Monday, October 15, 2012

How to Diagnose Hair

Thanks to all the members of the Wavy Hair Community who gave me input on this post.

Diagnosing your hair is a tricky business, but at some point we all will have to do it.  I recommend that people do not use cones in the beginning stages of CG until you get to know your hair.  Using cones just gives you one more variable to consider when diagnosing hair.  It is complicated enough when you are learning to read your hair without the extra variable.

Smart people introduce one product at a time.  That way if there is a problem, it is easier to figure out what caused it.  I have a bad habit of trying several things at one time.  Do as I say, not as I do.

Change in Dew Points
Your very first question when diagnosing hair should always be "Have my dew points changed recently?".  You may be suddenly getting frizz because you are using products with glycerin and the dew points changed from normal to high.  Or, you may have dry hair because your dew points suddenly dropped to low and you need more moisturizing products.   

Over Conditioned:
If you your hair is over conditioned it may be very soft, mushy, gummy,dull, flyaway, lacking bounce, the bottom half of your waves may lack definition.  Your waves will be weak, sad, and wimpy. This link has a pic of over conditioned hair (needing protein). Over conditioned hair streeeeeeeeeetches in the stretch test but does not return to it's original shape.  I've heard over conditioned hair described as cotton candy hair.  I have no idea what that means, but I imagine if you have cotton candy hair, you know it.
HOW TO FIX IT:  Use only minimum moisture to detangle and use more protein, do more PTs until you are back to normal.  A sulfate wash may speed things along.

Too much protein:
Hair is straw-like, rough and brittleUnlike hair that needs moisture, when hair has too much protein it feels hard, especially when wet.  This link has a pic of hair with too much protein.  In some cases hair gets straighter with too much protein and possibly very soft.  It may feel greasy.

HOW TO FIX IT:  Do deep treatment.  Avoid protein and keep adding moisture until your hair is back to normal.

Dry, needs moisture:
 It is dry, straw-like, rough and brittle.Dry hair is very dull.  Lack of moisture causes frizz, especially in the outer layers.  Hair that lacks moisture does not stretch and breaks quickly in the stretch test (Hair that needs protein will also break quickly in the stretch test.) Your hair may not clump well, lack definition, and tangle easily.

Did you recently add a new product that might be drying your hair?  Ingredients that can cause dryness include, but aren't limited to:  Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)  drying alcohols (like the kind in hairspray),  and ACV rinses. Most hairsprays and mousses can be drying.  Glycerin and other humectants can be drying in low dews.

HOW TO FIX IT:  Deep Treatments, lots of moisture.  Stop using any products that are drying hair.  See my post on how to deal with dry hair.

Needs protein:
Limp curls that lack bounce.  Waves that don't seem to be able to support themselves.  Your hair may be frizzy, lack shine, lack definition, and may not clump properly.  Hair that needs protein will break quickly in the stretch test.  (Hair that needs moisture will also break in the stretch test.)  When hair needs protein, it snaps when you pull your fingers through it, even though you are using plenty of conditioner/moisturizing ingredients.
HOW TO FIX IT:  Do protein treatments and/or add protein to your daily routine.

Needs Protein and Moisture.
Keep in mind that your hair may be low on both protein AND moisture, especially in the beginning stages of CG.  It might not be either/or, it could be both.

Product build up:
If your hair has product build up it has frizz that looks like you rubbed your hair with a balloon or stuck your finger in a light socket.   Your hair looks heavy and coated and has a fake shine.  It looks wet when dry.  It is limp and weighed down. It may look dull.  Product build up tends to show up slowly after the addition of a new product.
Even if you only use CG products, you can get build up.  What will cause build up on your hair may not build up on other people.  Conditioner can adsorb (stick) to the outside of hair and build up.  Other things that can build up include, but aren't limited to silicones, polyquats, aloe, shea, jojoba oil, castor oil, mineral oil, and petrolatum.

HOW TO FIX IT:  If the build up is waxy build up or hard water build up, an apple cider vinegar rinse or citric acid rinse will remove the build up.  If you don't normally low poo, try a low poo.  If you low poo on a regular basis, use a sulfate shampoo to reset your hair.  Some people find they need to continuously rotate products to prevent product build up.

Hard Water Build Up-   An ACV rinse or a Citric acid rinse will remove some hard water build up.  To remove lots of hard water build up, you will need a cheleating shampoo.  Cheleating shampoos usually say "hard water" or "swimmer's" on the name or label.  They usually contain EDTA.  Swimmers and Hard Water shampoos are most often sulfate shampoos.  I use the Ion Hard Water shampoo once a month.  It is technically a low poo, but contains C 14-16 Olefin Sulfate, which some find to be as harsh or worse then any sulfate. 

Links with more info on diagnosing hair
The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balance for Black Hair Care
Pittsburgh Curly:  Protein vs. Moisture (linked above)
Curltalk Thread:  How to gauge your hair's condition?
The Long Hair Community:  What's wrong with my hair? (broken link?)
Curltalk Thread:  Learning to read your hair?  (post 4)

The Long Hair Community link appears to be broken. From what I can remember (I haven't read it in years), it suggested you do a single sulfate wash, don't use conditioner, and then access your hair's condition.  I'll leave the link here in case there it is just temporarily broken.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to Read the Label, Part 2

How do I find ingredient lists?
Ingredient lists online are often incorrect because they are rarely updated.  Make sure you double check the label on the bottle before you buy it., and are websites that have ingredient lists posted.  Another option is to do a search for Name of Product and the word Ingredients.

What is this ingredient?  
You can do a google search for the name of the ingredient and that should give you the answer to what it does.  Or, this link lists ingredients found in hair care products in their respective categories.

Check to make sure you aren't buying a base with fragrance added.
If  you are buying a product from an ETSY seller or a small online business, make sure you aren't paying a premium for a premixed base with some fragrance added.  In 2010 some of the smart wavies and curlies on figured out that many of the products they were buying from online sellers were premixed bases with much higher prices. One woman found she had purchased the same exact base under different names from different sellers.  These threads are old, but they give you some examples of what I'm talking about.
Hair Products and their Bases (list many products and their equivalent bases)
Essential Wholesale Co-op (see post # 2, it lists a few products and their corresponding bases)
This thread was known to me as Duchess of Curls Gate.  Duchess of Curls, a popular curl enhancer at the time, currently sells for  $15 for 8oz.  It is Essential Wholesale Simple Aloe Jelly with some lavender added.  The Essential Wholesale base sells for 16oz for $7.40 or $14.65 for a half gallon. So, for slightly less money, you can get a half gallon instead of 8 oz and then add your own lavender scent.
To make sure you are not paying too much for a repackaged base, do a google search for your product's ingredients and see what pops up.  If you find many other products and/or a ingredient supply website, the product is probably a premixed base.  You may be willing to pay more for the convenience of a smaller bottle, but you should know what your options are.

