My Curly Girl Journey Begins!
Just after Christmas of December 2019, I washed and conditioned my hair for the very first time with "CG approved" products found in my local grocery store and dried my hair with a cotton T-shirt. That was just the beginning.
This would have been a "really good hair day" pre Curly Girl, but is my before photo after 2 wash days with approved products.
CG stands for Curly Girl, from a book written by Lorraine Massey
Curly Girl approved products are those which meet some basic criteria for being free of harmful sulphates, waxes, drying alcohols and silicones. The Curly Girl Method also strongly discourages heat styling of all kinds, such as using high heat blowdryers, straighteners, and curling irons, brushing hair while dry, using terry cloth towels etc.
My Starting Point.
I didn't always have wavy curly hair, other than the few odd little kinks or loose ringlets that would form on the back of my head whenever I fell asleep with wet hair. I spent years blasting my bangs to ridiculous heights in the late 80's and early 90's with a superpowered blowdryer. Bleached my hair from dark brown to blonde with bottles of peroxide in my teens and fried it further with a bad perm. Dyed my hair every shade of copper/red/auburn from my early 20's to my late 30's. I've tried to make my hair curly since the mid 90's but it was always with dissapointing results due to many years of rough treatment. It just looked badly damaged and frizzy. I will add a photo here of my hair at its worst when I can find one!
I stopped using heat to dry my hair several years ago, and dyed my hair with storebought chemical dye for the last time in 2014, for my daughter's graduation.
I am 45 now and probably 15-20 percent grey. I thought I was ready to embrace it, but I am on a mission to restore my hair's health and shine, give my curls some bounce and get a head of rich auburn hair again by gentler means. (henna) That's another blog post though!
I am a product junkie!
Over the next couple days I scoured google, youtube and facebook groups for information. I placed several orders on Amazon for recommended shampoos, leave in conditioners, treatments, curl enhancers and gels that I knew I wouldn't be able to find in Canada. I went a little overboard, to say the least.
Since my online orders were going to take a while to arrive, I visited 2 different grocery stores to see if there were any drugstore items that would work while I was waiting. I used curlscan.com to check if the products were approved, and bought a crap ton of stuff to try.
- Pantene Rose Water Shampoo
- Tresemme Undone conditioner for co-washing.
- Garnier Fructis masks (avocado, banana, papaya for deep conditioning)
- Love Beauty and Planet Argan Oil & Lavender Conditioner for normal use
- Live Clean Argan Oil Restorative Shampoo
- Herbal Essences Honey & Vitamin B shampoo
- Ogx Shea Soft & Smooth conditioner
- Bragg's Aminos (protein treatment)
- Knoxx unflavored gelatin (protein treatment)
- Flax seeds to make flaxseed gel
- Argan, sweet almond, and castor oils.
I also stopped by my small town dollar store for a couple things:
- a wide tooth comb for the shower, so I could detangle my sopping wet hair and distribute conditioner.
- 3 microfiber hair wraps for "Plopping" which is basically semi drying your hair in a turban style wrap.
- A package of 12 disposable (but reusable several times) plastic shower caps for deep conditioning treatments.
- A sieve to strain flaxseeds for homemade flaxseed gel.
ETSY was of course the place where I chose to buy some satin and silk bamboo scrunchies. These are for putting my hair up in a "pineapple" at night, which is essentially a very high ponytail on the top of my head. I also wear one occasionally during the day to keep my hair out of the way while working, if I am not wearing my hair completely up in a messy bun/twist with one of my own copper or bronze hair pins.
Kinky Curly is a brand often mentioned, and all three of these products are good, so I bought them! This pack of three products is a clarifying shampoo, leave in conditioner, and a curl enhancer custard. I have tried all of them separately and in combination with other products and I think I love them. They definitely earned a spot in my tub.
Next I bought a scalp scrubber to stimulate my scalp which supposedly encourages growth, and a satin bonnet for sleeping to protect my curls at night.
The scalp scrubber hasn't arrived from China yet and I've only tried the bonnet once so far. (It slipped off during the night, probably because I have a cotton pillowcase instead of silk or satin.)
Curl Junkie looked good too, and I wanted a gentle shampoo as well as a really moisturizing deep conditioner. So I bought them too.
It turns out the shampoo is another "clarifying" shampoo, so I will only use it occasionally. Clarifying is not intended for every wash day, but for once every 4-6 weeks type thing to remove buildup. Being a wavy rather than a curly, I may need to clarify more often because too much product will weigh my hair down and make it flat.
The curl rehab is everything you'd ever want in a deeply moisturizing conditioner. I plan on using it every couple of weeks whenever my hair needs an extra dose of moisture. I should have also bought another treatment from Curl Junkie, Curl Junkie Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment, 12 fl. oz. which is heavy on the protein side of things, because I am slowly learning that my hair likes protein. Balancing protein and moisture is important for all hair types, and porosity plays a big part when determining if your hair wants protein or not. I don't even pretend to understand the whole protein vs moisture overload issue, so you'll have to do your own research there.
Diffusing on low heat is OK.
So naturally I needed to buy a diffuser for the blowdryer I already have, which has been used primarily for crafts for the last five or six years. I chose an Xtava Black Orchid diffuser attachment for my blowdryer, which was more in line with my budget than a $400 Dyson. I ordered mine directly from the Xtava website though, and haven't picked it up yet from my US post office box. If it doesn't fit, I can get handy with duct tape or plumbing parts.
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