Lessons Learned: Tangles, Knots, and Too Much Protein!

My journey may not be perfect, but I am determined to learn all I can from my mistakes. I let my regimen slip due to a couple of busy weeks and…well, I’ll let you read on 🙂

The changes

Normally, I’m able to workout about 3 times per week. I don’t like the thought of sweating that much and only washing once that week, so I typically add a conditioner-wash mid-week or so (with Herbal Essence Hello Hydration). Well, as much as it kills me to say this, I haven’t had the time to workout the past couple of weeks, so I thought to myself, “if you’re not sweating, there’s no need for you to co-wash, you can just wash weekly”. I was actually excited about even less manipulation. I didn’t think this would set me back at all. It made perfectly logical sense, at the time.

In addition to not conditioner-washing, I decided to try to wear my Twist Out for a few days before re-twisting. I usually re-twist every night to make sure my curls are defined for each day. I’ve also began to use it as a disaster check for knots and stubborn tangles, so I’m not surprised on wash-day. But I wanted to give this lower-manipulation technique a shot. So over the past week or so, I would twist at night before bed, and not re-twist for another 2-3 days.

Let’s add another factor :). I also decided to clarify+hard protein this week. I started clarifying, then doing hard protein treatments back when I was stretching my relaxers, and for some reason I haven’t changed my products (bad idea). So I’m using Paul Mitchell’s Shampoo Three as my clarifying shampoo and usually KeraCare’s Super Reconstructor, but I ran out so I had to use Joico K-Pak Reconstructor. It’s usually a rough wash-day when I clarify because my hair is getting stripped of a lot of moisture (which I try to put back in with a nice deep condition), but the next day my hair usually feels amazingly clean, bouncy, and vibrant. Usually by the time I conditioner-wash (which is again typically 2-3 days after I shampoo-wash), my hair is soft and manageable like it was before the clarifying/protein treatment.

The results

So with those three changes in my regimen, I seemed to have created the perfect storm for a wash-day disaster. The week that I clarified was business as usual. The wash-day was a struggle, but the next couple of days I noticed the benefits listed above. It wasn’t until day 3 that my scalp began to itch like crazy, and my hair really seemed to dry out. So I was super excited to shampoo-wash and relieve my scalp of the madness. I washed with Shea Moisture shampoo and used the Aphogee 2-Minute reconstructor. You’re probably wondering, why in the world did you do the 2-minute reconstructor after doing a hard-protein treatment just 7 days before? Well, I did it out of habit, lol. I usually need the protein at this point in the week because I’ve conditioner-washed with a moisturizing conditioner a few days before (too much moisture leaves my hair limp so I like to make sure I’m balancing moisture and protein). The Aphogee Two-Minute Reconstructor was a bad idea because since I hadn’t conditioner-washed, my hair didn’t get the moisture it usually gets. So, I ended up overloading my hair with protein (in addition to having too strong of a clarifying shampoo) and my hair surely suffered the consequences. It was a tangled, hard, stiff mess! I mean, there were so many knots in my hair, my first thought was to start cutting away! It took me FOREVER to detangle, and I’ll be honest, I lost most patience and started to tear through just so I could get to bed at a decent hour.

Lessons learned

1. If I don’t conditioner-wash with my moisturizing conditioner, I HAVE to take the time to deep condition on my shampoo-wash day. My hair needs that moisture one way or another.

2. I need to re-twist every night. As stated above, it allows me the time to keep my knots/tangles under control. It may be more manipulation but it’s especially important for me since I primarily finger-detangle.

3. I think it’s time for a softer clarifying shampoo. I’ll start researching. I also, don’t know that I need a hard protein treatment. I saw the need when most of my hair was relaxed, but now that I’m transitioning, my hair isn’t lacking the protein it was six months ago (I’m still thinking on this one).

So there you have it. More lessons learned from trial and error 🙂


Clarifying and Hard Protein Treatments: I first learned about clarifying and hard protein treatments from Gennifer of Healthy Textures. It was in the context of stretching your relaxers. For those who are unaware: Clarifying relieves your hair of product build-up if you don’t wash often, typically wash with Sulfate-Free shampoos, or if you swim or have hard-water (among other reasons). The hard protein treatment is intended to make the hair stronger by restoring/strengthening the protein bonds within the hair fiber. It’s especially helpful for those with relaxed hair as the chemicals in the relaxer strip the hair of its proteins. It makes sense to do the two together since protein treatments work best on clean hair and you need it to penetrate deeply (as with most other treatments). I typically do this every 4-6 weeks.

5 thoughts on “Lessons Learned: Tangles, Knots, and Too Much Protein!

  1. Pingback: My Own Product Challenge « curlstories

  2. Pingback: Transitioner’s Struggle: Hydration vs. Low Manipulation « curlstories

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