Same Product Different Name
Keep an eye out for lookalike products.  The lookalikes are likely to come from hair companies owned by the same parent company (like Proctor and Gamble).  You don't want to have a product not work for your hair and then buy the same product again with different herbal extracts added.  Here are two links that have examples.
Beauty Brains: Are You Cheated When a Company Sells You the Same Product Under Different Names?  
Curltalk thread.  Page 2 posts 21 and 25 
And my post on look alike Aussie, Pantene, and Herbal Essences gel, A Gel By Any Other Name...

Salon vs. Drugstore
If you read the labels, you will find that the ingredients in salon products sound about the same as the ones in drugstore products.  Yes, formulation can make a difference, but IMHO you are usually paying for marketing when you buy a salon product.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How to Read the Label: Part 1

Unfortunately reading ingredients labels isn't always as straight forward as it seems. I do want to restate that I'm not an ingredients expert.  I don't have a chemistry degree.  I only know what I've read on the internet. 

The first thing you should know is the ingredients are listed in descending order on the back of a bottle.  (at lest in theory, more on this later)  The first ingredient listed is the ingredient there is the most of,  and the last ingredient listed is the ingredient there is the least of.

The first five ingredients.  
The first five ingredients will make up most of the product.  In conditioner, shampoo, and leave-in conditioner, water makes up 50-80% of the product.  If the first ingredient isn't water, be very suspicious of the product label's accuracy.  If water were not the first ingredient in a conditioner, it would look and feel very different then your average conditioner..  If you consider your product is mostly water, there isn't a lot of room left for other ingredients.  (see the first link) The first five ingredients make up the loin's share of your bottle.  Do you count the water when you count the first five ingredients?  Some say yes and some say no.  I really don't know if you should count it or not. 
The Natural Haven:  Why do the first five ingredients on a hair product matter?
The Natural Haven:  First five ingredients Q & A
Beauty Brains:  How Can I Tell the Percentage of Ingredient in Cosmetics?

Locate the preservative and fragrance on the label. 
Scan the ingredient list for fragrance and for the ingredient that is the preservative.  Anything listed after fragrance or the preservative will be a very small amount.  If the fancy ingredient you are eying is listed after the preservative or fragrance, it is just a marketing ploy.

A list of preservatives is found in this link.  The link lists ingredients commonly found in hair care products.
Butyl paraben, Diazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Ethyl paraben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Isobutyl paraben, Methyl paraben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Propyl paraben, Sodium benzoate

Now I'm going to begin to talk about how labels sometimes lie or fudge the truth.  This includes products from national companies that are sold in big stores like Target and Walmart.

The Case of Garnier Fructis Triple  Nutrition (and lots products from other brands)
Charged with:  Front of the bottle claims not matching the ingredient list in the way you expect.

Let's look at Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Conditioner (old formula, no longer CG).


Water, cetearyl alcohol, palm oil, behentrimonium chloride, apple fruit extract, glycerin, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, niacinamide, pyridoxine hci, shea butter, citric acid, olive fruit oil, sugar cane extract, benzyl alcohol, chlorhexidine dihydrochloride, avocado oil, black currant seed oil, linalool, lemon peel extract, CI 19140, camellia sinensis leaf extract, CI 15985, parfum.

The front label says "with olive, avocado, and shea".   These are listed 12th, 14th, and 18th on the label.  There isn't a whole lot of these ingredients in there.  This old formula was a good product, but it wasn't the olive, avocado, and shea that made it great.  It was more likely the cetearyl alcohol, palm oil, and behentrimonium chloride that made it awesome.  Cetearyl alcohol, palm oil, and behentrimonium chloride doesn't sound special or sexy on the front label.  "Olive, avocado and shea" is just a marketing ploy.

A similar case is Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre Shampoo Treatment.  According to the link below, the product is less then 1% Avocado Oil, so naming it Avocado Butter is just marketing. It is common that the ingredient mentioned on the front of the label isn't high on the ingredient list.  Always look at the back of the bottle.
The Beauty Brains?  Should You Pre-poo with Burt's Bees?

The case of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle and Rose Conditioner
Charged with:  Making up names for ingredients

The rules are you have to list ingredients individually by their correct names.  You aren't allowed to put some ingredients together, make up a name for  them, and then put your made up name on the label.  For example, I couldn't mix water, cetearyl alcohol, and behentrimonium methosulfate and name the mixture "super natural mix 2000".  Then I could not list the first ingredient in my conditioner as "super natural mix 2000".  Aubrey Organics did this for years and years on the label of Honeysuckle and Rose Conditioner (they fixed the label this spring).  Their "super natural mix 2000" was called "coconut fatty acid cream base" and was listed as such on the label to make their conditioner appear more natural to the consumer.  Keep in mind when reading the ingredients below that most likely the formula has not changed (or not changed very much), only the way they list the ingredients.  Here are the two ways they were listed.

Old label:
Coconut Fatty Acid Cream Base, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) (Organic), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Jojoba Oil (Organic), Rosa Mosqueta (Organic), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Seed Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel) Extract, Hops, Balm Mint (Melissa Officinalis) Extract, Mistletoe (Viscum Album), Chamomila Recuita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Yarrow, Chrysanthemum, Angelica, Forsythia, Honeysuckle Oil, Carrot (Daucus Carota) Oil, Aubrey's Preservative (Citrus Seed Extract, Vitamin A, C, E)

New label:
Agua, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Cetyl Alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis, Glyceryl Linoleate, Glycerin, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Rosa Moschata Oil* (Rosa Mosqueta, Rose Hip Oil), Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel), Humulus Lupulus Extract, (Hops), Melissa Officinalis (Balm Mint) Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe), Anthemis Nobilis Extract (Roman Camomile), Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Angelica Acutiloba (Japanese Angelica) Extract, Forsythia Suspensa Fruit Extract, Magnolia Biondii (Magnolia)Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Oil , Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Daucus Carota Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit Oil), Retinyl Ac
etate (Vitamin A), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
The Natural Haven:  Aubrey Organics:  Ingredient Order Discrepancy?
The Natural Haven:  Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose:  Have the Ingredients Changed?

