I am really low-maintenance.
I cringe at the idea of a blow-dry, tense up when I have to get to the hairdresser and gave up on highlights altogether as 6 weekly roots touch-ups were too much of a hassle. I trim my hair myself with a cutting guide like this one Hairstyling Ruler Hair Clipper Guide Trimmer Thinning Hair Cutting Salon Tool Kit DIY – Blue– I get my husband to cut the back.
So when I first read about a method that lets your crazy hair be itself with minimal effort I knew I had to give it a go.
I should mention I have hair that does not fit into any category. Neither curly nor straight, it has a top layer that is wavy and a bottom layer that is kind of straight, so thin updos or braids are a challenge, and never looks the same twice. I have a very impractical cowlick at the front, too, which pretty much cancels any hope of a fringe.
Enters the Curly Girl method. Wash your hair with sulfate-free cleanser or silicon-free conditioner (the latter is known as the no-poo method and require a fair deal of extra rubbing), dry your hair with a microfiber towel (I have a ridiculously expensive one from a brand called Curl-Ease but it turns out baby muslin clothes are just as good along with any soft jersey top as I learnt on holiday). The combination of gentle cleansing and gentle and fast drying gives you the healthiest possible hair and waves. There can be a lot more to it if you want to go into details. Some people like to add some gel or mousse to give the curls some hold.
Here are the products I use, which I selected after a few greasy attempts. The Curly Girl method is meant for very dry, very curly hair and advocates using a lot more conditioner than my hair can handle. Not a good look.
1- “Hesh” Shikakai Powder 100grams– Gentle washing
Wild-crafted Shikakai, a pod-like fruit from the Acacia Concinna tree, grows in the warm dry plains of southern and central India. Used for centuries and traditionally known as ‘fruit for the hair’, this natural, mild cleanser is used to wash and gently condition hair without excessively stripping hair of its natural oils. Shikakaa is renowned for its beneficial properties and naturally low pH.
The method: Mix it with hot water, rub it thoroughly into your scalp first then spread to the ends. Rinse. Expect much more rubbing than regular shampoo and no foaming whatsoever. Also terrible translations on your packaging. Bonus: you are likely not to need conditioner at all – for not chemically treated hair at least. Whatever you do, please, do not let it in your eyes. It stings.
Find Shikakai in Indian stores or online on Amazon “Hesh” Shikakai Powder 100grams
Advocated online as a really good brush for clumping curls together, this goes against a fundamental Curly Girl method rule which is to never use a brush. As I discovered, wavy hair does better with a little bit of brushing and combing to redirect flyaways and clump waves together.
The method: Flip your hair upside down after washing, and glide the brush gently from roots to ends with or without conditioner. See the clumps forming.
3- Premium Hair Towel for All Hairstyles – Large, Lightweight, Soft, Absorbent & Fast Drying Microfibre – 114 x 64 cm – Plopping
I use Curl-Ease, that I bought from https://www.britishcurlies.co.uk/. However as I discovered recently, any smooth muslin or jersey material will do the job. Just not an ordinary towel which is a little bit harsher on curls.
The method: With your hair still upside down and dripping wet, start plopping into your towel/ t-shirt/ baby muslin. Like this:
At this point, some people like to use a giant diffuser as it dries hair faster and can create better waves. Like the Gama Professional Italy AV11.600 Universal Super Diffuser
4- Styling product – Organic Aloe Vera Skin Gel – 200ml
This is another personal variation on the Curly Girl method. I like to use styling product after plopping (but before diffusing if I choose to). In the past few weeks, I have found Aloe Vera gel to be a great styling product for curl hold (this one Organic Aloe Vera Skin Gel – 200ml).
However beware, I tried freshly extracted aloe vera gel from my aloe vera plant at home, and although it moisturized very well it gave zero hold. What gives the hold is the combination of the thickener that is used in all commercially sold aloe vera gels and the hydration from the aloe vera. So if you can access pure aloe vera gel with no additives, this is unlikely to provide the same result.
With most styling products you are likely to end up with a ‘crunchy’ effect. This is normal. and you should just scrunch out the crunch, essentially gently rub and shake your hair.
The method: The gel should be applied in an upward motion with your hair tilted forward. If this does not make any sense, have a look at this really good article: http://www.curlsandbeautydiary.com/how-to-apply-products-and-scrunch-curly-hair/
Another excellent styling product is the Suncoat Natural hair Styling Mousse 210ml from a Canadian brand called ‘Suncoat’. It is one of the only mousses on the market with no added alcohol (a curl killer) or perfume. The hold is obtained with sugar. I find it has a conditioning effect all by itself, too.
In conclusion, my version of the Curly Girl Method seems to work better for thin wavy natural – read no chemically treated or dyed- hair because I did away with the heavy layers of conditioner and oil but kept the gentle cleansing core message and the styling advice.
Happy trials and let me know how you get on!