Iʻm so sorry I wasn’t able to post last weekend — I participated/volunteered my time for Relay for Life Colleges Against Cancer and an Art Show. I’m back! I did not forget about Tales of a Curly Island Girl.
Today, I am going to continue sharing information on the CG method.
My first (and only) post of the curly girl method ended on this:
“This concludes your first steps of doing the CG method. Continue to take care of your hair. Next time I will discuss other factors and terms of the CG method (it’s kind of like black hole, you can get completely sucked in) like protein vs. moisture, co-washing, itchy-M’s, diffusing, refreshing, factors of humidity, using lube, etc. But for now, this is the best way to start.”
Protein vs. Moisture
Okay, I know you’re thinking, “reallllyyyy?” But knowing how much protein and how much moisture you have in your hair is super important. Curly hair, especially, should have a well-balanced amount of both protein and moisture. If your curls are lacking moisture it will be “limp,” and frizzier and drier than normal. Too much moisture means you are lacking structure and when you style it, it often cannot hold it’s curls. If your curls are lacking protein it will be stringy, rough, and break easily.
Too much protein means you are lacking elasticity. There are tests you can do to determine that: get a strand of your hair (preferably one that already shed), and pull at both ends of the strand. If it stretches and then breaks, you have too much moisture. If it just snaps, you have too much protein. A well maintained moisture to protein ratio means your hair will be soft, your curls will be well defined, and if you did the strand test, it would stretch but not break. Be very careful when assuming you need more protein. Hair that is given too much protein is very hard to bring back to a balanced ratio.
Check your CG friendly products to see if they have protein in them! You do not want your entire routine to be filled with protein or filled with no protein. Perhaps, your after shower styling has protein in it, or just your co-wash conditioner/shampoo has protein. You would have to figure out if your hair really loves more protein or more moisture through trial and error, but just be wary of the over treating of protein. Here are some common ingredients that are proteins:
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Hydrolyzed keratin
- Hydrolyzed silk protein
- Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
- Variations of hydrolyzed collagen
- Variations of hydrolyzed soy protein
- Coconut (protein mimic)
- Sea Kelp (protein mimic)
*protein mimics are just that, they mimic protein, if your hair is sensitive to protein and you keep running into that problem, check for any protein mimics in your products. If your hair has too much protein, deep treat with a moisturizing conditioner.
I mentioned in the previous section about co-washing (conditioner). Co-washing actually stands for conditioner-washing, so that last bit was redundant. You cleanse your hair with your conditioner rather than shampoos. Although Curly Girls will use sulfate-free shampoos, some (such as myself) opt out of all use of shampoos. Most people would find this disgusting. I understand that. However, if you don’t quite understand how and why co-washing works, let me enlighten you.
When you use sulfate shampoos, you strip your hair’s natural oils while cleaning all the gunk out from the day, from your products, and from the air (dirt, etc.). When you follow sulfate shampooing with silicone conditioning … you seal the hair shaft from retaining any moisture you could potentially be putting back into your hair (that you just stripped the oil from). In order to get your silicones out of your hair, you would need sulfates to do that. Hence, the never-ending cycle of bad ingredients for your hair (especially curls!).
Co-washing is able to remove the gunk and dirt from your scalp and hair simply because you do not use any products with silicone in them. The catch is that you have to gently scrub your scalp with your fingers, or shampoo brush, for quite a long time, probably a minimum of 8 minutes. This action will remove all of the gunk and dirt accumulating on the scalp. Switching to co-washing is not easy because you are used to the “squeaky clean” feel that shampoos give you, also your scalp will have to get used to a lot of conditioner. After co-washing, rinse your hair out thoroughly, if you don’t, you only leave the dirt and gunk sitting there (that defeats the purpose). I use a light CG friendly conditioner to co-wash because it feels more like a shampoo and it’s easier to work with.
Some people don’t like this part of the CG method and it is not needed in order to be a curl girl. This is entirely up to personal preference, especially if your scalp and hair just don’t agree with this. Sometimes, I use a sulfate free shampoo because I feel that my hair is extra dirty or my hands are too tired to scrub for so long.
My scalp is very sensitive. Even before I started the CG method, I needed to wash my hair every day (it was a huge pain) because it kept the itchiness away. I have removed the cause of itchiness from my routine, but I am still struggling with dry scalp/flakes. If your head is always very itchy, I would highly suggest removing the itchy-M’s from your routine. There are two ingredients (nicknamed, can you guess? Itchy-M’s) that cause itchiness. Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone. If you have this problem, I would ditch any CG friendly products with these two ingredients. Some people have no reaction to this, and some do. There are products with no itchy M’s, don’t fret. Here a few that I use:
If it’s not the way you are cleansing your scalp (good co-washing or sulfate free shampooing), than odds are it’s the itchy-M’s.