The Case of Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo
Charged With:  Not listing all of their ingredients on the label

IMHO, this is the worst crime.  One of the ingredients they did not list on the label is the preservative.  Preservatives are an ingredient people are likely to be allergic to.  When I posted the Beauty Brains link in a thread on Curltalk, a member said (not an exact quote) "that explains why my scalp hated it".  Shea Moisture appears to have left the thickener, pearlizer, and preservative off of the ingredient list. I assume they did this to make their product appear more natural then it is, but doing this is dangerous.  Shame on them. The link is short and explains this much better then I do.
Beauty Brains:  Is Shea Moisture Shampoo Missing Ingredients?

The Case of Several Giovanni Products
Charged with listing ingredients out of order

Giovanni is the formula-changingest company.  They are always coming out with new formulas, so I highly doubt this is a current formula for a conditioner.

Conditioner ingredients:
Aqua (Purified Water), Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Oil, Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Oil, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch Leaf (Butela Alba) Oil, Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis Flower) Oil, Clary (Salvia Sclarea), Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussilago Fargara), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Oil, Mallow (Malya Sylvestris), Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Oil, Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Stearalkonium Chloride, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Sodium Hydromethylglycinate, Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived)

If this were the correct formula with the ingredients listed in this order, the product would be unstable.  It would be around 70% oil.  If there were that much oil in it, it would look significantly different then your average conditioner.  Again, read the short link for a better explanation.  I'm no chemist.
Beauty Brains: Can You Spot a Natural Product by Reading the Ingredients?

The Case of Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo (and a good percentage of natural product labels)
Charged with:  Fudging the ingredient order to look more natural

My personal  name for the phenomena is the tea issue.  Essentially a manufacturer will make tea and use the tea to make conditioner instead of water.  Let's look at Aveda's label:

Shampoo Ingredients:
Aqueous Purified Water Extracts: Camellia Sinensis Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara Peel Extract (Bitter Orange), Astragalus Root (Membranaceus) Extract (Milk Vetch), Schizandra Chinensis Fruit Extract, Pinus Tabulaeformis Bark Extract (Pine), Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract (Grape), Sedum Rosea Root Extract, Rehmannia Chinensis Root Extract, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Lauramidopropyl Betaine, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Quaternium 80, PEG 7 Dimethicone C8-C18 Ester, Babassuamidopropyl Betaine, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Amyl Salicylate, Amyl Cinnamate, Lycopene, Lecithin, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Sucrose Palmitate, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Glycol Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Polyglyceryl 10 Oleate, Polyquaternium 7, Fragrance, Cistus Ladaniferus Oil, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Everything listed until  the ammonium lauryl sulfate in bold is just tea.  The herbal ingredients are basically brewed into the water to make an "herbal tea".  Other then the water, these ingredients should be listed at/near the end of the ingredient list.  When you count the first five ingredients for a product like this one, water is one and ammonium lauyrl sulfate is two.  Skip past the "tea" stuff when counting.  If the "tea" ingredients really were 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, etc. you would have a weird consistency.  Imagine opening a tea bag and stirring it into water.  These companies usually use words like "water with bla bla bla"  so they are technically telling the truth, but it is misleading to the uninformed consumer.  It makes a product appear more natural then it is. 

Beauty Brains:  Is Avada Really More Natural?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Can You Grow Your Hair Longer With the Curly Girl Method? My Results.

September 11
September 11
The first thing you should know is my hair has a short terminal length and grows very slowly. The pics from September 11 are the longest my hair had ever grown before the Curly Girl Method.  I've tried to grow long hair several times in my life (At the age of 5, 5th grade, High School, and in my late 20's).  In the past, as soon as I could feel my hair start to touch my shoulders, it  would break off.  My Grandma's had the same issues with her hair.  I think my Dad had the same issues with growing his hair in the early 70's, but he refuses to discuss this with me.  :)  I was hoping with the CG method and my new found knowledge about protein and moisture balance, I could gain some extra length.

December 11
December 11
 What is terminal length?  This link explains it in a few paragraphs.  If you are too lazy for all that readin', here is a shorter explanation:  You know how your hair on your arms only grows so long?  It stops because of genetically programmed terminal length.  Same goes for the hair on your head.  It only grows so long before it won't grow any longer.  I'm on the short end of the spectrum, but some people have a very long terminal length for their hair (think Crystal Gayle).  My plan was to stop breakage, split ends, etc.  so I can retain more of the length my genetically slow growing hair has the ability to grow.
April 12
April 12
I  cut my own hair which is a big part of my successfully growing my hair longer.  I trim very small amounts off the ends at one time, like an 1/16-1/8 inch at a time.  Doing these micro-trims means I was able to only trim about 3/4 inch total off the length last year.  Try to get your stylist to only trim a total of 3/4 inch in a year.  Probably not going to happen if you are like me and need 4-5 trims in a year.  The bad part of cutting your own hair and only doing small trims is I made a mistake cutting my hair last year (see side pics) and the mistake is still there because I won't cut off enough length to fix it.  To do the micro trims I take 1/16-1/8 inch sections of hair and trim 1/16-1/8 inch off the length at a time.  (See video at the bottom of the page.)  I attack my hair in sections (left front, left back, right front, right back) and use clips to separate trimmed hair and hair that is awaiting a trim. Since I cut very small pieces at one time and make micro trims, it doesn't matter what angle I hold my hair when I make the cut.  I pull the back sections toward the front or over the top of my head so I can see them to trim.  It takes me about a half hour to do this, but my hair is fine and thin.  It will take you longer if you have thick hair.
August 12

August 12
I think my hair is getting about as long as it can get.  My ends don't seem to be in great shape, and I suspect it is going to start breaking soon.  But you never know, I thought it wouldn't grow anymore 6 months ago and it did.  So maybe there is more length in there yet.

August 13

August 13

Edit:  August, 2013.  I think I'm still gaining some length.  My ends are difficult to keep in shape at this length.  They are prone to splitting.  My ends almost always look stringy when I wear my hair wavy and don't want to stay clumped.  I should cut it, but I'm not ready to yet.    

February 2014

February 2014
Edit:  February 2014.  It's still growing.  I was diagnosed with a mild thyroid condition and my hair seems to be shedding less now.   It may be growing a little faster, but it is hard to say.  My hair curls/waves much when it is shorter, but I like having it "long" for a change.  My hair is too thin to be have enough layers cut into it at this length.  As always, I should cut my hair shorter, but I"m not ready yet. 

