Curly Girl - managing curly hair!

One thing I know about is curls. I am a naturally curly haired woman and for a good chunk of my life I truly hated it. It was a terrible self-esteem strangling issue that I had to get over! Before I came to Christ, I was constantly stressing over my hair more than any other body-issue and "hated" my "cursed" crown of curls. Then when I was born-again and started to learn that God had made me...curls and all very specifically and deliberately, i began to feel the need to come to terms with my mop...i mean... mane of spirals. I didnt want to despise something that was God given and decided I just didnt know how to manage it. There HAD to be some way of keeping my hair natural without looking like a cavewoman.

So I began to pray. Yes, pre-marriage and pre-children days I had the time to spend enquiring of the Lord about random things like curly hair haha. I prayed once, and prayed rather earnestly  that the Lord would somehow show me how to have "pretty" curls rather than dumpster-rat curls. I then moved on and waited...whilst guiltily continuing to fry my hair regularly with hair straightners, blow dryers, a billion different hair products and anything else I could get my hands on to straighten up my mess.

One day I chanced upon (or rather was very thankfully led to) a book called Curly Girl. (please note I have zero affilliation with this book, its author or any other highly recommended products or websites that are about to follow, i simply want to share whats helped me so much!) Finding this book was just GOD! Because I was in the local library, scouring the shelves for a cookbook and stashed amongst the cookbooks in the wrong asile altogether let alone the wrong cluster of books, was the little handbook for curly haired women. I pulled it out, read the back cover, smiled from ear to ear and hired it out...and then hired it out again...and then purchased the newer version of it online to keep for myself to refer to or lend out to other curlies. Its not a hard or long read. You could read it in an evening really. But it has a world of info that is lifechanging! Or at least hair-changing for anyone with curls that supposedly cant be managed.

I straightened my hair from the moment my mother allowed me to as a teen until the moment I found this book some years later. I thanked and praised the Lord for blessing me with the great find and immediately took action. I wanted to have my hair the way God made it, curly. Now I do. I sold my GHD straightners online and havent regretted it once. Funny thing is, ive never been so complimented about my hair in all my life as I am now. With my hair straight nobody ever complimented my hair, I was just satisfied that nobody made jokes about it like they did when I was a schoolgirl (I got very badly teased for my wild curls back then). But now, with proper care, my curls are healthy and happy and it shows! People are constantly telling me they wished they had hair like mine and all I can do Is laugh because God is good, He helps us even with things that are probably extremely insignificant to Him, but He knows itll bless us and make us happy to have sorted.

So in celebration of the cure for hagged crazy curls... here is a whole lotta info to pass on to the birds-nest haired ladies in your life. They will be ever thankful for it!

warning: This looks like alot to take in but its actually really easy & once you have the right products at hand, it is not time consuming nor expensive... Really! It can just become a part of your daily routine.
This is just a bunch of tidbits of info from the book and my own references to available stuff in Australia. but I recommend getting the book itself. It’s easier to follow than my rough notes.



CURLY GIRL INFO -
The lowdown on why your hair is dry, wiry and crazy instead of soft, silky and spiralled.

SILICONE in your hair products such as Conditioner and styling products, is bad because it builds up on the hair shaft to the point of suffocating it and dulling the shine also. Silicone is unfortunately found in most conditioners available and is usually first or high up on the list of ingredients.

SULPHATES in your shampoo are bad because it strips your hair completely of all natural oils and vitamins, leaving it naked and straw-like. It basically murders your hair, Especially porous curly hair. The only way to get silicone out of your hair is by using sulphate. The only way of fixing the appearance of sulphate damage (temporarily and falsely mind you) is by slathering silicones in your hair...and so the vicious cycle begins. It’s not a problem with most straight haired people. But with 99% of curly haired girls, it’s the main reason your hair is frizzy, unmanageable, poofie and straw-like. So, no silicone and no sulphates...ok?

THE GOLDEN RULES:
  • Use Silicone Free Conditioners – condition daily, or every two to three days once your hair has recovered completely, this takes months, sometimes even two yrs depending on the damage, so you’ll be doing it daily for quite some time, unless your hair is extremely thin and cant handle all the... handling.
  • Sulphate free Shampoos once a week at the most, or preferably no Shampoo AT ALL
  • instead of shampoo, Cleanse scalp once a week (or more if it needs it) with shampoo alternative (stated later)
  • No hair straighteners or hairdryers – only exception is using a hairdryer with a diffuser attached for a short time if winter weather forces you to.
  • No vigorous rubbing dry! SCRUNCH ONLY
  • Styling Products of any kind also must have zero silicones in them. Clear Gel is best.
SILICONE WILL DISGUISE ITSELF ON THE INGREDIENTS LIST AS ANYTHING ENDING WITH “CONE, CONOL OR XANE”
SULFATES WILL LOOK ON THE LABEL LIKE "LAUREL SULFATE" ETC OR "MYRETH" OR "AMMONIUM"
there is a list at the end of this post of shampoos and conditioners that are curly girl friendly so you don’t have to stare at labels for hours!


