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View Full Version : Cones vs. cone-free: having trouble figuring out what my hair prefers



biogirl87
July 24th, 2013, 08:34 PM
Today when I saw the cone-free and hair fall thread by sarahthegemini and the salicylic hair products products thread by massivecnqstdr (where the video about no-poo vs. shampoo was discussed briefly), I was reminded of the cones vs. cone-free experiment I started in December of last year. Initially I started that experiment because the first time I switched to cone-free routine I changed several things at one time, making it hard to determine if it was due to cones or not. When I started the cone vs. cone-free experiment I used coney shampoo and conditioner from December 2012 to about mid February 2012. Then, from about March 2013 until about June 2013 I used cone-free shampoo and conditioner (currently still using cone-free shampoo and conditioner). During the duration of this experiment the only thing that I changed in my hair care routine was the switch from cones to cone-free. While I felt my hair had less tangles in it when I used shampoo and conditioner with cones, it seemed my hair was less wavy with cones. Ideally, I would like to be seeing the real nature of my hair, but at the same time I would like to be doing what is best for my hair/what my hair prefers. Visually I feel it is difficult for me to tell what my hair prefers (when I look at the pics of my hair), maybe because I'm used to it and because I'm used to seeing how it looks.So, I feel I need help of others to figure this out.

This is how my hair looks after it's been washed with shampoo and conditioner containing cones
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=2190&d=1359956269
This is after about 3 months of using cone-free shampoo and conditioner
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=5041&d=1372391698
For reference, this is what my hair is like after it's been washed with sulfate-free shampoo, cone-free shampoo and conditioner
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=521&d=1354499570

I would like to ask the wonderful ladies on this forum for opinions and help on figuring my way through the maze of the preferences of my hair. Is my hair better when I use cone-free shampoo and conditioner or is it better off when I use shampoo and conditioner with cones? Also, do you feel my hair is telling me it prefers cones or prefers being cone-free? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

silvertongue
July 24th, 2013, 08:54 PM
It's a bit difficult to tell from the resolution of the "before" pic, but I think your hair looks better & wavier in the "after"/no-cone pics. Does your hair feel any different?

biogirl87
July 24th, 2013, 09:35 PM
silvertongue, thank you for your reply. About if my hair feels any different, it's a little hard to say for sure. Sometimes my hair feels softer with cone-free routine (especially right after I've detangled when it feels really soft) but I would say there were times when by the time it's wash day I've felt the ends/the bottom 2-3 inches feeling dry/coarse when I was using cones. During the duration of the experiment, I haven't really noticed if there was a difference in how my hair felt, only in how tangled it was (less tangly with cones).

luxepiggy
July 24th, 2013, 11:07 PM
The first step I would recommend is sitting down and sorting out what your priorities and goals are with regards to your hair and its long-term condition. What is most important to you? Do you care more about shine? Softness? Tangle resistance? Damage/split reduction? Maximizing length? You may also want to consider your lifestyle and how that impacts your hair day-to-day. For example, do you normally wear it loose, or do you primarily keep it in an updo? Do you often wear braids?

Once you've figured out which factors matter most to you, it should be easier to decide whether you want to stick with your current 'cone free routine or go back to 'cones. For example, it seems to me that your hair looked a bit sleeker and shinier with 'cones, but it appears to have more volume and body without 'cones. So, do you prefer the sleek look or the voluminous look? That could be one factor to take into account.

Hope that helps, at least a little bit (^(oo)^)v

biogirl87
July 24th, 2013, 11:24 PM
Thank you Piggy. It helps a little bit. When I think about my priorities and my goals regarding my hair, I would want to get it long, preferrably to waist length at least, and be in the best possible condition and it would seem that tangle resistance and damage/split reduction go along with that. Clearly shine is important to have and an indicator of the health of one's hair but it's not a huge priority right now (or at least it doesn't seem to be a huge priority). Before I used to wear my hair down a lot more, but now that it's getting close to BSL and starting to get caught in the straps of my backpack, I'm trying to wear it up more often when I go outside. It's been years since I've had my hair in neat braids (my mom braided my hair in early grade school) and as simple as they look I really should take the time and learn to do them so they don't look silly on me.

