A very basic introduction
What is the Curly Girl Method?
The Curly Girl Method, created by a beauty named Lorraine Massey, is a way of caring for and nourishing curls, coils and waves. It involves ditching harsh shampoos and switching to Co-washing (using conditioner to cleanse the scalp) or Low-pooing (using a gentle, sulfate free shampoo, but not often). The basis of the method is respecting your curls, avoiding products that will dry them out, weigh them down or damage them. This is why we avoid Sulfates, Silicone and drying Alcohols.
Oh my, this does sound confusing, where can I begin??
Your first step is to cross check ALL of the products you have, which touch your hair, against the comprehensive list found here. If they contain the no go ingredients, you won't get the best from your hair. I recommend donating these products to your local Woman's Shelter, rather than adding to landfill, then starting afresh.
Step 1.Prepare yourself for the journey
Gather you Curly Girl products, to start you should only need:
A CG friendly cleanser (like Clever Curl), a Sulphate free shampoo (all of our shampoos are sulphate free) or a Co-wash conditioner (such as EverEscents Fresh Mint Conditioner or Lavender Conditioner)
A good quality, moisturising and nourishing conditioner like the Clever Curl Rich or Light conditioner
A deep treatment like the Remedy, Cinnamon & Patchouli, Berry Blonde or Clever Curl treatments
A 100% cotton T-shirt or Hair Crown Wrap
Patience, acceptance and love for your hair and yourself
Step 2. Cleanse your curls, scalp and soul
Apply a 20-50c size amount of shampoo or cleanser to your palms. Emulsify well until your hands are covered, then scrub your scalp thoroughly using the tips of your fingers. Drizzle some water over your hair and scrub once more to ensure any product build up, dead skin cells and environmental dirt is removed. Gently pull some of the product through your ends and scrunch. Rinse thoroughly, whilst scrubbing some more. Repeat if necessary.
Step 3. Deeeply Nourish your curls
On your first wash day do a Deep Treatment of your choice, ensuring the hair is thoroughly saturated and the treatment is left on for 15-20mins . To get the most from your treatment I recommend using some form of gentle heat to open the cuticle layer of your hair, either a warm, damp towel or, a product like the Hot Head deep conditioning cap.
Step 4. Feed, hydrate and love on your curls
Rinse the treatment thoroughly from your hair and scalp and apply your conditioner, starting from your ends and working your way up. The goal with your conditioner is to have your hair become slippery, with a similar feeling to seaweed. This is called "getting good slip". To achieve this I recommend the Roping Method or the Super Soaker Method. I also recommend tipping your head and hair forward in the shower for this, or to the side if you don't find bending forward comfortable.
Step 5. Begin to set the scene
Rinse your conditioner, partially or fully, depending on your hair type. Fine hair most likely needs a thorough rinse, coarser hair can handle more being left in. Apply your leave-in conditioner (or use your standard conditioner again), either by roping or using prayer hands and gentle raking, still upside down or tipped sideways. You should need less conditioner for leave in than you did for initial application. Stand upright and gently part your hair where you like it, without disrupting the curl clumps too much.
Step 6. Add your cream or filler + Gel
Finer Curlies may skip this step completely if their hair is easily weighed down.
Take the top half of your hair and clip it (or tie gently) on top of your head. Part the bottom section into two sections. Apply your styling cream (I use Everescents universal styling cream) to one section at a time, using roping, prayer hands or raking, whatever your preference is. The amount you use will depend completely on your hair type and the result you enjoy (would start with a 5-10c piece per section for medium to thick hair)
Still working only on the bottom section apply your gel. Firstly with a prayer hands motion, then gently scrunch your curls with closed fingers, to encourage the curl. Once the bottom half is complete and all products have been applied, tie them gently at your nape.
Step 7. Finalise your styling
Take down the top half of your hair and ensure your parting is correct. Apply products in the same way as the bottom half. Once you have applied your styling cream and gel, gently untie your bottom half. Tip your head forward and smooth a pea size amount of gel all around the perimeter of your hair/head, ensuring you don't miss those flufflies around the hairline or nape.
Step 8. Remove excess moisture
Leave your Crown on for 5-15min (personal preference) and then gently unwrap, tip your head back and shake gently to position your curls where they would naturally fall.
If you're someone who likes volume, or you find your curls lay flat at the top, now is the time to clip your roots.
Allow your curls to air dry naturally, diffuse on low heat and speed, or sit under your hooded dryer (or in front of your heater, or in your car with the heater blasting... whatever works for you!)
Once your hair is 100% dry, it's time to "Scrunch out the Crunch". Gently tip your head forward and use your fingers to massage your scalp to break the cast at the roots. Then tipping your head forward, using either your hands or a silk scarf (or similar), scrunch your hair in an upwards motion to remove the stiffness. I tip my head forward, scrunch, side, scrunch, other side, scrunch. You will find your preferred way for everything over time.
Flaunt your newly fabulous curls!
Disclaimer: This Little Curl accepts no responsibility for the multiple questions and compliments you will get all day on your smashing Curls.
Please know that not every method will work for every head of hair. This is a BASIC beginners guide, to get you on the right track. If you're having trouble, please feel free to contact us. Alternatively, there are a tonne of interactive Facebook Groups, Instagram pages and fellow curly girls you can connect with to help you on your way. We are a pretty friendly community on a whole.