Natural for ten years, but it's all new to me!

4bwomyn4bwomyn Registered Users Posts: 7
Hiya Ladies.... (fair warning, this is going to be Looooooonnnnggg)

Okay - a little background. I haven't had a perm since Feb of 97, I think it was. When my hair was permed, it was cut very, very short - in a pixie style cut. After I stopped perming (because I looked like a wet cat) I went to braids, and then in 2000, starting locking my hair with the latchhook method. I just recently took my locs out because they were becoming super thin and hard - I think it was because I was latching them a little too tight.

So - my hair is - interesting. My curl type is tight, tiny, coils - the hair I shed tends to be found in a perfectly flat spiral about the size of a coffee stirrer. But - sometimes it'll be almost perfectly straight, with just a little bit of an S-shaped wave in it. My hair is also VERY soft - when I was perming, I could never KEEP a curl in my head without using immense amounts of setting lotion. And - while I have a lot of strands of hair - the strands themselves are amazingly fine (thus the wetcat look when I was perming - all that gives my hair it's 'body' is the curls). My hair is about 6-8 inches long, but it looks to be about 3-4 inches once the curl has tightened back up.

My thing is - I have no CLUE of how to take care of my hair! I've been natural for almost ten years, but I always managed to avoid actually DEALING with my hair. I've tried reading posts on here, but there are so many products/procedures that I don't know where to start - and I don't have the budget to go to the salon twice a month, or to become a product junkie.

My usual haircare process is to wash with Pantene, then double condition - once with Mud (something random I picked up at Sallys, but I like), and once with Pantene Color Protector (I dyed my hair the same weekend I finished taking my locs out - about a month ago). After it dries a bit, I put in some African Royale M.O.M, and then twist into double or single strand twists with a very light waterbased gel (I can't remember the name off the top of my head). *sigh* As you can imagine, this process takes MOST of a full day to complete (7 hours alone just to twist my hair). I try to stretch the twists to last two weeks, but because of how soft my hair is, the twists get flattened (or start coming out) within a week. I tend to get my hair soaking wet at least three times a week, and remoisturize with Netrogena Triple Silk Moisturizer each time I wet it.
No matter how lovely and soft and springy my hair is in the morning, by the late afternoon it's dry and stiff. I would very much LIKE to wear it loose, but because of the tightness of the curl, the ends tangle & knot around each other in an instant, and it's impossible (and destructive) to attempt to comb out OR style unless it's soaking wet and has conditioner in it. But at the same time, it's so SOFT, that it almost needs something to 'stiffen it up' in order to stay in any sort of style.

So - a few main questions
1) Is there a product that I can use (I'm almost to the point of considering a texturizer, but because of how soft and fine my hair is, I'm afraid I'd end up with a perm) that will actually KEEP my hair soft and gently kinky, without leaving Soul-Glo type wet spots everywhere I go?
2) What exactly is the No-Poo process?? Do ya'll just shampoo infrequently (I usually washed my locs about once a month, but conditioned twice a month, and rinsed them with water every other day) or do ya'll really NOT use shampoo at all? And what's the point?
3) What's a REALLY good moisturizer? I honestly think that is the core of most of my 'issues', as I LOVE my hair when it's wet - and I mean REALLLLLLLLY wet, and because it's been colored (bleached, then dyed) I know that it needs the extra love.

Shhheeeweee did I ramble on!!! Thanks for ANY help you can give me.

If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical to not use it.


  • jazzijenni81jazzijenni81 Registered Users Posts: 529
    hi kiya!

    you have alot of concerns! is it possible to post a pic of your hair? that would give us a headstart and we could go from there :D
    loose 4a, silky meets cottony
    routine: co-wash, add leave in or plain water, shake & go
    staples: elucence poo & conditioners, V05 & suave naturals, jessicurl too shea, AO.
  • 4bwomyn4bwomyn Registered Users Posts: 7

    Yes, I certainly will!! As soon as I get home tonight, I'll take some pictures of it dry. I think I have some wet pictures lingering around from when I dyed it.
    I have learned though - in the brief time since I posted that message - that my hair is DISTINCTLY 4b.

    This picture from crazycoil is my hair to a T - except for the color! And - ya know, I think that might be my natural color. *LOL*

    If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical to not use it.
  • 4bwomyn4bwomyn Registered Users Posts: 7
    Okay - here is a picture of my hair - loose and wet. It's kinky enough that it will NOT lay down flat - at all. Once it dries, it shrinks to about half of this length - and this length is about half the length of my hair fully stretched out.

    If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical to not use it.
  • PsychePsyche Registered Users Posts: 90
    Hi 4bwomyn, love the hair color it goes so well with your skin tone. Maybe your hair becomes tangled at the ends and hard because of the coloring process. I know hair dye changes the normal feel of the hair and bleach would make it feel worse. Using a conditioner made for color treated hair usually softens it up.

    I believe no-poo is 'washing' the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo.

    You could wet your hair and then try using products like carefree curl or wave nuveau--not the perm but the activator spray or cream since they are super hydrating. You could also use curl activator gel. Those kinds of products may help you retain that wet look you said you love.

    p.s. I also had locks that I maintained with the latchook method but I wasn't patient enough to take them out (trust me i tried) so I had to cut them off and start from scratch.
  • jazzijenni81jazzijenni81 Registered Users Posts: 529
    i think qhemet products would be great for you! i use them on my mother's hair and they are awesome :)

    cactus leave in and lily of the desert aloe jelly are my favorite moisturizers.
    loose 4a, silky meets cottony
    routine: co-wash, add leave in or plain water, shake & go
    staples: elucence poo & conditioners, V05 & suave naturals, jessicurl too shea, AO.

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