I think when you mention the issue of sleek look vs. voluminous look we get to one crux of the problem as mom prefers the sleek look on me since in the sleek look my hair isn't sticking out in a billion different directions but I tend to prefer the voluminous look because I have a hard time letting go of the idea that in the sleek look my hair isn't sticking out in a billion different directions but still have a lot of volume. Which look do you like more on my hair?

luxepiggy
July 24th, 2013, 11:38 PM
Thank you Piggy. It helps a little bit. When I think about my priorities and my goals regarding my hair, I would want to get it long, preferrably to waist length at least, and be in the best possible condition and it would seem that tangle resistance and damage/split reduction go along with that. Clearly shine is important to have and an indicator of the health of one's hair but it's not a huge priority right now (or at least it doesn't seem to be a huge priority). Before I used to wear my hair down a lot more, but now that it's getting close to BSL and starting to get caught in the straps of my backpack, I'm trying to wear it up more often when I go outside. It's been years since I've had my hair in neat braids (my mom braided my hair in early grade school) and as simple as they look I really should take the time and learn to do them so they don't look silly on me.

I think when you mention the issue of sleek look vs. voluminous look we get to one crux of the problem as mom prefers the sleek look on me since in the sleek look my hair isn't sticking out in a billion different directions but I tend to prefer the voluminous look because I have a hard time letting go of the idea that in the sleek look my hair isn't sticking out in a billion different directions but still have a lot of volume. Which look do you like more on my hair?

My personal preference is for sleekness, but obviously given my own hairtype I am rather biased (^(oo)~)

On a more objective note, remember that the more pronounced the wave/curl pattern in your hair, the shorter it will be, relative to fixed body-landmarks like "BSL" or "waist" ... so do you prefer a stronger wave pattern, or do you want to get to waist faster? If you want to get to waist as soon as possible, my recommendation would be to switch back to 'cones for the time being. It will (a) help minimize tangle-induced damage & breakage; and, (b) reduce your wave pattern, thus slightly increasing the vertical length. Then, once you reach your goal, if you feel the 'cones are muting your natural wave pattern, you can switch back to 'cone free at that point. That way you sort of get the best of both worlds (^(oo)^)v

biogirl87
July 24th, 2013, 11:53 PM
On a more objective note, remember that the more pronounced the wave/curl pattern in your hair, the shorter it will be, relative to fixed body-landmarks like "BSL" or "waist" ... so do you prefer a stronger wave pattern, or do you want to get to waist faster? If you want to get to waist as soon as possible, my recommendation would be to switch back to 'cones for the time being. It will (a) help minimize tangle-induced damage & breakage; and, (b) reduce your wave pattern, thus slightly increasing the vertical length. Then, once you reach your goal, if you feel the 'cones are muting your natural wave pattern, you can switch back to 'cone free at that point. That way you sort of get the best of both worlds (^(oo)^)vPiggy, thank you. This is definitely something for me to keep in mind.

melusine963
July 25th, 2013, 06:33 AM
Have you thought of using a cone-free leave in to get some of the shine back? I find that using a tiny bit of coconut oil really helps (it also makes my hair softer and less tangly). You hair looks beautiful with your cone-free routine.

lapushka
July 25th, 2013, 08:26 AM
I found it makes *no* difference whatsoever in my wave pattern, but my hair gets styled the same every time - and that, I think, is key: the styling part and the methods you use after your hair is washed with S&C. I use a silicone-free harsh sulfate shampoo (both SLS & SLES) such as Herbal Essences or Pantene and a cone-laden conditioner. My leave-in also has cones, as does my serum. My gel is alcohol-free. Some of my gels contain silicones, others don't. Again, I notice no difference there.

Ultimately, I guess, it's the ease of use and the cost (cone-laden conditioners usually are *way* cheaper).

