Most curly-haired people will have long struggled with traditional haircare rules. The usual shampoos, conditioners, and creams seem to only result in dry, frizzy locks that dampen curls, rather than accentuate them. But there is a way to create the curls of your dreams. So if you've been wondering how to follow the Curly Girl Method but have been left bamboozled by all the tips and tricks out there, here is the simplest regime to get to grips with.
The Curly Girl Method isn't a newfangled technique. In fact, it first came to prominence in 2010 when hairstylist Lorraine Massey published a book called Curly Girl: The Handbook. In it, she laid down a bunch of haircare rules that any person with natural waves, curls, or coils can follow. Some of them go against the things your hairdresser have always told you to do. But, as many owners of curls can attest, a lot of stylist advice only works for straight hair.
Curly hair, however, requires less harsh treatment that will keep strands moisturised and natural oils intact, reports Huda Beauty. However, that doesn't mean it's easy to change your entire hair routine. (I, for one, am still struggling.) What is easy though is remembering three simple steps: cleanse, condition, and style. Stick to them, and only them, every week and your locks will soon transform into the curls you were destined to show off.
To enter the Curly Girl club, you need to be prepared to say goodbye to shampoo. Although you don't need to stop washing your hair completely, you should reduce the number of times you do so per week. "Basically, the method avoids over shampooing hair so that your natural oils can moisturise and nourish dry ends," hairstylist Eduardo Bravo told Huda Beauty.
Those with naturally wavy and curly hair are recommended to only use shampoo once a week while coils should only be washed when needed (usually around once every two weeks). The shampoo you use may also need to change. Look for ones that are free of sulphates, silicones, and drying alcohols for the best result. Cantu's Cleansing Cream Shampoo is an affordable one to try. Don't forget to gently scrub your scalp with your fingertips — not your nails — for a real good cleanse.
Some Curly Girl Method adoptees only use conditioner when washing their hair. (This is often known as co-washing.) Whether you decide to go down this route or combine it with shampoo every once in a while, a focus on conditioning is key. Apply an even amount all over your hair and leave on for between five and 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
You can also invest in a leave-in conditioner, like Shea Moisture's coconut oil formula, which works exactly in the way its name suggests. Simply apply and leave on to allow the product to work its magic.
Here's where a little customisation may come in handy. While there are a few styling rules to stick to, you may need to try various products and techniques to find the best combination for your curls. The main things to remember are:
- Avoid brushes and combs as they may cause breakage and unwanted frizz. Instead, comb your curls with your fingers.
- Grab a soft towel or old T-shirt and flip your head forward in order to gentle scrunch your curls.
- Set your curls with natural gels, oils or creams. I swear by DevaCurl's Styling Cream but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives including the Noughty Haircare and Twisted Sista ranges.
- Blow dry your hair with a diffuser until it is around 80 percent dry, then leave the rest to air dry. Or, if you really can't be bothered, leave all of it to air dry.
Well, that's the basics covered. As you try out the regime, you'll find what works for you and what doesn't. And there are numerous blogs out there offering more in-depth advice for devout Curly Girl Method followers.
Massey herself has one piece of advice for newbies. "Stay consistent in your routine, even if it may not seem to work at first," she told Naturally Curly. "The more consistent you are, the more consistent your curls will be in return."