“I wish my hair looked like Merida’s,” I told my BFF, and I wasn’t just talking about the color. Every time I watch Brave, I get curl envy. This simple sentence had me contemplating my hair more so than before. A few nights later I messaged another friend of mine asking what products she was using for her own CGM journey. And I jumped in.
A few posts back I admitted I can become obsessive and research something to its deepest depths? Yeah, that started happening. I began searching Pinterest, Google, and Youtube, going through multiple articles and videos. Everything from How-To to What Products to Use to Curl Type. I’ve been researching it all. I’ve even turned to Instagram for inspiration and tips from those who do it best.
What is Curly Girl Method?
If you haven’t heard of the CGM, it all began with a book by Lorraine Massey titled, Curly Girl: The Handbook. As you might imagine, this book is all about how a girl (or guy) should care for their curly hair. Within it are a set of rules every curly girl should follow, along with routines to care for and enhance your curly hair. From this book there exploded different tips, tricks, routines, and methods. The basics, however, mostly remain the same: No Heat, No Sulfates, No Silicones, No Fragrances (perfume), No Alcohols, No (dry) Brushing or Combing, and No Shampooing (or use a low-poo). Basically, protect your curls in every manner possible! From there the options are endless.
How I’m Following the CGM.
The very first thing I did was check my current shampoo and conditioner for the no-no ingredients. As I use more natural products already, I had that portion covered. (All though now that I think about it, there might be fragrance in them. Oops.) The second thing I did was buy a Deep Conditioning hair mask. The majority of my hair is really damaged from bleaching it last year. I’ve since been letting it grow out and with the pandemic, I haven’t made another appointment to get my hair taken care of. I apply this conditioner once or twice a week. Believe it or not, I noticed an immediate difference in how curly my hair was. It probably wasn’t as drastic to others as it was to me, but when you’ve spent the last few weeks carefully observing your hair, you notice the changes.
Once I realized it the hair mask was actually working and not just a figment of my hopeful imagination, I put the rest of the curl line on my to-purchase list. I also researched the best detangling brush. My next purchase was a defining cream, leave-in conditioner, cleansing oil (which is basically a shampoo), and the detangling brush.
The biggest struggle I have, honestly, is not brushing my hair. My hair is so long and tends to shed like crazy. If I don’t brush it, it becomes so tangled its like there’s just this giant tangle glob underneath the top layers. So for me, not brushing it isn’t an option. Period. However, I do try to brush on days when I’m going to be “restoring” my curls, either by showering or using a spray bottle, so that I’m not just brushing my curls out.
If I’m using a spray bottle I:
~ Section my hair
~Spray my hair down (not quite dripping wet)
~Apply Leave-In Conditioner
~Repeat the last two steps on a different section
~Carefully Brush out the first section then the second
~Apply Defining Cream either to one section or all together depending on sizes of sections and amounts
~Scrunch and define
I go from bottom layers to top until all of my hair is done.
If I’m Showering I:
~Massage my scalp with my fingers to try and loosen oil and dirt
~Clean my hair with either a tiny bit of Shampoo or the Cleansing Oil (never both)
~Part my hair into two sections and apply Conditioning Mask
~Clip my hair up out of the way while wash, shave, sing, you know the usual things.
~Carefully Brush out my hair while the mask is still in
~Rinse out the Mask
~Waste a few more minutes singing
~Rinse out the Conditioner
~I might lightly dry my hair by squishing the ends with a towel or my t-shirt (t-shirt is better)
~Apply Leave-In Conditioner
~Wrap my hair in a t-shirt to mostly dry
I usually shower at night, so I’ll unwrap my hair about 30 minutes to an hour before I go to bed to let it air dry.
What I’ve Learned So Far.
I’ve only been doing this for maybe a month and a half so far. I haven’t seen a lot of long-term change in my curls, unfortunately. My hair is definitely curlier after a wash, but usually by day 4 my hair needs a total refresh. Admittedly, there are still some recommended steps that I am not doing yet, such as actually using a mousse or gel to actually set my hair. I’m not too concerned with that part while I try to figure out the things I don’t know.
When I first started this journey, I thought my hair had high or medium porosity. After the last few weeks of observing, I’m not actually sure. It’s probably the damage my hair has taken the last few years, but it seems like parts of my hair are low and others are in that high to medium range. It’s all very strange and I’m not sure I’ll ever actually understand it. As hair does change throughout a person’s life, it will probably always be a mystery. I do know that my hair falls somewhere between 2B and 3A hair type. Which is also subject to change the further I go on this journey.
Something else I’ve learned is that plopping doesn’t work great for me. Because my hair is so long, all that weight squishes my roots when I try to plop. So no hair plopping for me.
As previously stated, I have to brush my hair. It’s non-negotiable. I honestly tried not brushing my hair at first and it was just disaster. So don’t feel guilty if you’re trying out the CGM and you need to brush your hair, too.
What’s Next on my CGM Journey?
I am currently on the hunt for information on how to get my roots to curl and lift. Most of my roots just don’t want to cooperate no matter what I do, even though I know they’re as curly as the rest of my hair. I’m tired of giving them the stink eye every time they don’t cooperate with me after drying.
I will also be experimenting with how to protect my hair at night. I move around a lot when I’m sleeping, and while I do flip my hair out of the way, it doesn’t always keep some of the strands from getting roughened up and de-curled. Most people choose to put their hair in a pineapple style, but I get headaches if my hair is up like that for too long. Others will sleep with their hair wrapped up in a turban or scarf. That may be my best bet. Or buying new pillow cases. I think if I can figure out how to protect my hair at night then my hair will start holding its curls longer.
I will inevitably be purchasing the rest of my product list at some point. When that will actually be, I’m not sure. It could be today. It could be a month from now. I’m not really in any rush at this point. I just want to make sure that I understand every step I take and that it’s actually benefiting my curls.
Have you tried the Curly Girl Method? Did you struggle with any of the steps? What worked best for you? If you haven’t, is the CGM something that interests you?
*Any products mentioned or shown were bought with my own money and all opinions are my own. I am not affiliated with any of the above companies shown or mentioned.