April 3, 2017 at 2:52 pm #21519
I’ve found this section of the forum super interesting, and really informative, but it’s left me with some questions about the different types of products, and I thought I’d create a thread to ask.
1.) What’s the difference in terms of ingredients & function of a gel vs a curl creme?
I’d been using Kinky Curly Knot Today as my leave-in styling for curly hair, but I tried a random sample of gel from a friend yesterday, and it held the shape of my curls so much better, even managed frizz better, though it dried with a cast. It seemed to cast as soon as I finished scrunching, in fact.
It had me wondering the question above: what differentiates the label/name of gel vs creme, both in function and formulation, and thought some of you might have some insight… 🙂
2.) What’s the difference between a hair mask, a deep conditioning treatment, and an oil treatment? Is it better to leave it on all night, and is the benefit to the scalp destroyed by washing it out, even if it’s a sulfate-free shampoo? (My understanding, as a girl with a scalp that runs on the oily side, is that washing the scalp signals to the skin that it needs to create more oil to protect it. So oil treatments are good to help re-train the scalp to produce less sebum, but wouldn’t washing it away then break that training?) Is there a way to moisturize the scalp post-wash that would help with the sebum re-train, without creating a greasy mop?
3.) Is a serum product always one that has oils?
Thank you in advance to anyone with insight! 😀April 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm #21520
I’ll try to answer some of these for you Tahira.
Difference between Curl cream vs gel? Both can enhance Curl but Curl creams usually do not have hold, like a gel. The only exception to that I can think of is Kinky Curly Curling Custard, which I think provides some hold. At least it does for me. I use both a cream and a gel because I want the Curl Enhancing properties of the Curl cream and the hold and reduction in frizz that a gel provides. All Curl creams are not created equal. The same goes for gels. I’ve been through about 20-ish different Curl Enhancing products (cream, serum, and gel forms) and some work fantastic and some do nothing at all for my hair.
I like a harder hold gel on my hair because I want that gel cast to hold my wavy hair in the curliest wave formation possible until it dries conmpletely. It will relax some but the longer it stays in a curl pattern while drying, the curlier it will be. Most gels are easy to scrunch out once the hair is dried. You will see it referred to on Naturally Curly and various other Curly websites/blogs as SOTC, meaning scrunch out the crunch. I SOTC with my bare hands. Others use oil, Curl creams, or various other products to do this. You Just have to figure out what works best for your hair.April 3, 2017 at 4:53 pm #21521
Kinky Curly Knot Today is a leave in conditioner and a great detangler for many curlies. It is not a Curl Enhancing cream so it won’t do anything to give your waves/curls more structure.
If you are a formulator, you know the basics on what is a cream, a gel, and a serum. A cream is going to be a product with a lotion-y look and feel. It can be formulated as a Curl enhancer or a product that will produce a hold to your style in place and give it some structure. A gel is, well, a gel! A gel can also be formulated to be a Curl enhancer or a product to hold your style in place. A serum will usually be a thin, liquid-y product and they too can be formulated to do different things, the ones I see the most are to add shine, reduce frizz, and/or help with Curl and hold. You just have to read the label and see what it says it’s formulated for on any of these products.April 3, 2017 at 5:23 pm #21523
Serums, to my knowledge, do not always contain oils. Some are formulated with silicones and/or a silicone/oil blend. But, I could be wrong. I don’t usually buy serums for my hair because the ones I’ve seen have silicones in them and I don’t use any silicone products on my hair unless they are water soluble. I’m sure there are some serums out there that are Curly Girl Method friendly, but I have not had a need for one so I really don’t look at them.
Hair Masque, deep conditioning treatment, and oil treatment. They can all be deep conditioning treatments if you want them too! I’m not 100% sure, but I think a hair Masque and a deep conditioning treatment are the same thing. Masque just sounds fancier, I guess! A Masque is used to give your hair a deep conditioning treatment, the same as a product called a deep conditioner. An oil treatment can be a deep treatment, an overnight treatment, or a pre-shampoo treatment. Just depends on what you want to do, basically. I have never let a deep treatment sit on my hair overnight, but my hair is very fine and I suspect it would be too much for my hair. I’ve read that other curlies love the convenience of doing an overnight treatment and it really helps with detangling, damage to hair, and the like.
I’m not quite sure how to answer your question on the oily scalp issues. I would not think adding oil to your scalp would trigger a reduction in the production of sebum. To my knowledge, the production of oil is triggered by constant washing with harsh cleansers. And by puberty! Haha! My husband has very oily scalp and skin. I make him a very gentle “low-poo” shampoo and he still gets very greasy by the next day. I think that is just his genetic makeup. I have had oily hair and scalp since puberty, but co-washing my hair has made my scalp much less oily. I think aging has a bit to do with it too, the reduction in oil production, so I can’t say 100% that it’s just switching to co-washing. I definitely think it has helped though. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that oil production on your scalp can be a combination of things: genetics, age, cleansing method…they all contribute, I think. So, you might be stuck with oily scalp, like my husband, or you can play around with different cleansing methods/schedules and see if changing cleansers, washing more infrequently, keeping your hair conditioned/hydrated, etc…helps with reducing your oil production.April 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm #21524
Let me know if I’ve left anything out or you need more clarification on a subject. My brain is a bit scattered lately, so I’m sure what I’m writing is a bit scattered too.April 3, 2017 at 6:08 pm #21525
Thank you, Belinda! That’s super helpful, and not at all scattered. 🙂
In terms of gels and their holding ability, apart from polymers, what would offer the hold?
