Wednesday, March 3, 2010

All About (my curly) Hair

I was born with hair that has the potential to curl, but for most of my life all it has done is frizz. This is an unsolicited artists rendering of me, and I think it does a very good job of representing both what my hair looked like and how it made me feel, until very recently.

I learned about the Curly Girl method (or CG) several years ago after finding this book at a yard sale. Basically the idea is to eliminate or greatly reduce your use of shampoo, use lots of conditioners (both rinse out and leave in), and never ever put anything with any type of silicone in your hair. I tried several times to stop shampooing my hair but after only a week or so my hair would be heavy, stringy and admittedly kind of gross feeling. I actually thought I must have oily hair....

A little over a month ago I discovered learned that there are more silicones than just dimethicone. Pretty much anything that ends in -cone, -conol or -xane is a silicone that will not wash out of hair without a sulfate-containing shampoo. Cyclopentisiloxane is one of the worst, and one of my favorite products had it listed as the second ingredient!

After reading (obsessively) about ingredients and curly hair techniques on the Curl Talk forum I gave away most of my haircare products and came up with my own routine.

  1. Cowash - this refers to washing your hair using conditioner (instead of shampoo)
  2. Condition daily, deep conditioning at least twice a week
  3. Leave in - yet more conditioner
  4. Gel on soaking wet hair while still in the shower
  5. Plop for 30+ minutes with a 100% cotton sweater
  6. Air dry
  7. More gel - just a pea sized amount
  8. Scrunch out the crunch
  9. Curl creme, if needed.
On a good day, this is what I end up with:

It even looks good from the back!

I can't believe it took me this long to figure out how to take care of my hair...but I'm so glad I did!


  1. Hiya, your hair rocks. I am a CG method convert myself and have been on too. I liv ein the UK and sometimes, products are not available there. Unfortunately, whatever I do, I still need to get my damaged ends chopped off regularly. This is due to some curl-nazis who decided to burn my hair with straighteners last time I went to the hairdressers.

    Have you ever used the Joico K-Pak range? It's been a lifesaver for me. Managed to turn my burnt frizzbucket into something presentable.

  2. Oooh, hair talk! :)
    First of all, your hair is beautiful, Allison!
    Mine isn't curly but super long. (Though my brother has curly hair about your length--he's still learning how to manage it.) I'm always on the lookout for new and better products for my hair--I use a lot of Giovanni right now. But I'm going to look into that Depth deep conditioner.

    (And I agree with the above commenter: My Mom uses Joico products and it's really improved her wavy/curly hair.)

  3. I had a friend with hair like yours, but what she did to avoid the frizz was to not brush it after washing - just finger comb and leave. Your hair looks really nice though.

  4. Thanks for the compliments everyone!

    aspiring - I've never tried Joico but I will investigate and report back!

    Liesl - LOVE the Depth stuff - I got mine at Whole Foods.

    Violet - you are absolutely right. I do own a comb, but I rarely use it, and NEVER when wet.