Edit:  May 2015.  I'm almost certain this will be my last update.  My hair has definitely grown too

May 2015
long for its thickness.  You can see in the back the bottom layer is very scraggly.  It doesn't look as scraggly when I wear it wavy.  It is about an inch past arm pit length.  Arm pit length was my dream goal length that I never thought I would actually achieve.  I toyed with the idea of  letting it grow until it was arm pit length when wavy, but that would be a couple more inches when straight.  What would be the point when it doesn't look good?
  I cut off an inch after taking these photos.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I did my first PT and angels didin't sing. OR My hair hated my first PT.

The angels didn't sing for me either the first protein treatment (PT), and my hair loves protein.  If nothing bad happened, that is a good sign.  If your hair did not like protein, it would feel hard and rough.  There is a small percentage of people who's hair feels very soft after a PT and/or gets straighter.

If you did not have a negative reaction:

1)You may need to do more PTs before you start to notice a positive change in your hair.  One PT might not have totally taken care of all your hair's protein needs.  You might be very low on protein.
2)  You may need to leave the PT on longer.  Again, you just may need more protein.  Leaving a PT on longer will get more protein into your hair.
3)You may need to try a different kind of protein. Soy and wheat protein work for my hair, but collagen is magic.  You may need to experiment with different proteins until you find the one that works for you.
Some proteins may work better for your hair then others. 

I had a negative reaction.  Does that mean I'm protein sensitive?

1)  You could be protein sensitive.  It could be that protein just isn't for you.
2)  Your hair might not have liked the protein in your PT, but will like other types of protein.
3)  You might need less protein or a different protein.  Ion Effective Care and Aubrey Organics GPB are milder PTs.  Keratin and silk proteins are easier for some hair to take.
4)  How long did you leave it on?  Maybe you need to PT for a shorter time.
5)  Did you do a deep treatment (DT)?  If you did not do a deep treatment immediately afterward, go do one now.  You need moisture to balance the protein.  If you only used a rinse out, you might need to do a DT to get more moisture into your hair.
6)  There is the rare wavy that likes daily protein in his/her products (gels, leave ins, etc.), but cannot PT.   Your hair may freak out after a PT, but love protein otherwise. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to do a Protein Treatment

The first step is to wash your hair.  The protein will penetrate better on very clean hair.  If you low poo, it would be a good idea to low poo before a protein treatment.  Honestly though, I've washed my hair with a cowash and washed my hair with a low poo before a protein treatment (PT) and I don't notice any difference.

For your first PT, please test a small strand/section of hair.  Protein treatments aren't for everyone.  It is better to have a small section of hair that is rough and hard and craving moisture that to have a whole head of awful.

After washing, towel dry your hair and add your PT.  Towel drying helps prevent the water on your hair from diluting the PT.  The longer the PT is on your head, the more protein will penetrate into your hair's cortex.  It is best to follow the instructions on the bottle the first time you use that particular PT.  After that, you can experiment with  leaving a PT on longer, if you think your hair needs more protein.  Some people (me) leave PTs on for an hour.

Rinse and towel dry your hair again.  At this point, your hair may feel just fine.  It may also feel hard and awful.  This is also normal.  After my first PT, before adding the DT,  I thought "Welp, I broke my hair." My hair felt hard and awful.  Adding more moisture should make your hair feel nice again.  Towel dry your hair and add either a deep treatment (DT) or a moisturizing conditioner.  If you add a DT with ingredeints that can penetrate your hair's cortex (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) you can leave the DT on up to an hour.  Rinse and style as usual.

If your hair tends not to need much moisture, and you are using a moisturizing PT (Spiral Solutions Repairing Protein Treatment, Ion Effective Care, etc.) you may not need to follow  your PT with a DT.  If your hair feels fine after the PT, you are good to go.  The first time you try a PT, you should follow with a DT or moisturizing conditioner just in case. 

Curltalk's Rymorg posted a thread on how to do PTs and DTs.  Rymorg is a stylist who trains other stylists.  There are lots of good tips in the first post and throughout the thread.  Many of the tips were repeated in this post. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Hair is Falling Out! (it probably isn't)

The odd are very good that your hair isn't actually falling out.  When you have straight hair and you brush it, shed hairs either end up in your brush or fall out sometime during the day.  When you wear your hair wavy or curly, when your hair sheds, it doesn't fall to the ground.  The waves/curl in your hair catch the shed hair and hold on to it. When you comb your hair in the shower, you have to manually remove all the hairs that have shed that day(s).  Looking at all the hair that has been naturally and normally shed in a day(s) at one time freaks a lot of people out.  It just looks like too much hair to loose. My relative jokes that says she removes a barbie doll worth of hair every time she washes it.  The odds are your hair isn't thinning.  I've been active on curl talk for years and Wavy Hair Community since it started.  I've read tons of posts by people alarmed by the amount of shedding.  I've never read a single post that said "CG made me bald".  Not one.  Trust me, if CG made anyone bald, someone would have posted about it.  :)  Here is a good link that explains the hair growth cycle.

Does your hair actually seem to be getting thinner?  When you look at your hair, do you seem to have less hair then you once had?  If so, you should see a doctor.  Many conditions that can be treated can cause thinning hair.  A thyroid condition is one example.  If you have old photos of your thicker hair, bring them to your doctor's appointment to show him/her.  Hair products will not cause your hair to fall out, unless you are doing something very extreme (think on the lines of a chemical burn, never washing, etc.).

Waterlilly716 posted a video on this subject.  FAQ:  Shedding, Breakage, and Hair Loss.  Oh My!

Now, take a deep breath and continue on with your day.  :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What to Do if You Have Dry Hair.

If you've randomly stumbled upon this post, go to the "How do I get Started?" page and read the link that explains the Curly Girl Method.  The Curly Girl Method is a great way to help dry hair.

Cowashing adds moisture to hair.  You will probably want to cowash most of the time.

A moisturizing conditioner
Find a good moisturizing rinse out conditioner that works for your hair.  If your hair likes oils, try to find one with oils.  Coarse hair tends to like oils.  Oils soften coarse hair and make it more bendy.  If you have fine hair, you will have to be more cautious about oils.  Oils can make fine hair heavy or oily. You will have to experiment to find which oils work for your fine hair (if any).  You can mix oils into your conditioner to make your conditioner more moisturizing.  Some examples of moisturizing conditioners are:  Renpure Organics (red bottle), Biolage, GVP Conditioning Balm (Sally's, generic Biolage), Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle and Rose (oil heavy, strong scent), Darcy's Botanical's Pumpkin Conditioner (lots of oils, you can buy it here), Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner (Target and Walgreens, has a lot of shea butter, oils, and glycerin if those are issues for you).

