Back to The Curly Girl Method & Switching to Wetline Xtreme Gel

www.curlyincolorado.com curly girl method wetline xtreme hair gel
My new wash and go product line-up

I recently decided to make some major changes in my hair routine as far as my products go.  After using chemical hair dye to semi permanently cover my gray hair, I switched to a sulphate free shampoo.  When I did this, I noticed that my beloved Aussie Moist conditioner was causing a lot more build-up.  This was because it contains a silicone and sulphate free shampoo isn’t capable of removing heavy silicones.

This change in my cleansing routine meant that I needed to go back to silicone free conditioners or at least lighter silicone versions that were easier to cleanse out.  I decided to go with my old favorites Tresemme Naturals Conditioner for detangling/conditioning and Paul Mitchell’s The Conditioner as a leave-in.  This basically put me right back at Curly Girl status which is fine but what about the gel?

I really like to use a heavy gel after I apply my leave-ins for
extra curl definition and hold.  It also guarantees me a wash and go style that will last a few days.  Normally, my gel of choice is Eco Styler gel.  However, my hair was not liking the product very much lately.  It was like it kept zapping the moisture from my hair no matter what products I paired with it.  The other day I went to reach for it to do my hair, but realized I was completely out.  I usually stay stocked on this product so that was surprising.  Then I remembered that I still had some Wetline Xtreme gel leftover from a trial I did this summer.  It was all I had so I had no other choice but to use it.

www.curlyincolorado.com curly girl method wetline xtreme hair gel
My wash and go still has lots of definition
after using Wetline Xtreme gel

I used it three times the first week and I still can’t believe the difference!  My hair feels way better than when I use Eco gel and all I have to use is my leave-in conditioner and grapeseed oil underneath.  With Eco I had to also use a third, moisturizing product.  I think it has something to do with how Wetline gel is protein and glycerin free.  I have often suspected that I might need a glycerin free product but it’s possible the protein was causing problems as well.  The other plus is that I still get the same curl definition as before.  I am so glad that I stumbled upon this discovery.  I’m pretty sure that my hair is too!

Tresemme Naturals Conditioner Formula Change and Back Again

Tresseme naturals conditioner
Old formula and New formula (black label & top)
on the shelves side by side

I never even saw it coming and, up until now, was in denial.  Yes, my beloved go-to, all around
conditioner made a change to its’ formulation.  The conditioner in question is from the Tresemme Naturals line.  I’ve always liked the Nourishing Moisture one but the Radiant Volume conditioner was also pretty good.  The first I heard of the change was a few months ago on an online hair forum.  At the time not many people were aware of it and were still wondering if the conditioner was still pretty much the same.  From the looks of it, the new ingredients list made for a drastically different product and even a change in the consistency.

OLD INGREDIENTS LIST
Water(Aqua,EU), Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Carprylic/Capric Tryglerceride, Stearmidopropyl Diemthlyamine, Fragrance (Parfum) Lauroyl lysine, Carprylyl Glycol, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi oil Copolymer,Aspartic acid, Distearyldimonium chloride,Persea Gratissima (Avocado) oil, Citric Acid, Alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, aloe barbadensis leaf juice.

 Why change an already good product?  Well, the Alberto Culver company (VO5, Noxema etc.) was recently taken over by Unilever Corporation (Suave, St. Ives etc.).  The new owners of the Tresemme brand decided to change things up a bit.  This was probably an attempt to save money on ingredients.  However, if you head over to the reviews page for this product on their website, you’ll find that many people expressed their negative views on the change.

Apparently the new company is listening and started putting the old formula back on the shelves with a minor change to the packaging.  There is now a pump installed on the bottle but supposedly the conditioner inside is the same as before.  I say, “supposedly” because I have yet to compare the current ingredient list with the old version (see above).  Once I get this confirmation then I’ll be more than happy to pick up a couple of bottles because this is my staple conditioner we’re talkin’ about here!

On a side note, over the summer, I found out that my hair absolutely loves Aussie Moist conditioner.  It’s very rich and has loads of slip so I will most likely be deep conditioning and detangling with that in the meantime.  It sometimes has a weird reaction with hair gel though so I have to make sure to rinse it completely before styling.  However, I did find out that it works well for conditioner only styling so it’s already pretty far up on my favorites list right now.  If I can’t find my favorite version of the Tresemme I guess this will have to be my new go-to conditioner.  I’ll keep you posted on what I find.

UPDATE 10/2/13-I picked up the old formula recently in a new bottle with a pump on top at Walmart.  Not all stores carry it yet but I’m just glad that my staple conditioner is back on the shelves!

My No Heat Blow Out

I’ve been straightening my natural hair nearly once each month ever since I went natural over three years ago.  I used to blowdry my hair every time but found that it made my straight hair feel dry.  I also felt like using two heat styling tools in one session was too much heat for my hair.  I decided to start using another method to dry my hair before using the flat iron while stretching it at the same time.

Air Drying
Basically, I let my hair air dry which takes longer but works great for me because my hair actually absorbs the product better.  My favorite method is to use ponytails with the ends two strand twisted.  This way the roots lay flatter and the hair dries in a smooth wavy pattern.  You can also use braids but I found that the twists dry quicker and serve the same purpose; stretch the hair while it dries.  Another favorite is to pull all of my hair back into a bun with the front and sides slicked back.  I’ll wear this as a style for a whole day and then at night, part it down the middle and do two french braids to help dry the center.

