moisturizing products and routine/methods, such as for moisturizing after washing and between washes. I'm trying to find a co-wash that's suitable for my troubled scalp, because shampoos hurt it (and contribute to the repeated destruction of my hair) no matter what I do (I've tried the condition-wash-condition method, oil treatments, gentle shampoos, shampoos for hair loss, moisturizing shampoos for curly hair, extending the periods between washes...) I've got that sort of hyper-sensitive scalp that's dried out and tender, but gets really greasy really fast due to irritation and dryness. Then it gets infections. Due to the problem with infection, I can't seem to leave unpreserved products such as homemade flaxseed gel in my hair... That being said, flax-gel and aloe didn't help anyway! 

Whatever recommendations and/or advice you have, I would be so deeply grateful if you would throw them my way! I do have sensitive skin and unpredictable sensitivities, but please don't let that discourage you from making suggestions. It's very difficult to say what will or won't work for my body! The conditioners I've tried recently are: Exederm Ezcema Conditioner, Burt's Bees Deep Conditioner, Shea Moisture Shea Butter Conditioner, Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Conditioner, Desert Essence Fragrance-Free Conditioner, Amika Deep Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle, Giovanni Leave-In (Direct Leave-In and Rose Petals Elixir). A long time ago, I tried some Aubrey Organics Conditioners too-- again without much help.

I don't have much that's concrete about my hair and proteins and oils yet, save that when my wet hair gets very mushy, a full strength gelatin treatment is indispensable. I've tried the most common oils (coconut, olive, castor...) and the only ones I've seemed to be able to use straight without getting strange, unpleasant results are jojoba oil and argan oil. In a formula, the oils that are problematic if used undiluted might be alright, though!

Thank you so much! 

Comments

  • Guide 65Guide 65 Registered Users, Moderators Posts: 1,984 Curl Virtuoso
    Welcome!  I would say to do what you can to keep your scalp happy first, then worry about your hair.  Once your scalp is healthier, you hair may be healthier as well.

    I'm not sure what to suggest, as I don't have these problems.  But you might want to look into using better quality products.  Jessicurl has great stuff, and everything comes in a fragrance-free version, if that matters.  Innersense is another line that uses top-quality ingredients. 

    I hope you find something that works for you!
    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
  • cnic216cnic216 Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 157 Curl Connoisseur
    Welcome, @ThePoetryOf_Tresses! The brittleness you're experiencing could be caused by a variety of things but the first things that come to mind for me are either you're lacking protein and/or you're not getting or retaining enough moisture. Have you tried a protein treatment? I think that will be your best bet in allowing  your hair to retain moisture and also to regain some elasticity. 

    As far as products go, I'm not sure if you're looking for a shampoo, but you can make your own using African black soap. It's an all natural, sulfate free, soap that is very gentle and moisturizing. I also think As I Am has a new line of products specifically for dry/itchy scalp care and I think a co-wash is included in that line along with an oil and a styler, I believe. Also, I've been loving my results using sweet almond oil, so you might want to try that if you haven't already.

    For styling, I love using gels and my favorite go-to right now is Uncle Funky's Daughter Curly Magic. It's very moisturizing and has great hold but it doesn't have a lot of the nasty chemicals. I've had great results with this and using the As I Am leave in conditioner. I hope this helps! 
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Hi Guide65 and cnic216! Thank you so much for your replies and the welcomes! I feel honored to be here.

    Reply to Guide65: I'm hoping that a good, very moisturizing co-wash will help my scalp get into better, healthier condition. Since my birth I've been very sensitive to shampoos and washday, with a very painful scalp and dry rashes. I hadn't thought of the quality of ingredients being an issue! Thank you so much again! I'll look into Jessicurl samples and Innersense.

