I smile indulgently. “I wash my hair… just not with shampoo.”
I ditched shampoo about nine years ago, when I first heard about the Curly Girl routine. I was twelve years old and had never liked my curly hair. When I was little, I had adorable blonde ringlets. When I was old enough to hold a brush, I had a mane that exulted in frizzing–and causing me to fume. I longed to possess the long, straight hair of the storybook princesses (this was the pre-Brave era). Alas, I was stuck with my mother’s thick hair and my father’s unruly curls. Thickness and curls proved to be an impossible combination. For most of my childhood, I shampooed, brushed-out, and pony-tailed my curls. But my stubborn mane refused to transform into the silky beauty of which I dreamed. In fact, my hair continued to drive me to tears by frizzing.
My curly girl journey truly began when I stumbled upon Got Curl (and, by extension, Kindred Grace aka the YLCF). I read with wide eyes about the curly care routine and poured over the success stories of curly girls who had gone before.
If they could do it, why couldn’t I?
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According to Massey, the author of the Curly Girl handbook, shampoo, made up of harsh ingredients (such as sodium laurel sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate) dries out curls by stripping them of the natural oils they require in order to be beautiful. Vigorously washing with shampoo as I was doing was causing the very frizz I hated so much!
I had always thought my curls were out to ruin every dream of beauty I dared to have, but it turned out that shampoo was the cause of all my hair woes. All of those years I had been trying to care for my hair, I had been stripping it of the life-giving (and frizz-preventing) oils it so desperately needed by washing it with shampoo. My curls were the victim, not the villain.
Ready to try anything to release the beautiful locks I just might have, I decided to try the curly girl method. I bought the book Curly Girl, and for three weeks I tried this radical hair care routine. I declared the shampoo bottle off-limits and used only conditioner to wash my hair. I avoided the hairdryer and opted to allow my curls to air-dry. I tossed my hairbrush.
After those three weeks, I was amazed at how curly my hair had become. To my delight, not only was it curlier, it felt cleaner and softer.
To my delight, with the curly-girl method, I found that I possessed lovely curly hair hidden beneath what had formerly been a mass of thick straw. I vowed never to subject my hair to shampoo again. All that my curls need to be beautiful is the permanent banishment of the shampoo bottle and a little TLC.
My Curly Hair Care Foundation
- Forget the shampoo
- Forsake the hairbrush
- Forbid the use of the blow-dryer
- Form a close relationship with conditioner
My Curly Hair Regimen
The Night Before
- When I first step under the shower, I allow the water to rinse my curls.
- I gently distribute a generous amount of conditioner, massaging it into my scalp. This is the “cleansing stage.”
- Next I repeat step 2, only I finger-comb the conditioner throughout my curls. I let the conditioner soak for about five minutes, then I lightly rinse with cold water (which lowers the frizz factor) for 10-15 seconds, leaving a bit of conditioner in my hair.
- I “scrunch-dry” with a towel.
- I use approximately a tablespoon of conditioner and finger-comb it through my hair to separate my curls.
- I then squirt some mousse into my palm and thoroughly scrunch my curls (scrunching the top layer last). I love Motions Light Styling Foam.
- I try to avoid touching my hair while it dries.
- I shake my fully-dry curls to give them more volume, then go about my day with my curls healthy and happy.
The Next Morning
- I wake up and avoid looking in the mirror at my bed-head. I head straight for the bathroom, spritz my curls with water and give them a generous dose of Motions Nourish Leave-In Conditioner.
- I decide how I’m going to style my hair, arrange, and use Motions Light Hold Working Spritz to tame the flyaways that summer brings. (It’s a little sticky for my taste, but isn’t nearly as harsh as the hairsprays I’ve tried.)
- I like to take about a tablespoon of brown sugar and mix it with conditioner to make a scalp exfoliator for when I feel like my hair needs a little extra TLC.
- For those summer days when I’ve been working in the yard or swimming in the pool, I mix about a tablespoon of lemon juice with conditioner and apply during the “cleansing” stage. (I use extra conditioner after that because lemon juice can strip.)
- When I feel like my hair is drier than normal, I work into my curls a combination of a quarter cup of olive oil and conditioner.