View Full Version : Frustrated No-Cones Hair

January 21st, 2016, 10:02 PM
I've been cone-free for several years. It's been a heck of a journey. My hair has grown longer than I've ever had it, and at its BEST it is super soft.


It is a nightmare to deal with. Somehow it manages to be either terribly dry, 'catching' on everything and grabbing lint, knotting, etc... like crazy... or if I manage to get it to not be so, then I've just oiled the crap out of it and it looks like I've overstretched my washes =P. There is rarely any inbetween, and it no longer shines the way it did back when I was using cones.

Last week I finally went in to the hair stylist to give it a trim because it seemed so battered at the ends. She took off 8 inches of damage *cries*

I don't know how to make my hair behave. For the longest time post-cones it was always super greasy. Now it's just dry all the time! I put it up, air dry, leave in conditioner regularly.... Am I better off just using the cones????


January 21st, 2016, 10:15 PM
Maybe you should try rotating cones and no-cones? That's what works best for me.

January 21st, 2016, 10:23 PM
Is there any particular reason why you are avoiding cones in the first place? :)

I think silicones can be extremely helpful for detangling, slip, overall manageability... and it seems to get more and more important with extra length.

Oils can sort of replace cones, but since you say that they make your hair look overly greasy quickly, I do think that silicones can provide a nice alternative in this case. They also don't seem to attract lint and dust as badly IMO.

It may be helpful to rotate cone and cone-free products or use overall cone-free routine combined with a small addition of coney leave-in or serum, applied only at strategic moments (say, right before detangling or when you plan on wearing hair down).

January 22nd, 2016, 04:06 AM
At one time I wanted to go more natural, comes with experimenting when you're just new on this site. And it was fine, up until I reached BSL, then my hair got all knotty and grabby and... no. I just switched silicones back into my routine and everything was fine from there again. Also, I had damage, so that didn't help matters. But still. I don't think there's a lot of us out there that can avoid silicones *completely* on hair that long.

hanne jensen
January 22nd, 2016, 05:47 AM
After I reached MBL my hair started to really love light cones. I avoid cones in my conditioners but have a serum that is very cony. My hair loves it.

January 22nd, 2016, 06:24 AM
I have to use cones. I was cone free for a while but got to the point that no matter what I did it would tangle like crazy. I did have to do some experimentation to find which cones worked best with my hair. Now I don't question it I just use what works best for my hair.

January 22nd, 2016, 06:40 AM
Yeah, a LOT of people start to find they need 'cones after midback/BSL because of accumulated damage. Maybe just use a 'coney serum from your shoulders down once in a while/whenever your ends start getting grabby again? It doesn't have to be a LOT and you don't necessarily have to change the rest of your routine but the slip, damage-patching, and damage-protection 'cones offer is very helpful for longer hair.

There are other factors you could look at (like, how often you wear your hair down vs in a protective style, heat or dye use, how you're combing or brushing, etc.) if you want to address how much damage your hair is receiving too, but silicones aren't the enemy as long as you don't overuse them without clarifying.

January 22nd, 2016, 06:57 AM
Yup. I'm past hip and absolutely use cones if I'm going to wear my hair in anything that's not a braid or braided bun (Slippy hair + crazy updo = giant mess)
If cones prevent my tangles and knotting, they're preventing future damage to my hair. They get a bad rep that's honestly not deserved if you know how to properly use them.

Look for lighter cones that won't build up as quickly.
I love Aussie Moist conditioner, and Pantene Ice Shine. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration is another good one.

school of fish
January 22nd, 2016, 07:25 AM
Cone-free and oiling didn't work for me. I really wanted them to, but they just didn't. I got what you are describing - grabby, tangly, dry hair that if I oiled to compensate just looked like it needed washing, badly. Oiling also attracted lint, which made tangles worse. Serums were no better. I experimented with products, amounts, order of application... any successes were middling at best.

Back when I was trying the cone-free route I was going on the reports of those who do it successfully - and there are plenty who do! But when I couldn't achieve the same success as they had I started looking more carefully at hairtypes and more importantly, hair BEHAVIOURS... and I quickly noticed that so many people who reported hair that BEHAVED like mine responded best to clear sulphate shampoos and thick conditioners with light cones. And that's exactly what works for me product-wise.

Somewhere in my searching I also realized that my hair builds up VERY quickly, and that any kind of leave-in results in tangles (which lead quickly to breakage for me) and lint buildup (which leads to tangles...). So a simple routine with no added anything left in is what my hair likes best. I shampoo twice a week, condition every day, and finish off with a very diluted acidic (lemon) rinse every day. That's it :)

For the record, Pantene Ice Shine is what makes my hair happy. It seems to do well for a bunch of us who get weighed down by heavy cones and for whom oil just sits on top of strands. Similarly formulated products would likely work well for me too, but since this has worked consistently for me for a long time now I feel no need to mess with a good thing ;)

Hope some of that is helpful!

