How to use the Curly Girl Method to transform your curls
I never thought I’d write a beauty post. Me. A woman whose morning ‘beauty’ routine consists of the following:
- Wash face
- Slap on generic moisturizer
- Wet hair
- Scrunch some hair gel into it
- Put on some mascara, purchased sometime circa 2014
- Rub off mascara smears under my eyes
I own exactly one mascara, one lip gloss, one eye shadow palette (unopened) and two eyeliners, one of which I bought so I could draw cat whiskers on my kid’s face for Halloween.
But I’m really excited about something. Something that’s changed my hair from a dry, frizzy hurricane mess into decent waves.
The Curly Girl Method.
What’s the Curly Girl Method?
The Curly Girl Method is a haircare regime for curly hair that involves ditching damaging habits (like over-shampooing and heat styling) for healthier ones (like washing with just conditioner and using sulfate-free products).
So what do you do?
Actually, it’s more about what you DON’T do:
- Shampoo – or at least, shampoo often. When you do shampoo, use one that’s sulfate-free. Sodium lauryl sulfate, the key ingredient in most shampoos, is a cleanser that’s too harsh for most curls.
- Style with heat. Curly hair is already dry, and hairdryers make it even dryer. I shower at night and plop my hair afterwards, which means dropping my wet hair into a t-shirt, tying it up and keeping it like that overnight. The Natural Curly site has a great post on how to plop and why it’s a better way to dry your hair than using a towel or hairdryer.
- Use products with silicones, proteins, alcohol, mineral oils or waxes. Most silicones aren’t water-soluble so they cause build-up that weigh your curls down – the same goes for mineral oils and waxes. Proteins and alcohol can make curls dry and brittle.
- Use a brush – you can use a wide-tooth comb to detangle after the shower, but that’s it. That’s curly hair 101, really. I haven’t brushed my hair in years.
Instead of regular washing, you can co-wash (wash with just conditioner) your hair in between shampoos. I shampoo about once a week with a sulfate/silicone-free shampoo and co-wash at least once in between.
You only shampoo once a week? Doesn’t your hair smell?
Yeah, it smells – like the conditioner I use.
So if I start using the Curly Girl Method, my curls will be instantly transformed?
Errr, no. Your hair will probably look worse at first. It can take a few weeks for your hair to adjust to going without shampoo.
And getting the length of time between shampoos takes a bit of trial and error. I just went with the “wash when it feels nasty” approach, which seems to be about once a week for me.
Which products can I use?
Finding the right products take a bit of trial and error too. Personally, I’m a big fan of the the Shea Moisture range. Here’s a list of other good products for curly hair.
Does it really work?
Judge for yourself. Here’s what my hair used to look like:
And here’s what it looks like now:
Wow – it really does look curlier.
I know – though I should warn you that even the Curly Girl Method is no match for the Scottish wind.