HOW TO BE A CURLY GIRL!
NOTE: since you have been using silicone infested conditioners and/or silicone filled hair products like hairspray, creames etc... you have to kill your hair one last time with your normal sulphate shampoo to get all the silicone out. then drench with (new silicone free) conditioner, leave most of it in, wash out next day and your good to start with a silicone free base. if you skip this step, the silicone will not go away and eventually, youll have to do it anyway as it builds up and makes your hair brittle and dry and suffocates it. so be sure to get out those cones! (silicones)

Check your gel to make sure its silicone free before starting the routine so you dont have to start again.


THEN:
Once a week cleanse with scalp treatment (1 - 2 tbs of brown sugar mixed with 2-3 tbs of conditioner depending on your hair thickness and head size)
> Use your fingers to gently massage all of scalp, without disturbing the rest of the hair. Don’t get all your hair and vigorously lather like you would typically do with shampoo! Just use fingers (not nails!) to rub gently in circles all over your scalp. You will feel the sugar exfoliating your head. This gets rid of impurities just as well as any shampoo. Dont freak out. Shampoo only gives you that “clean” feeling because its eaten away at your scalp. This really does the job just fine but doesn’t damage your curls! Rinse out gently but thoroughly, then condition as normal, covering whole hair (following instructions below) note, for those who after 6 weeks aren’t adapting to no shampoo, other “shampoo-alternatives” (no poos) are available. I personally need to use a no-sulphate natural shampoo once a fortnight to keep my hair nice, but I use the sugar treatment on other days when needed.

Other days (days you dont need to cleanse/shampoo) –

>after wetting hair thoroughly (letting water cascade thru until drenched, don’t touch it just let the water do its work) use 1 or 2 teaspoon size amount of conditioner to massage into scalp. Concentrate on dry tense or itchy areas. Start at sides, then top then crown finish at nape. Let shower rinse out.

>Then condition with a tsp of conditioner. Put over the canopy of your hair, another half tspn under nape then gently comb hair thru from underneath with fingers, covering with last of conditioner. You can either leave it completely in or if this weighs down your curls, you should only rinse out half. Just let shower spray evenly thru, leaving half in. This acts as a protecter and leave in conditioner which your curls NEED. It also means you don’t have to spend money un necessarily on “leave in conditioners” since your normal conditioner can do the same thing. Determine how much conditioner you need to cover hair. 1 tbs should be plenty but if your hair is extremely thick or damaged you may require more in the first weeks. Your hair should feel like seaweed when its covered enough with conditioner. (before rinsing of course)


If your hair after 6 weeks is still itchy and not adjusting to no shampoo (this is rare, but possible) then before you use a regular shampoo (still buy a low or sulphate-free one), cover from the middle of your hair down to the ends with conditioner first to give it a protective coat. Even if you do use shampoo, its not for your hair, its for your scalp. So be sure to use the shampoo the same way as you used the alternative. Scalp only. Not hair length!


>Blot dry with a towel – so Flip your head over (look at your toes) and scrunch from ends to head. Kind of like an accordion. Work on back of hair first, then sides, front last. Flip back upright and Let air dry the rest. (use a diffuser if you have to use the hair dryer coz ur going out in winter or something)

NOTE: to lessen frizz, replace your towel with an old cotton shirt or even better, a microfiber towel. Both are highly absorbent so they take lest time to suck up moisture, plus the materials reduce frizz compared to a regular towel. It saves time too, it doesn’t take as long to dry your hair with these materials. You can also use an old long sleeved cotton shirt for plopping.


