A thread to discuss the haircuts, methods and products associated with naturally curly hair.
The struggle is real! I went through hair hell with similar issues when my ultra lightweight leave-in air dry cream got discontinued. Anything else I was using for moisture made my curls look dirty and weighed down, not shiny and bouncy.
I finally found this stuff, which is not even for curly hair, or air drying. A tiny pea sized amount combed through wet hair, then gel, scrunching, air drying and breaking the cast leaves my curls clean and shiny again instead of all bleh. I have no idea if it will work for anyone else. This curly hair stuff is so random.
Thanks Skwigg! I'll give it a go, especially since L'Oreal products aren't too expensive. I'm thinking that a product with protein would help anyway, as when I do have a decent wash my curls look pretty limp. I don't know what the heck happened with the Kinky Curly custard stuff, because usually my hair ends up pretty soft once I scrunch it out but it was like someone dumped a bucket of Elmer's glute on my head. I swam, washed it out, and reverted back to the Aussie Instant Freeze and it was a much better experience. Again though, limpish curls and softness but not much hold. There has to be a happy medium in there somewhere! You're right though -everyone's hair is different and even then sometimes what you use one day won't turn out the same on the next wash just depending on humidity, weather, a tweak in style, etc. People with straight hair will never know the struggle 😁
I am in such a weird place right now where I go from bawling my eyes out over our cat to needing (wanting) to distract myself. My daughter started her last year of middle school today and it’s my son’s last day of elementary tomorrow so it’s safe to say I am a basket case.
I have decided to distract myself with curly hair stuff and ask if anyone else has ever had this issue. My hair is definitely thin and fine - I think it would be considered low density? Or maybe low porosity… I can’t remember the difference. I find that I can’t use too many products at once because I get the gunky product feel and it’s either stiff and sticky or gooey.
I’m liking the Innersense conditioner I’ve been using for a while and I try not to rinse it all out completely. I find that when I do my hair is too dry but if I rinse it all out and use a cream or leave in + gel I get the gunky feel. I normally use Aussie Instant freeze after my shower - so a bit of conditioner left in plus Aussie gel raked and smoothed in and then scrunched. Last night I switched to Kinky curly curling custard, which I also like, but I may have gone too heavy handed. Normally my hair feels soft when I scrunch it out but today it felt like straw. If I try a curl crèam with a gel it’s too much product but I feel like I need something for my hair to be soft otherwise when I scrunch out the cast my hair feels super dry and brittle.
Not sure where I’m going with this.. I was also wondering about glycerin as I’ve heard that can be drying? I think there is glycerin in the Aussie stuff but not sure about the kinky curly.
No worries @sunshine ! Thanks for letting me know about glycerin and what you said totally makes sense. I was curious to see if the products I'm currently using have it listed as an ingredient but I didn't see it on there. Granted, there might be other words that mean glycerin but don't actually say it. :)
@Hayley sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you about glycerin!
For me, glycerin, and any other humectant, dries out my hair in really dry and cold weather, and in humid weather is makes my hair frizzy. Today, for example, our humidity was oddly high at 86% and the products that I used had glycerin and I had a frizzy poofy mess. It was actually quite humorous! lol. And when it's dry, if my products have glycerin, my curls fall and my hair literally flies away with static.
I really try not to use anything with glycerin high on the ingredient list (in the first 5 ingredients) but sometimes I impulse buy things that other people rave about (like AG ReCoil) and hope that the glycerin won't be a problem. It always is though.
Curly hair.... you never know what you're going to get lol
I literally LOL at your last comment. I'm actually still smiling as I type this because I honestly don't know where else I can have these random discussions about my hair. 😆 Truly - the struggle is real. My straight-haired friends (which I realize now are about 99.9% of them) will never understand.
