“Straighten your hair, and you might be happy for a day. Learn to love and care for your curls, and you’ll be happy for life!” – Lorraine Massey
Chances are that you’ve come across the term, ‘Curly Girl Method’ on your Instagram feed, accompanied by a picture of a person with gorgeous, seemingly natural curls. Curious? And, wondering how to attain them yourself? Look no further as we decode the #CGMethod for you right now.
The Curly Girl Movement:
Did you know that 60% of the global population has naturally curly, wavy or coiled hair? Curly hair is anything but a minority, especially in India. Ironically, the Indian media, especially Bollywood, has always portrayed lead actors with silky, straight hair and darker roles with wild curls. Even abroad, curly hair has faced its own share of backlash. Finally, in the early 2000s, Lorraine Massey stepped up and pioneered what would become known as the ‘Curly Girl Movement’ with her book, ‘Curly Girl – The Handbook’. This was a detailed yet concise doctrine on the Dos and Don’ts of naturally curly hair. Soon a wave of appreciation and recognition for curly hair was seen all over the world which eventually made its way to India. This was a welcome change, given the unhealthy obsession that mainstream media has had with straight hair. The Indian blogger community has also stepped up and are encouraging girls and women to embrace their naturally beautiful curls that run deep in their DNA.
Decoding the CG Method:
While there are thousands of guides and articles to help you transition to the healthiest form of naturally curly hair, all this information can get a bit overwhelming. To simplify this, we’ve laid out a few guidelines to help you transition with ease.
Knowingly or unknowingly, the standard hair care methods adapted by curly haired people have only caused more harm than good and rule #1 is to break free from those practices.
DO NOT USE
1. The following is the list of ingredients you need to avoid in your products.
- Sulphates: Repeated usage of products with sulphates has been linked to cell damage and excess stripping away of natural oils and hair proteins. This is detrimental to the natural structure of curly hair. E.g., Sodium lauryl sulphate, Ammonium laureth sulphate.
- Parabens: Parabens are added to Haircare products to promote hair growth but are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Yikes! We’re glad the CG method shuns this ingredient. E.g., Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.
- Silicones: This ingredient usually renders temporary smoothness to hair but has a bad reputation for making natural hair dry by blocking moisture. They also cause build-up and irritation on the scalp. E.g., Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Amodimethicone.
- Drying alcohols: As the name suggest, these ingredients suck moisture away and causes the hair cuticle to roughen, leaving the hair dry, brittle and frizzy - a huge bane for curly hair. E.g., Ethanol, Isopropanol
- Waxes and Mineral oils: Wax and mineral oil are also not CG approved as ingredients, as they create a film over hair that can only be washed out with a sulphate shampoo. E.g., Petroleum jelly, Beeswax and Carnauba wax
- Petroleum: Petroleum should be avoided as the chemical structure of this component is large and causes pore-clogging on your scalp. E.g., Toluene, Benzene
2. Heat styling tools: You do not want to direct blow dryer air on one spot of your hair for any length of time or use any styling tools such as flat and curling irons. Heat and heat products will cause severe damage to your hair and ‘blow-fry’ rather than blow-dry.
3. Fine-toothed combs & brushes: Curly hair breaks easily and combing it when it's not wet or with fine-toothed combs leads to breakage and split ends.
4. Terry towels while drying: Traditional terry cloth towels absorb too much moisture, which curly hair needs. The harsh fibres also ruffle the hair's cuticle, causing frizz. Opt for a t-shirt or microfiber towel instead while drying curly tresses.
The initial weaning-off products that your hair has been accustomed to can be difficult, especially with your scalp feeling extra greasy, but the trick is to find a balance with what works for you.
- Products which are sulphate, paraben and silicone-free.
- Products with gentle cleansing ingredients.
- Wide toothed combs for detangling wet conditioned hair in the shower or leave-in conditioner applied hair outside the shower.
- Microfiber towel while drying.
Still, confused about an ingredient? You can always Google-specific ingredients in your products to check if they are CG friendly.
Let’s break this down a little further and explore the steps for a successful CG when
- You are a CG newbie
- You have started the journey but still transitioning.