Plopping is a method described in the curly girl book to dry your hair like you would use your towel as a turban but the plopping method is curl friendly, a turban is not. Its good to leave in overnight or run around doing housework while your hair dries and shapes itself. See book for more details. or go to www.naturallycurly.com and type in the search part "plopping" for instructions. very simple


Lets continue...
Get a tablespoon of CLEAR styling gel, while hair is still quite damp (some curls will prefer you to do this when your hair is still drenched!) tip your head forward again so you are looking at ur toes and scrunch from ends to scalp. Bottom to top. Scrunch the top layer last
Style weird less curly curls, or sections that for some reason wont curl, by twisting with fingers and more scrunching. Don’t be heavy handed and it will minimize frizz. you can also make curls curlier if they are loose in random spots, by twisting up and clipping against your head with bobby pins until dry. The book has pictures of this....
What your hair looks like now is pretty much what it will look like when its dry, so gently guide your curls where you want them to go. The less you touch your curls, the less frizz you will have.
Flat at the top? Need some volume up there? Nows the time to deal with that. Lift and clip hair at the roots. X shape with two clips or a butterfly clip. 3 or four pinches from front backwards should do the trick. Let dry. (see book for better description and a picture of method. Is very easy)Go do whatever it is you do in the morning. Makeup, breakfast, organize things for work, do some housework, make some calls, chase the kids around...whatever. give it about ten or 20 mins (longer if you can) to dry before you pull clips out. You should have great volume now! This part can be skipped if you don’t want the extra lift, or already have enough.
Once clips have been removed, (or if not using clips, do it right after scrunching) Use a half teaspoon of gel over canopy of hair on top to reduce frizz. Spread on hands and lightly graze over whole canopy of hair. Catching frizz as you go.


Got regrowth and need to re colour? Curls are pretty forgiving. Grab two bits of hair on top where your part is, cross them over and it will cover alot of regrowth. (see book for demonstration and better description) When hair is completely dry, bend over and shake head a little. With fingers gently fluff hair from UNDERNEATH. Leave top layer alone to avoid frizz. If all else fails, Use bobby pins in an X for extra lift on top, you wont be able to see them under the curls so you can go out like that.


LOOK FOR ON LABELS:
Conditioner: no silicones. We DO need
. emollients (softens smooths) examples are: shea butter, vegetable
oils, wheat germ, olive, walnuts


Proteins: (coat hair shaft/protect it) examples: plant proteins like
wheat, wheat germ, soy.


Humectants: (absorb water & hold in moisture) crucial! examples:
Panthenol, vegetable glycerine, and or sorbitol.


Moisturizers: (softness & control) examples: amino acids, aloe vera, coconut


STYLING GEL:
Clear gel (less filmy) no alcohol or silicone. Does preferably need PVP polyvinylpyrrolidone and pvp/va vinyl acrylate. If it feels sticky on your fingers, it will feel sticky in your hair. Trial and error will find you a gel that suits your hair and doesn’t look too crunchy. Waxes need to be avoided and creams are a last resort and need to be silicone free. Gel is best.
Dilute your own gel with well boiled water and put in a spray bottle for a light spray hold. Great for second day hair when you can’t hop in the shower before heading out.


AT THE END OF ALL YOUR SHOWERS BLAST HAIR WITH COLD OR COOL WATER TO SEAL CUTICLES. THIS ALSO REDUCES FRIZZ.




INVEST IN:
  • A Silicone free conditioner (ABSOLUTE MUST. FIRST THING TO BUY)
  • AN old cotton (preferably 100% cotton) long sleeved shirt – or buy a microfiber towel. They range between $5 and $30 depending on size and where you get them. Ebay has cheapies. sports stores sell big thick ones. but a shirt will do fine if you dont wanna spend the extra. Also Kmart sell microfiber towels for drying cars, that are great for your hair and very cheap!
  • A wide toothed comb only! Or use your fingers. throw your hairbrush in the bin! Wide toothed combs range from $3 from priceline. if your conditioning enough, you wont need anything else.
  • A sulphate free shampoo - or preferably u can just use conditioner mixed with brown sugar or lemon juice (note: lemon juice tends to lighten hair a little so if you have dark colouring in your hair, dont use lemon)
  • For thick long hair, use butterfly clips for the lift-method explained. Not expensive avail everywhere hair products are sold


Keep In mind, if you are cutting out shampoo, you have a little amount of money there extra to buy a better quality conditioner if you cant find something really cheap that your hair loves.


Another thing that is great for your hair is DEEP CONDITIONING. Some do it once a month...others do it once a week. Others will only do it when the hair feels and looks like a disaster and needs some tlc.
There is a list at the end of this post of some home remedies or...
Check out
http://www.naturallycurly.com/
for HEAPS (infact way too much) info on everything from finding out what type of curls you have, what porosity, what density and a huge list of natural cheap home remedies.

Plus an AMAZING before and after “curly girl” method photo gallery for some inspiration and encouragement to stick it out thru the early weeks. (in this website CG stands for the curly girl method)

http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/47609-post-your-before-after-cg-pics.html

check out more than one page, some of them are unbelievable transformations!


