I Threw the Curly Girl Method Out the Window & I'm Never Looking Back
So, if you've kept up with my latest hair woes, you know I've been trying to figure out the best way to tame my curls and keep them as healthy as possibly. I've tried the CG (Curly Girl) method, making my own hair gel, and countless other routines to only end up with frizz, grease, and unruly locks. Turns out, having beautiful hair is not as complicated as everyone makes it out to be! Well, thanks to my new hair stylist (link to her website below) I am loving my new routine. For those of you with straight hair, some of these tips will still be useful for you. My mom has super straight hair and has been taking some of these tips. Needless to say, her hair looks fabulous! So ready to find out what I'm doing? Keep reading!
Day 1: The Cut and Consultation
So last Thursday I went to my first ever curly haircut appointment. Up until about two weeks ago, it never dawned on me that there were hair stylists who specialized in cutting and styling curly hair. But, of course it makes sense now and I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. But, it was a challenge to find a stylist who didn't charge an arm and a leg and one I would feel comfortable to take charge of my hair. After hours scouring the internet, Cheri Leathers is now my go-to for when my hair needs a revamp (website & blog here)! She took me step by step from washing, conditioning, to the products I should use and in what order. She helped me style and gave me and extremely easy to follow routine for wash days. I was over the moon at my results and couldn't wait to try my hand at the new routine. While I differ a smidge from exactly what she told me, 90% of what I'm now doing is all thanks to her. So here's the low-down.
Wash Day 1: Shampooing and Conditioning
On the first wash day of the week (Tuesdays for me since I go horseback riding and need to cleanse my hair after), I first comb out my hair with a hair pick since I have fine hair and it gets tangled after a few days. Then, I wet my hair, and use a mild, organic shampoo bar that I ADORE from Made in the Shady on Etsy (you can find it here). I honestly need to do a whole blog on Holly & her shop. I order bulk soaps and shampoo from her every few months because I love it so much!! Ok, fangirling aside, I love the shampoo because, obviously, it's organic and it does not dry out my hair at all. Plus, you don't need very much to get a good lather so it lasts a while! Then of course lastly it's a shampoo bar so it's way better for the environment! So, when I actually shampoo, I only shampoo my scalp. I do not lather up all my hair. This will cause your hair to dry out and honestly it gets clean enough from the shampoo running over your hair when you rinse. Easy as pie, and now on to conditioning.
*On a co-wash day, the day you wash again in a week like 3-4 days after, use a light conditioner in place of shampoo and condition like usual, as described below.
When conditioning after cleansing I use Emerald Forest Botanical Conditioner (found here). This is my latest conditioner find after trying out an ungodly amount of different brands. I love this one since it's made with organic ingredients and it does not cost a ton. It leaves my hair soo soft & silky and smells so good! I use a ton of conditioner when I condition, especially on shampoo days. Since my hair is so long, I probably use about the size of about two golfballs on my hair, and my hair kind of feels like seaweed when I know I've applied enough. This is also the time I run my fingers through my hair and get rid of more tangles. Then I rinse, and, boom, done.
Ah yes, styling. The make-it-or-break-it point, and the point where I've disregarded most of the CG method. No more plopping, no more oils, and raking IS ok. There are three important things you need now. You need a leave-in conditioner, a gel, and a thermal protectant spray. For my particular, fine, curly hair I do not (and should not) use an oil on my hair. My hair simply cannot take the weight of it and therefore looks greasy (throw back to my oatmeal gel and putting my oil combo on beforehand. Yikes. Pics from that catastrophe can be found here).
I'm going to be honest. The leave-in conditioner I'm using is NOT the most natural thing on the market for sure, but it is what Cheri used when I cut my hair and I loved how my hair looked so I'm using this until I can find something I like just as much but more natural. It's called 12 Benefits Healthy Hair Treatment, but again, this is not something I recommend for a natural lifestyle, as it ranks a 7 (yikes!! Thanks fragrance!) on EWG (it pains me to write that and know it's been on my body). Anyway, while my hair is still very wet, but not dripping, I spray it all over my hair, making sure to coat my hair well. This is a light leave-in so it would be difficult to put too much. Cheri also made it easy for me to think about it: this is the only time during this routine I will be adding product or touching my hair for at least 3 days, so put enough to make it last. With this in mind, I coat my hair generously (hoping I'll forget what I'm spraying on, ugh).
