What is the Curly Girl Method?
The Curly Girl Method, also known as the CG Method, is a hair care method based on a handbook written by Lorraine Massey. She gives guidelines and tips on how to cut your curls, care for them, love them, and set them free. Most of the key takeaways that curly girl community is vouching for are how to avoid the harmful chemicals in your products. However, instead of following the routine blindly, I recommend you to make up your own mind and question what works best for you. Like we always say, every hair is unique and should be treated as such.
What to avoid
As said before, the handbook gives guidelines on how to get healthier curls and it provides essential knowledge of what ingredients are good and what to avoid. Let’s break it down for you. And if you are new to this, I know, it’s easier said than done. You just need some patients.
Most shampoos contain harsh detergents, like sulfates, that are mostly too efficient and they end up stripping your natural oil, sebum, from your scalp. This might not be an as big problem for straight hair since the sebum can travel down the strains more easily than in curly hair with all the curves and ringlets.
That said, the method recommends not to use shampoo at all. In this “no-poo” method, instead of using shampoo, you can rinse your hair with conditioner only. If you want to try “no-poo” method, transition to it slowly to give your hair time to adapt. This might not be a good option for all curly hair types, like for wavy hair. Instead of dropping your shampoo off totally, try to use sulfate-free shampoos only as “low-poo” method.
Now, this component divides a lot of opinions. Some people love it too much to give it up. In terms of the pros, silicones have immediate cosmetic benefits. Basically, silicone is a rubber-like compound that is used as a sealant against water. It gives a silky, smooth feel and leaves the hair frizz-free. However, as it coats the hair’s cuticle layers so tightly, it can create build up on the hair strand preventing moisture from getting in. Also, this build up from silicones can make your hair feel greasy over time, and force you to wash it more often leading to the cycle of damage. These “bad” silicones are non-water soluble, but there are some silicones that are water-soluble and do not build up on hair.
As a pro, silicone is said to absorb and retain moisture from the air, which is very ideal for dry hair. But again, these are pros and cons you need to weigh before emptying your whole cosmetic shelves.
Some alcohols can dehydrate your hair and make it dry, and therefore weaker and more prone to split ends and breakage. However, not all alcohol is bad. There are some moisturizing alcohols such as Behenyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol or Isostearyl Alcohol for example.
The Handbook also recommends avoiding the use of brushes, heat, and fragrances. Out of these three, the greatest evil is definitely the heat as many curly girls know. The use of heat causes breakage and may alter your curl pattern for good. This doesn't apply solely to hair straighteners, wavers or curling tongs, it also applies to hair dryers. Try to avoid using maximum heat and speed when drying your hair, or if possible use cold air only or go au naturel and just air dry your hair.
Fragrances that are added to the products are most often artificial and therefore contains chemical components that have a negative impact on your health and should be avoided.
Probably the less evil out of these three is the use of brushes. It is said better to finger detangle your hair than use combs or brushes to avoid breakage. However, this might be hard to carry out if you have very tight curls. If you feel the need to use brushes, make sure you have condition your hair well and use hair oils such as our Wavy or Curly to ease out the detangling process to avoid breakage.