Whether you’re starting your natural hair journey or just dissatisfied with your locks lately, your current routine probably isn’t cutting it anymore. Chances are you heard about the curly hair method, but never quite figured out what products you should and shouldn’t include. Thankfully, we tapped a few hairstylists to answer those questions and tell us the do’s and don’ts of the internet’s favorite routine.
The term, otherwise known as the no-poo method, was created by Lorraine Massey, the mastermind behind the Devachan salons. She introduced the routine back in 2001 in her book Curly Girl: The Handbook, and it’s been a staple for many curly gals ever since.
“Most curly hair methods follow a general process: 1) co-wash cleansing, 2) conditioning with a leave-in, and 3) using curl clumping products to air-dry or diffuse curls into the desired style of choice,” explained stylist Robin D. Groover, founder of Too Groovy Hair Salons.
The haircare routine treats curls gently by minimizing damage and increasing moisture. But what’s the catch? It avoids shampoo altogether (before you freak out, we’ll explain later on in the piece) and any heat styling techniques (so say goodbye to your diffuser, blow dryer or any other hot tool). Here’s a breakdown of every step to get you started on your new hair routine.
While the curly hair method is a favorite, it’s a pretty controversial approach when it comes to cleansing. But there’s a reason behind the no-poo approach, it’s because most shampoos contain sulfates, surfactants and silicones that are harsh on curls and take away moisture which causes frizz, dryness and lack of curl definition.
“During this process, it is necessary that curly girls refrain from using shampoos that lather therefore using cream-based cleansers or co-washes, which would cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping the hair of its natural oils, leaving the hair clean, moisturizer and soft,” explained Ronquet James, a hairstylist at Bloom Beauty Lounge.
We know skipping shampoo feels like a big commitment, so if you truly can’t break away from yours, there are alternatives and safer solutions that can still fit into the method.
Ray Guh, a hairstylist at Hair Craft Studio by Ray, recommends alternating shampoos such as gentle, non-stripping ones to a clarifying, deep cleanser. And always reach for a sulfate-free shampoo. Starting with a cleanser can help rinse out any build-up oil, dirt or sweat.
“I always educate my clients to alternate shampoos,” he said. “Since curly hair requires products, you certainly need a deep cleansing shampoo that gives it a good wash, so the scalp and hair can start fresh.”
But if you’re ready to take on no-poo head-on, try a co-wash product (or diy it with a blend of water and your favorite conditioner, apple cider vinegar or baking soda) instead. Shampoo or not, cleanse 1-2 a week and focus on the scalp by massaging the product in (or a scalp brush) for a little TLC.
Rinse with cold water to help seal the hair cuticle and lock in the moisture before starting the next step.
Shop cleansers: Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado Quinoa Co-Wash ($32); Act + Acre Hair Cleanser ($28); Curlsmith Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash ($25); Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Deep Hydrating Co-Wash ($10); African Pride Moisture Miracle Pre-Shampoo ($8); As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner ($7)
After cleansing, you want to start conditioning your hair. Whether you’re using a regular conditioner or deep conditioner, the product can help soften and nourish your curls. This step can also differ for different hair types and textures.
“People with wavy hair do not need to condition or deep condition like someone who has more coily hair. Wavy hair clients may also find it necessary to rinse and condition their hair every other day as it may become slightly oil instead of dry,” said James. “Those with tightly curled or coiled hair would find it necessary to deep condition every week to every other week to retain as much moisture as possible.”
Part your hair into sections (this also a great time to detangle) and work the conditioner into your hair before rinsing. If you’re using a deep conditioner, put the product in your hair before covering it with a shower cap and wait 15 to 30 minutes before rinsing.
Shop conditioners: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask ($36); Carol’s Daughter Curl Quenching Deep Moisture Mask ($12); Aunt Jackie’s Coconut Creme Coco Repair ($10); OGX Damage Remedy + Coconut Miracle Oil Conditioner ($7); Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Conditioner ($7)
You got the wash portion out of the way and now you’re ready to style your curls to keep them defined for the rest of your day. The styling step consists of leave-in conditioner, oil, cream and/or gel to name a few. (And this step even has it’s own sub-method, often referred to as the LOC method: leave-in, oil and cream. Depending on your hair type, texture or even the season, you might prefer one product over the other.
“Summer styling allows more flexibility with a wash and go because it’s hot. Winter styling needs more sets with twists, rods and dry styling methods because of obvious health reasons as well as the fret of “hair freeze” (a condition of cold temperatures causing hair moisture to freeze strands creating an icy hardening dry effect to the strand),” Groover explained. “Which is why it’s important to recognize if your regimen is ever-green or seasonal. I always recommend a regimen that involves just as much importance on cleansing and conditioning as it does on moisturizing, sealing and proper technique.”
No matter the season, start with a leave-in conditioner, the lightweight product that helps nourish curls, hydrate hair and decrease frizz. Whether you’re spritzing it directly to your hair or using a quarter size for each section, a leave-in can help cleanse your hair and prepare it for the next step. Work the product from root to tip, especially your ends which tend to dry out faster, before moving on to the next step.
Shop leave-in conditioners: Mizani’s Miracle Milk Leave-In Conditioner ($30); It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Leave-In ($21); Mixed Chicks Curl Defining & Frizz Eliminating Leave-In Conditioner ($20); Carol’s Daughter Almond Milk Leave-In Conditioner ($11); Aunt Jackie’s Quench Leave-In Conditioner ($7)
After applying the leave-in conditioner, go ahead and give your scalp some TLC with oils. Oils can help seal in moisture, strengthen curls, prevent breakage and increase growth. The oil you choose determines by the porosity of your hair. Porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb and hold onto moisture. So, heavy oils like castor and olive oil work best on high porosity hair. While low to normal porosity hair should use lighter oils that won’t weigh down curls like jojoba, grapeseed or avocado oil.
Whether you have low or high porosity, work a thin layer of oil onto small sections of your hair (and add more oil if you feel like your hair needs it).
Shop oils: Morroccanoil ($34); Olapex No. 7 Bonding Oil ($28); Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor Oil ($14); Pantene Gold Series Intense Hydrating Oil ($8); Cantu Shea Butter Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil ($6); Maul Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Raw Oil ($5)
Once the oils have been massaged into the scalp and through the sections, grab a cream product to close the hair cuticle. A cream product can also be used as a daily moisturizer to revive curls and maintain its softness.
If cream isn’t your thing, pick up a gel or mousse to hold your curls and keep its definition. When it comes to gel, you to try scrunching the product (rather than raking through your hair) towards the scalp for maximum definition.
Shop creams and gels: Bumble & Bumble Anti-Humidity Gel-Oil ($30); Kinky-Curly Curling Custard ($30); Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream ($13); Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie ($12); Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel ($6)
Finally, finish off the curly hair method by using a diffuser (if parting from all heat tools just isn’t your thing) or air drying your hair instead.
“Hair texture, type and condition can dictate the frequency of usage, application of product, amount of product and technique,” expressed Groover. “The truth is hair is as unique as a fingerprint.”
When beginning the curly hair routine, track the progress and modify the method based on your specific hair needs. It might take a few weeks to see any difference, but the ending the result may surprise you. Don’t feel restricted when it comes to the curly method, especially when it comes to the season.
“Healthy hair routines and regimens are important for consistency. Healthy hair is achieved by a balance of attention, good products and technique. Example: A good cream means nothing to hair bleached seven levels from the natural color when the goal is length retention. It’s important to find a regimen that values your healthy hair care needs and fits in with your lifestyle,” said Groover.
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Post time: Feb-29-2020