WHAT IS THE CURLY GIRL METHOD
The Curly Girl Method is a method of caring for curly hair that is kinder than using traditional methods.
The science of curly hair dictates that it is naturally drier and more fragile than straight hair and as such our approach to curly hair care should be modified to take this into account.
Despite what some would have you believe, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. There are some basic guidelines to follow but the rest is up to you and your hair and what works best for you.
The basic premise of the curly girl method (which really should be called the curly hair method as boys have curly hair too!) is that you use products that are appropriate, avoid using high heat, remove the use of traditional towels and no dry brushing your hair.
SAY NO TO HEAT
Heat, for obvious reasons, should be avoided. It causes drying and damage. You can still use heat on your hair but make sure it’s a cool heat.
AVOID TRADITIONAL TOWELS
Traditional towels wick away too much moisture. As curly hair is naturally drier, we don’t want to take away any more water than is necessary. Switch out your bath towel for a microfibre towel instead. This will help to keep some much needed moisture in your hair. It can also help to reduce frizz.
DON’T DRY BRUSH!
Remember that curly hair is more fragile and needs gentler care? Dry brushing and detangling causes breakage and damage so this should be avoided. Using a curly specific brush (avoid ones with little nodules on the ends of the bristles) or a wide tooth comb to detangle in the shower while your hair is soaking wet and saturated with conditioner is best. Conditioner creates slip which means the process of detangling is so much easier and gentler on your hair.
CURLY GIRL METHOD APPROVED PRODUCTS
This one is a biggy and probably the most complex. There are so many products to choose from that making a choice can be extremely difficult. Coupled with the fact that there are so many “influencers” on social media, pushing products for the Brands trying to influence you to buy. There are many price ranges so finding something suitable for your hair specifically and on your budget can seem like a challenge!
The simple rule is not to use sulphates and drying alcohols, but also to avoid silicones which appear in almost every mainstream brand of haircare. You should avoid parabens where you can as these are thought to disrupt hormones and could have an adverse effect on your health.
Start reading ingredient labels to see if you can pick out some ingredients best avoided. A quick one for example is looking for words ending in ‘cone’ like dimethicone. If you see this you know straight away that it isn’t suitable. Over time you will become familiar with some of the most common ingredients and you’ll get better at making a choice.
New products appear all the time and a lot of them contain words such as ‘sulphate free’ or even tout themselves as been something for curls such as John Frieda’s Frizz Ease Dream Curls – Curl Defining Crème. This can be very confusing often leading you to think it is suitable when in fact it is totally the opposite. Take the John Frieda Dream Curls. This contains silicones, waxes and oils that aren’t suitable for curls as well as parabens!
Seems like a minefield doesn’t it? The good news is there are a couple of websites you can use to check your ingredients to make sure they’re curly girl friendly. The most notable one is called Curlsbot and you simply paste a copied list of your ingredients into the search box to see what comes up. Here’s the results for the John Frieda Dream Curls.
Straight away, you know that it isn’t suitable so back on the shelf it goes!
It can be more complicated too when you start looking at the porosity of your hair and the density. These factors may influence the decisions you make about the products you use. For example, someone who has very fine hair will want to avoid using oils and butters as these are too heavy for fine hair. On the other hand someone who has very coarse, dry, thick hair may want to use thick butters to add intense moisture. These are things that you will learn along the way. Try not to get too caught up in doing the ‘wrong thing’. Learn the basics and then add to your knowledge as you go.
ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL
Remember though that as mentioned already, there is NO one size fits all approach. One of the most well known names in the curly hair world is Lorraine Massey. Curly herself, she has spent many years working with and trying to understand curly hair. She is probably one of the biggest public advocates today for embracing your natural texture. But she didn’t invent the wheel and nor is her view gospel.
You will come up against some die-hard curly girl fans who will judge you for the choices you make such as using a shampoo occasionally. They believe that there is only one way and anything else cannot be curly girl. What I have discovered on my own journey is that each head of hair is so different. How can there possibly only be one way? That seems crazy to me. I need to clarify every so often using a curly shampoo because my scalp itches like crazy. I use my knowledge of curly hair and modify my routine to work for me. It’s more of a common sense approach rather than just blindly following the rules.
Being time poor or financially challenged can influence how you ‘do’ the method too. I like to read everything with interest and then form my own opinion. After all how boring would it be if we were all exactly the same?
Yours Curly x