Vivalagina
July 25th, 2013, 09:08 AM
I think your hair looks lovely with either routine, you have such a nice soft wave pattern! I just switched back to cones because my hair was tangling badly with no cones (was cone-free for over a year) and I started noticing a lot more splits and single-strand knots. The extra volume from no cones just wasn't worth it anymore. Since you are trying to wear it up more, maybe find out which routine works best for you when it comes to wearing your hair up? My hair is definitely more slippery with cones, but I can easily put it up with one hairstick at BSL. When my hair was APL, I needed the extra volume/texture a no cone routine gave me to do solid buns.

biogirl87
July 25th, 2013, 10:57 AM
melusine, lapushka, and Vivalagina, thank you ladies for your replies.

melusine, I haven't considered a cone-free shine leave in yet as they're hard to find in stores I typically do my grocery shopping in and I don't know if I'll like mixing coney leave in into my cone-free routine (if it remains cone-free). At this point I haven't tried oiling my hair but feeling like it might be time to start. A lot of people here mention using coconut oil which I do not have at the moment, so do you think extra virgin olive oil would work for the time being at the beginning of my journey into oiling my hair?

lapushka, it's interesting that you mention that conditioners containing cones are most expensive where you live. Where I live cone-free conditioners are about three times cheaper than conditioners containing cones.

Vivalagina, you bring up a valid point of which routine works best when wearing my hair up. I remember back in January or February (tail end of the time when I used shampoo and conditioner with cones/right before I began the cone-free phase of this experiment) of this year I could hardly get two hairsticks to stay in my bun and even then it was not very secure (but my hair was maybe an inch below APL at that point). At that time, spin pins were another hair toy that my hair didn't like until I used a lot of hairspray since without hairspray spin pins just slid out my hair as soon as I'd start to test how secure the bun was. Do you think my hair was just too slippery with cones to really be put into updos easily?

lapushka
July 25th, 2013, 01:18 PM
lapushka, it's interesting that you mention that conditioners containing cones are most expensive where you live. Where I live cone-free conditioners are about three times cheaper than conditioners containing cones.

Nonono. That's exactly what I meant. Conditioners that are full of cones are cheaper where I live! No cone stuff is cheaper where you live? Wow!

biogirl87
July 25th, 2013, 01:34 PM
Nonono. That's exactly what I meant. Conditioners that are full of cones are cheaper where I live! No cone stuff is cheaper where you live? Wow!Yes, here Herbal Essences and Garnier Fructis (both coney) and some coney Suave conditioners are about $3 a bottle while Suave Naturals (cone-free) and VO5 conditioners are about a dollar a bottle. Pantene can get into the $5 range.

Vivalagina
July 25th, 2013, 01:34 PM
Vivalagina, you bring up a valid point of which routine works best when wearing my hair up. I remember back in January or February (tail end of the time when I used shampoo and conditioner with cones/right before I began the cone-free phase of this experiment) of this year I could hardly get two hairsticks to stay in my bun and even then it was not very secure (but my hair was maybe an inch below APL at that point). At that time, spin pins were another hair toy that my hair didn't like until I used a lot of hairspray since without hairspray spin pins just slid out my hair as soon as I'd start to test how secure the bun was. Do you think my hair was just too slippery with cones to really be put into updos easily?

It's definitely possible. Cones give my hair a very slippery/silky feel, whereas cone-free left it soft but more grabby. I have similar hair to yours (F/M, 2a) and at APL, the slip that cones gave my hair made it way too hard to do a secure updo. However, now that I'm at BSL, I have enough length that I can have both the slip and secure updos. But it might be different for you.

Maybe you could do another experiment, and continue cone-free for another month and see how various buns/toys hold and then the next month use cones and see how the updos/toys work for you. It might help you figure out what will work best for your hair on a day-to-day basis. I think you can have beautiful healthy hair with either routine. Just pick what is the most important for you (for me, it's lack of tangles and updos) and then see which routine achieves that the best. :)

nobeltonya
July 25th, 2013, 01:35 PM
I think cone free looks better. :) Now mine loves cones.. I skipped my (coney) leave-in today to shake things up and my hair feels horrible.. like it'll break.. :) :disco:

biogirl87
July 25th, 2013, 03:04 PM
Vivalagina and nobeltnoya, thank you for your replies ladies.

