The Journey Of A Thousand Curls: Part2. The Routine.
Helloooo. Welcome to part 2 of the Curly journey.
If you want to catch up Part1, find it here: https://www.bohoatheart.net/post/the-journey-of-a-thousand-curls-part1-the-reflection
I just want to be upfront here and let you know that all the shopping links are affiliate links and if you decide to buy the products via these, my thrift shoppingand I thank you:D.
No pressure though, you could buy them on any website you prefer:).
Now back to the post.
The Curly Girl Method or CGM is very simple. To explain. Not as simple to practice in the beginning, but once you see results, it's totally worth it.
There are a lot of articles and help websites regarding CGM or some variations of it, but as with everything in life, you have got to do a few trial and error runs and find a hair routine that works for you.
But the basics as I understand them are these:
A) Stop using anything chemical in your hair products. Well, this makes perfect sense to me from a sustainable planet and preservation of my body point of view. Healthier all around.
B) Find your hair type and do what works for you. It can't be a one size fits all hair care. This makes sense too because why would all our wonderfully different bodies (hair type, in this case) not need wonderfully different routines!
C) It's a bit time consuming, but which grooming routine isn't?
D) Do not dry brush your curly hair!!
Now I haven't done any deep studies into the products and their compositions etc, but I have done due diligence on the products I've used for myself, and I hope to help you by sharing my experience as someone with my curl type.
I started out as a 2C but as my hair is getting restored, my curls are getting more definition and so now I'm a 2C/3A curl type with a High Porosity.
High Porosity means I need more moisture for my hair.
The contributing factors for this have been
1) My geographical location of South India and its dry heat.
2) Extended use of chemicals.
3) Genetics and hormones.
Please Note: There are several great products out there in the market and I have not done too much scientific study into them all, so I am listing below only the ones that I have researched and used on my hair.
A very helpful website for all-inclusive hair types, hair care and products can be found at the bottom of this post.
My hair care routine is as follows.
Step 1) Oiling. Also known as Pre-poo in CGM circles
I use our own brand of hair oil called Bohemian Garden Hair Oil. This is a handmade, organic, chemical and cruelty-free hair oil. This herbal concoction is completely Curl Girl products compliant.
We're just about to launch it in the next few weeks and I will update the link to buy it here as soon as we do.
Just massage the oil (or your favourite coconut or olive oil) into your hair sections, making sure you cover all areas and hydrate your scalp well.
Let it steep on your scalp for a minimum of 2 hours.
For best results use these Hot Oil caps for heat simulated steeping.
Step 2) Shampoo.
Now the original CGM recommends just a Co-wash (Conditioner Wash only). But given our dust and pollution exposures, I think in India for sure we need some shampoo. So I'd recommend going with some nice organic options which do not contain harmful chemicals like sulphates, silicones, paragons etc.
For 2C/3As I personally recommend the following shampoos which I've tried and tested and liked.
A. Clarifying Shampoo.
Who is it for?
For first time CG users. When you're making the shift from years of chemical-based hair products. Use this shampoo for the first couple of washes.
For when you have a lot of product build-up in your hair (example Hair cream + Hair Gel etc).
If you swim a lot in the ocean or the pool.
Or if you use a lot of hair oil.
If you fall under any of the above categories, a mild shampoo will not help cleanse the scalp and then the routine is not going to be as effective as you'd want it to be.
(The Mamaearth and Pantene shampoos contain some low amounts of non CG cleansers, but can be used as a Clarifying Shampoo.
B. Chemical-free, Organic Shampoo.
Once you've settled into your curly routine (from like the 3rd wash or so) and have none of the above circumstances constantly, then you can switch over to this kind of shampooing.
This is as close to doing away with shampoo as you can get because they have none of the drying agents and chemicals that spoil the hair but have enough safe cleansers to wash the inevitable dirt and oil buildup.
Step 3: Conditioner
Once your hair and scalp are clean and free of all products and oil buildup, the next step is to condition your hair.
