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I have always had straight hair. Not straight-ish, but straight like, “Do you straighten your hair?” Then I had 3 kids and they performed some hormonal juju in utero that made my hair wavy-ish (presumably they imbued their wildness into my cells), somewhere between straight and wavy. Ugh, awkward, make up your mind, hair. As a low-maintenance minimalist who prefers to keep it natural and preaches self acceptance and love, I was not about to blow dry, flat iron, and/or curl my hair everyday.
So what’s a girl to do?
Curly Girl Method (CGM). Based on this book, the method is about stripping away unnatural and harsh chemicals and processes and loving your hair back to its natural state. Sounds nice, right?
But googling led me down a rabbit hole of products and rules that made my head spin. No seriously, that google search should come with a warning label: “You will lose days of your life and end up more confused than when you started.”
I exhausted my research, reached out to some people I trust, and adapted the Curly Method Method to suit my needs (namely for a simple daily routine and minimal products).
The main differences between CGM and mainstream hair care products are that the shampoos and conditioners contain no sulfates or silicones. Additionally, I use a wide tooth comb instead of a brush, a microfiber wrap instead of a towel, and I add gel.
Google will tell you that you need approximately 5,295 products to do this right. You do not. Here is what I purchased:
Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo
Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner
Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment
Jessicurl Rockin’ Ringlets Styling Potion
Jessicurl Spiralicious Styling Gel
Note: You could simplify this further with 1 natural shampoo bar, 1 natural conditioner bar, homemade flax seed gel, your fingers as the comb, and an old cotton t-shirt as the towel wrap.
You don’t need to cut your hair for CGM to be effective but when I did go in for my yearly birthday haircut, I got a layered shoulder length style that majorly elevated my waves. If you find you really like this method, remember that layers are your friend.
I shower every morning (the official recommendation is to shower less but I feel best with a daily shower) and wash my hair with the Gentle Lather Shampoo. I find I need to clarify (remove oil and build up from my scalp) once a week with the old traditional shampoo.
Then I use the Aloeba Daily Conditioner. While it’s in, I comb and part my hair and then “squish to condish”: lean forward and scrunch one side, then the other (the official recommendation is to do this with your head upside down, but I found that results in my curl clumps breaking up once I’m upright). Then rinse as usual. Once a week I use the Deep Conditioning Treatment the same way but I leave it in longer.
Once my hair is clean and conditioned, I lean forward again and rub some Rockin’ Ringlets Styling Potion in my hands. I run it over my wet hair with “praying hands,” then scrunch. Then I do the same thing with the Spiralicious Styling Gel.
After that I rotate my head upside down and “plop” my hair into the microfiber wrap. I have to admit, the wrap is my favorite part. I have a lot of hair and it holds moisture for a long time and this comfortable wrap does a great job of removing all the excess water that would normally be dripping down my back even after toweling it dry. Then I go about the rest of my morning routine and remove the wrap about 20 minutes later.
And bam! My hair tumbles down into amazing ringlets! Lastly, I take a minute to “scrunch out the crunch.” I can use a diffuser to dry it the rest of the way, but I only do that if I’m heading out right away into freezing cold nature (to stave off hypothermia).
Then I go about my day feeling fabulous with beachy, bohemian waves! This routine does not take any longer than my pre-CGM routine. The main difference is that more of it takes place inside the shower (which as a hot water connoisseur, I am more than okay with).
For the record, my hair is naturally wavy, not curly, so sometimes it psychologically feels like my hair is a damp t-shirt that I’m squishing into a ball then leaving to dry—I’m not activating the natural curl so much as wrinkling the hair, but I am totally okay with that.
The only thing I don’t love about CGM is that when my hair looks so great, I feel more precious about it than I did before (“I love you too and can you show me your love with a hug instead of by raking your play dough fingers through my hair?”). But it’s a good problem to have.
I tried this method in quarantine so that if it was a total disaster no one would be subjected to seeing it, but I’m really enjoying it as my everyday style right now! I can still do a simple wash and go if I’m feeling lazy. I can still flat iron or curl my hair if I want to sparkle up for a special occasion. I’m not dogmatic about CGM but it sure has added a nice option to my style.