This is a blog for all the ladies and gentlemen who want to create more beautiful curls. It is a blog full of advice, tips and good intentions. Curls need a lot of love and attention. Small changes in your body, the environment or what kind of product you use on your hair will affect your curls. In this blog I will start at the beginning. Step by step I will take you through some various curly girl techniques. Some tips are meant for you, maybe others not. Every hair needs something else again, and the only way you can find out what your hair likes is by just by trying it out. Maybe your head will be full of information after this blog, maybe you already know a lot or you miss some things. I can only say, I am also a learner myself and I still learn every day a lot through other curly girls.
Lorraine Massey has written a book about the curly girl method, in her book she describes many methods that are still being used by many curly girls.
There are different types of washing methods. Whatever washing method you choose, choose something that is close to yourself. Something you feel comfortable with. The curly girl method says: Do not use regular shampoo! That is the rule. Regular shampoo contains sulfates, and these are enormously cleansing and drying for your hair. Curls need nourishment and moisture, which is why you can better wash with a low-poo conditioner that contains mild cleansing ingredients. In addition, you can also use natural products to wash your hair, as I do myself. I like to change my hair care. I look at my hair before my wash and then decide what it needs.The main point is that you choose something that nourishes your hair and cleans it gently. Curls need a lot of nourishment, and that’s exactly what the thought is behind the conditioner only method. But natural products, such as the Ayurvedic hair herbs, rye flour or egg, do exactly the same.
How often do you have to wash your hair?
This depends on what you want and what your hair needs. I find that the no-poo or low-poo method should not be a punishment. Every hair and every scalp is different. You can wash your hair whenever you want. I wash my hair once a week. I don’t care that I have to put my hair in a bun or half up the last 2 days. I think it is better for my scalp and my hair if I don’t wash it that often and let it be a little greasy the last days.
Tip: I recently have learned that you really don’t have to wash your entire hair with a cleanser. Only the roots of your hair and the first 10 to 15 cm will get greasy. This is also the place where you will apply the product that cleanse your hair. Except if you have applied oil to your hair the day before, or if you have short hair or your whole hair becomes very greasy anyway. You can nourish the lengths of your hair with a good hair mask or mix some aloe vera powder with honey and make your own hair mask.
Many curly girls use regularly a deep conditioning hair mask to nourish their hair. They don’t just do this because it is fun. There is a reason for this. Curly hair is naturally drier than straight hair. The root of curly hair crooked in comparison of the root of straight hair. Because of this your hair is less able to absorb the vitamins from your body. Curly hair is also very fragile and can be porous. Especially if you have used a straightener or curling iron on your hair before. Hair dye and extreme heat extract the protein from your hair. You have to realise that after every time you dye your hair, you will have to give your hair a protein treatment.
You can use a low-poo hair mask or make one yourself and apply it to damp hair. If you use a Hot Head or a Heat cap, the hair mask will nourish your hair better. The warmth of the heat cap puts the hair cuticle open. If your hair needs protein you can also easily add this to a hair mask. You can buy hydrolysed protein online, this way you don’t have to buy a whole new hair mask.
Curly Girl Techniques
The following methods are best to perform when your head and hair is down to the front. I have described the various techniques in order. This starts immediately when you have rinsed your hair. It may all seem like a lot, but if you try it out, you will remember them quickly and then they are easy to follow. And again, it’s not a must. Every hair is different, try out the techniques and see what fits for you and your hair.
A good start is half the work
Make a good start right away! Squeeze out your wet hair with open hands to create some curls. This way you immediately start to create curls.
After you have washed your hair you can apply a leave in to your hair. You can choose whatever you want. You can choose a low-poo/curly girl brand that you like. I often use flaxseed gel or aloe vera gel. These are natural products that bring moisture into your hair. Tea and coffee is also moisturizing, but this must be applied to your hair on dry hair. If you have just washed your hair, your hair is already saturated with the water from the tap. This way your hair will not absorb the coffee and the tea.
Apply enough leave to your hands and divide it over your wet hair with open hands according to the Squish to Condish method.
TIP: Use a lot of leave in. Flax seed gel or Aloe vera gel is very moisturizing and curls can use a lot of moisture! Don’t be too frugal.