I’m fairly new to formulating, and haven’t yet delved into hair products, but now that I’m trying to embrace a more natural path for both my curlies and the products I use, I’m wondering if there’s benefit to combining curl creams and gels, or would the weight of the cream burden the functionality of the gel?
I definitely liked the fluffiness I get from just using Knot Today, and I love the curl structure of the gel.
From a formulating perspective, I’m trying to figure out what sorts of ingredients will provide the hold that gel does, without going into a synthetic ingredients list.
I’ve just gotten some modified gums, some natural resins, and some gelling agents like carageenan and agar. I’m going to play with those and see what happens.
Belinda, what gel do you use, and which have you found to lack in performance for your hair?
I’ve also got thin hair, but with my Indian background, I’m familiar with doing oil treatments. No matter what oil(s) I use, I find that if I apply it regularly (always overnight), my hair grows significantly faster than without the oil treatments.
I have noticed that certain oils affect the moisture of my hair differently: olive makes it very smooth, but also very flat, and more prone to a faster oil production from the scalp. Coconut and castor add shine and a bit more lift.
But you bring up an interesting point about the oily scalp that I hadn’t considered: hormones and age. I’m definitely past my teen years, but I can see your point about how age and genetics might play a role.
Your recommendations are really helpful! I’m going to play around with my schedule and product use for the next few months and see what comes of it. I haven’t yet done the cowash; honestly, I’m a bit scared I’ll wind up coming out of the shower with a scalp that’s not fully clean. Oh! That brings up another question: I’ve seen some formulators recommend doing a scalp exfoliation with sugar and oil. Any thoughts on that, or scalp exfoliation in general?
Thanks so much for your time and input, Belinda!! <3April 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm #21527
When I was “detoxing” my hair and scalp from sulfates and silicones, I would add brown sugar (because I don’t like super scrubby exfoliation) to my shampoo or cleanser right before I jumped in the shower, and scrub my scalp with that. Going through the detox made my scalp super itchy, and the brown sugar scrub felt wonderful! I think some people regularly do scalp scrubs, but I don’t since my scalp isn’t very itchy anymore.
In the winter when it can get dry, itchy, and flaky due to the dry air, I massage 3-4 drops of argan oil onto my scalp after cleansing to keep it moisturized. That keeps it pretty happy. I’ve taught a few others this trick and they have told me this works well for them too.
If you think a scrub would be helpful to your scalp, try it and see! Maybe some others on here have some experience with scalp scrubs and can tell you about their experiences too.April 3, 2017 at 7:04 pm #21528
I am definitely going to try that! Yay!
I’m excited to have a path forward! 🙂
You’ve been so so helpful! I really appreciate you sharing your experience and understanding, Belinda! 😀April 3, 2017 at 7:20 pm #21532
I use a couple of different gels, but none of them are considered “natural”. I can’t get the hold I need. I use either a combo of Herbal Essence Totally Twisted gel with a pea size amount of Biosilk’s Rock Hard Gelee mixed in to give me the perfect amount of hold OR Eco Krystal Styler gel which I’ve just started using and it gives me great curls and hold.
I’ve made flax seed gel many times, but it does not offer me very strong hold at all. It does better for me as something that helps my hair hold moisture in winter when layered with my leave in conditioner and Curl cream. It also helps with definition and clumping. There’s a few different recipes on the science-y hair blog, I think it’s called, if you want some ideas for DIY hair stylers, including a few gels, I think.April 3, 2017 at 7:28 pm #21535
Ah, I see.
I will check that out!April 3, 2017 at 7:28 pm #21536
I layer my products and don’t have an issue with one interfering with the other. In winter (my most product heavy time of year), I use a pea size amount of leave in conditioner, a pea size amount of Curl cream, two pumps of Camille Rose’s Curl Maker gel, then my hard hold gel. I do know not all products play well with others, but I haven’t had any issues so far. I don’t use a lot of any one product, except the hard hold gel, and I apply all my products on dripping wet hair, which I think helps them spread more easily/more uniformly on my hair.April 3, 2017 at 7:33 pm #21537
Some curlies have commented that the Knot Today does not play well with some products. I have used it as a leave in conditioner and I did not have that problem. Just wanted to give you a heads up since I’ve heard some people have a problem with it.
As I Am’s Leave In conditioner is a great leave in conditioner and it does well with all products. Curls Blueberry Bliss leave in conditioner is a good one too and smells so good!April 3, 2017 at 7:37 pm #21538
I’m going to do some research into what gives those products their hold.
I think some of the resins and modified gums I’ve bought might be able to do something for holding curl pattern.
BTW, I had never heard of the science-y blog before, looks like they’ve got a huge list of curl recipes! Lots of late night research for me ahead! 🙂 yay!
And thanks for the heads up! I will test mixing the Knot Today with the gel for a day at home, hehe.
I’ve read that the BTMS can react oddly with some ingredients, and I’ve experienced that in some of my formulating with surfactants.
Hmm… Maybe just an infusion of marshmallow root and slippery elm would be helpful with the gel to smoothe the hairApril 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm #21539
I understand your concerns with the co-wash not cleansing, because that was mine too in the beginning, but it works! Just make sure you read up on how to do it correctly. If you don’t, you will have problems because you have to follow “the rules”, as I call them, or it won’t work like it’s supposed to.
I started with doing an every other day kind of schedule, going back and forth between co-washing and a sulfate free shampoo, and now I’m co-washing a week to a week and a half before shampooing. My hair really loves co-washing!April 3, 2017 at 7:43 pm #21540
Marshmallow Root and Slippery Elm GOOD!! I think they are in Kinky Curly Curling Custard and Camille Rose’s Curl Maker. Very good for curls!
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