**This is also the step when you should detangle all knots.
Detangling at only this stage has 2 benefits.
A) Lubricated hair detangling helps with breakage control and avoids leaving hair dry and bushy.
B) The conditioner gets evenly spread in the hair from root to tips for maximum benefit.
Without towel drying or completely squeezing out all the water, section your hair into parts and take a nice big blob of conditioner. I heard one woman say that the amount of conditioner in your palm should worry you. That's how much you should use. I like this rule. Also cos I have really thick, dry hair and the only way to make the comb slip through the tangles is to have a lot of conditioner.
I take half a palmful of conditioner and starting from the tips upwards I work it into my hair sections.
Make sure that your hair is sufficiently wet to have a good slip for the conditioner as this will be thick.
The reason for working it from tips upwards ( although all instructions read ".... roots to tips...") is because the tips are the oldest hair with the most exposure and thus in need of a lil bit more TLC than the rest of the hair. So soaking the conditioner in that direction will hydrate the driest hairs the most.
Once all the sections have been well saturated, take a wide-tooth comb and start to detangle hair. Again, in sections and from tips upwards. The reason is that as you start from the bottom up, you're creating a detangled path for the knots to get combed out of and thus avoid further breakage and pain.
This will take a while to get used to and initial few times, you might be alarmed at the amount of hair at the end of the detangling.
Don't worry, this is normal as you start the process.
Also, an important thing to remember is that a daily hair fall of 50-100 hairs is normal.
Now since you only brush/comb on wash days in the shower, it is an accumulation of an average of 4 days X 100 hairs = big bunch that scares us.
So unless this continues even after a couple of months, there is no reason to worry and give up the process.
Your curly hair is better off with this method than our normal generational habit of dry brushing every single day.
Actually, I would say, the process needs to start in our mind and we need a break from 'traditional hair care' before anything else.
If the hairball doesn't settle a few months into the regime though, then you should consult a doctor. Because there could be an underlying reason that is not externally fixable.
Once completely detangled, keep the conditioner on for a lil while if you have the time and patience, or else rinse well in the shower.
I've seen videos suggesting that optimal way to rinse your hair is to bend over and rinse. But honestly, some days my back just doesn't enjoy that.
If you're simply rinsing out your hair then I think that just throwing your head back under the shower should suffice just as well.
Step 4: Squish To Condish
Now at this point, I personally rinse out with the method called Squish To Condish. The link below will demonstrate how.
The reason to use this method is very simple. You're super hydrating your hair with the water and conditioner and at the same time, you're also trying to train your curls.
One good tip for how long you should STC is 'till your hair stops dripping'. This is a good pointer as you will realise how and when to stop as you go along.
I don't stop the STC till all the conditioner has washed out though. I make sure the major portion of this heavy product is out of my hair and while my hair is still dripping wet, I move to the next step.
I cannot emphasize enough the need to keep your hair as moist as possible and to train your hair to receive these ingredients and the hydration.
Step 5: Leave-in Conditioner
This is a big essential for dry and damaged hair like mine. With the thickness and the volume, every step to hydrate the hair helps.
Once you've squished the conditioner out, you can section hair again and use your palms to spread the Leave-in conditioner in your hair. It's easy to join palms ( like prayer hands) and slick it out downwards for an even application.
Again, your bottle will probably say " coin-sized" but in my experience, use the amount your thirsty hair needs. Definitely not as much as conditioner in the previous step, but maybe 2 1/2 coin size?
Again, depends on thickness, volume and length of your hair.
Secret Tip: If you're on a tight budget, and have invested in a great conditioner already, you could dilute and use some of the same as a leave-in.
The funda is that the leave-in is a much lighter hydrating form and hence you will need to water it down some. Because the thick conditioner as it's normal state is too heavy to leave on your hair till your next wash.