Next up, the gel. For my hair, I need a medium-hard holding gel, especially so it will hold for multiple days. For this, I turn to Kinky Curly's Curling Custard (found here). I LOVE this stuff. It's pretty natural (ranks a 4 on EWG but that's due to the fragrance in it. Luckily, I don't have an allergy to fragrance so it doesn't bother me) and only has a few ingredients, plus it makes my hair so incredibly soft! I use a pretty generous amount of gel, making sure to coat my hair well. I rake it through my hair at least, and then finish it off with some scrunching. You'll know you have enough when your hair feels a bit slimy, similar to the conditioner in the shower consistency, but not quite as slimy.
Lastly, I finish off my hair with a thermal protectant. I have yet to find one I really like, so I honestly haven't been putting any on (Cheri, if you're reading this, I'm working on it I swear!). I don't style my hair with heat often, so I don't have any thermal protectant lying around. But, if I did have some, this would be the time to spray and let it be.
Drying: My Nemesis
Remember when I said my hair was fine? Yeah so it is fine, curly, and high porosity meaning it takes my hair forever to dry. I'm talking 4-5 hours to dry completely if I let it air dry. So, with a hair dryer it takes roughly 20-25 minutes on the highest heat setting and my head flipped over the tub for it to become 90% dry. But, this chunk of time is a small price to pay for beautiful hair with zero maintenance for the next 3-5 days. First things first, get a hair dryer with a diffuser (this is the one I use). That is curly hair 101. I blow dry upside down on medium heat and the low setting for the first 10 minutes, then start flipping my hair side to side to get it to dry. For the last 5-10 minutes I crank up the heat to high and let it do it's thing. I usually get antsy to move on with my life by the end so my hair is typically ~90% dry when I'm finished and I let the rest air dry. It really isn't difficult, I just have an immensely short attention span and like to be on the move. I like to think of it as a nice mindfulness exercise for me to sit back, and chill for half an hour. After my hair is dry, it is super crunchy from the gel. Don't fear, this is a good thing! Cheri showed me a new way to scrunch by putting the hair in your hand and pressing your fingers around it and scrunching it against your palm. I do this all over my head, finish it off with some traditional scrunching, and boom, beautiful, voluminous, shiny curls for days!
Post wash and style on a co-wash day. Hair is 90% dry here, so it still looks slightly wet and a lil crunchy. But the curl is THERE!! :)
Post Wash Day
So what's next? What do you do until you wash again? Nothing. Literally nothing. I put my hair into a loose bun when I sleep, I take it down in the morning and my curls are beautiful and ready to go! No brushing, no styling, no nothing. Honestly, my hair looks better on the days following wash day!
The next day after co-washing right after taking my hair out of my nighttime bun.
Three days after washing with shampoo and styling. No grease or oil and still tons of curl!!
This one's for the ladies with straight hair. My mom has straight hair with just a teeny bit of wave sometimes. She follows a very similar washing and conditioning routine. She shampoos her scalp once a week with this Loma shampoo for blonde hair, and only uses conditioner for the second wash of the week. She then styles her hair with Onest Hi-Boost Volume Mousse (found here), Onesta Smooth & Shine Blow Dry Cream (click here!), and Marrakesh Oil Light (found here). The two Onest products I highly recommend since they contain a ton of organic, natural ingredients. The Marrakesh oil I would not recommend due to its ingredients. But, she likes what she likes and I'm just here to be honest. So, for her hair type, fine, straight hair, she uses a mousse, a cream, and an oil after washing. Of course though, every hair is different so this might not work for you but give it a shot if you'd like!
My beautiful mama's gorgeous hair!
So yeah, that's it, just wash twice a week, get yourself a leave-in conditioner, gel, and thermal protectant and you'll be good to go! If you have any questions, just let me know, I'd be happy to answer any questions! Also, when I have any updates on products in the near future, I'll also give the blog an update.