So, you're thinking about starting the healthy hair journey huh? Now, let me tell you right now, it took time to create the damage so it takes double the time to repair the damage!
The first thing I tell people when they decide to start the Curly Girl Method is be prepared to REALLY get to know your hair. As you progress through your journey, your hair will change soo much and trust me it will become your baby. Next thing you know you will be saying things like
Ugh, i'm so done with humectants for the winter." Don't know what that means yet? Don't worry we will get there!
So, let's get into it all!
What is the CG Method?
The curly girl method is a method in which you go SHAMPOO FREE to give your curls some ultra moisture. Instead of shampooing you co-wash (wash your scalp with conditioner) and your condition and style your hair with silicone free and sulfate free products.
Who Created it?
The method was invented by Lorraine Massey, the inventor of DevaCurl.
What is the correct order to start CG?
· Final Wash: Before you can start the method, you need to do something called a final wash. A final wash is basically clarifying your hair of any silicones or other harsh chemicals that build up in your hair from regular hair products. You will need a sulfate shampoo to remove the silicones. Only sulfate shampoos do that. TIP: Check out the file all about a final wash for suggestions and links to buy.
· Cowash: Part of the curly girl method is learning how to retain moisture in your curls for as long as possible. Shampoo removes all our natural oils from our hair and scalp, so an alternative to shampooing is washing with conditioner, known as co-washing. Whenever your hair feels too greasy or weighed-down, you can grab your fav conditioner and use it the same way you would shampoo, paying particular attention to your scalp. TIP: Really focus on scrubbing your scalp so you can remove build-up and debris. Do that for about 2-5 minutes then rinse out.
· Deep Condition: Choose a deep conditioner free of silicones, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oil. If you need suggestions check out the files section for links in the live session notes or check out the albums marked CG Approved Deep Conditioners. Apply deep conditioner onto hair focusing on the middle shaft and ends, AVOID USING ON SCALP (will only build up). Leave on for at least fifteen minutes with a shower cap for it to actually penetrate the hair follicle. For more intense moisture put a microwavable cap or hooded dryer for up to an hour. The heat helps the conditioner penetrate and seal the follicle more efficiently. Rinse thoroughly and style as normal. TIP: For high porosity ladies, deep conditioning is especially important you may have to deep condition more often in winter. I deep condition twice a week for thirty minutes each session.
· Leave In Conditioner: To start out the method I would say keep your styling routine simple. All you essentially need is a good moisturizing leave in conditioner and a gel. Both have to be free from silicones, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils. Section your hair and apply your conditioner in any style you feel comfortable (ex. Racking, praying hands, scrunching. Etc.) TIP: to save time and money you can use your rinse out conditioner as a leave-in conditioner as well, you do not have to buy a special leave in conditioner, there is no difference.
6) Styling: to beginners, this step will mean just gel for a while. After a couple of weeks or whenever you get comfortable with your styling routine you can start to add other products to help enhance, define, and preserve your curls. Options include mousses, curl defining smoothies, custards, hair milk, gels, etc. TIP: Do not go overboard on products. For example, if you are going to use a smoothie that will take the place of three products because it is meant to define curls, moisturize them, and preserve them the same way a leave in, curl enhancing cream, and gel would do, just with one product. Remember with both product application and products used less is more.
7) Drying your hair: The curly girl method is all about avoiding the damaging heat that has lead us all to our current state of dead ends and dry hair. To dry your hair your options are naturally air drying, diffusing, plopping, or sitting under a hooded dryer.
· Diffusing: is using a hair dryer with a unique bowl-like attachment on low to medium heat. Make sure you alternate between low heat and cold air. The cold air will freeze your curls in the state that they are in.
· Air drying: styling your hair as you want it and leaving it alone for a couple of hours to dry naturally as you go on with your day. TIP: do not touch your hair at all until it is 100% dry or you will cause your hair to frizz.
· Hooded Dryer: The same rules still apply for heat! Cool air to low heat, sit till your hair is completely dry, then scrunch the gel cast out with oil. Pic and fluff as you desire.
· Plopping: Tying a cotton t-shirt around your head in a certain way to allow the fabric to absorb some of the moisture from your hair so it can dry faster. Plop your wet hair after you've applied your styler and before you start to dry your hair. It will accordion your curls, helping them keep their defined, spiral shape, even after they dry. TIP: Don’t plop for too long or you can run the risk of allowing the shirt to absorb too much moisture from your hair causing frizz. Start out with 10-20 minute intervals until you find the right time frame for your hair.
How will it benefit my hair?
Hydration: Since the curly girl method is all about removing heat, harsh ingredients, and constant shampooing your hair will finally have a chance to retain its natural oils making your scalp healthy and allowing it to flourish. With proper hydration your curls with expand and will maintain their natural shine and softness. Curly hair is naturally dry since the spirals of our curls make it difficult for the natural oils of our scalp reach all the way down the strands, so co-washing will condition your curls consistently and allow them to retain moisture and improve health.
Confidence in your Natural Beauty: Like any transformation, a hair change is still that a transformation. Transforming one element of your life will affect other aspects of your life. I changed my diet when I realized how important my diet was to my hair. I couldn’t grow out my hair for years because I lacked the water and nutrients my hair needed to be healthy. Since transforming my hair, I changed my lifestyle and lost 25 pounds, all the while watching my hair grow healthier and healthier. Remember there is no one else on earth that looks like you. You and your curls are unique and are meant to accept and love your own unique beauty.
Does That Mean I Never Use Shampoo Again?
No! Co-washing is intended to be an alternative to shampoo to make your “Wash and Go” last the full week or two weeks you are expecting until you can shampoo again. Normally, seven days is a standard in the curly hair community. Shampooing once every seven days is basically the norm. Two weeks is also acceptable with co-washing in between. (I co-wash every three days = 2x a week, shampooing 1x a week) If you have braids or other protective styles, it is okay to go without co-washing or shampooing as long as you maintain your scalp health with rinses. At the very least, every person should clarify their hair with a gentle clarifying shampoo once a month. TIP: Check out the album entitled Clarifying Shampoos for suggestions.
Do I have to spend hundreds of dollars on products?
NO! You do not need to become a product junkie like many of us do. If you are on a tight budget all you will ever need is shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner (if you do not want to use your regular conditioner as your leave in conditioner), a gel, and a deep conditioner. All have to be free of silicones, parabens, sulfates, and mineral oil. TIP: Check out the albums for suggestions on every item I’ve listed. Non-CG products will be marked with a disclaimer for those who do not strictly follow the CG method. TIP: Everyone’s hair is different! Some people’s hair really responds to non-CG products or products that have one ingredient that isn’t entirely CG. Check out the file on How to Use Non-CG ingredients and still have healthy hair!
What does it mean when people say stuff like “Day 4 hair?”
Day (insert number here) hair basically is a day count on when was the last time that person washed their hair with SHAMPOO. You can co-wash during the week to remove product build up but the day count refers to the last time you cleansed your hair with shampoo.
Example: “Today, I am refreshing Day 5 hair with a little bit of leave in conditioner and water.”