Step 6: Hair Cream/ Curl Cream
To still fairly dripping hair, take a couple finger scoop worth of hair cream (or also known as curl enhancing cream or curl custard etc) and squish into the hair sections.
You will start to feel the product making your curls come alive into form.
Step 7: Hair Gel
Now a lot of curlies use this on every wash day, but for me personally, I would rather just use it for if/when I'm actually stepping out.
My reasoning is to keep it as simple and fewer products than when absolutely necessary.
So use it like any other hair gel, but I use the squish method here too to keep training my curls.
If you're using it on say day 2/3 because that's when you're stepping out, it would help to properly wet your hair and then apply this. So that your hair gets a refresh and your curls get a lubricating gel.
Step 8: Plopping
I Love plopping vs towel drying.
By the time I'm done scrunching in my hair cream and gel, my hair is not dripping wet.
So the last step is to lay out a tee-shirt on the bed and then just tie my hair up with it. Leave the plop on for a min of 30 mins, but on wash days that I'm not in hurry to go anywhere, I just leave it in a plop until almost completely dry.
The plop makes my hair bouncy and helps with curl training.
Read about and watch the plopping method here. My fav mag always, Cosmopolitan: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/beauty/a25400845/how-to-plop-curls/
I'm really too lazy for the finger coiling and other methods of training your curls.
But if you want to try those out for yourself, here's a nicely explained resource: https://kurlify.com/en/curls/isabelle-talks-about-curl-training-the-secret-to-beautifully-defined-curls/
Remember when 2 days after the salon wash you were back to a frizzy bear? Well no more. Refresh is your friend in a spray bottle.
Just part and spray your hair till you can feel all your hair has been spritzed and then just squish and bounce your curls into your style for that day.
Secret Tip: I just use my Leave-in as a refresher too.
Oh shush. I have a fam to feed apart from having great hair :D.
Buy a spray bottle of your choice and just dilute it with 3 parts water to 1 part Leave-in or Curl Cream ratio.
For all hair types, a deep conditioner treatment helps. And all the more for curly hair that tends to dry out and frizz quick.
For my hair type ( 2C/3A High Porosity) I need a high Moisturizing and low Protein Hair mask as my hair is super dry.
Now, this can change over months because weather conditions or product combos can alter the hair porosity, and so try to keep a tab on that when you're ordering your hair mask. I suggest a hair porosity test every couple of months. It's the simplest thing and will take you abt 30 secs at home.
Here's a link on how to: https://www.naturallycurly.com/texture-typing/hair-porosity
The method is super simple. Just follow the instructions on the box. Some ask you to apply after shampoo and some before and it's ideal to follow those instructions.
Try to invest in a hair mask hot cap if possible, or a hot towel to the head, or a minimum of a shower cap while you wait for the mask to do its magic.
I do this step after shampoo so that my hair is product-free and allows the mask to work better.
But I do it before the conditioner and de-tangle method.
Remember to rinse out the mask properly before applying conditioner, because the mask is too heavy a product to be left in your hair.
Random other products I like and use:
Satin bonnet at night to help with the frizz. You can use satin pillow covers or a nice satin/silk scarf.
Microfiber Towel only.
Resources to read and use till you figure your way around your CGM journey:
https://thecuriousjalebi.com She is an Indian blogger and has a detailed product list by budget, and curl type etc. Really nice for all beginners and easily available locally.
https://www.curlsbot.com This is your go-to website to help you check if the ingredients in your super nice smelling, fancy packaged hair product is really safe for your hair.You just have to type or copy/paste the whole ingredients list in and it'll tell you if it contains harmful alcohols or safe ones and if the product is Curly-friendly:).
Another Secret Tip: Buy as sets and save.
I hope this Blogpost encourages you to step out and try your curly-haired journey if you have been hesitating.
And please do reach out to me if you wanna cross-check something, are confused about my explanations or just plain want to send me a hug.
Yay! I'm excited to be in this together. Like a secret club of sorts ;).
Happy Curly exploration to you.