    Reply to cnic216: Two weeks ago, I tried a full-strength gelatin protein treatment using Knox gelatin after noticing my wet hair was very mushy, like a wet thin dishcloth instead of individual hair fibers. The treatment was the first thing I've ever used that made a world of difference! I couldn't believe all the things that improved. Beforehand, I was losing curl pattern and, though the roots of my hair were incredibly shiny, the further down my hair you looked it became dull. After the gelatin protein treatment, my hair was incredibly shiny all the way down and it felt so strong and healthy. There was no breakage, and I wasn't afraid of it breaking either. However, towards the end of the day, the more my hair dehydrated, I started to noticed a couple easily broken hairs (these hairs were thin and abnormally fine-looking for my head). Then the next day the numbers were increased; then at wash-day, the day after that, the numbers were increased much more, so that I was continuing to get broken hair as I took my hair down from its scunchie, detangled, shampooed, conditioned... Since then the breakage has increased to be about back to where it used to be, despite following up with weekly Knox gelatin protein treatments. Most of the other improvements I noticed after the first treatment are quite reduced as well. I was so disappointed! I was unsure of what to think too. I wondered if it was too much of one type of protein (my understanding is that gelatin is a large molecule protein and coats rather than penetrating), or if somehow the protein/softness/moisture content of my hair was off-balance. A couple days ago after I tried co-washing with Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle conditioner, aside from my scalp and hair still being dry, my hair was also stiff down to the roots. I wound up scrunching quite a bit of jojoba oil in attempting to soften it a bit and reduce stiff breakage.

    Because of my scalp condition, I'm hoping to try very moisturizing co-washes instead of shampoos, since regular use of them seems to only aggravate and strip my sensitive scalp. Again thank you SO much for your reply! I'll look into As I Am, sweet almond oil (I don't believe I've tried that yet!), and Funky's Daughter Curly Magic too!
  • Therese1Therese1 Registered Users Posts: 2,563 Curl Virtuoso
    Hello, and welcome to the forum!

    Thanks for the detailed information. Question: Are you avoiding silicones? It sounds as if you are, but I wanted to check to be sure.

    You mentioned several products that you've been using, but I didn't see any sulfate clarifying shampoos listed. Do you ever clarify your hair with a sulfate? Build-up can do nasty things to the hair and prevent moisture from reaching the hair shaft.

    If you are avoiding silicones and clarifying occasionally with a sulfate, I would look at deep conditioning next. If your hair is low porosity, chances are it does not take up moisture readily, and your conditioner probably sits on top of your hair rather than penetrating. I would do a deep conditioning treatment with your favorite rinse-out conditioner. You can do this by washing as usual and then squeezing the excess water out of your hair. Work in your conditioner, and then cover with a plastic cap and then a towel on top of that to hold in your body heat. Let this sit for 15-30 minutes and then rinse out and style as usual.

    As you've noted with the gelatin treatment, gelatin is a medium-sized protein that doesn't penetrate the hair as well as some others. I would look for hydrolyzed proteins, especially silk and keratin. Soy protein in my experience can have more of a drying effect on the hair than other proteins. 

    Since you live in an arid climate, I would definitely use a leave-in conditioner to seal the moisture in your hair. I love the Curl Junkie Beauticurls because it is not too heavy for my fine hair. I have used As I Am in the past but found that it made my hair too soft (my hair is already very soft). Some people choose to use a very small bit of their rinse-out conditioner as a leave-in. And some people purposely don't rinse out their conditioner all the way so that it acts as a leave-in. Some people actually leave quite a bit of conditioner in their hair.

    I don't have experience with a dry scalp, so I hope that others' suggestions will help with that.

    As far as products go, I find the Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic poo and condish to be very gentle. I would definitely use a clarifying poo with these, because the shampoo I find to be almost too gentle, so I eventually get build-up. My favorite deep conditioner is Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment. 

    A lot of people seem to like the As I Am co-wash. My favorite co-wash is the Oribe Cleansing Creme for Moisture and Control, which is kind of pricey. It has hydrolyzed proteins. It's what I use when my hair needs a protein pick-me-up. It seems very gentle to me, but it does have a strong scent, in case that is an issue for you.

    Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonic; Oribe Cleansing Creme
    RO: IN Harmonic
    LI: CJ Beauticurls; Jessicurl (JC) Gelebration Spray
    DC: JC Deep Conditioning Treatment; Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Oil
    Stylers: JC Confident Coils; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray; John Masters Sea Mist; Bumble Bb. Gel; Kenra Firm-Hold Gel; Sevi Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Spray
    Low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair
  • MonipenMonipen Registered Users Posts: 64 Curl Connoisseur
    Hi! I'm not an expert and I've also not been doing this CG method for long, but like Guide 65 said, it could be something health related, indeed if your scalp isn't healty it might affect the hair. Or it's like Terese 1 says, maybe you haven't been using products right.

    Whatever the case, what I can say about skin health is that my entire life I've suffered from on and off eczema (skin only fortunately not hair scalp), and using products that contain no perfume has been an important issue for me. It makes a difference.

    If your problem doesn't get solved, have you considered seeing a dermatologist? Recently, I came across a display window of some sort of clinic on the street (I live in the Netherlands), the sign I read I found so interesting that I decided to look it up online. Did you know that there is something called a "trichologist"? Apparantely it is someone like a dermatologist, but specialized in hair and scalp. They do a whole research thing. If you've never heard of it, google it! It's very interesting. I had never heard of this before. Maybe you could google search a trichologist in the area where you live? There might be one?

    It may be expensive, but if it's really a health problem, and I can understand it must be frustrating... I know what it's like to be all itchy, it drives one nuts... It might be worth seeing a specialist.
  • MonipenMonipen Registered Users Posts: 64 Curl Connoisseur
    I was just reading some more about this "trichology" thing, and read that hair and scalp problems, like loss of hair, can also be affected by psycological issues like stress, general health, a lack of vitamins. A trichologist will take a blood sample and do different sorts of tests. Hmmm, I'm finding this very interesting...
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Reply to Therese1: Hi, Therese1! You're most welcome! I haven't used silicones, besides the couple that exist in the Exederm Eczema Conditioner (I've scarcely used it of late). Quite awhile ago I tried a Giovanni elixir (the Rose Petals version) that contained a silicone, but since then I've used a shampoo with a sulfate multiple times. I believe that was Head & Shoulders "Classic Clean" Shampoo. Since using that, as far as I can remember, I've only used the Exederm Conditioner once, and I can't recall using anything else with silicones. 

    I haven't used a clarifying shampoo specifically, partially because I've a history of using shampoos that were very strong and damaging. (Although it sounded gentle, I found the Exederm Eczema Shampoo extremely harsh on the hair! I almost thought Head & Shoulders was an improvement.) 

    I recently tried a deep conditioning treatment with Amika Deep Treatment for thirty minutes under a few shower-caps to create and trap heat. While I can't say I didn't notice "anything", there was no change in my hair losing moisture rapidly or drying very fast. However, I didn't really have a leave-in to use afterwards. I've nothing for a leave-in that has worked to trap enough moisture in well enough, and due to not knowing what type of product to try (there are so many!), I haven't bought other leave-ins. 

    I've tried leaving some of my various conditioners in (separately; sometimes a small amount, sometimes a lot, plus homemade flaxseed gel or aloe gel or Aubrey Organics Mandarin Moisturizing Jelly). While my hair took longer to dry when I left in the larger amounts -- which was a huge improvement and did make a difference for a couple hours -- once it was almost dried, it continued to lose moisture and didn't wind up improved as a whole. It still lacked the "healthy hair countenance", with delicate and dwindling elasticity, a very weak form and pattern that didn't return and was easily stretched out and lost, it appeared wispy and lifeless, and it sounded and felt a bit like dry grass when scrunched. 

    I don't understand the different product types (i.e. souffles, puddings, custards, moisturizer vs leave-in conditioners...) but I wondered if the products I was choosing (simple leave-in conditioners and gels) weren't moisturizing and supporting enough, and if I possibly also needed more steps to my routine, such as adding an oil to my ends (which dry particularly rapid, sparse and splayed out.) Even when I co-washed or deep conditioned, my hair still became dry afterwards.

