Getting Your Curl On: a step-by-step guide

Even with the new "Newbies" section, there is a huge amount of information here to read and learn, and a lot of new folks are still quite overwhelmed.

I thought maybe I'd throw an assist by outlining a few "first steps" I would suggest for a new member to orient themselves more easily and get a basic working knowledge of our "language" under their belt before diving into the site more deeply.

Step 1: Learn About "Going CG"
While some members do not follow the CG method of curly hair care, plenty do: and there are enough references on the board to make a newbie crazy wondering, "What the heck is this CG thing they are all talking about???"

"CG" is an abbreviation for "Curly Girl", the book written by Lorraine Massey in 2001, that advocates not using regular shampoos, and staying away from sulfate and silicone ingredients in hair care products. Laura Lee's All in One Guide to Going CG is a must-read for any new member who wants to understand this very popular method of curly hair care:

Laura Lee's Guide to Going CG

Step 2: Figure Out Your Hair Texture, Porosity and Density
Look at any member's signature and they will most likely list their hair texture (fine, medium or coarse), porosity (low, normal or high) and density (thin, medium, or thick). The key to understanding how to establish the best maintenance routine for your curls is to know these hair properties. The following thread will help you start to identify your own individual properties and understand why knowing this information is important:

Texture, Porosity and Other Hair Type Madness

Step 3: Get a Working Understanding of Dew Points
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the humidity that is important in understanding how weather plays a role in how your curls behave: it's the dew point. jillipoo's thread on dew point vs. humidity includes some good links to information explaining the difference between the two and why dew point is a better gauge than humidity to predict your hair's reaction to the atmosphere.

Dew point vs. humidity

redcelticcurls also has an awesome longer explanation on dew points that I also recommend as a must read:

Dew Points

Step 4: Find your Hair Type
While knowing your "hair type" or curl pattern does not matter in terms of determining what products to use, finding and visually identifying your curl type can sometimes be half the enjoyment of embracing your curly hair. The system created by Andre Walker is the most popular on naturallycurly.com and includes the hair classifications most commonly used by the naturallycurly.com members:

What is Your Curl Type?

Step 5: Find a Hair Twin
Once you have determined your own basic hair properties and hair type, it is often useful to find a "hair twin" on naturallycurly.com to give you a starting point on what products to use. Most members post their hair information along with current product use in their signatures, so find someone who appears to have hair similar to yours and follow them around for a while to see if you are a match. If you find someone who shares your hair characteristics, you can start using their product recommendations as a baseline to determine the best products for you.

This is by no means a complete list of all the information and resources available on the site, but once you have a handle on the above, the world of naturally curly hair won't seem nearly as intimidating

Cheers!
- Tiffany
Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density


Last edited by StruttsWife; 07-16-2009 at 04:20 PM.
Such a simple solution. Thanks for posting that, Tiffany!
3a and strictly CG since August 2007. Porous and on the fine side. No to magnesium sulfate and glycerin. Yes to protein! Favorites:
CO-WASHES: Suave Coconut
CONDITIONERS and LEAVE-INS: Mop Top Daily Conditioner, KBB Nectar, Aubrey GPB or Island Naturals, Robert Craig, Any Jessicurl
CURL ENHANCERS/CREMES/MOUSSES: KCCC, JoiWhip
GELS: Fuzzy Duck, B5 Design, MGA Scultping, BRHG


Fotki password: chuckle
Blog: http://jillipoo.blogspot.com/
Twitter: nopoojillipoo
You are quite welcome I tried to think of what might be the most helpful to me if I was new and this seemed to be the most logical.

I will try to keep this bumped for visibility.
- Tiffany
Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

Love it! Thanks Tiffany!

I think you should send it to Gretchen to be put in as a sticky to save continual bumping. I was thinking of putting together an introduction to posting guide that would include much of the same information you've listed here - hair type, texture, porosity, etc.
Current Products: CJ Products: CF, DF, CT, SG, AFG, CIAB AND CK is back!
Current Experiment: S&C by D

Curl Fix and Daily Fix are my HGs


Sulphate and cone free since July 2007

wavy/curly fine texture/medium porosity/medium-low density

http://public.fotki.com/whatsercurl/

PW: wavycurly

Seek not to change the world. Rather seek to change your mind about the world.
I agree it should be a sticky. Great info!
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

bump

3b/a


I like my microfiber towel and plopping

http://clubedoscachos.blogspot.com/
No comb,blow-fried, sulfates,silicones detangle Only the [/SIZE]fingers!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been wanting a Curly 101 since I discovered this site a few weeks ago. I've been lurking trying to learn everything I can, but it's so overwhelming. Thanks for giving me a starting place!
I have no idea what's going on with my hair! I think it's low porosity, fine texture and medium density but I'm really not sure.