It makes sense not to switch products, despite seasonal changes, if you find something that works. I've always noticed that I need to use more/less of something depending on if it's summer or winter, but I've never gone from some hold to zero hold in a matter of days. What's interesting is that I started thinking exactly what you wrote - in many ways I'd rather have more frizz and touchable hair than "perfectly" (that will never happen) defined curls that don't move. Or they move a little bit but full like straw. So while my hair may have looked quite a bit frizzier after my dog walk it still felt really, really soft which I did enjoy. We can't have it all, right? 😂
I will say that last night before I applied my gel in the shower I wrung out quite a bit more water and I definitely noticed more hold. It was still nice and soft once I messed with it a bit and removed some of the crunch but we'll see how it goes today. Usually when I take it out of a pineapple pony tail once I get home from the gym I have to use a lot of water to prevent it from looking like I have a beehive. I like the idea of using some styling balm so that I'm not completely rinsing out all of the product. That makes sense! Despite the fact that so much of this curly haired stuff doesn't..LOL.
I don't have any brilliant solutions, @Hayley. The struggle is real. I have never been able to switch products with the seasons. I need a lot of hold and frizz control in summer humidity, but I need that just as much in rainy, slushy, snowy winter too, even if the air inside is dry. Even using the same products, my hair will look different with the seasons. It curls up tighter and has more volume in the summer. Curls are longer and looser in winter. Some frizz happens no matter what. I can't remember which curly girl influencer said it, but "frizz is softness." I love that. Trying to completely eliminate frizz results in a weird plastic curl helmet kind of a look that can't be touched, experience wind, or get wet. I'm looking for much more of a touchable, wearable, wash-n-go situation, which means it will get a little frizzy or puffy at times. Actually, if it completely fuzzes out (LOL), I have learned that rather than spraying water on it (my old go-to move), if I get some styling balm on my hands, I can pick up and twist individual curls to create some definition where there was none. Then, I smooth whatever is left across the top of my head to flatten the fluff.
I'm glad we can have these discussions. 🤣
I feel like I am in a curly hair conundrum again. It seems like I find something that works fairly well, stick with that routine for a while, then I wash my hair again and suddenly things stop working. I generally find this to be the case when the seasons change and I have to switch out products, but it has still been fairly cold with low humidity, so I’m not sure what’s going on. ￼￼ About a week ago I noticed that I was doing my usual routine of using clarifying shampoo, and the conditioner Skwigg said she uses (Aussie brand) because I liked how soft it made my hair feel, followed up with a kinky curly girl curling custard. Then, suddenly I noticed my hair wasn’t having any hold. It would feel incredibly soft, which I loved, except as soon as I’d go outside to do anything, it would get very frizzy and puffy, despite the fact that the humidity is still low. I tried several more wash attempts to see if I’ve done something differently with applications, but the results were the same. I tried using a different gel, but still very little hold. I thought maybe I was rinsing out too much of the product (I do like to apply it when my hair is soaking wet in the shower), so I applied my gel outside of the shower on less soaking wet hair. This definitely gave me more hold but I had less curl definition and more frizz. I thought maybe it was a protein imbalance (I’ve read that when your curls start feeling really soft and you don’t have a lot of hold or definition it means you need more protein). So I went back to using the innersense curl radiance conditioner, and while I love the results, I have no hold and know that my hair will probably look very frizzy again in two hours. It seems like as long as I stay inside my climate controlled house eerything is fine but that is definitely not realistic 😆
I decided to go back to what was working for my hair and put the notion that nobody else's hair routine works exactly the same for everyone else. 😁 I will say that the Aussie conditioner is phenomenal - my hair felt like silk afterwards! Who knew such an inexpensive product could provide such great results.
I think leaving in some conditioner and using the curling custard is what gives me the best results (for now) as does applying it to soaking wet hair in the shower. I tried styling upside down again and it was kind of a mess. I gave it the ole college try and I might try again in the future but for now I guess I'll stick with what's working. I still haven't quite figured out how to lift up my roots and the hair at the back of my head (and it's kind of embarrassing because I feel like I have a bald spot back there - my hair is so fine - but I can work on it in the future. I also realize that when seasons change I will probably have to redo everything again. LOL Either way it's still a fun topic to talk about!
I literally just wipe gel across the back of my head with both hands. Length and ends first, then the back of my head, then the scalp and roots after I’ve already gotten rid of most of the gel elsewhere. So, I’m touching all of the strands with gel, but I’m not combing through it with my fingers or breaking up the strands that I made with the anti-frizz cream and big tooth comb.
