|What my poor little curls and coils have become :-(|
안녕하세여, my fellow curlies!
In my last post (19 March), I gave y'all the deets about school, spirituality and this blubbery body of mine that had been going on since I vanished from the intrawebs. Like any good naturalista, I'm sure that you're wondering what was going on with my hair at that time (above is a photo of the chaos that ensued o_O). Instead of writing the next great American novel by describing things in painstaking detail, I'll just go through each step of my regimen and let you know what went on during these two months, and some recent product favorites (or not-so-favorites lol).
We begin with the all important deep conditioner (DC):
This seems to be the aspect of my regimen with which I have the least amount of trouble. I can pretty much take any conditioner, add oils and honey/molasses (or assorted produce), leave it on overnight, and have great results in the AM. I tried and really enjoyed the Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab Volumizing Conditioner as a DC; the fragrance was a little too strong for my liking (especially after leaving it on overnight), but it had pretty good slip, and I think that it really helped with fortifying my fine strands without giving it that dry, "proteiny" feel that I get from using protein treatments. I got about 4.5 uses out of it, which is pretty good for a 12 oz product (in my mind, anyway). I'd repurchase this as long as I was doing some finger detangling before washing, not as an overnight DC - but only because of how strong the fragrance is to me. Currently, I'm using the Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi All Natural Deep Conditioner, which I also like so far. It's nice and thick, but easier to spread if I apply it to wet hair. I can also do a bit of finger detangling with this in my hair (pre-wash), and I love how it plumps up and elongates my curls overnight. The aroma of this DC can be weird if you aren't used to the smell of Melaleuca (tea tree) oil. My mom used to use a Melaleuca oil mix for our cuts and scrapes, so the aroma was familiar to me; it just seemed a bit odd to have it in my hair. But I've gotten more used to it over the couple of weeks that I've been using it. It is a tad strong, though, so I doubt that I'll be repurchasing it after I use it up.
Now, onto cleansing/shampooing:
Ugh. This is now probably one of my least favorite parts of my wash days. Remember how I had that nice little cleansing cowash mix? Well, I ran out of AVJ, and I couldn't find that VO5 Tea Therapy condish at any other store (I bought it in Essex, but I have never seen it in any drugstores or grocery stores in MoCo! o_O). So I decided to just try regular cowashing - which was a huge mistake. My scalp is very sensitive to buildup, and no matter how well I rinsed with warm water, my scalp would feel gunky and dirty within a few days. I tried going back to my beloved Yes to Cucumbers poo, but the same thing began to happen - that gross, dirty feeling after a few days. To my horror, scalp zits started popping up in random spots, and they hurt like the dickens. Recently, I did a 2.5:1 blend of vinegar:conditioner with Suave Tropical Coconut, and even as much vinegar was in there, it still didn't cleanse my scalp to my satisfaction. I even bought the As I Am Coconut Cowash, with the same result (on top of having all that tangerine extract [citrus in any form isn't especially great for my body - inside or out]). I have had just about enough of this sulphate-free shampoo and cowashing crap, to be honest. My hair likes it, but my scalp is suffering. I took a look at what I've been using to cleanse, and I realised that I need a plain, ol' fashioned shampoo that doesn't have any botanical extracts or infusions (which are all potential irritants for me), plant oils, or any other frills. If it's a sulphate free poo, I'd like it to be simple - 4 or 5 gentle cleansers (I like disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate and cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine), polyquaternium-7 or -10 (for a bit of conditioning), and vitamins B and E (panthenol and tocopherol acetate, respectively). No irritants, extracts, infusions, nothing. But, it seems like the only shampoos like that are sulphate poos. So I'll be breaking CG protocol and going back to my Paula's Choice shampoo, simply because it's the least irritating. One of the CN ladies also told me about KeraCare's sulphate-free shampoo, which looks as if it has similar ingredients to Paula's Choice. I'll have to look more into it, but for now, sulphates here I come! I'm ready for my scalp to actually be CLEANED (not cleansed) this weekend :-D
It's not so much the conditioning part of this that has me frustrated, but the detangling that's driving me positively bonkers. I'm still using and loving the TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture condish, but I switched back over to finger detangling during my intrawebs sabbatical. Ehh...huge mistake. My curls and coils need the many nylon bristles of a Denman to remove nearly every shed hair from between them. Plus, it was just taking way too long to detangle my hair! I do not want to spend an hour in the shower trying to remove shed hairs with my fingers - that is NOT the business. So, I said to heck with Massey and bought a Beautique styling brush (Sally's Denman D4 knockoff) the other day from Sally's (I only bought it because my Denman D3 had mysteriously disappeared -__-). I tested it on a section of my hair last night, and hunty-chile, lemme tell you that my little curls were singing with joy when I ran that brush through! The additional 2 rows somehow seemed to make combing easier, and the definition was killer. Umm, yeah. Definitely never doing full out finger detangling again. Also, I think I'd to look for a few more combing/moisturizing conditioners. TRESemme Naturals is my boo thang, don't get me wrong, but I want to branch out a bit more in this area. I'm looking into the Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk condish, ShiKai Natural Everyday condish, and a few of the Nature's Gate conditioners.
This seems to have gone from good to bad to worse. I was loving that Xcess gel from my Dollar Tree; it was super easy to spread and had good hold. But then I heard about the HE Set Me Up gel, and I went crazy. It's a hard hold gel (which I like), but now I get all of this buildup, and whenever I shake my head, countless little white flakes fly onto my shoulders and surrounding items. It's really disgusting. I got so frustrated that I made a batch of flaxseed gel and might try that instead of HE. I still like the Taliah Waajid PMB; once I got the hang of spritzing it on my hair, it felt great and slippery. I also tried the Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Moisture Mist as a liquid leave in, which is good. It's not as creamy and moisturizing as the PMB, but it has silk protein high on the ingredients list (3rd after water, I believe), so I like to concentrate it on my ends. My creamy leave ins have been good, too. The SM Curl & Style Milk is still my tried and true absolute most favorite creamy leave in. I gave the Nuance Argan Oil Glossing conditioner a go, and wow! It worked just like I imagined it would - slippery, uber-moisturizing (with lots of infused oils), and it gave me great shine, too. The fragrance was a little out there, but overall, I liked it.
Overall, the big thing that I seem to have garnered from the past 2 months is the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." I changed so many aspects of my routine solely based on the fact that somebody else did it. But c'est la vie - sometimes we have to learn the hard way.
I'm definitely going to give the CG method a rest for a few months, get back to the basics that I know and just simplify my regimen. I'll continue to report back at least monthly for updates on how my hair's faring with this change.
What aspects of your hair regimen have been working well for you? Is there anything that you're rethinking/re-evaluating?