January 22nd, 2016, 10:44 AM
Oh, I forgot to mention that if the reason you are avoiding cones is that you don't use sulfates or other strong surfactants to remove build-up, then there are water-soluble silicones that aren't as prone to build-up and are worth checking out :) , as well as some lighter cones that don't seem to build up easily (for example, I think amodimethicone is pretty light, while dimethicone and some volatile cones (e.g. cyclomethicone) combined with dimethicone can leave a plastic-y film pretty fast without clarifying in my case).
Different silicones can have pretty different effect on different hair, so it's really worth experimenting with to see what works best for you in terms of added slip vs. build-up. ;)

Here is a good list of silicones and their solubility (though new silicones appear on the market all the time, so they aren't listed) :flower: : http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/2014/04/silicone-ingredient-solubility-list.html

January 22nd, 2016, 12:29 PM
Agreeing with the others, it might be that you're better off with silicones. Me, I can take them or leave them, but my hair isn't your hair. (My hair also all happens to be post-LHC hair, so it's quite healthy. That seems to make a difference for a lot of us, but it takes a long time.)

That said, though, your description sounds like you're wearing your hair down a LOT. It's catching on all kinds of things, it's getting tattered enough that you had 8 inches of bad damage.... Try wearing it contained more. Then it won't tangle, it won't look bad, and it won't get damaged.

January 22nd, 2016, 08:01 PM
Thanks so much to everyone who's replied!!!

So glad to know I'm not alone and that there might be hope for my hopeless hair.

I've tried wearing my hair up but I feel like it often just gets matted and yucky. Admittedly, I do prefer braids to buns so maybe I'll buckle down and give the updos another go >_< I just have never loved the look of my hair in an updo.

When the hair stylist washed my hair, I let her use the normal products. My hair was silky smooth. It definitely feels better now without the damaged bits but not the same as when she toyed with it. SO now I guess I'm going to try to bring some light cones back into the mix. I guess I've just been scared to bring them back in, because of how long it took my hair to balance out and not be uber greasy when I got rid of them! My hair goes a lot longer these days without washing, which is great, and I always just assumed the cones were bad... so I've adamantly avoided them. But the grabbiness and lack of shine is just killing me over here.

Any recommendations on products I might add into my routine to help with the light-cone experimentation??

Thanks again <3

January 22nd, 2016, 10:56 PM
I was mostly cone free for years. I never had an issue with tangles, and I didn't care if I looked over-stretched because I don't really wash my hair more than once a week and I wear it up anyway. I rarely used shampoo either, and I remember all the times I used shampoo and a coney conditioner during that time because it was so rare. Right now I have tailbone length hair and have started using cones again, because

1) Cones make my hair silky instead of just soft
2) I occasionally wear my hair down (when I feel the need for thuds- most people I know have very short hair and I always get comments- I'm a needy person) and really like the shine that cones give.

That being said, I use soapnuts when I wash and use a lightly coney conditioner, a teaspoon of oil (I scrape a bit of coconut oil with the spoon and fill the rest of it with olive oil), dilute it with quite a bit of water, then blend it. I put it on nice sopping wet hair and add even more water. It sits on my head for around an hour and then I rinse in cold water. I have a very fine hair that gets LOTS of buildup easily, and it needs gentle cleansing/light conditioning to look it's "best". Just a little bit of cones will do it.

When I first considered using cones again I began to panic, saying NONONONONO cones are bad!!! in my head. But it's fine to use, because using things that make you like your hair is more important than not using things because they are "bad". You do you :)

January 23rd, 2016, 04:22 AM
Any recommendations on products I might add into my routine to help with the light-cone experimentation??

Thanks again <3

First of all, you'll probably want to clarify before you change anything in your routine, and if your hair starts to feel weird at all when you're starting back up with the 'cones (plastic-y, mushy, crunchy, or any other feeling that's not normal for you) give it a clarifying wash all the way down and then start again.

I'd definitely start with a serum that you can apply as-needed, rather than going full 'cone and having the same problems you did before. I personally really like the Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oils. They have some of the heavier silicones, but you can use just a drop at a time spread all over your fingers (like you would for applying oil) and use it only on the ends where and when you need it, so that you don't get so much buildup and greasiness that you did before. You might need it after every wash, or you might only need it once a month or maybe even less, but you can let your hair decide instead of getting overwhelmed by using it too much.

If you'd rather put a 'coney conditioner into your rotation, make sure it's got the water-soluble silicones and not the heavier ones, avoid the scalp if you got greasiness before, and again only use it once in a while, not all the time, until you figure out how often your hair needs the support and how often you can do without. Some folks here only use their 'coney conditioners every third or fourth wash, because their regular routine gets their scalp clean but doesn't strip out all the 'cones from the length where they're needed. Some of us use very harsh shampoos for various reasons, and need three layers of 'cones at every wash. You might be at one end of the extreme or somewhere in the middle, but you can figure it out with a little trial and error.

January 23rd, 2016, 05:54 AM
I'd recommend the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration. I think it has one silicone, I believe it dissipates in water only (if I'm not mistaken), and it is my HG, great detangler and smoother!