The Curly Girl Method is an approach to caring for curly hair that is unique compared to the advice most people have grown up hearing about how to wash and style hair. But just because it's called The Curly Girl Method doesn't mean one singular method will work the same way for all curlies! This guide is for the Type 3 curlies out there whose well-defined, springy and copious curls are in need of moisture and frizz control.
Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook," has lead the way for the "CG" method as it's commonly referred to on CurlTalk, favoring hydration over stripping hair with shampoo and developing products without harsh detergents.
Know what NOT to use
The key factor in following the Curly Girl method is knowing what NOT to use. The general population washes hair in hopes for that “squeaky clean” feeling that comes from shampoo, but most shampoos contain sulfates that create the suds involved in the “squeaky” sensation. The problem is that these harsh chemicals actually damage hair, stripping it of its natural moisture. This is true for all hair types, but it's more obvious on type 3 coily hair, since it tends to suffer from frizz and breakage.
CG method followers believe that sulfates are unnecessary and that hair can be cleaned by simply massaging the scalp with conditioner. Therefore, motion is the primary cleansing force, rather than chemicals.
Choosing a Cleanser
While you can buy a sulfate-free hair cleanser like DevaCurl No-Poo you can also easily customize your own haircare system by choosing a conditioner to use in cleansing hair.
The important thing to keep in mind when choosing a hair conditioner for co-washing is to avoid products containing silicones. Silicones are in many styling treatments and are intended to give hair a sheen, but they actually coat strands and cause build-up.
The only way to get rid of this build-up is to strip it off with sulfates which defeats the original purpose of the CG method. Look for a conditioner of medium heaviness that contains natural oils, rather than silicones.
A great choice for type 3 hair is Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner. Once you're armed with the right conditioning product, the Curly Girl process is quite simple!
How to Co-Wash
First, stand in the shower and allow the water to run through all layers of your hair. Do not scrub the scalp right away because this will disrupt your curl pattern.
Next, take about a teaspoon of conditioner in your hand to begin the cleansing process. You will need more or less product depending on the thickness and dryness of your hair.
Begin by spreading the conditioner on your scalp, gently rubbing to remove dirt and oil. Massaging your scalp is relaxing and will also promote hair growth. Allow the water to run through hair, removing the conditioner. You may also want to spot-clean your scalp by repeating the process in specific areas.
You will now want to take a quarter-size amount of conditioner (depending on your length and density) and run it over the outer layers of your hair. In the colder months, it will likely be necessary to add more conditioner for hydration.
Comb your fingers through your hair to remove any tangles, and then allow the water to run through your hair again. Do not rinse out all conditioner because this will act as a leave-in and replace other expensive products you may have been buying.
While Curly Girl drying and styling techniques vary, the primary focus is to be very gentle with hair.
The recommended way to style Type 3 hair is to gently squeeze water out with a microfiber cloth and to apply a silicone-free gel evenly through the hair. Scrunch and twist hair to set the curl pattern the way you like it. You may want to use small clips to lift roots so that they dry with more volume.
Once you have set your hair the way you want it to stay, try not to touch it because this will cause frizz. The CG method promotes air drying, but you can use a diffuser on a lower heat setting if you are in a hurry.
The great thing about the CG method is that you will not have to cleanse your hair every day. Frequency of washing varies, but most CG followers cleanse hair somewhere between twice a week and once every ten days. In between washes you can spritz hair with a little water or spray gel in the morning to revive curls and restyle a little bit.
Variations on this CG method may work better for you, and the best fit will be based on a lot more than just your curl pattern. There's also porosity, density, width and length to contend with. So let us know about your experiences with the Curly Girl Method! Are you a loyal devotee, or will you be trying it soon?