The ABC List…continued

febrero 1, 2010

Curl Maintenance

If your hair is anything like mine, it’s high maintenance! My hair is very particular about what I put in it and how I treat it. Thank goodness there are about a bajillion methods and styling tips that I can use to find something it might actually be ok with. But I am getting a little ahead of myself here. Before the style, you have to CLEAN the hair and keep it healthy and as knot free as possible. Curls are naturally very delicate–no matter what type you have but especially if you have 3C curls and above–therefore it is necessary to wash, moisturize, and detangle them with the ultimate care. I’ve recently gone from semi-CG to full CG method (explanation below). It doesn’t appeal to everyone–some people like their silicones and sulfates. But not me. Sulfates leave my hair dry and silicones often leave my hair stringy and dull. I’d much rather moisturize, moisturize, moisturize my hair–and occasionally clarify when needed.

What is CG method? CG stands for Curly Girl, a book about all things curl written by Lorraine Massey and Deborah Chiel. To be honest I’ve never read it. But it’s easy to pick up on the essential parts with these simple rules:

  1. Don’t use shampoos or at least drastically reduce shampoo usage (once or twice a month at most)
  2. Don’t use cones (ingredients ending in -cone, -conol, and -xane) unless they are water soluable (all water soluable cones have a PEG or PPG in front of them.  Others such as amethidicone are “sort of” soluable and should be used at your discretion. I prefer to cut them out all together)
  3. Don’t brush your hair and don’t try to comb it while it’s dry (=frizz city!)
  4. Don’t use a towel to dry hair (=ditto)
  5. DO co-wash using products that consist of moisturizing and protecting ingredients (more on this later)
  6. DO detangle your hair with fingers or wide toothed combs while it is wet and conditioned
  7. DO use a microfiber towel to gentle scrunch or blot hair dry OR diffuse gently OR just air dry (it’s free therefore I like it!)
  8. DO clarify your hair with natural products if it starts to feel too oily, gunky, tangly, looks dull or if you lose curl definition (these are the tell tale signs your hair is overconditioned or there is too much product residue for your co-washes to fully eliminate it)

The College Curly gives an excellent explanation about the how and why of the CG method here. Another excellent reference for hair rules is here if you want to maintain healthy curls while promoting length.

If you want a step by step guide to co-washing check my next post. You will find that some curlies are modified CGs meaning, they co-wash but also use shampoos or low-poos (shampoos with lighter sulfates) because they prefer using products with cones. The only way to tell which is right for your hair is to try it!  I find the CG method to be annoying at times because it limits the number of products you can buy at drugstores. But, I’m happy with the way it makes my hair feel and look so it’s a welcome “sacrifice”. If it seems like a daunting task at first, stick with it for at least a few weeks. When starting out your hair might look worse before it looks better (it has to get trained out of that sulfate, silicone cycle) and as you find CG friendly products that you really love, you’ll see less of a need to go searching through bottles at Target and CVS.

I do suggest that you ALWAYS, always read the back of the bottle carefully before you purchase. You never know when a company is going to switch up on ingredients and your eyes can play tricks on you when you’re feverishly trying to fulfill your inner PJ (product junkie) on a Sunday afternoon (only saying this because I’ve been When I first went full CG I filled up literally two bags of products that I could no longer use. One conditioner I thought was ok, then I realized it had amethidicone and dimethicone (it’s in almost everything!) in it and I had to stop using it. Like I said, it’s one of those “kind of soluable” cones, but I’d feel better not using since I don’t know if my co-washing conditioners have the strength needed to wash it out. If you’re going to stick with cones, at least let it be near the bottom of the ingredient list so you know you’re not getting a lot in your hair.

If you want a complete list of silicones that are soluable vs. those that need “the tough stuff” to be removed, check this thread from or this list from live curly, live free. Also, if you’re ever confused about ingredients on the back of a product curl goddess Teri at has an ingredients dictionary–very useful!

OK this post is getting long and my DC (deep conditioning) time is almost up, so I’ll post the rest of the ABC list later. Peace out!

Next…Curly Methods and Styling



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