Two other thoughts come to mind. Nobody else’s curly hair routine has ever worked for me exactly. I take bits and pieces. A whole lot of stuff doesn’t work. The other thing is that even when I find the perfect product combination, I can get wildly different results depending on how wet my hair is, how much product i use, and how I dry it.
For awhile there, I was getting dry ends and no hold because my hair was too wet when I applied product, therefore the product all slid off and down the drain. But then if your hair has too little water when you apply product, you don’t get ringlets. It’s weighed down and dirty looking with no definition.
It warms my heart that other curly-haired people are just as confuzzled about all this as I am, and that everyone is sharing info. We are not alone. LOL
I tried Skwigg's hair routine last night (upside down application of products in the shower, although my hair was probably more soaking wet) and I was really pleased with the results. Granted my family would probably look at my hair and not notice a single change, but I definitely felt like I had more volume and movement (as opposed to it being plastered to my head). I wasn't able to find Biotera Gel so I used what I had on hand, which was Badabing gel and I think has a really strong hold. The downsides were that the back of my head didn't have any hold - I'm not quite sure how to apply the gel to the top part of the back of my head when it's upside down.
Here's what I ended up with last night:
Unfortunately this morning it felt really dry and straw-like. I didn't notice that when I scrunched out the gel last night - it definitely felt soft - but this morning it was super stiff. I'm not sure if that's the gel or maybe I didn't apply enough curl cream? I realize so much of this is individual, too, and what works well for one person's hair may not work for another. Kind of like food, exercise, diets... 🤣
I discovered a couple of things: 1) Garnier products are not easily found in stores around here (at least not the Smooth Air Dry) and Garnier Curl refresher is NOT the same thing as Curl Renew. I bought the former as I couldn't find the latter and I assumed they'd be similar. I sprayed the Curl Refresher on dry hair (that I plan on washing tonight) to test it out and now I can barely get a finger through my hair it is so stiff. That will be going back to the store 😬 I'll check out Amazon for curl renew as I can't seem to find it anywhere else.
Thanks for the info on the conditioner! Right now I'm using a generic sally beauty supply one and sometimes the leave-in, which my hair seems to enjoy. Although I'm not sure a leave-in+curl cream+gel would do well together...seems like a lot of product?
Have you noticed your hair sticking to the back of your head when you flip back over after applying upside down? Not sure if that makes sense. Like when I put my head right side up the underneath pieces are all stuck and clumpy.
Also, what kind of conditioner does everyone like? Not sure if this has been mentioned. I can always scroll back 😊
Any kind of upside down drying helps with getting volume at the roots. Although, since mine is getting longer, I part it and let it lie flat. That seems so weird, but is definitely easier. For years, I didn’t part and just kind of stood everything up with my fingers. That no longer works once there’s enough weight on the the strands from the extra length. Every day is a new adventure.
I'm wondering if maybe towel drying upside down helps with getting the hair to unstick from the head? I might try that next time just to see what happens. I do prefer the volume I get in the roots when I've attempted to style/dry that way. For me it always seems like there's a trade off - if I want my roots to look decent I have to forgo the rest of my hair. If I want the bottom 2/3 of my hair of my hair to look good I have to forgo the roots. The sacrifices we make in life 🤣
Yes, I apply cream and gel upside down, scrunch water with hands, then towel dry. There is an art to how much water is in your hair when you apply product. Too much, and you wash away all the product, too little and you can’t get the defined strands to happen.
After a quick towel dry, I part it and pick up or twist any pieces that are flat or misbehaving. Curly hair dries exactly like it looks wet, so I have to make sure nothing weird is happening. It’s such a production. LOL
I do the same with putting products on soaking wet hair in the shower. Do you apply both cream and gel upside down and then scrunch out water with hands & towel upside down? That's the only thing I haven't quite figured out. I've tried all the tricks and trades of "rolling your head from front to back" and using chopsticks to "lift" hair off the roots and back but it still looks too plastered to my scalp.