Most curly girls who have just started the transitioning process are already spending an insane amount of money trying to find the right routine/products for their hair. If you have money to spare or you’ve been doing the method for some time and are ready to try something new, here it is. Diffusing. If you already own a blowdryer, perfect! If not, you’ll need to purchase one. Blowdryers normally come with diffuser attachments, but the ones they give with it, are not going to dry curly hair without creating an insane amount of frizz. You will need to buy a curly hair diffuser attachment separately. The one I have is the xtava Orchid (shown here).
There are tons of curly hair diffusers on the market, but I hear from the grapevine that the Orchid, and the Devacurl (this one looks like a hand!) ones are the best. I really love my Orchid because it’s huge and my hair is very long. Curly hair diffusers have various lengths of tips that allow air to flow out as it holds your curls and dries. This keeps your curls in place. When using a diffuser, use little to no heat, as heat is very damaging for our hair.
We all know that most times our hair takes hours and hours to dry (mine does), but if I have to leave the house for some reason, I will try to get my hair at least 50% dry with the diffuser. Disclaimer: it takes a very long time to use a diffuser (albeit, shorter than air drying but still long) and your arms will be very tired. My hair is so long and I have never actually gotten my entire head 100% dry using the diffuser because my arms get too tired. It’s a terribly great investment for those who tend to get sick from wet hair (if you wash your hair at nights) and for those who have short curly hair, your hair will diffuse much faster.
Okay, so you’ve washed your hair and you’ve went out and enjoyed your beautiful curls for the day/night. You’re home now, but you don’t wash your hair every day. Tomorrow, you need your curls to look just as good as wash day. This is called refreshing. Buy a spray bottle, fill it with just water or both water and your favorite conditioner. Spray your hair, especially those unruly curls that have started to really frizz and lose its shape. You’ll wanna saturate those curls for sure. You do not need to saturate your whole head, but some people do, especially if your hair gets tangled very easily (saturating it again and adding conditioner to detangle is entirely up to you).
After wetting your hair, reapply your products. How much you will need to reapply will depend on how well your applied and distributed your products on wash day. Some people can last 7-10 days without washing, and still have beautiful curls. Personally, I can only last every other day and I still have not found the best refreshing routine for myself. I have been working on it for a long time and I hope to hit a breakthrough soon.
Factors of Humidity
In case you haven’t noticed by my blog name … I live on an island. Which means, I live in tropical weather, therefore, very high humidity. Humidity can be a terrorizer to hair, especially the curlies! If you live in an area that has high humidity, it means your hair will most likely frizz more than normal. You will have to combat that. In high humidity, humectants in your products will pull moisture to your hair. If your hair has too much moisture and water from the air, your hair shaft will swell and cause frizz. If you live in an area with low humidity, it usually means your hair will be dry. The humectants in your products will move moisture in your hair out to the air.
Here are a list of humectants:
- Diols and Triols
- Propylene glycol
- 1,2,6 hexanetriol
- Butylene Glycol
- Dipropylene glycol
- Hexylene Glycol
- Triethylene glycol
- Capryl glycol
- Hexanediol or -triol beeswax
Sugars and modified sugars
Elastin, collagen, silk, keratin
If your routine involves humectants, you may want to use less product in high humidity and more product in low humidity, to decrease the chances of frizzy and dry hair. I’m still working on this and doing research to figure out what is best for my own hair.
Yes, do a double-take if you like, I did say lube. Yes, I do mean personal lubricant. The ingredients for water-based lube are very similar to the ingredients in Curl Keeper. This is a product hack, and a much cheaper option at that. It’s light and it does not weigh the hair down and its totally CG-friendly. For those who want to try, make sure it is water-based and if you live in high humidity also choose glycerin free lube. It can be used like a gel, or as a refresh option for next day hair, or even to smooth the flyaways throughout the day.
There are a lot of curlies that actually carry lube around with them. It’s cheap (its not discreet) and its normally small enough to chuck in a purse or backpack.
This post is definitely part of my lengthy ones (I love it). Does this make up for my absence? I hope you look more into the CG method. There are so many new things I learn along the way and I do want to share it with you from time to time. I think I am going to start a series on the CG method. How does that sound?
Next time on the CG Method Series: clarifying, dry scalp/flakes, hair porosity, new products I’ve bought.
Happy Curl, Happy Girl
Curly Island Girl