    I didn't realize soy protein could have a drying effect! I think that's in the Trader Joe's "Tea Tree Tingle" conditioner I was using, though it's near the end of the list. Thank you so much for mentioning that. I'll keep an eye out for silk and keratin proteins! I'm assuming you mean hydrolyzed silk protein and not silk amino acids?

    -------------
    Reply to Monipen: Hi, Monipen! Yes! I've heard of trichology (I too looked into that) and I went to a dermatologist a number of times too, as well as consulted with a retired dermatologist friend of ours. Unfortunately, the dermatologist who treated me was unable to help me with the main issue, only to address a fungal infection I had at the time. He prescribed me with Loprox shampoo and T-Sal shampoo (both very harsh, but they cleared up the infection brilliantly!) The second dermatologist was more helpful, as his suggestions fit more of my experiences with my scalp and the need to moisturize it and avoid aggravating elements like blowdryer heat (which, oddly enough, causes my scalp to retain water and become squishy/spongey) and shampoos. I've got a rash atop my head that's dry and sensitive to being washed and dried-out like the atopic dermatitis on the rest of me.

    That being said, I do struggle with multiple disabling issues of the gut and brain, including the skin. I've always struggled with these and my dry, rashy skin. I seem to struggle with detergents in general; they dry me all out and then I get more rashes and itches, and that can all be very nasty!

    I'm hoping that oiling my scalp (the only thing I've round that realizes the scalp pain from dryness; jojoba oil has seemed to work best) and washing with cold water and a well-moisturizing co-wash that contain butters will help my scalp maintain its protective moisture barrier, keeping it clean without stripping it. I tried a patch-test of this yesterday (oiled scalp washed with cold water and a conditioner) with Desert Essence Fragrance-Free conditioner and I was encouraged! My scalp didn't feel painfully stripped and dried out, rashy and tight, and it seemed to retain some protective barrier. I could touch and massage it dry without feeling like I was rubbing sandpaper on raw skin. If I co-wash with warm water or co-wash on a dry scalp, even that strips my scalp too much! I'm hoping the oiling/cold water/co-wash will help my whole scalp in the longrun, and that if I can keep it up long enough, it along with health endeavors will help promote scalp healing and healthy scalp function.

    Thank you all so much!


  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    "...the only thing I've round that realizes..." I'm starting to talk like Scooby-Doo! Ruh-roh! I meant to say, "...the only thing I've found that relieves..." Lol! :) 
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Please pardon the additional post, but something I just remembered might be a helpful clue... (I think, if I remember right, this is a common struggle for low porosity curls.) When I've left conditioner in or applied leave-on products (again I haven't recently tried that many), I tend to only wind up with hair that's gunky, stiff, and may even dry out faster and more brittle than without products. And then, it's still dry; not moisturized.
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Hi again, 

    Therese1, it's looking like you were onto something regarding the buildup and low porosity hair problem. I tried leaving jojoba oil on my hair around co-washing with Desert Essence fragrance-free conditioner, and though my hair was soft and full the first day, the second day it was incredibly brittle and stiff and dry, and it was VERY gunky! I couldn't get my fingers through my hair. I tried just co-washing again, hoping to remove the oil, (I even tried applying the conditioner to dry hair, as I've heard this can help remove some oils better), but this seemed to only make things worse. I realized then that I needed to shampoo.

    But I realized too that all the shampoos I've used contain ingredients that can buildup fast on low porosity hair (even my simplest shampoo, Exederm Eczema Shampoo, contains cationic guar gum.) My other available shampoos are Neutrogena T-Sal, Head & Shoulders Classic Clean, Liprogaine (purple), and Free & Clear Medicated Shampoo. These all contain cationic guar, oils, herbal extracts, and other cationic ingredients.