Squish to Condish
With the squish to Condish method you will create beautiful curls while you put a leave in on your hair. Aplly a little bit of leave in on your hands and squeeze the leave-in into your wet hair with open hands according to the Squish to condish method. It is important that you do not squeeze one time, but squeeze several times very lightly, until you hear the squishy sound of the water and the leave in all over your hair. You now don’t want to squeeze moisture out of your hair, but you want to squeeze moisture (the leave in) into your hair. Repeat this several times until your whole hair is covert with leave in. Don’t forget the back of your hair! If you do not want to use al lot of leave in, you can also put a bowl under your hair so that you can catch the excess leave in and water mixture up and use this again.
Bring your hair occasionally to both sides (to the left and then to the right) and make sure you also apply enough leave in on the back of your hair. This is a clear movie about the Squish to Condish method. If you want to see how I do the Squish to Condish method, I also have a clear video on my Facebook and Instagram page.
Wet Brush or raking
When the leave-in is on your hair, you can choose to brush the tangles out of your hair with a wet brushing, or you can use your fingers. If you detangle your hair with a wet brush, you will get nicer ‘ clumps ‘ and you will get less frizz between the curls. Some curly girls swear by a wet brush and then scrunch in the leave in to create nicer curls. Others prefer to use their own fingers to detangle their hair. Others prefer not to do this at all because it will ‘ruine’ their natural curl pattern. Whatever you choose, do it with love. Make sure you have enough leave-in on your hair so that you have less tangles or knots in your hair. Enough slip will prevent any damange to your hair.
You can buy a special wet brush to detangle your hair, but you can also use a shampoo brush.
The roping technique ensures that the frizz between the curls goes away by squeezes it into the curls. This way you will get nicer clumps. Apply a little extra leave-in on both hands and divide your hair into two sections. Hold the two sections at the top and squeeze the leave in from the top to the ends in your hair. Then squeeze the applied leave in again into your hair using the Squish to Condish method.
If you are satisfied with the curls, you can stand straight and move your hair backwards so that your hair resumes to its natural pattern. If you want to define the curls again, move your head down again and squeeze in your hair like te squish to condish method.
The praying hands method is another method of putting a product (leave in, mousse or gel) in a certain way on your hair.
Apply a little product (leave in, mousse or gel) to both hands, grab a section of wet hair and put this section between your two hands. Then move/glide with the hands against each other, past your hair from above to the ends. This way you push the wet frizz into your curls and your whole hair will be covered with the product. Then continue with the next section of hair. This method is called praying hands because you are holding your hands against each other, just like praying.
Caution: After the praying hands method, your hair can become slightly straight. Just go back to the squish to Condish to get beautiful curls in your hair again.
Drying your hair
Dry your hair gently with an old cotton T-shirt, shirt or a microfibre cloth. Put the shirt on your open hands and gently squeeze the excess moisture out of your hair. Don’t rub the shirt through your hair or move it back and forth. But be carefull and dry your curls, your scalp and the starter of your hair calmly so that you do not ruin the curls.
The Plopping method
You can choose between the wet plopping or the dry plopping.
The difference is: Wet plopping ensures that the product you have applied to your hair after the last squish to condish, will get some extra time to pull into your hair. Wet plopping is with a shower cap. This way you skip drying your hair. You will dry your hair after the plopping.
When you use the dry plopping with an old T-shirt or shirt, you can make sure that your curls are even more accentuated. It also ensures that your scalp is dried slightly and your wet hair is out of your face. You then have time to get dressed or do something else.
I prefer the dry plopping. You can do this as long as you want. Personally I usually leave my hair in the plopping for about 10 minutes, but some people go to bed with it and sleep a whole night while their hair is in the plopping. It’s just what you prefer for your own. You can read more about the plopping technique on my site.
Gel or Mousse
I myself have experienced that my curls will last longer when I apply a little bit of low-poo gel or mousse to my hair before blow-drying. The gel and the mousse give more hold to my curls and I get a nice cast. Because of this, I do not have to refresh my hair for 4 days after I have washed it.
I use the Hegron Salon Gel. You can buy it in Holland at the Action. I started using a gel because my curls didn’t last for mutiple days. The gel is really cheap, I wanted to start with a low-budget product because using a store gel was new to me. So I didn’t wanted to spend a lot of money on something new. I also tried out a mousse, but this mousse gave me to much buildup. It contained glycerin, which my hair didn’t like and later on I discovered it also contained a drying alcohol. I love the gel, so i ditched the mousse.
Blow-drying or air dry.
