So I wanted to take this week to write about this new hair method I started using about a month ago that I’m absolutely loving: The Curly Girl Method. As we all know, I’ve had wavyish hair my entire life, that I often straightened because I hated it so much. It was frizzy and never looked right. Then, I discovered this method on Facebook through a wonderful Facebook group.
The CG method was started by a woman named Lorraine Massey. She wrote a great book about it, if anyone feels inspired after reading this (see the picture below). Essentially, all it requires is cutting out harmful silicone and sulfates out of your hair care routine. These harsh chemicals prevent your hair from producing the oil it needs to stay healthy. Most shampoos have them in their ingredients, so this method promotes what is called “cowashing”: washing with conditioner only. It sounds super weird and seems like it wouldn’t clean your hair like shampoo does, but my hair has never been healthier. Before starting this method, it’s important to do what’s called the “final wash” with a shampoo that has no silicones in it. It needs to have the sulfates so that it can wash out all of the buildup from previous shampooing. I used Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for this (only because I already had it to clean my makeup brushes!). After that, you’re ready to start cowashing!
Cowashing is easy. You put the CG approved conditioner in your hair and treat it like shampoo. For the best results, you’re supposed to start at the front of your scalp and essentially give yourself a head massage, working in small circles all the way down to the nape of your neck. It’s supposed to encourage curl pattern, and make your arms hurt. Then, you rinse it all out. The conditioner not only acts as a cleaning agent, but as a moisturizer. Just as your skin needs moisture, so does your hair. After I finish cowashing, before rinsing, I finger comb my hair so that it’s smooth with no tangles. This is the only type of brushing/combing I do. You can also use a wide-tooth comb, but my fingers work great for this.
The next steps are person specific, so I’ll tell you what I do. So my hair is super thick and wavy. I’ve learned that I have high porosity hair, meaning my hair soaks up moisture really fast and doesn’t like to hold curl. After rinsing out my cowashing conditioner (I use Suave Essentials because it’s super cheap but really good for my hair), I flip my hair upside down and apply another, smaller handful of conditioner to my hair. I don’t touch the roots with this, but I spread it out through the entirety of my hair, using “praying hands” (flat hands around your hair, like you’re praying with the hair in between) and raking it through with my fingers. Then, I take a tiny bit of Cantu Curl Activator and apply that as well in the same manner. I don’t rinse this out. Instead, I do what’s called “squish to condish” (STC). This was the part that scared me most about starting this method because my hair has never liked a lot of product in it. But, through STC’ing, my hair has learned to love the extra moisture. So what this entails is, still with my hair upside down, cupping a handful of water, and squishing that with some strands of hair up to my roots. This squishes out the water and any extra product that my hair doesn’t need. I do this all over, and then just squeeze out any extra moisture. I stilL haven’t flipped my hair back at this point.
Once I’m out of the shower, still with my hair flipped upside down, I apply Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Scrunching Gel or Herbal Essence Tousle Me Softly Tousling Mousse the same way I applied the other products. The gel is heavier than the mousse, so I tend to stick with the mousse. After putting the styling product in, I scrunch all of my hair with my hands. Then, I finally flip it back over and part it how I want. After finding my part, I take a cotton t-shirt and scrunch all of the moisture out of my hair with it. Normal towels are super damaging to hair, so a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt works best. Some people then “plop” which is tying up your hair into a turban with a t-shirt, but this doesn’t work for me.
Once I’ve gotten all the extra moisture out of my hair and the curls have started to form how I like, I diffuse it until it’s between 1/4 and 1/2 dry. This sounds insane, but I’ve found the best way to diffuse my hair is using a colander. It works the exact same way as a diffuser, but covers more surface area. I do this mostly with my hair flipped upside down again because it gives me the best volume. Once it’s partly dry, I let it air dry the rest of the way. It’s super important to not touch it again until it’s completely dry.
My hair takes 2-4 hours to air-dry if I diffuse it halfway dry. Gotta love high-porosity hair! Once it’s dry, it has a sort of “cast” around it, which just means that it looks and feels crunchy with product. This is when I do what’s called “scrunching out the crunch” (SOTC). I either use my hands or a t-shirt to do this. All it is is scrunching the hair up to the roots until all the crunchiness of the product is gone. I also use my fingers and shake out my hair near the roots to get rid of the product buildup up there. And voila, there you have it!
It sounds SO complicated, but my shower time didn’t increase AT ALL in switching to this method and my hair looks and feels SO much healthier. Some people have gone from hair that looks like mine to full, bouncy curls. I doubt I’ll ever get there, but I’m already seeing a difference.
It’s also important to note that there is a transition period between the final wash and your hair looking and feeling better. Mine only lasted about a week, and honestly my hair just felt oily, but it wasn’t unmanageable at all. I just wore a lot of half-buns and ponytails that week. It also take some trial and error to find the right products for you, because every single person’s hair is different!
It took me a while to be brave enough to stop using shampoo, but wow am I glad I did. I can’t even describe how much softer and healthier my hair is and how much nicer my waves fall. I can also go longer without washing my hair, which is better for it! I highly encourage anyone who is even sort of interested in what their hair can look like using this method to try it out. If you have any questions at all, please reach out to me! I’m loving this new hair lifestyle and think everyone deserves healthier, happier hair! I have a long way to go still, but I’m happy with where I’m at so far. Check out my progress pictures so far below!