Personally, I tend to prefer conditioners with behentrimonium methosulfate.   Behentrimonium methosulfate is an excellent moisturizing ingredient.  This post from The Natural Haven explains why it is a good moisturizing ingredient.  Behentrimonium methosulfate also adds a lot of slip.

Deep Treatments
Deep Treatments (DTs) help to add moisture to hair.  You want to look for a DT with good moisturizing ingredients.  Some examples of good ingredients to look for are coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, and aloe. If your DT contains things that can penetrate the hair's cortex (like coconut, olive, and avocado oil), leaving a DT on your hair longer then 5 minutes will make it work better.  The longer a DT is on your hair, the more it will penetrate into the hair's cortex.  In this popular curltalk thread, the author of the thread suggests towel drying your hair (so you don't dilute the DT) and leaving it on your hair for an hour.  Towel drying first also helps you use less product.  Many experts suggest adding heat to help a DT penetrate into your hair's cortex.  Heat opens up the cuticle and allows the DT to penetrate.  You should DT as often as necessary, but once a week is common.  You can make your own DT by adding things to your rinse out conditioner.  You can add oils, aloe, warmed honey, etc.  Two popular DTs found online are Curl Junkie Repair Me and Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Moisture.  Other DTs include One n' Only Argan Hydrating Mask (Sally Beauty Supply), DermOrganic Masque Conditioner (beauty supply stores).
Leave-in Conditioner
You should use one if you have dry hair.  You can use your rinse out conditioner as a leave in. 

In low dews, you should seal your hair to keep the moisture in your hair.  After applying your leave in conditioner, smooth a few drops of oil over your hair.  You can use any oil you wish to seal your hair.  Some examples are olive oil and coconut oil.  If you have fine hair, you may prefer a lighter oil.  Grape seed oil (found by cooking oils) is a light oil and a good one to try.  Some people find grape seed oil to be drying.  It might help to apply oil to one section of your hair at a time. Other oils to try are sweet almond oil (health food stores) and apricot kernal oil.

The spritz and condish method
This method was developed for dealing with porous hair, but also works for dry hair. Here is the link for a better description.  For this method, you spray your hair with water until damp.  Since your hair is less wet then it would be if you wet it under running water, your hair soaks up less water and more conditioner.. This will help get your hair moisturized. My cliff notes version of the Spritz and Condish method is:  Spritz your hair with water until damp.  Add conditioner.  Wait 5-10 minutes.  (I'd suggest 15 minutes.  I've read that after 15 minutes your hair stops soaking up water.  If your hair soaks up less water, you will have less hygral fatigue.)  Get in the shower and rinse.  Cowash or low poo.  Add some conditioner to detangle.  Style as usual.

What is hygral fatigue?  When you stretch a rubber band it returns to its original shape.  If you stretch it over and over it no longer returns to its original shape.  When hair gets wet, it gets heavier and longer.  When it dries it weighs less and is shorter.  Like the rubber band, hair can only be stretched so many times before it no longer returns to its original shape.  When hair no longer returns to its original shape, that is hygral fatigue.  This The Natural Haven post explains hygral fatigue better.  I learned about hygral fatigue from that blog. 

The Squish 2 Condish Method
This is a method developed by curly hair stylist Melissa Stites.  This link from her blog explains how to do the method in depth.  In short, it is a method of rinsing out your conditioner while squishing in water.  This will leave your hair with the amount of conditioner it needs as a leave in conditioner when you are finished. 

The LOC Method
LOC stands for Liquid/Oil/Cream.  Basically, after you rinse out your conditioner, you 1) add a leave-in 2) seal your hair with a few drops of oil 3) add a cream (like a curl cream).  See this Curly Nikki link for more info. 

This post on Science-y Hair Blog discusses which oils penetrate the hair's cuticle. Coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, and argan oil are all good choices.   You can add oils to your DTs or conditioners to make them more moisturizing.  Jojoba oil (technically a wax) is very similar to your hair's own oils.  You can also add oils to homemade products like flax seed gel or the gelatin protein treatment.

Coconut Oil 
Please read my coconut oil post for more complete information on coconut oil.  Coconut oil is an excellent oil for dry hair.  You can try using it to scrunch out the crunch.  You may be able to add a very small amount to your ends at night.  It works great as a prewash treatment.  Please do a strand/small section test when you try a prewash treatment the first time.  Coconut oil is hard to remove for some hair and very easy to remove for others (me).  If it is hard to remove for you hair, you wouldn't want your whole head to end up oily the next day.  

Protein, possibly
If your hair is porous, you need to close the holes in your hair's cuticle so the moisture you are diligently adding doesn't just escape again through the holes.  Protein closes the holes in the cuticle and locks the moisture in.  Be sure to read the links on protein (link 1, link 2).  Protein is not for all hair and can be bad for some hair types.  If you have determined your hair should have protein, you should experiment with different kinds of protein until you find the one that works best for you.  To learn how finding the right protein made a difference in my hair, read My Gelatin Protein Treatment Testimonial in this link.  The difference was night and day.  Getting the right kind of protein for my hair was the single biggest step for getting my hair properly moisturized.  The magic protein for my hair was collagen.  For your hair it may be another protein.  Be sure to test both collagen and keratin when searching for a protein that works for your hair.

Honey doesn't have a high success rate for dealing with dry hair.  But, when I had very dry hair, my hair absolutely loved it.  My picky hair rejected most of the ingredients that make a conditioner moisturizing.  I was having a terrible time finding a conditioner moisturizing enough for my hair.  I started to mix honey into my rinse out conditioner and it worked like magic.  I mixed 50% warmed honey and 50% conditioner to use as my rinse out.  I mixed it up each time I used my conditioner.  If you mix honey directly into your bottle, you will grow creepy crawlies (technical term) in your bottle. The preservative in your conditioner will not be able to handle the addition of honey.  I also mix honey into my gelatin PT.

Curl Enhancing Jelly Products
Curl enhancing products containing aloe or homemade flax seed gel add some moisture to hair.  Every little bit helps.  A curl cream would also be a good choice. Some examples of aloe containing curl enhancers are Kinky Curly Curling Custard (Target, online), Spiral Solutions Curl Enhancing Jelly, Spiral Solutions Firm Hold Gel (online), Curl Junkie Coffee Coco Curl Cream (online).  You can buy flax seed gel or okra gel at SweetCurlElixirs on Etsy or you can make them yourself.

Curl Creams:  Kinky Curly Knot Today (Target, Whole Foods, legendary for detangling),  Bioterra Curl Cream (Sally's), and Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (Target ,Walgreens, Sally's).

