Curly Girl Chronicles ~ 1: The good, the bad, and the curly
My thoughts on the CG method? It is NOT a method constructed for coarse/kinky afro textured hair. Having said that, it's not a bad method. I think the best thing to do is modify it to suit your needs.
Things that haven't worked for me and why:
- Finger de-tangling: If your hair isn't thick, this probably isn't an issue, but if it is, my friends you will be in the shower for a WHILE getting rid of those knots. I naively thought I'd just co-wash, run my fingers through my hair and be out of the shower in 10 minutes. Then I woke up from my dream and realised that in real life I have black hair, and that is just not how things work.
Solution? The wide tooth comb is your friend! If you have very thick/coarse hair that coils up when wet and tangles as it dries, unless you have a lot of time on your hands, some sort of tool is going to be needed. A plastic wide tooth comb has really made a difference with me. Separating my hair into 4 sections was also helpful. I clip the sections up and de-tangle them one by one. Once separated, I run conditioner over my hair, and GENTLY work the comb through the strands starting from the very tips and making my way up. When I do encounter knots and tangles, I use my fingers to separate them.
- Daily Wash and Go gel cast: Obviously when I wet my hair it curls up and shrinks. When it shrinks it has time to tangle. If it dries as it is shrinking and tangling, I have a big problem on my hands. The conditioner method does not rid me of all of my frizz. The gel is meant to help with that but eco styler gel and conditioner do NOT go well together. The 2 times I have tried to use the products together I've ended up with thick, lumpy, white build up in my hair that looks like cous cous or mushy rice. Brushing it with a soft brush turns the mush into a white filmy powder which isn't any better. The only alternative is to rinse everything out and use one or the other.
Solution: You pick the product you want to use. I've found that using an oil or butter on my hair first and THEN applying gel helps with hold and curl definition. I can't use the gel and conditioner together so I pick one. A more general point about the gel is that it does harden and no amount of scrunching (squeezing the curls) will provide the softness and bounce that I get when I DON'T use the gel.
- The Night time routine: If you don't have long hair or even medium hair, then the pineapple (putting your hair in a loose pony tail on the very top of your head) is a problem. There isn't really a clear suggestion on what to do with short hair.
Solution: I apply conditioner to my hair at night, cover it with a shower cap every other night, and wet/rinse it in the shower in the mornings. On the days when I don't do this, I have decided to plait my hair into 10-12 plaits (this takes about 30 minutes) using my whipped shea butter mix as a moisture sealant. On the days that I do this if I'm not going out I keep the plaits in, if I am I take them out and rock a braid out. Shea butter works wonders for my braid outs. It leaves my hair soft and shiny and provides a lot of definition and reduces frizz.
I also feel like the name alone makes it quite an exclusionary method. The needs of women with black and afro textured kinky/coily hair are not really considered or talked about in detail. The aim of the method is to moisturise and define curls but not everyone has curly hair. If the method is meant to be for anyone who doesn't have straight hair, then those with neither straight nor "curly" need to be guided as well. Obviously this is just my opinion, and I'm sure some people disagree. How many black women have corkscrew or spiral curls all over their head? Now there is a section in the book for women with kinky/coily hair but even the model they use has fairly loose curls. The section doesn't go into much detail and the method/tips aren't that different to the ones given to women with big, loose, bouncy curls. There also isn't much information of guidance for transitioners. So if you're considering this method, do your research and don't be scared to make alterations if you get better results from them.
What do I like about this method?
- It moisturises the hair. This method is all about moisture. Moisture moisture moisture. ~ "frizz is a curl waiting to happen"
- Once you've mastered and modified to suit personal needs, I've found my hair is a lot softer and less frizzy.
- It is an inexpensive method, less products used means less money spent.
- Less time consuming. Once you've got a routine set out, it's simple and doesn't take up as much time. You need to give it a few weeks though.
So what am I doing? I'm doing what works for me. I am de-tangling twice a week with a wide tooth plastic comb in the shower with conditioner. I am protective styling. I am sticking to my braid out and twists out. I am doing wash and gos once or twice a week. I am deep conditioning every weekend. I am waiting to see what happens!
Oh, by the way...
I realised yesterday that the reason I was experiencing a little dryness is because after I did my last sulphate shampoo, I used a silicone conditioner for my deep conditioning treatment. Chances are the silicones left in my hair have been blocking the moisture so I have to shampoo my hair this weekend and make sure that ALL of the products I'm using are silicone free.
That's all for now!