If you’re new to embracing your naturally curly hair it can seem daunting and overwhelming on caring for your natural texture with so many products to choose from and an overload of information coming at you. Not to mention trying to understand the ingredient list and know what each one means and the benefits they provide. 

On the bright side, there are plenty of resources, tutorials, methods and even apps to help you be sure you’re taking all the right steps to properly care for your waves, curls and coils. One app in particular that captured our attention is Curl Scan. How you ever wondered, “Is this product Curly Girl Approved?” Well, you’re in luck because this web-based app scans your barcode on hair products and confirms whether or not a product is CG approved or not before you waste any money or time using a product that has bad ingredients like sulfates, drying alcohols, and non-water soluble silicones. Plus, CurlScan can be accessed on a desktop where you can easily dive deep into their database to learn more about CG approved, vegan and cruelty free products and information to soak up all the knowledge you need.

If you’re just as excited as we are, let’s meet the brains behind this much needed CG essential, founder Samantha Cross, and learn more on her journey to creating this innovative tool to make choosing the right curly hair products stress-free. 

SAM 700

Tell us about your company's history and what inspired you to create Curl Scan?

My husband Chris and I first discussed creating an app for the Curly Girl Method a couple of years ago. He wasn’t really on board, but I kept coming back to it because I could see there was a need for something like CurlScan. Finally after seeing how many people were asking for this kind of tool on some of the Facebook groups, Chris was convinced. We began developing the website – we decided to make it web-based instead of downloadable so that it could be used on computers too – at the end of 2018 and released CurlScan in June 2019. 

 Have you always had a passion for natural hair and hair care?

No. I hated my puffy, frizzy hair until I finally learned how to take care of it properly. I spent years pulling it into a bun or ponytail just so I didn’t have to deal with it. My passion for natural hair started about two and a half years ago when I discovered the Curly Girl Method.

In a sea of curly hair products, I think that Curl Scan is among the most innovative. Can you please tell me what spurred the idea to create this technological resource for us curlies?

I love technology and my husband is a software developer. I use apps for other things in my life, so I could see how beneficial one would be for the curly community.

What curly and textured hair concerns does Curl Scan address?

It can be so overwhelming to look at lists, photo albums, blogs, and forum posts when you’re out shopping for hair products. I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say most of us want to quickly find what we’re looking for and move on with our day. With CurlScan, you can scan a barcode, search for a product by name, or view a list of Curly Girl Method approved products alphabetized by brand. 

We have recently started adding the ingredient list to each approved product as formulas seem to change so frequently. They can also vary by country. It allows curly people to compare the ingredients on the bottle in their hand to our list to ensure they are using the same formula we marked as approved. This isn’t possible with just a product name or picture, which is a problem we quickly discovered and had to figure out how to solve.

In your opinion, which of these factors is most important to consider when purchasing hair products: hair density, hair width, porosity, curl pattern, length, or something else?

For me personally, it’s my porosity. I have a lot of hair, but the stands are thin. I thought it would be easily weighed down but it isn’t because it’s high porosity. It needs all the moisture it can get.

What advice do you have for burgeoning hair care and beauty entrepreneurs?

Done is usually better than perfect. If you look around at any other website or software (or product, service, or anything else), updates and improvements are made all the time. When we started CurlScan I was so discouraged and frustrated. People were mad at us or considered the tool useless because our database wasn’t complete, but then wouldn’t take the time to submit missing products to us when we asked for their help. There are thousands of CG approved products in the world. If we had waited for me to finish the database, we never would have released anything. Now people are submitting products every day and we are so grateful for that! I’m finding out about products I’ve never heard of and therefore never would have included on my own. That wouldn’t have happened if we had waited for perfect. 

Are there any hair care industry trends catching your eye?

People are becoming more aware about animal testing and choosing to avoid products that test on animals. This is forcing companies to change their testing practices and I’m very happy about that.

What can we expect to see from Curl Scan in the next year or two?

We are working on adding features that will help people new to the method to understand how to use different products to get the most out of their curls. We are very open to feedback because this is such new territory for the curly community. If anyone has features they think we should add there’s a feedback form on the website. CurlScan is far from finished and we really look forward to continuing to grow as a resource for people following the Curly Girl Method.