Brush it Out

Air drying overnight using ponytails with
two strand twists

The final step of the process is to take down the twists or braids and brush the hair out.  I like to use a paddle brush but a wide tooth comb also works.  I realize it’s considered a no-no to do this on dry hair but this is possible because of the products I use.  While my hair is still damp, I always apply a creamy leave-in conditioner, oil and a hair serum on each section.  This makes my hair soft enough to comb through once it is dry.

The Result
When my hair is dry and brushed out, it still looks just as big and stretched as a blowout.  It amazes me that so many naturals grab the blow dryer whenever they want to have stretched hair.  Sure the blowdryer is faster but why risk the damage?   Since I discovered how to do this it has become the method I use to stretch my hair everytime I want to straighten it or see some length.

I use a Creamy Leave-in Conditioner and Hair Serum
for dry hair soft enough to brush through

Wearing a bun all day gets the edges smooth
while drying

Saying Goodbye to Heat Damage

In the last couple of videos that I posted to YouTube, I discussed my straight, heat damaged bangs and how I styled them so that they would blend in with the rest of my hair.  Shortly after posting those I started a six week Wash n’ Go binge and wore my hair curly the whole time.  For a while I was fine with pushing the straight pieces back or braiding the hair into a headband.  During this time I was also reading the Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey and learning more about my curls and how to work with them.  I kept looking at my damaged hair and wondered, why was I holding on to the straight pieces?

Using small perm rods to camouflage the straight pieces

After much contemplation, I finally decided to break out the shears.  I already knew that I had curly bangs in my future so why not just get on with it?  First, I wet the hair that I sectioned off for the cut.  This made it easier to tell where the textured hair met the straight ends.  Then I placed a long metal clip across that line of demarcation and cut.  I thought that would do it but the straight pieces were still another inch into the length of my bangs so I snipped again.  I was surprised to see a small, one inch section where my hair was just blah; not really curly or straight.  The rest of the bang was curling up the way I expected.  I ended up with a Betty Paige style look which for me was just fine.

AFTER
Short Bangs
BEFORE
Straight Pieces in Front

It’s been about a month and a half since the mini chop and I have to say that for the most part, the bangs are fine by me.  The curls are in good shape even after wearing my hair straight a couple of times.  I refuse to use my flat iron on that area because the 400 degree temperature is just too much.  Instead I use my Gold n’ Hot Curling Iron which only gets up to 300 at best.  I’m also liking the Paul Mitchell Super Skinny for my heat protectant these days.

I do wish the bangs were a teensy bit longer though so that it would be easier to braid them down into a cute headband.  Of course this is possible with a little help from my Eco Styler gel.  I’m also realizing that I won’t be able to slick all of my hair back for awhile.  For now though, I’m just enjoying the new look and loving the curls.

Used a metal clip to section off bangs
Bye Bye Heat Damage
Bangs before cutting a bit more
Check out my post on how I treated my Heat Damaged Hair

Recovering from Heat Damage

After my most recent bout with heat damage, I wasn’t too sure how to go about getting my curls back.  I wore my hair straight for Easter Sunday but decided to use the flat iron again later in the week after using oils in my hair.  My curls did not revert back like they normally did when I wore my hair straight and I was afraid that the damage was permanent.  Was I upset?  You damn skippy I was!  I couldn’t believe that I let this happen again.  Not only that, I just chopped off 1/2″ of damage at the start of the year which gave me curls galore.  Now I was right back where I started and worse.


What did I do you ask?  Well, I did what I always do when I need answers, I went to the internet.  I was pretty certain that what I was experiencing was permanent heat damage but I was really hoping that someone out there had a magic remedy.  I stumbled onto a YouTube video that I remembered watching by Taren916, where she used the Aphogee 2 step Protein Treatment to help repair her heat damage.  She showed a before shot where her hair was limp and not so curly and another after the treatment when her hair had more texture. 

After watching that, I went to the hair forums and read articles for more info on how the protein treatment worked.  Basically, heat can cause significant damage to the cuticle layer of the hair strand.  This is the protective outer layer (imagine tiny shingles that overlap one another).  Once these cuticles are damaged, the hair is vulnerable and more prone to dryness and breakage.  The protein in the Aphogee treatment helps to fill in the gaps where the hair strand is missing these important little pieces. 

So, the very next day, I shot over to Sally’s and made a B-line for the Aphogee products.  I still wasn’t too sure if this was all I needed so I grabbed a silicone based conditioner (the GVP version of Paul Mitchell’s The Detangler) and said a prayer.  After the application and rinsing it all out, I was very surprised to see curls where there was once very non-descript strands.  The treatment actually worked, but the curls were still looser than before (as you can see from the photo).  My hair was still much thicker at the roots.  Afterwards, I decided to go back to an old regimen I employed when I used to use semi-permanent color on my natural hair. 
Damaged hair regimen:
  • Deep condition 2x per week- 1x with moisture; 1x with protein
  • Stay away from heat…lol
  • Protective styles to avoid further damage
  • My curls 4 weeks after the treatment.
    Using braids to protect hair from too
    much manipulation
  • Silicone based conditioner for detangling and co-washing
I added the silicone conditioner because the primary reason for using silicone in hair products is so that it can help mask damage incurred by heat styling, hair color and chemical treatments.   Thankfully, my hair is back to being nice and curly but is just a bit more stretched than before with a few lazy curls here and there.  Some people use heat for this effect but that was never my intention.  Needless to say, me and my curls are stepping away from the heat for a good, long while.