PUT away the straightening irons ladies, curls are back.
More of us are embracing the natural wave.
Since Nicole Kidman graced our screens in The Undoing, online searches for the Curly Girl Method have rocketed. According to hair brand Kerastase, sales of its anti-frizz Oleo cream have jumped 193 per cent.
CGM – developed by hairstylist Lorraine Massey, who is also author of Curly Girl: The Handbook – works by using gentle, moisturising products to give hydration.
By cutting out chemicals found in shampoos, as well as following some simple dos and don’ts, it claims to put the kick back into our kinks.
Siobhan O’Connor, whose dry, lacklustre locks were in need of some loving, gives it a whirl.
DAY 1: RESET WASH
YEARS of using hairdryers, straightening irons and tongs has sucked the moisture – and life – out of my tresses, so I can’t wait to get started.
The first step of the method is THE most important one of all. When trying to achieve luscious locks, it is crucial to first get rid of any remnants of styling products by washing hair in a sulphate shampoo.
Curly hair dries out much faster than straight, and although sulphate – a chemical in most shampoos and styling products – is great at cleaning away dirt, using it too much can strip the hair of essential oils.
And be sure to check the reset shampoo has zero silicones on the list of ingredients because they can be too stringent for curls. I went for Herbal Essences Daily Detox shampoo, £2, Morrisons.
According to the CGM, drying with a towel is a no-no as it creates frizz. After giving my hair a warm-water rinse, I wrap it in Coco & Eve’s microfibre hair towel, £19.75, from beautybay.com and let it dry naturally.
But an old cotton T-shirt would do the same job.
What is the curly girl method?
DESIGNED for naturally curly hair that has not been chemically relaxed, it is similar to the “no poo” method which discourages the use of shampoos containing sulphates or silicones.
These detergents strip the hair of natural oils, which curly hair needs to avoid frizz.
The method recommends using conditioner in place of shampoo, a diffuser when blow drying and banishing combs, brushes or regular towels from the hair-care routine.
By following the method, hair should be more hydrated and manageable.
DAY 3: CO-WASH
I CAN already see my waves fighting to break free. I’m shocked at the change after just a reset wash.
Today is all about going straight for the conditioner-only clean.
If you have very curly hair, make this step part of your regular routine – only opting for shampoo when it is absolutely necessary.
For those with waves like me, this step helps restore moisture. But the CGM says I will benefit from pairing it with a weekly low-poo shampoo in future, which is free from sulphate, silicone and paraben. I check my conditioner, Noughty Wave Hello curl conditioner, £6.99, feelunique.com, is curly girl-approved through isitcg.com.
After massaging it into my scalp and rinsing with water, I rub well to remove any last traces of product. Having rinsed thoroughly, I use a wide-tooth comb to detangle knots.
Next, I mix conditioner with water and scrunch through my damp hair before leaving it to dry naturally. For this, I went for hair food coconut, £3.49, Boots, before finishing with a scrunch gel, Umberto Giannini scrunching jelly, £7.25, Boots.
DAY 7: LOW-POO
ONE week in and my curls are taking shape.
They are racking up compliments on Zoom calls and even colleagues have noticed the change.
I have gone from limp locks to springy spirals and they comment on how healthy and curly my hair looks.
After the co-washes, my hair feels like it could do with a deeper clean. So I dig out my low-poo shampoo and give my hair a once-over. I enjoy that fresh feeling you only really get from a shampoo clean.
Even low-poo shampoos can be too drying for some hair types so if your hair feels like straw after use, the CGM suggests mixing in a blob of conditioner. For a long-lasting product try a shampoo bar.
Try Faith In Nature shampoo bar, £4.34, Holland & Barrett, or low-poo Shea Moisture Curl & Shine shampoo, £10.99, lookfantastic.com.
DAY 9: THIRD CO-WASH
MY curls are getting stronger with each stage and I love how some are spiralling into proper twists.
It is time for a third co-wash today and afterwards I use a method called “plopping”, which involves wrapping hair in a microfibre towel or cotton T-shirt for up to 15 minutes.
It is a great way of cutting down on drying time and helps hold curls together without causing frizz. I do this after every wash so that I don’t drip water around the house.
Since following the CGM I have ditched my hairdryer completely. But I have the recommended diffuser for back-up, ideal for the times when I am in a rush.
Over the next few days, I use a curling cream to give my curls extra bounce when needed.
The Inkey List Curl Defining Hair Treatment, £7.99, cultbeauty.co.uk.
DAY 14: RESULTS
BEFORE embarking on the curly girl journey, my hair was drab and screaming out for some TLC.
In just two weeks, I can already see a difference.
I still have some frizz to tame and there have been days my waves have dropped. But my locks are definitely bouncing back.
While fellow CGM fans have seen ringlets, my hair has become a lot wavier – with a mixture of twists and looser curls. I am so happy with the results that my hot irons have now been put on furlough.
The CGM has proved that I can gain curls without heat, which is a win-win for hair health. I am now a fully-fledged member of the curly girl club and will be co-washing, low-pooing and resetting my hair week in, week out.
The standard shampoo and conditioner routine just doesn’t cut it. Give it another two weeks and my barnet might even rival Nicole Kidman’s ringlets.
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