I've also discovered that wetting my hair on the second day hair is both a help and a hindrance. Help in that when I take it out of my pony tail pineapple I can get get it to look a bit more presentable, but hindrance in that it washes out all the product. I haven't tried any sort of reactivating product other than water+conditioner in a spray bottle so maybe I'll check out Curl Renew.
And yes - I always think, "best laid plans" when it comes to styling my hair. Every time is a surprise. 😂
I put the Garnier Smooth Air Dry on freshly washed, wet hair. By wet hair, I mean I squeeze the water out of it but don’t towel dry before I apply the cream. Still upside down in the shower, I work it through with my fingers and then big-tooth comb my hair to separate it into chunky strands. I apply Bioterra gel (pretty strong hold) to seal the strands. After those two products are in, I scrunch any remaining water out with my hands and lightly towel dry. I basically just hold the towel to my head for 30 seconds or so to absorb water, no scrubbing it around. Then it air dries in crunchy ringlets, and I break them up before leaving the house.
I’ve also learned that I should resist the urge to wet second-day hair to refresh it. That makes frizz. I can spray some Garnier Curl Renew on second-day hair, revive the curls, and the anti-frizz cream will still be doing it’s thing from the day before. Third day, it all gets shampooed again, or at least very wet and products reapplied.
That’s my current routine anyway. As curly girls know, it can all change in an instant. 🤣
Is it weird that I get really excited when a new post pops up in this thread? It's always fun reading about everyone's experiences with what hair products do/do not work. Maybe it's discovering that the cheaper ones are preferable to expensive 😁
I'm curious about the Garnier Smooth Airy Dry frizz cream? Do you use it in combination with a gel or stand alone? I ask because most of what I read says you're supposed to combine curl cream with a gel but every time I try that my hair feels super gunky and weighed-down. I started using some leave-in conditioner because it's so dry and then a gel, although the "gel" is curling custard and I don't really know what that means.
@sunshine that's probably true about the chlorine in my hair providing a sort of "cleansing" application. I definitely find I have to seriously switch things up between summer and winter. I'm swimming daily in the summer and really don't use a shampoo (although that was partially because I thought I wasn't supposed to do anything but co-wash) but come winter+no swimming and all of a sudden my hair is brittle gunk. The shampooing has definitely helped with that, but I still struggle with some dryness. I guess it's trial and error, but I'm really interested in the curl cream.
I love it when a product provides hold and when you "scrunch the crunch" you're left with softness. In the past I've had either zero hold to get some softness or lots of hold with straw-like hair.
Also, what does glycerin do to your hair?
Skwigg I am right there with you in preferring cheaper products to more expensive ones. The lower and simpler the ingredient list on shampoo, conditioner, and styler, the better it works for me. I find that so many of the more expensive products have super-long ingredient lists. In addition, they all seem to have humectants, like glycerin, way up high in the ingredient list. I know that curly hair likes moisture, but personally, the ongoing draw of moisture from the humectants in products just causes a big poofy mess for me and I’m only wavy-haired!
Is this the Air Dry Cream you like?
I am on the market for a new cream. I purchased AG ReCoil but, in addition to being quite expensive, it had glycerin high up in the ingredient list. Ugh.
I love your hair Skwigg and think you could definitely pull off a similar hairstyle as Andie MacDowell.
Hailey, I bet the chlorine in the pool was providing a cleansing effect during the summer. I was jumping in the lake multiple times a day this summer, but it still needed frequent washing. When I used to swim in my parents' pool as a teen, I could go a while without shampoo, but I needed more leave-in to help with the drying effects of the chlorine.
My current favourite products are all cheap. The most expensive things are the shampoo and conditioner which are about $7 when not on sale. My gel is $3 a bottle. The expensive leave-in conditioner and the AG ReCoil I bought are more expensive and my hair looks and feels worse with them than with my $3 gel. I’m using them though because I hate to waste.
Just want to say that despite having only wavy hair at best, I read every word of your curly girl novels. :) Agreed that the cheap drugstore stuff is the best - I like Garnier too.