Remember, curly girl method is not for everybody. Some end up using very mild sulphate shampoos but still no silicone. Others don’t condition as much etc. But most will find after giving it a fair go, it works WONDERS. Remember there is a transitioning period where for the first two – 4 weeks your hair could:

> Look just as bad as ever if not worse
> Feel very very itchy (if this happens, do the sugar twice instead of once a week while transitioning)
> Curls may weigh down instead of spring up (rinse out more conditioner than you have been) though most claim to have far curlier hair than ever before.


This is all due to your hair repairing itself of serious chemical damage. Itchiness and frizzies are withdrawl symptoms of no cones and no sulphates. Some people will see results after the first two washes. Many will notice a great difference in 2 weeks. Some wont have any side effects but also wont see changes in the hair for up to six weeks. If there aren’t any side effects who cares? Stick it out, youll be so glad you did!


so now your overloaded with info...just think mermaid curls mermaid curls mermaid curls! Lol


LIST OF AVAILABLE PRODUCTS TO GET YOU STARTED AND MAKE LIFE EASIER:


SOME SILICONE FREE CONDITIONERS AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIA (CHECK ingredients just incase theyve changed though):
  • SOME Suave Naturals conditioners (Suave Naturals Coconut)
  • SOME VO5 conditioners (avail at supermarkets and priceline)
  • PEARS CONDITIONER (available at Priceline very cheap only $2!)
  • Garnier Fructis NUTRI REPAIR ($4 on sale at Priceline. could possibly get from coles, be careful, garnier stuff all looks the same but this is the only one ypu can use)
  • NATURES GATE TEA TREE CALMING CONDITIONER ($10 for over 500ml @ price attack)
  • ORGANIC INSTINCT NATURAL CONDITIONER (& shampoo) both good, huge bottles for $20 at Priceline)
  • De Lorenzo Allevi8 conditioner (available at Price Attack $35 & Hairhouse Warehouse)
  • TRESSEME NATURALS range $10 for a HUGE bottle (available at Kmart, Coles and Priceline)
  • Alchemy range (health stores & Priceline stock them. Not cheap at all but they are a great product)
  • Burts Bees (available at some Terry White Chemists)
  • Natralla Nourish (never seen it before but apparently its available)


and for curly babies/toddlers/young kids:
NATURAL INSTINCT BABY (shampoo and conditioner both perfect for little heads. priceline sells them for $7.99, only a dollar more than the sulfate infested johnsons "Conditioning" shampoo, the usual one most of us use on bubs.


THE ONLY GEL IVE FOUND IN AUSTRALIA SO FAR:
(with no silicone OR alcohol) is TAFT SCHWARTZKOPF “MEGA STYLING GEL” it’s in a large blue and silver squeeze bottle & is approx $5.45 at Priceline, coles or some Woolworths

now don’t be scared off by the mega extreme part. I almost didn’t get it because I’m not fond of the wet or crunchy look, but its actually fabulous. When it dries it will dry very crunchy, but once its completely dry you just have to scrunch your hair gently all over, and it will break the “gel cast” leaving your hair shaped, but soft not crunchy. It is also guy friendly because it doesn’t smell like a field of flowers & unicorns. Its a subtle scent.


You can also get away with using the TAFT gel in the red tub, the only thing with that one is it has a bad for your hair alcohol in it, but it’s still better than the silicone ones if you’re desperate! Its available at most stores so if desperate, go for it.


OLD COTTON SHIRTS if hubby doesn’t have a long sleever spare, go to good sammy and get one off the $1 rack. if you find they are too thin coz u have so much hair, then go a microfiber towel. I now swear by them. Ebay has the original “devacurl” towel for $25 including postage. Its not very big and is quite thin, so only get this if you have very short hair and want a brand name. Otherwise, you can go to KMART & in the Auto-section they have huge thick microfiber towels (yellow ones) for just $9 and if your hair is shoulder length or shorter you could probably go the smaller cheaper ones! Also, some sports stores sell NIKE ones, but they are around $30. Still get an old shirt though because they are good for “plopping” (refer to book or search on naturallycurly.com for definition of plopping)


LAST TIPS:
cutting your hair should be done DRY since curly hair bounces a mile up when dry. the only way to cut the right amount off, is when its in its natural state and dry, curl by curl. You can do this yourself if you cant find a professional willing to do it. There are good, detailed instructions with pictures and a dvd how-to in the book.


the old version of the book is available from some libraries to hire. Or the new updated and expanded version with DVD tutorials is cheapest (last time I researched prices) with free shipping here:

http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780761156789/Curly-Girl-the-Handbook


Any questions feel free to ask, im a "curly girl" ambassador here to help. Loll

For some budget friendly home-remedy curly hair treatments check out my post here:

Curly Hair - Home Treatment Remedies