Which ingredients to watch out for
Humectants in low dews can dry your hair. Humectants draw moisture to themselves.  In normal dew points, they draw moisture from the air into your hair.  In low dew points (under 45-30, depending on your hair), there is not enough moisture in the air for humectants to draw moisture from the air.  Humectants have a strong pull and must get their moisture from somewhere. In low dews, humectants pull moisture from your hair.  The humectant people seem to have the biggest problems with is glycerin.  Glycerin is the biggest problem in things left on your hair, such as leave in conditioner and styling products.  See my post on Humectants and Dew Points.  Magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) can be drying for hair. It is added to a lot of products for curly hair because it is curl enhancing.  If humectants or magnesium sulfate don't dry out your hair, they are fine for you to use.  Everyone's hair is different.  The rules don't apply to everyone.

Thanks to everyone in the Wavy Hair Community that helped suggest products for this post.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Off Topic: Poppy Nail Art.

One of my hobbies is nail polish.  I've recently started playing with nail art.  This is the poppy manicure I did for Memorial Day.  I followed the cutepolish youtube tutorial below.  Cutepolish has great tutorials for nail art newbies.  I used a small dotting tool and made several dots for the poppy centers instead of the large dotting tool shown in the video.  I used Sinful Colors Aquamarine for the base and Wet 'n Wild Megalast Heatwave and Wet 'n Wild Black Cream for the poppies.
Poppies always make me think of the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz.  Poppies...poppies...poppies.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hair Cuts

Frankly, I don't want to write this post.  Why?  A great document already exists on the Facebook group Wavy Hair Community on this subject.  My post will only be a pale imitation.  Please go read the Wavy Hair Community file "Haircut Advice For Wavy Hair".  You must be a member to read it.  Not a member?  You should join.  It is a fun wavy hair group. You'd rather not join? Well, I guess you are stuck with me then.  After I finished writing this post, I wasn't completely satisfied with it.  But, it is the best I can do.  It has the key points for a wavy cut- long layers, no razor, no thinning.  I wish I knew more about cutting hair and could write a more complete post.

Long Layers
Layers help to show off your waves to their best advantage.  If your hair is one length, the top layers weigh down the under layers.  Your under layers can't wave as well under the weight of the top layer when your hair is all one length.  You want long layers (as opposed to layers that start higher on the head), because you want the top layer to be long enough to show the wave pattern. You want to get a few bends in before the first layer is cut. With chin length hair, the layers should start about eye level.  With hair that hits the shoulders, your layers should start mid ear to the bottom of the ear, depending on the length.  Longer hair?  I don't know.  I'll let you know when mine gets that long. :)

Where do your waves start?
If your hair doesn't start to wave until ear level (common for wavies) and you cut your hair to a chin length bob, you might not have much wave left.  You may end up with hair that looks mostly straight but likes to flip up and stick out at the ends.  

Face Framing Layers
You might want some face framing layers in front.  This will help bring attention to your face and show off your bone structure.

No Thinning Shears, No Thinning
If your hair is layered normally, all the hairs in one clump/one wave will end at about the same place.  The hairs will hang and wave together as a unit.  If your hair is thinned, there are shorter pieces within one clump. The shorter pieces may not want to hang with and play nice with the longer pieces.  The hair will not want to wave together  You will get little frizzy shorter hairs that stick out all over.

No Razors
Razors are split end makers.  If your hair is cut by a scissors, each individual hair is cut horizontally across the strand. When your hair is cut with a razor, each hair is cut closer to vertically down the strand.  There is more newly cut surface area if razored.  More newly cut surface area is exposed to the elements to be damaged.  The larger exposed cut area means hair is more prone to splitting.  With razor cuts, you get hairs cut at different, varied lengths, You get the same problems with waves not hanging together as described above with thinning shears/thinning.

Wear your hair wavy to the appointment.
Some people are visual learners and some oral learners.  I'd guess most stylists are visual learners, because they were drawn to a profession that involves visualizing hair.  If you go into the salon with straight hair, you will tell your stylist you normally wear your hair wavy.  But if s/he is a visual learner, the stylist may remember what they saw (straight hair), not what you said.  (This happened to me.)  Go in dressed in your normal style. You want the stylist to have a sense of your style.

Diva Haircuts
Deva trained hairstylists cut each curl individually.  Because this type of hair cut takes more time to complete and requires more training, it is more expensive.  Each wave will end exactly where it is best for your hairstyle.  Are Deva haircuts worth it for wavies?  It depends on several things.  First:  It depends on the skill of your particular Deva stylist (duh).   Second:  Does your hair always clump together the same way?  If so, a diva cut may be for you. If your hair clumps differently each time, you may end up with hairs of different lengths within a clump.  Third: Does your hair shrink a lot when it dries?  Deva haircuts are done on dry hair.  Some people have hair that shrinks different amounts in different places as it dries.  With a regular wet haircut, the layers can be even when wet, and uneven when it is dry. A Deva cut will have even layers when dry and wavy.  Fourth:  Do you alternate between straight and wavy styles?  If you alternate between wavy and straight styles, a Deva cut may not be for you.  The layers on a Deva cut may be even when wavy, but might not look even when styled straight.  I've never had a Deva cut and have no personal experience.

I came home from my haircut and it looks terrible.
It took (or will take) you quite a while to learn how to get the best out of your waves.  You can't expect your stylist to be as able to style your hair as well as you can style your own hair.   Also, some people find their hair freaks out for a few days after a haircut.  I don't know the science behind what causes hair to freak out. But, I've read enough reports about hair freaking out, I have no doubt this is true for some people.  Give your hair a few days and style it yourself before you judge your haircut.  If it is a terrible haircut, just remember that hair grows.  It isn't much of a comfort, but it is true.

My under layer is straighter and peeks out from behind my waves.
Have your stylist cut the straight under layer so it is the same length as the wavy layer directly above it when your hair is dry. When your hair is wet, the straight under layer will be shorter then the wavy layer above it.

See also:  Dorm Room Curly- Curly Cuts: How to Talk to Your Stylist to Get a Great Curly Cut  This contains tips on how to find a stylist and how to talk to your stylist.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Flax Seed Gel

Homemade Flax Seed Gel is a fantastic curl enhancer with a high success rate.  Flax Seed Gel (FSG) is also cheap and easy to make.  What's that?  Did I hear you say the thought of turning on a stove scares you to death.  Well you can buy some FSG (this shop may be out of business) here at Botticelli Botanicals.  Or Sweet Curls Elixirs  on Etsy.   Or Jessie Curl Rockin' Ringlets Styling Potion is pretty much FSG.  But, it really isn't hard to make and it only costs pennies a batch.  You can do it!

