Once she translated it all and pointed me in the right direction, I quickly tried it and fell in love with this method, so I thought I'd share it and recommend the book, since it seems practical for everyone, not just curly girls.
What is the curly girl method?
The curly girl method is a way to take care of curly/wavy hair so that it looks and feels the best it possibly can. This method is explained in detail in Lorraine Massey's book, Curly Girl: The Handbook. What I've found while researching this method is that it can be a bit overwhelming at first because of all the information, however, it shouldn't be. I've easily incorporated it into my haircare routine, since I have wavy hair, and my teenage daughter has, as well, even though her hair is fairly straight. In my opinion, all types of hair can benefit from this method, especially if you're having any type of issues, such as dry hair/scalp, frizzing, or simply lackluster, dull hair.
If you want to know everything there is to know about this method and the techniques recommended, I highly suggest you buy the book and/or join the group on Facebook, which has a lot of informative files to go through that list a lot of important things, including 'CG' (Curly Girl) approved products. If you just want to know the basics, right now, then continue reading what I do.
- Step 1: Deep Cleanse (only done once)
Before you begin this method, you must use a clarifying shampoo, dish liquid, or an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse to strip your hair of waxes, silicones, and buildup. Silicones are in a lot of the products and conditioners we use, especially if they're supposed to help smooth the hair. Dimethicone is a popular one, but any products with words ending in 'cone' on the ingredients list should be avoided. Also, avoid petrolatum, mineral & castor oils, and waxes. If it is preceded by 'PEG-(and a number)', that means it's water-soluble and usually okay to use, but if you have doubts, just don't use it. If you do accidentally use something with these things in it, don't panic! Just do this step again to remove them.
- Step 2: Use either a Cowash or 'Low Poo' (Sulfate-free) Shampoo
A lot of people already use sulfate free shampoos, yet these shampoos don't remove silicones well, so they build up on the hair, preventing conditioners from being able to penetrate the hair strand, making the hair actually dryer, starving it of moisture. Then we use smoothing products, which usually contain more silicones, to smooth the hair, since dry hair is usually frizzy, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Step 3: Scrub, scrub, scrub, rinse well, condition, comb, & rinse again
- Step 4: Don't use a towel
- Step 5: Add product & (if your hair is curly/wavy) scrunch
- Step 6: Dry using low/no heat
- Step 7: Style using NO or LOW heat
Whatever you do, don't use harsh heat (irons) to style your hair. Using this method, you shouldn't need it. The most damage and hair breakage I've ever seen in all my years of doing hair almost always come from flat irons.
Like I said before, there's a lot more info in the book, but this is what I do and it has made a HUGE difference in my hair and scalp, which used to be really dry. My hair has gone from being messy frizz to defined waves and is softer than I ever remember it being. With that being said, I've heard of some people having trouble starting out, so here's a few tips I've come across or simply know from doing hair so long.
- Don't over think it. Follow the basic CG rules, avoiding the ingredients that suffocate your hair and the heat that cooks it, and go from there with the other stuff.
- Don't get overwhelmed. Yes, there's a lot of info that goes along with this method, however, you don't have to incorporate everything all at once. I don't do some of it at all. I think that's why people freak out... they don't follow tip #1.
- Don't go crazy. The main products you need to purchase/replace are your shampoo, conditioner, and styling product (if they're not CG friendly). Add on after that, depending on what your hair needs.
- It may get worse before it gets better. It didn't for me, but for some this has been called a 'transition period' and will most likely pass. If it happens to you, either more flaky or oily, give it some time. If you've been using harsh shampoos, your scalp has been producing oil to compensate that. It may take it a few days to adjust.
- Stiff, brittle, or coated-feeling hair. A lot of the CG friendly products contain coconut, which can mimic protein. Not everyone needs it, so if you use something that has more than your hair needs, it can make it feel rough and brittle. Simply try something without coconut, wheat protein, or keratin and see if that helps.
- Stringy, limp, cotton candy-like hair. Unlike a protein overload, if your hair is over-processed, it usually needs protein. If your hair needs more than the products you're using can provide, you can purchase protein/keratin treatments at the local beauty supply store.
- Google, Google, Google! I learned so much by doing this! From cowashing, drying, and styling videos to CG approved products, there's a lot of info out there. But again, refer to tips #1 and #2.