After you have taken your hair out of the plopping you can choose to air dry, or to use a diffuser. I’ve always been a fan of air drying, but now I’ve noticed that I have more curls if I diffuse my hair for a little while. I diffuse my hair according to the ‘Pixie diffuse’ method. The pixie diffuse method means that the blow dryer is off when you move it between your hair. For example: Your hair dryer is off, you bring a section of your hair into the diffuser head and bring it to your scalp. Then you turn the blow dryer on! You diffuser this part for up to 1 minute, then put the blow dryer out again and remove your hair from the diffuser head. Then you go on to the next section of hair. All of this makes sure that you create less frizz between the curls. The wind of the blow dryer does not blow away all the curls and the curls will remain better intact.
I dry my hair for about 10 minutes, but I have a Dyson hair dryer. This one is very powerful and I am very quickly finished. Much quicker than when I used my old hair dryer (took me about 45 minutes). After 10 minutes diffusing I have a nice cast (hard layer) around my hair and I let my hair air dry.
Don’t touch your hair when it is still wet! Even if you let your hair air dry, don’t touch curls! Leave it! Your curls will easily go out of model if you run your hands through them. You can also create more frizz if you touch your hair if it is still wet. Only when your hair is completely dry can touch it.
TIP: Move your hair in between drying. Move your head from one side to the other side, this way your roots won’t get flat of weird.
Scunch out the crunch
If your hair has a ‘cast’ (hard layer) when it’s dry you can easily open this with your hands or by using a silk cloth. Silk is very soft for your hair, so you don’t damage your hair and you easily knead the hard layer open. Beneath the hard layer is soft shiny hair. Do not pay attention to your hair if it is still in the cast. This says nothing about your wash.
I love a cast. This hard layer makes sure my curls remain intact and do not get frizzy by the wind. I get nicer clumps and the curls remain in a better model for several days.
Knead the cast open until your hair is 100% or 110% dry. If you knead the cast open when your hair is still half wet, your curls will frizz. If you have trouble getting the cast out of your hair, you can use a little bit of oil on your haids.
What if your hair doesn’t get’s a cast? Then take a look at the moisture and protein level of your hair. I noticed that I developed a good cast after I did some protein treatments. My hair apparently needed this to have more hold.
Sleeping with curls
In the evening I put my hair in a high tail and put this tail above my head on my pillow. I use an invisibobble for this. This is how I sleep with my curls. The next day I take this tail out and let my hair rest. I shake it up at the roots and I am ready.
Some ladies put their hair in a messy knot or stick it up with clips (for short hair). On YouTube you can find many different tips about this.
Tip: Sleep with a satin pillowcase, this gives less friction to your hair. Less friction also means less frizz. In this blog you can read more about the advantages of a satin pillowcase.
Different low-poo/curly girl Brands
Luckily, there are quite a few different brands that are low-poo. These are all suitable for the curly girl method. Maybe you have to try some of them out to know which products your hair likes, but below is an overview.
- Shea Moisture
- The Mane choice
- Kinky Curly
- Alikay Naturals
- Aunt Jackie’s
- Less is more
- Andrelon Of course Pure
- Andrelon Coconut Boost
- As I Am
- Coconut Care Conditioner (Action)
- Loop (not LUSH, but LOOP)
If you would like to know more about the ingredients and which you need to avoid, you can read my blog about the conditioner only method.
A short overview which techniques I use
Perhaps at the end of this blog you have become curious about what techniques I use. Maybe you’re not curious about it either way… Below is a short list of which techniques I use for my hair. From the start to the end.
- Squeezing water from my hair with open hands (squish)
- Apply a lot of leave in (flax seed gel or Aloe vera gel) to my hair
- Squish to Condish
- Raking with my fingers, ensure that the flax seed gel or Aloe vera gel is well distributed everywhere.
- Squish to condish with even more leave in
- Even more squish to Condish. Also bring the hair to both sides and ensure that there is enough leave in everywhere.
- Gently drying
- Plopping with an old T-shirt for about 10 minutes
- Applying a mousse or a gel
- Diffusing my hair for 10 minutes
- Apply clips to put the front pieces out of my face and let my hair air dry
- When the hair is completely dry, scrunch out the crunch and shake my hair with my fingers
Last Note: The above techniques have really helped me with my curls. If I don’t do it this way, I get much less curls than if I take my time and get it right. It can take some time, but the results are great! So take your time to get a good hair day!
Do you also use the curly girl method? And which techniques do you use? Please let me know below!
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