For the curly girl, “there’s no such thing as a bad hair day.”
That’s what I read in the Curly Girl book, and it sounded too good to be true. My life up until halfway into college had been made up of a series of bad hair days. My hair was always what I called “foofy”—a frightening combination of poofy and frizzy. I thought it was just the way my hair was. I couldn’t imagine it was because I was abusing my hair by brushing, blow drying, and shampooing it. Or that I had curls! My hair? Curly?
I always knew I had some wave. I would blow dry my waves out after my every-other-day washing (complete with hot water and lots of shampoo lather). My wavy and curly friends encouraged me to let my hair experience its natural wave, but whenever I tried, my hair would get huge after I brushed it, and if I didn’t brush it at all, it would look messy, unkempt, and frizzy. What was a girl to do?
Then I found out about Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. The moment I heard about it from Gretchen, I ordered the book to be sent to my library. When it arrived, I picked it up and read it in one sitting. It was enthralling! I immediately went out and bought the only supply I didn’t have: gel, and tried the wavy girl method the next day.
I had a head of ringlets!
Where did all these come from?
I was amazed to realize that I had curls all my life yet had always yanked and blow-dried them out.
The no-shampoo idea was hard for me to fathom. My roots always started looking greasy after a day and a half, and that was with using shampoo. What would happen without it? But I decided to give it a try.
The first few days produced great curls, and my roots did not get greasy as quickly as they had before. As my hair adjusted to this new routine, my scalp began to produce less extra oil. Now my scalp only starts getting greasy around day five—and when that happens, I don’t reach for my shampoo. I just cleanse my scalp with conditioner or the exfoliating scrub (see below)! When I find that my curls have some build up from conditioner or gel, I just pour some diluted vinegar over my hair in the shower, and the build up is gone.
In those early days my hair got curlier and curlier until it leveled off around week three. I now have a head of Botticelli ringlets that I’m so happy with!
But the best thing that I found about the Curly Girl Method is not the curls; it is having healthy hair. I feel that I am doing what is the best for my hair, and my hair responds quite happily.
My hair isn’t perfect every day. On dry days, my hair is less curly, and when we have sudden humidity, my hair still goes a bit frizzy. Since I don’t brush my hair anymore, yet my hair still gets tossed around by the wind or pulled on by little children or tousled when I pull a sweater over my head, my hair is never really in “place.” But I’ve learned that with curls, “messy” is good! Curls are fun and can fly free and still look great.
My hair can look different every day depending on how much conditioner or gel I use or what the weather is like or if I go running out the door in the morning with my hair still wet or wait for it to dry, but no matter how my hair looks that day, I do believe that there really is no such thing as a bad hair day!
I’ve now gone 10 years without shampooing or brushing my hair.
The nightmares have finally stopped—those dreams where I find myself brushing or shampooing my hair by accident and freak out, not wanting to hurt my curls. I’m that committed because the Curly Girl method WORKS. I’ll never go back! I’ve worn my curls all the way down to my waist, and I’ve cut them about as short as they can go and still be curls, and through it all, I’ve hardly had to vary my cleansing and care methods. My hair is always so happy, so healthy.
If you think you just might be a wavy or curly girl, I highly recommend you get this book before you set out to try the method. Then purchase the right supplies, bury your hair brushes in the backyard, use your curling iron as a letter holder, give your shampoo to your enemies, and get ready to love your curls!
My favorite Curly Girl recipe
- Boy Bait Exfoliating Cleanser —I use this about once a month. It’s great for cleansing the scalp, and it makes the hair at my roots so soft. It’s also good for getting rid of flaky, dry skin at the scalp. I use either white sugar or brown sugar for this recipe.
My favorite Curly Girl supplies
- Aussie’s Miraculously Smooth gel—It has a flexible hold, so it let my curls move freely, while keeping the frizz factor down.
- Trader Joe’s Nourish conditioner—It has a wonderful selection of botanical ingredients (some even organic!), and this thick, luxurious conditioner really does nourish my hair, leaving it soft and unfrizzy.
- Curls Like Us curl cloths (If you want to order from Amazon, Deva Curl has one available too!)— I have used one for years, and it’s just fabulous! Not only has it held up extraordinarily well, but—day in and day out—it helps me scrunch-dry my fresh-from-the-shower curls without much friction that could make curls go frizzy. A cheap alternative would be a T-shirt made from thick material.
About the Author
Melinda Meuser lives in rural Maine with her curly-headed pastor husband and her two curly-headed young children. They do not own a hairbrush among them. Nor do they allow shampoo to cross their threshold.