CG since 2006, off and on.
Routine:
DevaCurl No-poo once or twice a week
DevaCurl One Condition
That's it. No coloring, straightening or blow drying in several years.

Thank you for this, it's very helpful!
greying blond hair
3a/3b, fine, medium density
product minimalist
experimenting w/ soaps, clay mixes, borax
HG is one product to cleanse, natural moisture when needed, and that's it!
woot, tiffany wrote the "cliff's notes" for curly hair! Thanks!
Grand Goobah Caedran, Aqueous Infusion of Demulcents, Order of the Curly Crusaders

Fia 2cFi, fine texture, med porosity CG 5-29-09 * My hair loves protein! Currently using : DermOrganics Shampoo and IHM, G2B Kinkier Mousse, Re:Coil VMM, Anything Spiral Solutions! MO Sealing. Coconut Oil Pre-Poo, once a month Hard Water shampoo. Avoiding Glycerin in finishing products.

If anyone want a longer read on dewpoints, I have a longer page about it. It will be adjusted as my working knowledge of dewpoints evolves.
Kiva! Microfinance works.

Med/Coarse, porous curly.
Redcelticcurls thanx for the longer read on dewpoints, the more I learn about their effects on my hair, the more comfortable I feel with them. I live in south Texas and the dewpoints are miserably high. My problem is with products. The leave in, BRHG, CK combo only gives me sticky limp hair, but at least little frizz. Any product suggestions for porous hair in high dewpoints?
Redcelticcurls thanx for the longer read on dewpoints, the more I learn about their effects on my hair, the more comfortable I feel with them. I live in south Texas and the dewpoints are miserably high. My problem is with products. The leave in, BRHG, CK combo only gives me sticky limp hair, but at least little frizz. Any product suggestions for porous hair in high dewpoints?
Originally Posted by madma123
ACV rinses and protein if you can take it!

There is a high dew point support thread over on general hair that may be of help to you!
Kiva! Microfinance works.

Med/Coarse, porous curly.
Not bumping, just bragging.

Soooooooo going to get my hair cut by Struttswife this month!!

Ok, done bragging. Thanks for this post though, seriously!
Yay, Izzy! another curly to attend our curly gatherings in Florida!
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Picasa:
Link
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
KCCC
Curl Junkie Stuff
BRHG


Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
-wabi-sabi

Man, I gotta say, I'm overwhelmed! Going CG I understand, but I'm still a little confused about porosity! I did the porosity "test" and i'm getting kind of a squeaky sound...I would say it was normal to high porosity...I dunno...and elasticity...bah! All of this is incredibly overwhelming.

Still. Trying!
Squeaking typically indicates you're dry so add moisture. A good deep treatment might do the trick. Many of us do one every week or two.

Try not to let all of this overwhelm you. Your texture is much more important than porosity. If you have a coarse texture that will indicate limited use of protein. If it's fine, you will need regular protein. If it's medium you will need a little less than regular protein. In either case, you will take care of the porosity with some level or type of protein.

Just relax and take things step-by-step. I promise, the overwhelmed feeling will pass with each new success!
3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
Picasa:
Link
Deva Low Poo
Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
Homemade FSG
KCCC
Curl Junkie Stuff
BRHG


Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
-wabi-sabi

Soooooooo going to get my hair cut by Struttswife this month!!
Originally Posted by IzzyTheTerrible
Soooooooo want to know when
- Tiffany
Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

Soooooooo going to get my hair cut by Struttswife this month!!
Originally Posted by IzzyTheTerrible
Soooooooo want to know when
Originally Posted by StruttsWife

On the 29th!! Excited!
2a-2b/fine/LOTS of it/Florida Dews
CG as of 7/29.


Co-Wash: Suave Tropical Coconut
RO-Condish: Suave Tropical Coconut / Matrix Conditioning Balm
Low-Poo: Daisy Fuentes

Protein --> <-- My Hair

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