Curly Girl: If you don’t do it properly, you can’t expect it to work! 

Curly Girl: If you don’t do it properly, you can’t expect it to work! 

I’ve just stumbled across this Mumsnet post about the Curly Girl method and how it didn’t work for her…

I find it really frustrating when people don’t actually follow the correct method or use the right products then post negative stuff saying the method didn’t work!!

I’m now over 3 years into my curly journey… Here’s a quick reminder of my first few months (I haven’t taken any recent hair pictures!)

Sure, the The Curly Girl method isn’t going to work for everyone but the original post made some pretty obvious mistakes – so she never gave it a chance to succeed:

Mistake #1 The wrong products: the lady had removed the sulphates from her routine (which is good) but was using Frizz Ease. Frizz Ease contains silicones which coats the hair but it can’t be removed effectively without sulphates (found in shampoo). So her washing method wasn’t able to cleanse her hair and remove the silicone. She was doomed before she even got started!

Mistake #2 More wrong products: the lady was using a Boots curl cream that isn’t curly girl approved as it contains drying alcohols which could actually make her hair more frizzy! Some non-purist curly girls use this curl cream occasionally (the drying alcohol content is low) but it’s not recommended and shouldn’t really be part of a day to day routine. With the Curly Girl method, less is more – finding just 1 conditioner you can use as a co-wash and for styling (and watered down to refresh) is the simplest way to start. Then you can add other curly girl approved products later.

Mistake #3 Expecting an overnight miracle: the original post says she tried the method for 2 weeks. That’s just not long enough to give the method time to work! When you stop using sulphate shampoo your hair stops being stripped of its natural oils after every wash. It can take a few weeks (for some it’s 6+ weeks) for the oils to settle down. During this period you’ve really just got to persevere. I co-washed more frequently during this time and wore my hair up for work. Find a good time to transition!

Mistake #4 Preparation: the original post doesn’t mention whether she did a final (sulphate) wash to remove all of the silicone built up from styling products, but as she was still using Frizz Ease, she definitely needed to ditch the Frizz Ease and do a final wash. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is with hand soap or washing up liquid (just check it has no silicones in it!). If you don’t make sure all of the silicones have been removed then the method won’t work! The foundations have to be right. I occasionally wash my hair with washing up liquid if it’s been styled with hairspray (I do dance shows and a bit of amateur modelling so my hair has to be styled a particular way!) but I’ve managed to go 2 years between ‘final’ washes and just co-washed in between.

Those of us who follow the method have all developed slightly different routines but these basics are pretty much the same for every one of us. If you get these right you have the best possible chance of success! There are some excellent support groups on Facebook too who can give you excellent (and accurate) advice! 

I think the lady on Mumsnet has already made her decision to bin off the Curly Girl method, which is a shame. But hopefully if you are reading this, you can make sure you get it right! 

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Curly Girl Up-Do: Gibson Tuck

Hi all! If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen me fiddling about with my hair, having a go at an ‘up-do’ in preparation for a few events I’m going to this year (a couple of weddings, day at the races for example). Now that I’ve been a fully committed curly girl for about a year I’m reluctant to undo the good work by reaching for the straighteners (I’m not ruling it out completely yet though!) so I’ve started to explore some alternative options.

I’d be happy going with my hair down if I could guarantee my curls would behave but in order to ensure that they’re looking their best I’d have to do my full curly girl method on the day. The timing and logistics of one of the weddings means I won’t have time for all of that!

So I’ve been looking for simple, quick and easy to replicate up-dos to practice and try to perfect. A fellow curly girl suggested the Gibson Tuck, which seems to tick all of my boxes – plus it’s a vintage style so it works well with loads of my vintage inspired outfits! I read and watched a few how-to blogs and vlogs – The Freckled Fox has both the headband method and the tuck in the ponytail & kirby grip it method which are really easy to follow!

I tried both methods:

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1st attempt: hairband method

First I tried the hairband method – it seemed easier than the other one although I found it difficult to place the band and to get my hair to lie flat!

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1st attempt: grips method

I then tried the kirby grip method, which looked much more neat and tidy but I definitely needed a bit more practice!

