Embrace your curls with the curly girl method
Have you ever wanted to have soft healthy hair and maybe even embrace your naturall curls or waves? I have just recently started out on my curly girl journey. A method of nuturing and protecting your hair to achieve its best potential which then in turn enhances your hairs natural curl. It can be mind boggling to start with so here is my curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK
The idea behind the Curly girl method is to get you hair in the best condition possible and then learn how to maintain and manage your curls.
The Curly girl method started out with Lorraine Masseys book The Curly Girl handbook a guide to Curly hair. Lorraine having had curly hair her whole life wanted to embrace her curls and teach others how to as well. There are also plenty of Facebook groups you can join and lots of advise on the internet for starting your curl journey right now.
I have always looked after my hair and clarified my hair often to remove the silicones but the improvement in condition since I have started the CG method has been amazing. In just a few weeks I have achieved bouncy curls that last days and my hair feels in the best condition it ever has.
What is the curly girl method ?
Start the Curly Girl Method by,
-cutting out all harsh chemicals such as Sulphates and drying alcohols.
-Stopping the use of products that contain Silicones and waxes. These coat your hair weigh it down and prevent moisture from entering your hair.
-Washing your hair by means of co-washing which means wash with only conditioner, or use a Lo-poo ( sulphate and silicone free shampoo )
-No heat, or styling that will dry or damage your hair.
Steps and methods to promoting curls and easy UK products to find
Curls need moisture to retain their curl. The way to keep your curls bouncy is to get your hair in to the best condition you can and then lock the moisture in to your hair by various methods.
The very first time start with the final Wash!
Do one last wash with a final wash shampoo such as baby shampoo. You need a silicone free shampoo but a shampoo that contains a sulphate to cleanse any silicone left on the hair. Once you have done your final wash you will start with a routine of Co washing ( washing with conditioner) and Lo poo ( sulphate and silicone free shampoo) washing instead.
Deep Condition and repair
After your final wash you should restore your hair with a silicone free deep conditioner. This should be done once a week on damp hair. Wrap your hair in a bag and a towel to keep in the warmth and leave for 10 to 30 minutes. After rinsing you can apply a normal conditioner as well.
You are now ready to start a routine with your hair
Co wash with conditioner, Lo poo and Clarifying.
Your routine will be made up of a mixture of washing with conditioner ( co washing ) using a Lo poo shampoo ( chemical free ) and an occasional clarifying shampoo.
When you are in the shower wash your hair with conditioner as you would a shampoo. Massaging the conditioner in to your hair and scalp to remove residue. Do this a few times to get rid of any dirt particles and cleanse your hair. This is the time to comb through your curls while they are wet and slippery.
You may not want to co wash everytime as this does not suit everyone. Too much conditioner can also weigh the hair down and certain ingredients can still build up. Use a Lo poo shampoo in-between and be guided by how your hair feels.
-Thick and greasy weighed down? clarify!
-general wash? Lo poo.
-Needs moisture feels dry? Co wash with conditioner.
Clarifying your hair with a non silicone shampoo inbetween can help make your hair feel light again. I am using a chelating shampoo which removes hard water buildup. This has no sulphates but less chemicals which stops the hair from drying. Do this maybe every 3 to 4 weeks or when your feels it needs it. I am using one from the US right now Kinky Curly Come clean chelating shampoo.
For clarifying if you wish you can use a shampoo with no silicone but one that still has sodium laurel sulphate, this is not strict curly girl and bear in mind it can dry your hair. This can however work for many wavy hair people making it feel light again. Remember to do a deep condition after though!
I am yet to find a UK alternative please let me know when you find one.
Conditioner and leave in conditioner
After washing you need to leave some moisture in your hair by using a leave in conditioner.
Gently squeeze out access water but not too much, you want your hair to be wet to lock the moisture in . With your head upside down, apply a generous amount of a suitable leave in conditioner so that you can see it and gently brush through.
The idea of brushing through when really wet is to get all of your hair to stick together and then slowly separate in to larger clumps. This achieves a larger curl rather than lots of separate stringy curls. You need to use a fine brush such as a wet brush or a Denman brush.
Once you have done this with your head still up side down gently scrunch the conditioner in. Then plop in a towel for 10 minutes.
Plopping you hair
Plopping is a method used to promote a natural curl pattern and remove some dampness.
Using a micro fibre towel or a t shirt, postition your hair wet upside down and gently wrap. Let this sit on top of your head for about 10 minutes before drying. Do not use a harsh fluffy towel that will disturb your curl or cause frizz.
Remove your hair from the towel and get ready to add styling product still with you head upside down. You can use Mousse, gel, or curling custard to add definition to your hair. There are even hair sprays on the market now which are curly girl friendly.
Remove the towel and gently swipe gel or curling custard over your hair using praying hands . Scrunch this in and get ready to diffuse.
You need to apply a generous amount of gel or mousse you want your hair to be sticky and wet.
Drying your hair.
One of the best ways to dry your curls is to let them dry naturally, this is healthy and non drying. This is however not practical for everyone and for some with hair that is not as curly may not work as well.
You need to try both and see what works for you.
Diffusing works better for me, I use a diffuser to dry my hair promoting its natural wave and lift it from the root. Thick wavy hair can need some support whilst drying and diffusing on a low speed and low heat can help.
Keep the diffuser close to your head and do not touch the hair. Let your hair sit in the diffuser cup and slowly dry. This can be a long process and my hair and can take an hour to dry. In fact I am typing this while I dry. It is worth taking the time to slowly dry as my hair can stay perfectly curled for days.
You can let your hair dry until at least 80% then air dry or completely dry it in one go.
Crunchy is good! After your hair is 100% dry it should appear crunchy. This means you have held your curl and locked in some moisture. This is called a cast and I have found this is the most important component of creating a frizz free curl.
When your hair is 100% dry you can scrunch out this crunch with your hand by gently squeezing and rifling the root. You will be left with soft curls or waves.
Trial and error with maintaining your routine and transitioning.
Everybody’s hair is different, Wavy hair with get greasier quicker and may find product heavy. Very curly hair will need more moisture to tame it. If you hair has a low porosity (shiny, greasy, smooth ) with closed cuticles it may need less conditioner and therefore high porosity hair ( coloured, damaged or dry) may need more to absorb into the cuticle.
It can take a long time for your hair to adjust and transition. Your hair is used to silicone and sulphates drying the hair, so your scalp had been producing more sebum to make up for this. Now you are not drying your hair out with harsh products your scalp will need time to adjust. Hence why you may find your hair slightly greasy when you first start. Combat this by using a lo poo shampoo more than a co wash conditioner whilst it transitions.
Where to buy products curly girl method products in the UK
I have listed in photos products that can be found in UK supermarket and drugstores like Boots and Superdrug. There are some websites and new brands that are cropping up in the UK. I am excited to try new products as I go along.
Take a look at Only Curls a London based company whose mission is to ditch the chemicals and help people have healthy hair and embrace their curls.
Naturalistic products stock a wide range of Curly girl approved methods not available in the UK.
Beauty by Zara are another website in the Uk ( funny enough just down the road! ) they ship in the Uk.
Always check your ingredients are chemical free first! you can check by popping your ingredients in to this handy tool on the Curlsbot website.
Your hair will love you even if you are curly or not!
I hope this curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK has helped you. Stick with it and take pictures as your hair will change over time and improve.
Please note these may not be all strictly the original curly girl methods (i.e. i use a hairdryer) but they work for my thick wavy hair.
All reviews and opinions are my own.