As you can tell, this post is miles from the topics I usually blog about, but it is something I feel I need to share, to help others out there who have crazy curly, frizzy hair like me. Even if your hair isn’t curly, it will probably thank you for trying some of the things I’m going to mention below. I’m not selling anything, I’ve just found something that works for my hair.
It all started with my sister, who does care about hair and make-up and other girly things, sending me an article about not shampooing your hair. It sounded pretty ridiculous, but I was curious because it’s not like it could make my hair any worse. A bit of background: my mother has super curly hair, which she passed down to me in a less curly but still super frizzy form. Any attempt to straighten my hair doesn’t last very long – it usually reverts to its normal frizzy self within hours, especially if it’s humid. My sister got a wavier version which accepts straightening and is generally less frizzy. I’m much too impatient for things like blow drying or straightening my hair anyway – I generally just wash, attempt to contain the inevitable frizz with various products, and go.
Needless to say, I started reading up on this ‘no shampoo’ business, and eventually tried it, with mixed results. Clearly I was still missing something, and that was when I found the ‘curly girl method’ and the Curly Girl Handbook. It was like the book was written just for me. The book goes into a lot of detail on exactly how to care for the different types of curly hair (as well as how to determine what type of curls you have). I’ll summarise what I’ve learnt, and I hope it will help you towards healthier, happier, and less frizzy hair.
You’ll likely need to throw out just about every hair product you own, but it will be worth it. Two of the major ingredients to avoid are:
Sulphates (or sulfates) are to be avoided at all costs. They’re what’s used in most soaps and shampoos, and they strip your hair of its natural moisture. Once you start looking at shampoo and conditioner labels, you’ll realise that sulphates are in everything.
You need to use sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner. These can be quite hard to find, and you’ll probably need to look in large pharmacists like Dis-Chem or in specialty stores like Wellness Warehouse or Faithful to Nature. I’ve tried several brands, including Africa Organics, Earth Sap and Nature’s Gate. There are many other brands, but since this method requires large amounts of conditioner, I tried to stick to the affordable brands. I suggest trying a few brands as they are quite different from each other and it may take you a while to find the one that workds for you.
Silicones appear in all sorts of styling products to give your hair that shiny look, and can only be removed with sulphates, so they won’t work with this method.
Hair generally frizzes because it is dry and so it expands to try and soak up any moisture in the air. Here are a few essential tips to caring for your hair, now that you have the right beauty products.
- Shampooing does not need to be a daily ritual. Your hair probably isn’t as dirty as you think it is. I generally use a sulphate-free shampoo about once a week.
- Instead of shampooing religiously, you’ll be using copious amounts of sulphate-free conditioner. This will help your hair get the moisture it needs to be less frizzy, and will also remove what little dirt there may be in your hair.
- Ditch the brush or comb. Both of these are more likely to break curly hair than to help it. Instead, comb your hair with your fingers while conditioning. The curly girl method suggests scrunching your hair after combing through it with your fingers to help give your curls shape.
- You will still need some sort of gel or cream to help define and hold your curls. I use Marc Anthony’s Curl Envy cream.
- Do not towel dry your hair. This creates more frizz! Use one of those microfibre things (Woolies sells a turban-like one) and gently squeeze the excess water out of your hair.
- No blow drying or ironing. As mentioned above, your hair is frizzy because it lacks moisture. Blow drying is a sure way to damage your poor hair and make it prone to frizzing. If you do need to dry it and can’t wait for it to air dry, get a hair dryer with a diffuser attachment.
There’s a Wiki How article on the curly girl method if you’d like more details. The last part of the article lists some of the ingredients to avoid, which will help when choosing a product to try.
A little warning: Your hair is likely to look worse when you start, as it takes a while to adjust to sulphate-free products. You will need to give your hair a week or two (or more, depending on your hair) to get used to the products. Don’t expect amazing results right away. Mine started out looking greasy and even frizzier than normal. Now, many months later, my hair looks healthier, feels softer and is actually more curly (but less frizzy) than before. With the help of the Curl Envy cream, my hair looks good for longer (instead of degenerating into a frizzy mess later in the day). I still can’t sleep on it and go out in public the next morning without conditioning first, but I can’t see that ever happening with my hair! Even my hubby has started using my sulphate-free products (mainly because I threw out everything else) and his hair is softer than ever.
So if you hate your curls (or waves) as much as I hated mine, give the curly girl method a try. Feel free to share your results in the comments below!