The Curly Girl method (CG) is a hair care method for naturally curly hair. This method was devised by Lorraine Massey and is described in her book "Curly Girl: The Handbook". The core of the CG method is avoiding certain ingredients in your hair care products because they are not good for your hair. Every hair is different, but the basis of this method is applicable to every hair type.
What does this mean exactly?
You treat hair with products without sulfates, silicones, mineral oils, wax and drying alcohol. You will avoid these ingredients because they:
1. cannot be removed from your hair (properly) without sulfate shampoo (and you want to avoid this)
2. these ingredients themselves are also not good for your hair. Silicones and mineral oils, for example, put a sealing layer around your hair (as a result, your hair suffocates and moisture and other products do not penetrate your hair, causing your hair to dry out). You can also use this method if you have no curls.
Step 1: Washing
Stop using normal shampoo! Most regular shampoos contain sulphates. These are aggressive cleaners that dry out your hair. They remove what your hair needs, such as the natural oil that your scalp produces. Curly hair is naturally dry and therefore needs that oil badly. Sulphates also damage the outer layer of your hair, which consists of scales. The scales are flat with healthy hair. Then they reflect light and your hair shines. The scales are open with damaged hair. Then a rough surface appears and your hair will not shine. Sulphates damage these scales. The scales become flaky, rough and protrude more. Because of this hair scales break off faster and knots are formed faster in your hair.
WAIT! Before starting the CG method, wash your hair once more with a sulfate shampoo.
This is called the "final wash". With this you clean your hair 1x of all the "bad" ingredients that you will avoid after this. Then your hair is completely clean and you can start! A final wash contains only sulfates.
After this "final wash" it is advisable to use a CG friendly hair mask to restore the drying effect of the sulfate shampoo.
What would you wash your hair with next time?
· With a CG-friendly sulfate-free shampoo, or
· With a CG-friendly conditioner (this is also called "co-wash")
Your scalp may have to get used to the fact that you no longer use sulfate shampoo. Your hair and scalp may feel a little greasy at first, but that will diminish after a while.
How often do you have to wash your hair?
This depends on your hair, what you like and how long you have been following the Curly Girl method.
We advise not to use CG friendly shampoos more than once a week, preferably even less. Although they are sulfate free, they can still have a somewhat drying effect. Then always use a CG friendly hair mask. It is advisable to use a hair mask every week.
The other times you want to wash your hair you do it with conditioner (co-wash). You can wash with conditioner as often as you need.
If you are a bit further in the process, your hair will be better hydrated and you will probably have to wash less often.
What is the best way to wash your hair?
If you wet your hair in the shower, let the water run through your hair and do not rub it through too much. Leave your curls intact as much as possible. Massage your scalp well, in circular movements. In this way 'dirt' is released well and the blood flow to your scalp is stimulated. This ensures that nutrients go to the hair follicles (hair follicles), keeping your hair healthy and growing. If you use shampoo, preferably wash your scalp only. Rinse the shampoo or conditioner gently, do not rub your hair too much now.
Step 2: Conditioner
Use a conditioner to wash your hair after washing. If you are just starting with the Curly Girl method or if your hair is damaged, you probably need more conditioner. If your hair is a little more hydrated you may use a little less. Experiment with different amounts of conditioner and find out what is best for your hair.
Use a CG friendly conditioner, without silicones and mineral oils. Because you no longer use sulfate shampoo, you cannot wash silicone and mineral oils from your hair either. In addition, you can also avoid most silicones because they are not good for your hair.
What is the best way to apply conditioner?
First apply the conditioner from top to bottom (from your scalp to the hair tips) by sliding your fingers through your hair. If you have long hair, then "scrunch" your hair up (so towards your scalp). This opposite movement ensures that your curl pattern is promoted. Your hair is sufficiently hydrated if:
· You squeeze a milky mixture of water and conditioner out of your hair when screaming
· Your hair makes the sound of soaked hair when "screaming"
· If your hair feels saturated and smooth in conditioner
If this is not yet the case, use some extra conditioner and water and "scrunch" for a while until you have achieved this effect.
The best way to comb your hair is when it is soaked with water and conditioner. Do not do this if your hair is dry. Conditioner fills the 'holes' between the hair scales, making your hair smoother. This makes it easier and less harmful to gently remove any tangles from your hair.
Regular brushes are not CG friendly. They disrupt your natural curl pattern, take your curls apart (which causes frizzy hair) and they can break your hair through the balls at the end of the pins. Use your fingers (“finger comb”) to comb through your hair, or use a brush such as a Tangle Teezer or a Denman Brush.
For most curl types it is advised to leave part or even all conditioner in your hair. This may sound silly, but curly hair really needs that extra hydration to stay hydrated and fluff-free. Curly hair will not get greasy easily. The hair will absorb what it needs and the excess will wring you out when drying.
Step 3: Styling
After washing your hair you can use various CG friendly styling products. You can find out which products are suitable for your hair by reading the files about the hair characteristics and product choice.
After washing you leave your normal conditioner or a special leave-in conditioner in your hair. Usually a CG friendly gel (without silicone and drying alcohol) is then used to style your hair. It gives "hold" and is light, so your curls do not settle as quickly. Use gel on wet hair. Some types of gel become hard ("gel cast" / "crunch") when your hair dries. This is not bad, it helps maintain the natural shape of your curls until your hair is dry. When your hair has dried completely (not before!) You can remove the “gel cast” by gently “screaming” your hair. The result is soft, well-defined curls.
How should you dry your hair? Never dry your hair with a normal terry towel. This substance is too rough, causing fluff. Use a T-shirt or a microfiber towel. Do not rub your hair with it, but gently squeeze out excess water from your hair or wrap your hair in it.
If you have taken the most moisture out of your hair with a cloth / T-shirt, you can use clips on your hair to create more volume on top and to let your hair dry faster. If you let your hair air dry, touch your hair as little as possible. This prevents fluff. If you want to blow-dry your hair, use a diffuser and blow-dry your hair at the lowest possible temperature.
Tip: Have your hair adjusted regularly. It refreshes your hair, your curls, it gives 'air' and space so that your hair can absorb oxygen and moisture better.
If you are just starting out with the CG method, we recommend that you first follow the standard guidelines and the washing schedule of the CG method.
If your curls have improved you can always start experimenting with:
-shampoo, conditioner, leave-in
- do not use leave-in
-co-wash expired, and mask once a week and the other time shampoo + conditioner
- apply other ways of styling products
use other styling products (CG)
so you can vary a lot, eventually you will find out which method your curls respond best