sarahthegemini
July 25th, 2013, 03:09 PM
I don't have great experience as I've only been cone free for about 2 weeks! Buttttt, IMO your hair looks more sleek with cones but fuller without, so I guess it comes down to whether you want sleekness or volume :) I'm quite lucky that my hair is just as shiny and wavey without cones as it is with For me, the difference is, with cones I have more slip and fewer tangles and without cones I have more tangle prone but fuller looking hair :o

Meadowsweet
July 25th, 2013, 03:28 PM
I've just returned to using cones after a 6 week or so experiment of going without them. Despite using good quality cone free conditioner, oiling & generally taking much better care of my hair than ever (thanks to LHC!) my hair was becoming increasingly dry, especially the Velcro-y ends. Since using cones again my is wow :eek:so shiny, slippy, soft & the ends much less dry. I *really* wanted to go cone free but it seems my hair didn't not agree! I hope you figure out what works best for you, it's all trial & error!

biogirl87
July 25th, 2013, 03:42 PM
Thank you sarahthegemini and Meadowsweet.

Meadowsweet, I think that like your hair, the ends of my hair may not like having to be cone-free. I don't remember having as much detangling my hair when I was using cones as I do now and at times it seems that the bottom inch or two of my hair is starting to get/is having the Velcro-y ends you describe in your post. This is definitely something to think about.

Meadowsweet
July 25th, 2013, 03:51 PM
Absolutely biogirl I forgot to mention the tangles! They were dreadful, so knotted, unlike anything I've ever had actually. I haven't trimmed for a few months which I think are maybe the cause of my Velcro ends but going back to cones has meant that I'm no longer thinking about trimming for a while yet. My motto is do whatever works, if that means cones, then go with it. :cool:

sarahthegemini
July 25th, 2013, 04:35 PM
Thank you sarahthegemini and Meadowsweet.

Meadowsweet, I think that like your hair, the ends of my hair may not like having to be cone-free. I don't remember having as much detangling my hair when I was using cones as I do now and at times it seems that the bottom inch or two of my hair is starting to get/is having the Velcro-y ends you describe in your post. This is definitely something to think about.

I decided today to stay as cone free as possible (for a while anyway) BUT use a coney conditioner just on my ends as that's the part that was tangling/getting knotted the most. I used cone free conditioner for the first co of my CWC, then for the 2nd co I used the same conditioner all over my length but NOT the ends - that's where I slathered on a coney one. I left it for a few mins and rinsed. It seems to have helped :)

nobeltonya
July 25th, 2013, 04:51 PM
My motto is do whatever works, if that means cones, then go with it. :cool:

My thoughts exactly. :) What works for one person or is recommended may not work the same for you. :disco:

biogirl87
July 25th, 2013, 11:36 PM
Meadowsweet, sarahthegemini, and nobeltonya, thank you ladies.

Meadowsweet
July 26th, 2013, 12:51 AM
[QUOTE=nobeltonya;2479384]My thoughts exactly. :)

;) You can tell that we both have young children! 'Do whatever works' has rapidly become my motto for dealing with my 3 boys:wethree:

Firefox7275
July 26th, 2013, 05:04 AM
If you want to go silicone free and have long healthy hair ensure that your entire washing and conditioning routine works towards that, you don't use any product that damages the hair and do use use ingredients that work with your hair properties/ replenishes lost lipids and proteins. In and of themselves silicones do not make hair healthier, however they can substitute for the hair's protective layer if that is lost as can many other ingredients.

My colour treated porous hair is curlier and healthier (less breakage, dry ends) without silicones, but the reason is more complex - no longer using silicones I cut not just harsh sulphates out of my haircare routine but all shampoo, I also use ingredients proven to penetrate hair, patch repair damage and reduce porosity, I stopped ripping brushes through my hair and wearing a 24/7 ponytail. Instead of silicones I use products containing the behentrimoniums, coconut oil, hydrolysed protein, ceramides and panthenol. I'd just gone for the most basic coneless conditioner I don't believe I would have seen/ felt the improvements I have.