If you try Flaz Seed Gel for the first time from Sweet Curls Elixirs, I'd suggest either 1) plain FSG, 2) FSG with aloe (if you know your hair likes aloe) or 3) ordering a formula for your hair type  Or, maybe order a small bottle or regular and one for your hair type and work toward the perfect FSG for you from there.

FSG is a curl enhancer and helps to define waves/curls.  It doesn't have any hold on its own.  Many people who have hair that gets weighed down find FSG is a product they can use.  When you are trying FSG,  use more FSG then you think you should.  If you have wavy hair, you will probably want to top FSG with another gel with more hold.

Here is a youtube video on how to make FSG.

Here is the jumbo sized Curltalk thread on how to make FSG.  Here is Science'y Hair Blog's FSG recipe.  WS of Science-y Hair Blog lists some add in and tricks    to make FSG thicker and have more hold.  Hold is something most wavies will want. For your first batch, make the basic recipe.

You can customize FSG to fit your needs.  If you have dry hair, you can add oils.  If your hair likes humectants, you can add glycerin.  For hold you can add honey or agave nectar.  For hold and to thicken the gel, you can add corn starch, xanthan gum, hydroxyethylcellulose, or arrow root.  I like to soak my seeds overnight to make the gel thicker and have a bit more hold.  Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) can be added to make FSG more curl enhancing.  Some people (like me) find epsom salt too drying for their hair.  The gigantic curltalk thread has about a million ideas for things you can add.  If you don't like the flubber-y texture (see pic), mix your FSG with an immersion blender (stick blender).  The flubber-y texture also makes FSG jump out of your hand and run down the drain. Don't say I didn't warn you.  :)  With all the possible add ins, I'll probably never be done experimenting with my FSG recipe.

I suggest you read Science-y Hair Blog's post on preserving homemade hair gel.  She also has info on how to sterilize your equipment and containers, READ IT (last paragraph).  Did you read it yet?  Well make sure you go back and read it.   Keep as much FSG as you will use in a week or two in the fridge.  You can freeze the rest.  I've read that you can freeze and reuse the flax seeds for a second batch.  If your FSG smells sour, it has gone bad.  Toss it.  You can add preservatives to help keep your FSG fresh.  For more info on preservatives, you can read the giant FSG thread on curl talk and/or read the above Science-y Hair Blog link.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Science-y Hair Blog's Gelatin Protein Treatment

Science-y Hair Blog's gelatin protein treatment (A.K.A. IAgirl's protein treatment) is a popular PT that is cheap and easy to make. The original recipe and many tips and tricks and options are listed on Science-y Hair Blog's Recipe Page.  This is the link to the curltalk gelatin PT thread. 

The protein in gelatin is hydrolyzed collagen protein.  This is the same protein used in Aphogee 2-step and Nexxus Emergencee.  Size matters with protein, you want hydrolyzed. Amino acids are too small and most food proteins, like egg proteins, are too large. (some experts say large proteins can eventually make their way into hair) The gelatin protein treatment is popular on the Wavy Hair Community and Curltalk.  If you decide you like it, you can buy a big box of Knox gelatin at Walmart.

Blow dryer method tips:  If you need a hard hit of protein, use the blow dryer version of this PT. IMHO it works as well as Aphogee 2-step,but without the horrible stench.  If you do the blow dryer version, start with your blower setting on low.  Once your hair has set (like jello) and no longer blows around, you can crank your blower setting up to high.  When you try to rinse this PT out, it will seem like it doesn't want to rinse out.  Give it a minute or two for the gelatin to rehydrate.  Then it will rinse out with a little work.  When it is rinsed out, your hair may feel rough or hard.  This is normal.  A deep treatment will make your hair feel normal again (unless your hair is over proteined).  See my video on how to do the blow dryer version of Science-y Hair Blog's Gelatin Protein Treatment at the end of the post.

My Gelatin Protein Treatment Testimonial
My routine before Science-y Hair Blog's gelatin PT was:
Overnight coconut oil prewash every time I washed, spritz and condish method every time, and cowash most days. I did this summer and winter. Even with all this effort, my hair was barely moisturized in summer and almost moisturized in winter.

After doing IAgirl's/Science-y Hair Blog's PT for a few months:
In winter (low to very low dews) I only have to do an hour-ish of coconut oil prewash. I can also skip a day if I want, and I couldn't before. I no longer spritz and condish. My hair is properly moisturized.
In summer (normal dews) I don't use coconut oil very often, I don't spritz and condish, or cowash and my hair is still moisturized.  I can also use a less moisturizing conditioner in the summer.

This PT has just made my life so much easier. I was working so hard to keep (or almost keep) my hair moisturized before. Now I feel like I'm off the hair treadmill. I know that the credit goes to IAgirl's/Science-y Hair Blog's PT because I was CG for a year before trying this PT. My hair had already had time to recover from sulfates and heat styling.
Thanks Wendy of Science-y Hair Blog for creating this protein treatment.

My recipe and method for the gelatin PT:
Gelatin PT (My more moisturizing version)
1 tsp + 1/8 tsp gelatin (half packet)
1 T water
1 T honey
1 T oil (half coconut and half olive)
1/2 T conditioner (Renpure Organics, red bottle)
1 T yogurt
(I no longer add citric acid, based on advice from WS.  Protein likes a more neutral base.)

Dissolve the gelatin in the water.   Add honey and coconut oil so they will dissolve/melt.  I warm the water in the microwave.  This takes only seconds.  Keep an eye on it because it will boil very quickly and can boil over in a small container.   Mix in the rest of the ingredients.

To begin with, I shampoo or cowash.  Then I towel dry hair and apply PT.  I leave this on one hour, but you can leave it less time.  Read the original recipe in the above link for more options.  Rinse and towel dry.  I use either Renpure Organics Conditioner (red bottle) for 10 minutes or Curl Junkie Repair Me (or another DT) for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  I only need Repair Me in the dry winter.  Rinse and style as usual.
This is a video I did showing how to do the blow dryer version of Science-y Hair Blog's Gelatin Protein Treatment.  
Part 2.  Not much to see here, I just rinse out the protein treatment. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Which Ingredients are Sulfates? & Ways to Wash Your Hair.

Which ingredients are sulfates?
Sulfates to avoid include:  Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, Alkylbenzene Sulfonate, Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate, Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate; Sodium Laureth, Myreth, or Lauryl Sulfate; Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, and TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate.  C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate is a different class of surfactants, but many people find it to be as harsh as sulfates.  You may want to avoid this as well.  This list of sulfates is from Live Curly   Live Free.