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2nd attempt: grips

The next attempt went brilliantly! I was really impressed with how neat it looked and had loads of complements at work! The beautiful Rosadior flower hair accessory sits neatly on the tuck (and hides any sticky out bits!!). Starting the twists from the parting helped to make the front look nice too!  I’m pretty impressed with how good it is looking already!

I definitely think the Gibson Tuck is my new favourite up-do! Have you tried it? Do you have any other curly hairstyles you think I should try?

Curly Girl Adventure (part 3) – the journey so far

Just wanted to give you a quick update with the old curly hair thing… I recently posted my long-time-ago “before” picture on Instagram – before I had my long locks cut down to a bob in order to donate my hair to The Little Princess Trust who make wigs for children who have lost their hair. I went from this to this:

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Back then I knew nothing about the Curly Girl method (here’s a comprehensive description) and had no idea that my hair had the potential to be curly! I believed I had slightly wavy, frizzy hair which I either wore up or straightened. I’d almost forgotten how it looked ‘au naturel’… But looking at the photos now I can see the potential (and the damage caused by brushing, straightening and shampooing for years 🙈🙈🙈).

I’ve been following the no-shampoo co-wash “curly girl” method since last summer and this is what my hair is like now:

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I’m still perfecting my routine (hence the regular blog updates!)- I’ve been trying different conditioners for my co-wash and trying different combinations of leave-in products (conditioners, curl creams, gels and jojoba oil). Yesterday I tried a new conditioner and used it as both the co-wash and leave-in – I was pretty impressed with the results:

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There’s definitely an element of trial and error trying to find the right products to use (that are both Curly Girl approved*, give the best curl definition and minimise frizz) it can take a while to find what works. Seeing what others have managed to achieve means I’m always striving for better! But the biggest plus for me is that it makes mornings so easy not having to straighten! I’ve become a bit of a product addict now, though… Which makes a refreshing change to buying dresses, I guess!

(*the list of products I use as a guide was from a by invitation Facebook group so I tried to find a public alternative. I haven’t checked the list is completely accurate, but it looks fine on first glance!)

Have you tried the curly girl method?! Does it seem like too much effort to you?!

My Curly Girl Adventures (Part 2)

Back in August (on my old blog) I wrote about my newly discovered curly hair! I was only about 2 weeks in to the Curly Girl routine at the time… so, fast forward to now and I’m approaching 6 months as a conditioner only “no-poo” lass! It seems like it’s a good time for an update!

After bumbling away with various websites and a very useful Facebook group, I asked for the Curly Girl handbook for Christmas and Santa was happy to oblige! (I bet he co-washes that beard!)

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I’m still reading up and honing my routine to get the best out of my curls. I’ve discovered I probably have s-waves so now I’m leaving very little conditioner on my hair after co-washing (as it can be too heavy on waves) and using gel to define and encourage the curl. So this is my current step-by-step routine…
1. Wet, conditioner, scrub

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In the shower, I wet my hair and slather on a palm-full of sulfate and silicone free conditioner. I’m still trying various brands to see what works best for my hair. I like Ultimate Blends coconut (a bit of a staple product for me as it’s often on offer and is easily available), Yes To Carrots/Cucumber (bit more expensive and only sold in Boots locally but it smells lush and does wonders with my locks!) and Kind Natured (pictured above, bought from Boots) – which I used today.
I use small circular head scrub/massage to cleanse the scalp and hair. This can take a while, but as I’m washing less frequently it’s no bother. I then rinse completely.
2. Scrunch and plop
I add a small amount of conditioner (I use the same one as before) to the ends of my hair by scrunching to encourage the curl. I then wrap up my hair in a t-shirt (so I resemble Camilla Batmanghelidjh) for about an hour (still experimenting with time) to dry a little.

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This method of drying is referred to as “plopping”…
3. Gel-tastic!
Once my hair is no longer sopping wet and starting to curl, I scrunch in a small palm-full of gel to coat and define the curls.

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Then I loosely wrap my hair in a head scarf when I go to bed so my hair can dry over night.

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This usually falls off in the night… 😊
In the morning, I just scrunch out any hard bits of gel and find the best place for my parting (depending on where the curls are). Here’s the final results:

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What do you think?! Have you tried this method? Do you have any advice or tips?