I heard about the curly girl method a few years ago but never really wanted to try it as I felt that the haircare I was using was fine for my curls. At this point my hair was really long and my curls were pretty defined. All I really wanted was some root lift as my curls were weighing my hair down a little.
About two years ago I chopped off all my hair and went for a shoulder length ‘lob’ which gradually got shorter and shorter and kind of stays around the shoulder length now depending on whether I get trigger happy or lazy with my hairdressing scissors!
I decided to try the curly girl method after being sucked into a black hole on YouTube and reading countless blogs with impressive before and after photos. At first I went all in, no poo, completely pure ‘co-wash’, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
I did the ‘final wash’ with normal stripping shampoo to remove any silicons that had been applied to my hair through conditioner and products designed for ‘normal hair’ and went about my life. No offence hardcore curly girls but this lasted about 2 weeks and I just HAD to shampoo my hair. I know it gets easier, I know it gets better, I know that the appearance of your hair improves, but no – not for me! I just couldn’t do it.
I did a LOT of research into curly girl approved shampoo (I know technically no shampoo is curly girl approved because you aren’t meant to shampoo at all, but I stuck to the do’s and dont’s in the list of ingredients and went from there), and have never looked back!
I use a selection of products from Shea Moisture as I know these are good products for the curly girl method and because they are widely available in Boots. I also use Cantu which is a cult for curly girls and these products are now available in Superdrug and are priced at the lower end of the scale in terms of haircare.
I try and change up the products that I’m using from the range so my hair doesn’t get too used to each one (I have noticed that if I stick to the same shampoo, conditioner and mask for too long that my hair starts to go a bit frizzy and lifeless), but generally stick to the same rotation of different shampoos and treatments.
Change to a microfibre towel
Get rid of your brushes and combs
Invest in curly girl approved products
Start by using a shampoo with sulphates to remove any silicons from your hair and then chuck it in the bin or give to a straight haired friend! Invest in a good shampoo, conditioner, treatment and some sort of holding gel or mousse. This is something that I’d never used before and always thought would give me horrible crunch and residue, but that hasn’t been the case for me at all. I shampoo my hair around 3 times a week and add in a deep treatment about once a week.
Once I condition my hair I do NOT brush it, even with a wide tooth comb, afro comb or tangle teezer. This took me a long time to get used to and for a while I struggled to get my fingers to fight through my knots, but it’s better for your curls and it does get easier. If you’re struggling with this step you can always try and encourage the knots out with extra conditioner or treatment on your fingers. This tends to work with my hair, even when it’s particularly feisty!
Once I’ve rinsed the conditioner out I start to scrunch straight away. I do this with just my hands or use a microfibre cloth. At this point, while my hair’s still really wet, I take my curling gel or mousse and work it through my curls and scrunch at the same time. When this is through the lengths and roots, I ‘plop’ my hair into a microfibre towel and leave it up on top of my head for as long as I can. I leave this for an hour or so when I can and if I don’t have time I take it off after 5 mins. The longer I leave it (especially in the beginning), the better.
This is the part where you need to take the life if your hair into your own hands haha! You shouldn’t use any heat on your hair for the curly girl method, but so many girls I follow and read about do tend to diffuse on a low heat or do some form of drying and lets be honest, unless its 25 degrees outside those curls aren’t just going to miraculously dry ! I can leave my hair an entire day and there will still be wet sections nestled in there so I decided a small amount of heat is ok. Before I condone this completely I do find my hair is more frizzy when I do use heat so if frizz is a particular issue for you, it might be worth seeing if you can dry naturally but I guess this depends on your hair and how quickly you need to be out the door after washing!
I tried diffusing a little but but tbh, I wasn’t mad on the results and I found it a bit annoying so I resorted to a very weird technique – no judgement please! Over winter I had a heater that I used when drying my washing and I thought this is pretty much a hairdryer but on a larger scale which seems to make a lot more sense than directing a tiny nozzle into one section of my curls – no? Anyway I went for it and plopped my hair down in front of it and within 5 mins my hair was basically completely dry, and by not having to focus on individual sections I found that my curls dried much more naturally and I was able to use both hands to scrunch the curls as they dry which I find helps with definition.
This worked so well that I continue to do this now and have even taken my heater away with me when staying at friends houses… don’t knock it ’til you try it! Also, the heater is small, I’m not THAT weird haha..!
If I’m going to be sleeping on my freshly washed curls or I’m not going out until later on I’ll use a hair buff. These are the snood-like things you wear skiing which are thin and made of material that won’t damage your curls or cause frizz. You can buy them everywhere and are pretty cheap. You can also get them in loads of cool patterns and colours so you could even wear it out and about or on holiday if you wanted to!
That’s everything I do to help my curls stay as curly as they can be and to keep my haircare as natural and nourishing as possible. I can honestly say I’ve been so impressed with the products I’ve used and feel like the curly girl approved ingredients really have made a difference in my hair. If you’re brave it’s worth trying the ‘no-poo’ method and seeing if it works for you but for me personally, shampooing is not something I am prepared to quit!
My favourite curly girl products are:
- Shea Moisture 10 in 1 Multi Benefit Shampoo & Conditioner
- Shea Moisture Curl & Shine Conditioner
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Mask
- Shea Moisture Raw Shea Deep Treatment Mask
- Shea Moisture Curling Gel Souffle
- Cantu Cleansing Cream Shampoo
- Cantu Wave Whip Curling Mousse
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