One key to having healthy hair is to not over wash it. You want to use the least cleansing method/methods that work for your hair.
Alternate ways to clean your hair.  This list is moving from least cleansing to most cleansing.  Once you have used one of these methods, condition and style as usual.

Water Washing-  To water wash, you wet your hair and scrub the scalp with the pads of your fingers.  Scrub a lot.  If you are used to shampooing, you will have to scrub a whole lot more then you normally do.  When you think you are done, scrub more.  Water washing is cowashing without the conditioner.  Water washing adds less moisture to your hair then cowashing.  If cowashing is too moisturizing for your hair, swap some or all of your cowashes with water washing.  Do not use water washing as your only method of cleaning your hair.  You must also use one of the other methods listed below.  Update:  Water Washing only can work for wavies, but you have to follow a specific method.  I'll write a blog post in the future about how to do this.

Cowashing (conditioner washing)-To cowash, you use conditioner instead of shampoo.  Scrub the roots of your hair with conditioner.  Use the pads of your fingers and not the nails.  Scrub more then you would with shampoo.  When you think you are done, scrub some more.  Continue scrubbing as you rinse your hair.  This helps the water from the shower reach the roots of your hair and makes it easier to get the conditioner rinsed out.  If you cowash exclusively, you must be careful not to put anything in your hair that cannot be removed by conditioner. Here is my post on which ingredients to avoid.
Below is my video demonstrating a cowash in a sweatshirt.  I showered in sweatshirts to help all the wavies learn to cowash.  I hope you appreciate it.  :)

Cleansing Conditioner-  This is a conditioner with mild cleansers in it. The cleansers mean it gets your hair cleaner then cowashing.  One example is Curl Junkie Daily Fix

Condition Wash Condition (CWC)-  Coat the ends of your hair with conditioner. You can either go from the ears down, or just skip the first few inches.  Wash the roots of your hair with shampoo.  This method helps protect the dry ends of  your hair while cleaning the roots.  Try to keep the shampoo and conditioner separate.  When you have rinsed, condition your hair.

Low Poo (non sulfate shampoo)-Sulfate free shampoo is milder then shampoos that contain sulfates.  I should say that for the vast majority of people, sulfate free shampoos are milder then sulfate shampoos.  Some people find sulfate free shampoos to be as harsh as any sulfate shampoo. It is common for people with wavy hair to low poo about once a week.  This varies from person to person. Some wavies low poo daily, some low poo every few months, and others cowash exclusively.

Diluted Sulfate Shampoo- You can dilute sulfate shampoo to make it milder.  Keep in mind that when you dilute products, you also are diluting the preservatives.  Either mix up what you need every time you shampoo, or mix up about a weeks worth at a time and keep it in the refrigerator.  Science-y Hair Blog has more info on how to do this.

Sulfate shampoo (regular shampoo)-Some people will find that they need to use an occasional sulfate shampoo.  This occurs most often in wavies with fine hair.  If your hair needs occasional sulfates, use them and don't feel guilty.  Sulfates are only bad if they are bad for your hair.  If your hair needs sulfates, sulfates are not bad for you.  I'd suggest avoiding all sulfates in the beginning stages of CG.  It takes some time for hair to adjust to the CG method.  It also will take you some time to get to know your own hair.  When you are familiar with your hair's needs, and you find you need a sulfate shampoo...Go for it.

Pre wash treatments-  A trick to taming shampoo is to oil your hair before you wash it.  This helps prevent shampoo from stripping all the natural oils from your hair.  This is most often done with coconut oil.  I have more information about coconut oil prewash treatments here.

Protein Part 1- What it does, Link for protein haters, Which ingredients are protein?

Protein does two main things for hair.  1)  It shores up the hair's inner structure, making it stretchy.  This makes hair stronger.  There are long chains of protein in the cortex that stretch like rubber bands.  Adding protein to hair helps keep these chains in good repair.  2)  Hair that is damaged is damaged permanently, but protein can go a long way toward temporarily repairing that damage.  Protein temporarily fills in the openings/holes in the hair's cuticle.  Having the "holes" closed helps hair hang on to moisture and protein inside the cortex.  Fixing the "holes" makes hair shinier, and makes it act healthier.  Curls will bounce up after a protein treatment if you need one.

Protein needs to be kept in balance with moisture.  Too much of either protein or moisture will give you hard brittle hair.  Not enough moisture will give you dry, rough hair.  Not enough protein your hair will be limp.   I'll do a separate post on how to diagnose hair.

I highly suggest you read this article, if you haven't yet (it was linked in another posts).  It explains protein and moisture balance in hair.
The Fine Art of Protein and Moisture Balancing for Black Hair Care.
The article is about African American hair, but the information is true for all hair.

So does this mean you should run out and put some protein in your hair?  No.  Protein isn't friends with all types of hair.  If your hair is non porous, you do not need protein (unless you have fine hair).  In non porous hair the cuticle lies flat and does non need to be repaired.  If you have coarse hair, you do not need protein (unless also porous, then proceed with caution).  Coarse hair has enough protein in its cortex already.  Adding more protein to either of these hair types will give you hard, rough, brittle hair.  Some people have bad reactions to very small amounts of protein in hair products.  These people are protein sensitive.  See the protein sensitive board on if you think this is you.

Protein is a miraculous thing for hair that needs it.  It adds bounce, shine, strength, can help with frizz, and make hair act healthier.  Porous hair needs protein.  (use caution if you have coarse, porous hair).  Protein will help temporarily fix the damage done to your hair.  Fine hair tends to like protein, no matter what the porosity.  There isn't much room inside fine hair's cortex, because it is relatively smaller then the cortex of medium or coarse hair.  Fine hair seems to always be lacking protein in its interior.  If your hair needs protein check out the Protein Lovers Forum of

This link (posted previously) has pictures of curly hair needing protein and hair with too much protein.
The Pittsburgh Curly:  Protein vs. Moisture

Protein ingredients usually have protein in their name.  Some exceptions are amino acids (very small, mild "proteins"), collagen, and keratin.  Protein can be ingredients in styling products, leave in conditioners, conditioners, etc.  It takes time for protein to make its way into the hair's cortex.  It is more effective in things that are left on the hair  (gels, leave in conditioner, etc.).  It is least effective in shampoo, which is only on the hair a minute.  The single most effective way to get protein into hair is with a protein treatment.  Follow a protein treatment with a deep treatment or a moisturizing conditioner to balance out the protein.  More on this in upcoming posts on protein.