If you are a CG newbie
First Wash routine:
On your initial CG journey, it is important to start on a clean slate. This is achieved by clarifying which refers to the removal of existing build-up of silicones and other products on your scalp and hair. This is done by using a clarifying shampoo that contains sulphates but NO SILICONES! it is recommended that when following the CG-method one should clarify at least once every 3-4 weeks. Pantene Lively clean shampoo is recommended for curlies in India.
Moisture is curly hair’s best friend and the one way to ensure that your hair gets enough of it is by conditioning. The curlier the hair, the longer it takes for natural oils to travel from the scalp to the ends, causing the hair to appear dry and frizzy. Once you have a fresh, cleansed base, use a hydrating, creamy, Silicone-free conditioner to quench your curls. Conditioning is the most important step in the CG method and figuring what strategy works for you will take experimentation but the results are worth it. Popular ways to incorporate conditioner include finger raking, squish to condition etc.
Curl Up hydrating conditioner is infused with chia seed and flaxseed extracts and a delicate balance of essential oils that offer good slip for your curls, making it easier for you to detangle them. Conditioning helps moisture seep into your curls to secure and strengthen them and also prevents damage such as split ends and breakage.
The last step of your CG journey lets you embrace the unique nature of your curls by styling them with stylers such as leave-in creams, gel, mousse etc. Again, there are many techniques to apply the products with some of the more popular ones being the ‘Praying Hands’ method, raking etc. Once the products have been applied, one must not touch the hair to avoid frizz due to static.
Style your curls with a CG-friendly curl defining cream, leave-in conditioner or natural gels while your hair is still wet. This helps seal in the moisture and prevents curls from frizzing while dry and adds definition. Do note that each head of curly hair is unique and factors such as porosity and hair structure come into play. Experiment with heavy creams and even lighter gels and mousse, to find what works best for you. Wavy hair usually needs lighter products or gels as compared to curly hair.
To kick frizz away, invest in a leave-in cream like Curl Up’s defining cream with argan oil, shea butter and flax seed extract. Our specially formulated cream packs in the goodness of CG approved ingredients and a whole lot of love to reduce frizz, add shine and offer long lasting hold. It also provides a defensive cast by sealing in moisture and provides elasticity for bouncy curls, all day long!
The beauty of the CG method is easy maintenance and sustained curls post drying. Instead of spending time on blow-dryers or other heating appliances, simple air-drying works. You can also try using a diffuser or the plopping method to achieve well-set curls.
Combing or brushing your hair with a fine-toothed comb is the nemesis of natural curls! Dry combing is an absolute NO-NO. Keep your hands to yourself once you’ve styled your hair to create and sustain gorgeous curls.
On the CG method, you don’t have to wash your hair as often. But as the day progress, there will be some loss of definition and lustre. To get rid of this and enthuse your curls with some oomph, try refreshing. Refreshing usually entails spraying your scalp and curls with a water-based, moisturising spray to renew and refresh your scalp and curls. There are many DIYs to refresh including a concoction of a leave-in conditioner + rose water.
Second Wash and after-routine:
After pre-poo-ing, cleanse your scalp with a mild sulphate and silicone free cleanser to get rid of the grime on your scalp while retaining natural oils. Curl Up moisturising shampoo contains argan oil and chia seeds packed with antioxidants and vitamin E to refresh and renew your scalp while guarding natural moisture.
The rest of the steps for your CG-routine stays the same as above.
Pre-poo simply means the step done before you shamPOO (hence pre-poo). This process entails nourishing your hair with a deep-conditioning oil or serum before you clarify. One must pre-poo for a minimum of 20 minutes to up to a few hours for maximum efficiency.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, moisture is curly hair’s best friend. Indulge in a deep-condition once a week or a month as per your hair needs to keep your curls plump and rejuvenated. This process includes letting a leave-in conditioner seep in by covering your curls with a bonnet with minimal heat for about 30 mins after you have shampooed your hair.
It can be hard to break-free from what tradition has dictated all these years as you embark on your CG journey. Bid farewell to old wives’ tales about greasing down your hair with oil and running a comb through it every day.
Consistency and Patience is the key to achieving your CG goals. Listen to your hair and experiment to see what suits you and your needs. Embrace the journey with an open mind. Good things come to those who wait and trust us, the best is yet to come!
That’s it, Curlies! A simple, straight-forward initiation into the world of luscious, natural curls! Still confused and have questions? We’re all ears.