Sometime in early August 2018, my niece paid me a compliment “I like your hair straight, but I miss your curly hair.” She did not know that earlier that day, my husband had asked “Why do you blow dry your hair, then curl it with a curling iron, when you have curly hair?” I too missed my wavy hair; I had been fighting my natural hair texture with regular chemical treatments and hair color for years.
My once healthy, wavy hair looked fried and no longer curled when I air-dried it. I had been blow-drying it straight with a round brush daily for too long. The worst part was seeing my niece doing the same thing to her thick, wavy, beautiful hair. How could I tell her that she was heat damaging her hair when I was doing the same? It was time to embrace my naturally wavy hair and stop wasting precious time in the morning shaping it into submission.
While doing research on-line I read about the Curly Girl Method (CGM). I decided to start and go back to basics; the first step was to stop using heat and changed to hair products that were less damaging. I joined a Facebook group that helped me with the transition. This group provided information, support and encouragement when I wanted to give up. The pictures that fellow curly sisters post are very inspirational. Seeing other women embrace their natural beauty and share their struggles is very empowering.
The first couple of weeks were pretty challenging, my hair lacked bounce and was very damaged. It looked worse than it had before. How was this possible? I was discouraged and wanted to bring out the dryer and hot tools. I also felt that I didn’t look “professional” or put together with wavy hair. Of course, these insecurities were all in my head. In the end, long, unhealthy hair was not for me, I decided to do the big chop. Once I started looking for a short hairstyle I liked, it was easy to get excited about the cut.
The Big Chop
When I saw the first three, five inches of hair on the floor; I smiled and wondered what had taken me so long. Goodbye dead ends, hello healthy, bouncy and shiny hair! I admit I did panic for one split second, but when I saw how different I looked, the feeling of exhilaration returned.
An interesting thing happened. The reaction from friends, family and coworkers were mixed. While some loved it, others hated it. Our culture has a love affair with long hair, many women told me that they would never do it because their husband/boyfriend would not approve, or they would not feel attractive with short hair. Thankfully, that was not my experience. I felt edgy and daring, secure in my decision; my husband was supportive of my desire to bring back the curls.
So What is the Curly Girl Method?
The Curly Girl Method, pioneered by Lorraine Massey, is a hair care method that discourages shampooing and heat styling. Users are encouraged to avoid the following:
- Combs and Brushes
- Non-water soluble silicones
- Gentle cleansing ingredients
- Emollients – Olive and vegetable oils, I use black castor oil and a red pimento oil
- Proteins – Wheat and soy
Everyone’s hair is different, my suggestion is to buy Lorraine Massey’s book in order to get the basics before getting started. There is just too much information and opinions on what works and what doesn’t. Remember that we all have different hair and your hair journey will be different from others.
Before getting started with the CGM, clarify. What is it? It is a thorough cleanse of the hair and scalp to remove product buildup. Thereafter, I clarify every three weeks, if I skip this step my hair turns limp and frizzy. Follow up with a deep conditioning session. A regular deep conditioner will leave hair soft, full of bounce and with greater definition. I leave mine on for 30 minutes, rinse completely and style.
Step 1 -Shampoo
I use a sulfate free shampoo, also known as low-poo. I am just not able to give it up; cowashing alone causes my scalp and hair to feel greasy and dirty. By alternating between the two, my hair preserves moisture and it helps to keep product buildup down. When washing, gently scrub the scalp using finger pads, don’t use your nails. Since I work out daily during the week and I get sweaty, I wash my hair every day with few exceptions. Some would say that this is too much, but it works for me.
Step 2 – Condition
I alternate between a light and heavier conditioner, depending on what my hair needs. The Devacurl original shampoo and conditioner provides heavier moisture.
Step 3 – Dry and Style
While still in the shower, bend forward; apply curl enhancer to soaking wet hair. Crunch the curl enhancer from the ends to the scalp, do the same with the hair gel. Crunching helps to encourage curl formation, this will also help to cut down on frizz.
Use a cotton towel, never wring or shake out the curls at this stage. A cotton towel helps to dry hair faster with its absorbent material and dries hair without friction. This minimizes frizz, split ends and hair breakage. I use a towel by Aquis, which is pretty large, 19 x 52 inches, it wraps around my hair easily.
If in a hurry and can’t wait for hair to air dry, you can use a blow dryer with a diffuser.
Weekly Deep Conditioner Treatments
Deep conditioning treatments help to moisturize and strengthen the hair. Using a heated cap will leave your hair soft and shiny. Amazon has many great cap options.
My advice is to figure out what works for you. Stop comparing yourself to others, just stop. Decide what you want, if you start the Curly Girl Method and the transition stage is too painful for you; remember the reasons why you made the decision to start in the first place. During this process, I have learned to be a bit more daring and confident, to define my own version of beauty and to embrace the decision I made. Remember that hair grows; in the meantime enjoy the journey!
Note on products mentioned. I have tried many different products for wavy/curly hair during my journey. Some have worked for me, while others have not. Devacurl delivers results each time, that is why I mentioned them here. There are other lines that I like as well, and may do a review soon. The products can be purchased on the Devacurl website, or Ulta.
If you have any questions please let me know. Thank you for reading!