    So instead, I washed an experimental clump of hair with cold water and dishsoap, twice, until I no longer felt that oily residue. Unfortunately, I don't know what's in the dishsoap -- it's by the brand Kirkland Signature and is fragrance-free. Though my hair was still dry, I think it was significantly better! I did not use conditioner or anything on it afterwards. Once dry, it was less haylike and very silky again, whereas before it was draggy, and it dried evenly all over instead of drying out fast at the ends and looking so wispy and extra thin. It also was softer and not breaking off quite so easily, and I believe it was bouncier and a bit stronger feeling in curl pattern. It also shrunk a bit more, I think, and was fluffier (in the desirable, fuller way). 

    I repeatedly have this problem with oils and products I've tried to use... My hair just becomes more dry, brittle and stiff, instead of healthier. Some oils temporarily leave my hair soft, but then it quickly just gets even more dry, stiff and brittle again, and breaks off extremely easily and close to the scalp.

    I may need to do two very differently things for my scalp and my hair, but I was wondering if it's alright to alter my question. I was wondering what you can use or do for such sensitive low porosity that avoids or prevents the buildup and moisture prevention issue? Perhaps this has been the or one of the main issue(s) all along. I do have extremely hard and alkaline water, but I wash in reverse osmosis water, so this problem should at least be significantly reduced.

    I was considering purchasing samples of MopTop since they offer so much and their products don't contain formaldehyde-releasers (which I'm sensitive to), but I noticed their products contain a lot of buildup ingredients.

    Thank you all again so, so much. I feel so blessed and grateful to you all for lending me your ears and taking the time to help me. I'm sorry for all the additional posts! But hopefully this new information helps provide better direction for help and advice.

  • Therese1Therese1 Registered Users Posts: 2,563 Curl Virtuoso
    It does sound like build-up is a lot of your problem. One of the workers at Sally's Beauty Supply once told me that she tells people to use dish soap to clarify because the dish soaps are so good at removing oil. So you were right on track with trying dish soap. I'm glad it worked!

    I think it's important for you to be able to find a shampoo that you can use to get off build-up. Build-up is a fact of life for low-porosity hair; there's just no getting around it. In my experience, sulfates get rid of build-up best. There is also a compound called C14-16 olefin sulfonate that is good for getting rid of build-up.

    Not all sulfate shampoos are harsh; it really depends on the formula. I think that @Guide 65 uses one from Aveda that is good (Rosemary Mint, maybe?). I use Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo, which is a simple formulation--not sure if you can tolerate it. A favorite of curlies is Kinky Curly Come Clean. I can't use that one because there is protein in the sea kelp extract, and it makes my hair straight and brittle (my hair dislikes a lot of protein).

    If you can find a shampoo that will enable you to get rid of build-up, then you will have more flexibility in the other products that you use. I know that guar gum is in some of the products that I use, and I do find that it builds up on my hair. So clarifying every couple of weeks allows me to still use products that I enjoy. I low-poo in between the sulfate poos so that I don't dry out my hair and scalp too much.

    As a side note, many people deep condition after using a sulfate poo, since such poos can be stripping.

    One more note: If there is any way to wash and condition your hair in warm water, that would be best. Warmer water helps raise the cuticle on the hair shaft, allowing better cleansing and conditioning. Otherwise it is really hard for stuff to penetrate the hair shaft.

    One more note: Jojoba oil does not penetrate the hair shaft; that oil is one I probably would not use (though it would be OK in small amounts in a product). In general, straight oils do not work well for low-porosity hair. Emulsions (water-based products that also have oils) would be better. Humectants (aloe, glycerin, flax) would also be good. You might want to read some of the articles on the Science-y Hair Blog that discuss how to best moisturize low-po hair. She also has some recipes for DIY allergy alternatives that you might find helpful.


    Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonic; Oribe Cleansing Creme
    RO: IN Harmonic
    LI: CJ Beauticurls; Jessicurl (JC) Gelebration Spray
    DC: JC Deep Conditioning Treatment; Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Oil
    Stylers: JC Confident Coils; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray; John Masters Sea Mist; Bumble Bb. Gel; Kenra Firm-Hold Gel; Sevi Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Spray
    Low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair
  • Therese1Therese1 Registered Users Posts: 2,563 Curl Virtuoso
    One more thing: You might want to search the CurlTalk archives for posts by @naturecat. She had a lot of sensitivities too and did a lot of DIY things. I remember that she used to wash her hair with glycerin. Glycerin would not remove build-up, but it might be one option for regular cleansing (in between sulfate cleansing).
    Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonic; Oribe Cleansing Creme
    RO: IN Harmonic
    LI: CJ Beauticurls; Jessicurl (JC) Gelebration Spray
    DC: JC Deep Conditioning Treatment; Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Oil
    Stylers: JC Confident Coils; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray; John Masters Sea Mist; Bumble Bb. Gel; Kenra Firm-Hold Gel; Sevi Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Spray
    Low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Hi, Therese1! Thank you so much for all your insight. I'll look into the Aveda and Bumble & Bumble shampoos for clarifying. This seems like a silly question for me to ask, but I'm guessing that as a rule, you want the clarifying shampoos to not contain anything that might buildup? I've seen some clarifying shampoos that can cause buildup for low-porosity hair; like herbal extracts. I bought a set of MopTop sample packets (which use silk and keratin proteins; I think also some seaweed extract) and the shampoo contains C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE. I've also got a plain cosmetic bottle of C14-16 OLEFIN SULFONATE, though I haven't used it in a long time due to scalp problems and hair brittleness. 

    I remember using Kinky Curly Come Clean many years ago when I was still washing in our tap water. I'll look into that again too. It seemed to really work well in hard water. And it smelled nice as a bonus!

    Last time I washed, I was thinking about that with cleansing and conditioning in warm water vs. cold too.

    Thank you for recommending ScienceyHairBlog! I've visited there regularly too for many years. It's a great blog.

    I had another question: I've read in articles here that if the first ingredient of your conditioner or leave-in product isn't water, it will only sit on your hair and not moisturize it. The conditioner I've been using recently (Desert Essence Fragrance-Free - because it seemed to work for my scalp) has no water in it at all; the first ingredient is aloe vera juice. In your experience, is this true that water-free products don't hydrate or moisturize? I find this sort of confusing, because when we add conditioner to our hair, it's already so wet/damp with water, and this mixes with the conditioner.

    Cleansing with glycerin sounds interesting! I'll see if I can look through @naturecat's posts for info on that.


  • Therese1Therese1 Registered Users Posts: 2,563 Curl Virtuoso
    Regarding clarifying shampoos, in a perfect world, yes, there wouldn't be anything in them to build up on the hair. But everyone's hair is different, and one ingredient might cause build-up for one person and not for another. So it's really trial and error. Eliminating exposure to all herbal extracts will be extremely difficult, because they're in pretty much everything. I see that the Bumble and Bumble Sunday poo has a couple of herbal extracts, but I've never experienced a problem with them. Someone else might have an issue; it's really dependent on each individual head of hair. I try to stay away from the biggies when I'm looking for a clarifying poo, and I consider those to be silicones and polyquats. (I find polyquats even more tenacious and hard to get rid of than silicones.)

    The MopTop poo sounds great with the olefin sulfonate. Definitely worth giving that one a try!

    With regard to the Desert Essences conditioner, I think that that one would be OK. I think the concern is more so with an oil-based ingredient as the first item in the ingredients list. Aloe is a very watery substance and should be OK. As you point out, it will be mixing with the water already in your hair. It is a good humectant (it is water attracting).
    Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonic; Oribe Cleansing Creme
    RO: IN Harmonic
    LI: CJ Beauticurls; Jessicurl (JC) Gelebration Spray
    DC: JC Deep Conditioning Treatment; Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Oil
    Stylers: JC Confident Coils; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray; John Masters Sea Mist; Bumble Bb. Gel; Kenra Firm-Hold Gel; Sevi Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Spray
    Low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Hi, Therese1! I see what you mean. Hair is amazingly individual. Even if two heads of hair seem as though they'd be "the same" in every other respect. 