I don't find my current routine overly costly since many of my products are fairly cheap, the more expensive conditioners I use primarily as leave ins so waste little - I don't want to flush all my penetrating/ patch repairing ingredients down the shower drain every second day! Leave in conditioner also calms the pouf, helps my hair retain the right amount of hydration and makes hair easier to detangle when washing.

I notice on hair forums a focus on 'moisture' and I wonder if that is why many cone free routines do not work. Dry or damaged hair does not necessarily needs more water, in fact too much humectants/ water swell the cortex, raises the cuticle and can increase tangling. Silicones don't supply 'moisture' they are anti humectants/ sealers/ occlusives for slip, reducing friction and patching damage.

biogirl87
July 26th, 2013, 10:18 AM
Firefox, thank you. Once again you've given quite a detailed reply and it will take some time for me to process your reply. I think you have a point in wondering about the focus on moisture on the forums possibly being the reason many cone-free routines don't work. I think I know what my hair properties are but once they are taken into consideration it sometimes gets confusing with the dew points and the humidity. I will keep your reply in mind as I sift through all of this when I try to figure this out and what my hair prefers and/or needs.

Tangle or Curl?
July 26th, 2013, 11:13 AM
I think I'll always be a coney girl. I go to great lengths to keep my fine, thick curls moist but nothing else seems to be slippery enough to keep it from tangling. Without cones my nape hairs will even create giant matts that spread to the rest of my hair. Oils make it nice and moist, but it gets stickier and tanglier.

pili
July 26th, 2013, 11:23 AM
I'm going to follow this thread. The longest I ever had my hair was thanks to cones. I started back on that with the goal of getting my hair the longest ever and keeping it this time.

jacqueline101
July 26th, 2013, 11:29 AM
The first step I would recommend is sitting down and sorting out what your priorities and goals are with regards to your hair and its long-term condition. What is most important to you? Do you care more about shine? Softness? Tangle resistance? Damage/split reduction? Maximizing length? You may also want to consider your lifestyle and how that impacts your hair day-to-day. For example, do you normally wear it loose, or do you primarily keep it in an updo? Do you often wear braids?

Once you've figured out which factors matter most to you, it should be easier to decide whether you want to stick with your current 'cone free routine or go back to 'cones. For example, it seems to me that your hair looked a bit sleeker and shinier with 'cones, but it appears to have more volume and body without 'cones. So, do you prefer the sleek look or the voluminous look? That could be one factor to take into account.

Hope that helps, at least a little bit (^(oo)^)v

I agree with her I had to reevaluate my goals. I found I want smooth shiny tangle free hair that's healthy. I found cones are part of it. You need to find a complete care regimine and keep it. In order to have sleek hair you need to dust micro trim splits. Hair can't be smooth if it's jagged with splits. Then I realized shine was great so I found my shine spray, oil my hair got bored of so I went to shine spray, leave in conditioner my hair needed hydration so I did that, vitamins still take them drink water daily, shampoo vo5 split ends I love it. My hair is tangle free, smooth, and I added last week a cholesterol treatment followed by deep conditioner. My hair is happy shiny soft and my man can't keep his hands out of it.

biogirl87
July 26th, 2013, 12:05 PM
Thank you jacqueline. Since starting this thread, in the past couple of days I've been thinking about trying to modify my cone-free routine either with sulfate-free shampoo, oils, or some other way I haven't thought of yet and seeing if that gets my hair to calm down and be okay being cone-free (if it turns out it likes shampoo and conditioner with cones). I personally like it when my hair is cone-free as it's not coated with silicones then but I think a large part of this is finding a happy medium between how I'd like my hair to be/how I like my hair to look and what my hair likes. I also think that Firefox raised several important points that I need to take into this consideration.

biogirl87
July 27th, 2013, 11:44 PM
Ladies, thank you for all your replies. You have said a lot of good things in your replies which will be helpful as I try to figure this out. At this point I think I'll probably experiment with different ways of keeping my routine cone-free as theoretically it should allow me to not have to use sulfates anymore but it will take to figure this out and to experiment. I'll probably update this thread when I figure out what my hair prefers.