I discovered the curly girl method about a year ago and I haven’t looked back. After many years of struggling with frizz and trying to work out how to look after my hair I’m finally understanding what products are more suitable for me. My hair is still not perfect by any means, but it’s getting there.
I explained in my first post last year the principles behind the curly girl method: using sulphate- and silicon- free products. If you follow the method strictly you will not be using shampoo at all, just conditioner. But I still like to use shampoo from time to time, I guess it’s force of habit.
Following the curly girl method can probably feel overwhelming to start with, but it’s actually quite straight forward and easy to follow. I wanted to share with you the 5 main things I’ve learnt this first year following it:
1. Keep it simple – Start with a conditioner and a styling product. You really don’t need much more and after a short transition period your hair will start looking much healthier. After a while you could also add a leave-in cream or a gel. Some people use a conditioner to co-wash and a different one as a leave-in but it’s really down to preference. Brands like Cantu and Shea Moisture can be a bit heavy to start with and can wear your hair down, so if you are starting out it might be better to use lighter products. My hair likes heavy products so Shea Moisture works really well for me.
2. Stick to a routine – Make sure you stick to the same conditioner and styling product for a while to see how your hair reacts. Give it a bit of time before introducing different products or changing your routine. A few months into the curly girl method I realised my hair didn’t like coconut. It made it quite dry and frizzy so I cut it out completely. I now try to avoid conditioners or creams that contain it and my hair feels much better.
It’s a case of trial and error; see what combination of products work better for your hair. What works for one person might not work for another.
3. Deep condition – Curly hair is really dry and needs a lot of moisture. It also needs a lot of repairing after many years of using silicons, sulphates, straighteners and even dyes. You should deep condition once a week to try and get your hair as healthy as possible. There are many creams / hair masks out there that are curly girl approved and are perfect for deep conditioning. I make my own by mixing conditioner with olive oil -you can use any oil- I warm it up a tiny bit in the microwave and leave on my hair for over an hour or more and I then rinse it out. Olive oil is difficult to co-wash, so I started just adding a little drop to my conditioner but as my hair seems to love it I’ve been adding more and more every time. My hair doesn’t feel greasy at all afterwards, just nice and soft. It shows how much repairing it needs.
4. It doesn’t need to cost a lot – I’ve heard following the curly girl method could be expensive and it’s really not the case. In fact, most supermarkets’ own brand conditioners are curly girl approved. At the moment I’m using Garnier Ultimate Blends Oat Milk which is quite light, and my favourite Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter which is a bit heavier, both of these cost less than £10.
If you are in the UK these other conditioners are CG approved and they quite reasonably priced: Superdrug Extracts Range, Yesto, Tesco Pro-Vitamin B5, most of the Shea Moisture Range and Tresemme Botanique
5. You will feel like giving up – Even though I’m really happy with the state of my hair there are so many times that I feel like I’m wasting my time looking at products that are curly girl approved or trying to make sure I don’t use any sulphates or silicones. It’s a long term process – for some people at least- and I just have to remind myself of how much my hair has improved in the past year.
See the two pictures below. The first is my hair this time last year just before I started the curly girl method, and the one beneath was taken last week. Looking at them you can see the difference in my hair and how my curls are now really defined. I’m still trying to work out how to get rid of frizz but overall I think it’s a huge improvement.
I’m by no means an expert in the curly girl method but I’ve been reading quite a bit the past year on the subject so do let me know if you want me to do another blog post on anything else related to it.