    Yes; the Desert Essence conditioner has seemed to work really nicely! It makes a good co-wash. I finally washed with warm water and my hair came out truly clean and shiny again, with the waxiness of the jojoba oil either gone or really reduced. It's still stiff, brittle and dry, but now that it's drying, it's softening up a bit.

    By an oil-based ingredient, do you mean a conditioning ingredient like cetyl alcohol or behentrimonium chloride (or methosulfate)? Something that was manufactured out of oils?

    Thank you so much!
    ~ Canna 


  • tinksaysbootinksaysboo Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 543 Curl Virtuoso
    @Therese1 I I’ve heard you mentions one thing along these lines about polyquats before.  Considering I have huge build up issues, I think I might have to do a polyquat free experiment.  Do you have any product reccomendations?
    2c/3a | low porosity | fine/medium | low/medium density| protein,coconut, and green tea sensitive | Modified CGM

    Low-Poo:  Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream
    Sulfate Wash: Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo
    Rinse Out Conditioner: DevalCurl One Condition
    Leave-In Conditioner: Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion
    Deep Conditioner: DevaCurl Heaven In Hair
    Curl Enhancer: Curl Junkie Spiral Lotion
    Gel: Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Hi tinksayboo, although I'm not knowledgeable on products, in my experience (as far as I can remember) these products don't contain polyquats. They're some of the products I've mentioned using (above, near the start of the forum):

    * Desert Essence conditioner. (At least the fragrance-free has no polyquat that I can identify.)

    * Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. (This has some great slip after you rinse it out, in my experience.)

    * Aubrey Organics Mandarin Magic Hair Moisturizing Jelly. (I don't know if they make this anymore, but my old bottle has no recognizable polyquats in it.)

    And I believe the Alba Botanicals fragrance-free leave-in conditioner and strong hold gel might also not contain polyquats...
  • Therese1Therese1 Registered Users Posts: 2,563 Curl Virtuoso
    @ThePoetryOf_Tresses, when I mentioned "oil-based," I was actually thinking in terms of plain oils, such as coconut oil, shea butter, etc. I think that cetyl alcohol would probably be in the same category, since it is a fatty alcohol. I don't know about behentrimonium chloride; I am not very chemistry-minded! :) It's generally not a problem finding products that have water as the first ingredient, thankfully.

    @tinksaysboo, polyquats can be nasty. I usually require two or three washes with a sulfate to get them out. The Jessicurl Spiralicious really coated my hair.

    I've been using the Intelligent Nutrients line for most of my hair care. It's kind of pricey and not readily available on the ground, unfortunately. I think that the guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride that is in some of the products is technically a polyquat (and I do notice buildup), but it comes right out with a sulfate. It's not as tenacious as other polyquats, IME.

    I clarify with the Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo when I need a sulfate. For other wash days, I use the Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic shampoo and conditioner. I deep condition with Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment.

    You could check out the Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo and Aloeba Conditioner. They might be polyquat free. 

    For a leave-in, I use the Curl Junkie Beauticurls. I then spray in some Living Proof root lift. For gel, I use the Kenra Firm-Hold Gel with a little of the Ultra Freeze Gel on top (I really like the Ultra Freeze, but it gives me white flakes). I finish it off with one of the hair sprays from Intelligent Nutrients.
    Low poo: Intelligent Nutrients (IN) Harmonic; Oribe Cleansing Creme
    RO: IN Harmonic
    LI: CJ Beauticurls; Jessicurl (JC) Gelebration Spray
    DC: JC Deep Conditioning Treatment; Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Oil
    Stylers: JC Confident Coils; IN Volumizing Spray; IN Perfect Hold Hairspray; John Masters Sea Mist; Bumble Bb. Gel; Kenra Firm-Hold Gel; Sevi Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Spray
    Low-porosity 2a/b baby-fine hair
  • ThePoetryOf_TressesThePoetryOf_Tresses Registered Users, Curl Ambassador Posts: 13 Curl Neophyte
    Therese1, thank you!

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