10 tips for starting the Curly Girl Method – part 1

Last September, I started the Curly Girl Method. In short, this is a natural method of caring for wavy, curly, kinky, and coily hair. The basics of hair care with this method are:

  • No heat (This means no blow drying or straightening your hair. Instead, air dry when possible and use a diffuser on the cool setting when you must.)
  • No sulfates in shampoo
  • No silicones in conditioner or styling products
  • No drying alcohols in any products (not all alcohols are drying)

Many people who start this method are surprised they have curly hair, but that wasn’t my story. My Mom has curly hair and my hair is now what I recognize as wavy. As a child, I had straight and snarly hair. As I grew up, my hair started to act unpredictable like my Mom’s. We purchased many products to attempt to tame the frizz, but I begged her for a straightener as a teen.

I loved my curls when they behaved, but I longed for straight hair. I straightened it when I had the time, which was rare. I was impatient with my hair. It never looked as good as hers. 

Fast forward through college and my first few years at work, I usually kept my hair curly for the sake of time. (I’m so not a morning person.) But I still straightened my hair for special events, praying it wouldn’t rain or be slightly humid. If I was lucky, I could make it through a few photos before my hair started fluffing up and out, like an annoying halo around my head.

I found out about the Curly Girl Method amidst a YouTube wormhole I fell in. From there, I watched dozens of videos, read dozens of articles, and am nearly finished with the book. Over the past few months, I’ve learned a few things about this Curly Girl Journey. Yes, it’s a journey.

Embracing your natural hair is more than just embracing your hair. It’s about embracing who you are. It’s about allowing yourself to just be yourself.

My hair isn’t perfect. I’m still searching for the best products for it, but in the meantime I know that the products I’m using are at least healthy for my hair, even if they aren’t the ones. The pictures above show that. In the “before,” I was following the Curly Girl Method for a couple months, but I had a lot of buildup in my scraggly hair. The “after” shows my mini transformation with just one haircut and some love. (I did not color my hair; the lighting is just different in the photos.)

Throughout this journey, I’ve appreciated tips and tricks I’ve learned from other Curly Girls. So, in an effort to give back to my fellow Curlies, I wanted to share a bit of my own story and tips. Here are my top 3 tips for starting the Curly Girl Method:

1. Read Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey.

Before you fall down the rabbit hole of YouTube and learn from other Curly Girls, learn from the original Curly Girl. Massey explains the science behind curly hair and the method. She goes step-by-step for all curl types and even gives you homemade product recipes.

2. Don’t buy all the things. 

After falling down that rabbit hole and starting the book, I ordered DevaCurl‘s Wavy line for my birthday. I bought the largest bottles possible. Since Massey herself started DevaCurl, I knew those bottles were the answer to all my curly hair prayers! Unfortunately, they aren’t the best products for my hair. (Gosh, my hair is picky.) So I quickly learned that just because products work for other Curly Girls, that doesn’t mean they will work for me. Instead of buying the biggest bottles possible, sample what you can and purchase smaller bottle sizes when just starting out, whether you choose a line like DevaCurl or drugstore options. Most of this journey is about finding the best products and routine for your hair, which takes time. It could take a few weeks, but it might take about a year to heal damaged hair and try a few different lines of products. So don’t stress. Just enjoy the journey and do what you can.

3. Find the right hairdresser for you. 

If you live in a big city, you might be able to find a Devachan or Ouidad salon; those are the two big curly hair salons, each with their own cutting method and multiple locations. NaturallyCurly also has a salon listing for curly professionals. I could not find a salon listed near me, but I was lucky enough to find a local woman who specializes in curly hair care.

If you’re like me and live in the middle of nowhere in the hair world, do research before choosing a hairdresser. Look at their website and social media pages. Do they cut curly hair well? Or do they straighten curly hair? After you research, call the salon and ask these questions. The key here is to find a hair stylist who knows curls. This may, however, not mean they know the Curly Girl Method. My stylist does not, so I need to research the products she wants to use on my hair or bring my own into the salon.

Check out my other 7 tips for starting the Curly Girl Method at this link.

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