For these with curly hair, it’s no secret that caring to your strands could be troublesome. Textures that modify from Z-pattern coils to S-pattern ringlets require a deep quantity of consideration, as they’re typically delicate and liable to tangles. As somebody who has a mix of sort 3C and 4A curls, I’ve been on a lengthy hair care journey to seek out one of the best strategies—and the proper mixture of merchandise—with sufficient energy to nourish and outline my curls. It’s been a twisty path, to say the least—pun absolutely meant.
One efficient technique I’ve discovered is the curly woman technique (CGM), acknowledged extensively throughout the group of parents with textured spirals as a real haircare game-changer. And since we’re not within the enterprise of gatekeeping at ELLE.com, we’ve supplied a radical information to the curly woman technique and the simplest merchandise to make your curly desires come true.
We’ve additionally consulted celeb hairdresser, educator, and founding father of Vernon Francois Haircare, Vernon François, and inventive director of Balmain Hair Couture, Ilham Mestour. Beneath, each consultants share their ideas on the curly woman technique, whereas bestowing suggestions and tips to guide you thru your quest for flawless curls.
What’s the curly woman technique?
In 2011, the founding father of DevaChan Hair Salon and DevaCurl merchandise, Lorriane Massey, revealed Curly Lady: The Handbook. This manifesto impressed these with curls to embrace their pure texture by implementing the “curly woman technique” or CGM—a five-step course of that helps you obtain your finest curls over time. “The tactic is targeted on avoiding components that may be harsh on curly hair, similar to sulfates and silicones, and as an alternative utilizing mild, nourishing merchandise that may assist improve curls,” says Mestour. “CGM additionally encourages individuals to keep away from damaging styling practices like warmth styling and brushing,” Mestour provides.
What are the 5 steps of the curly woman technique?
Step one of the curly woman technique calls for a whole reset, or in different phrases, a deep cleanse utilizing a clarifying shampoo of your selection. Clarifying shampoos assist to interrupt down residue from merchandise like leave-in conditioners and gels that usually wedge their means into the nooks and crannies of your scalp. Nonetheless, this step comes with a caveat. “Clarifying shampoos typically include sturdy surfactants that may strip the hair of pure oils and trigger dryness, so they’re usually not advisable for frequent use,” says Mestour. “They’re finest used often, maybe as soon as a month, to take away build-up and refresh the hair.” That mentioned, it’s pointless to reset every time you wash your hair, solely when there’s a substantial quantity of build-up.
As for the second step, sulfates at the moment are utterly off-limits. Sulfates—mineral salts that strip impurities from hair and are sometimes present in clarifying shampoos—could cause hair strands to change into dry and brittle. So to replenish your hair with hydration, it’s important to make use of a sulfate-free shampoo or a co-wash formulated particularly for mild cleaning. “A co-wash or cleaning conditioner is a mild, non-foaming method designed to cleanse the hair with out stripping it of its pure oils,” says Mestour. “Co-washes usually include delicate surfactants or cleaning brokers, together with conditioning components that assist detangle and soften the hair.”
Conditioner is a curly woman’s finest pal, and I say this from expertise. Now, with this step of the method, you need to ensure to distribute the conditioner evenly. “You’ll know you’ve utilized sufficient conditioner when all of the hair is frivolously coated with product,” says François. One other integral facet of this step is detangling your hair whereas it’s slathered in conditioner.
In her guide, Lorriane Massey recommends making use of gel to soaking moist curls. The appliance course of entails raking the gel by means of your curls utilizing your fingers and scrunching the ends, as this method helps to outline curls. “If you scrunch your hair, you’re utilizing your arms to assemble small sections of hair and squeeze them upwards in direction of your scalp,” says Mestour. “This helps to encourage your curls to kind into their pure form and definition.” Scrunching additionally helps to squeeze out extra water, which may result in frizzy strands.
The ultimate step is drying your hair. Though the best factor to do may be to wrap a shower towel round your head, each curl specialist will inform you to keep away from this in any respect prices. As an alternative, use a t-shirt to softly scrunch your hair, eradicating moisture, then let it air dry. If you happen to actually can’t resist utilizing a towel, go for a microfiber towel, which is a non-abrasive different that forestalls frizziness and harm.
Does the curly woman technique truly work?
Though the curly woman technique has been extremely praised by the curly hair group, we have to acknowledge that each head of hair has its distinctive wants and would possibly react in a different way to CGM. If you happen to do some digging, you’ll discover a mixture of testimonies throughout the web, that includes some who say that CGM saved their hair, whereas others declare that it both didn’t assist in any respect or ruined their curls (inflicting much less definition, scalp irritation, and even hair loss). Nonetheless, it’s essential to think about that these unfavorable testimonies might be due to the merchandise used through the course of, not the method itself. So, when attempting out CGM, spend money on protected and efficient merchandise which were completely examined and reviewed.
What do you have to keep away from whereas utilizing the curly woman technique?
In case your objective is to see outcomes, it’s time to kiss your sizzling instruments goodbye. This implies taking a break from flat irons, curling wands, blow dryers, and every other type of instrument that emits warmth, as publicity to excessive temperatures can finally trigger dryness, breakage, and curl manipulation. The one exception right here is utilizing a diffuser on low warmth to dry your hair.
As for components to keep away from, the curly woman technique claims that you must keep away from sulfates, silicones, and alcohol. Sulfates are mineral salts that assist to strip oil and filth from hair, however they’re seen because the enemy of curly hair because of their capability to trigger extreme dryness. Silicones are supposed to coat hair strands with their rubber-like substance, however the difficulty right here is that they’ll contribute to product build-up over time. Alcohol are sometimes the supply of scalp irritation and hair dryness, i.e. a curly woman’s worst nightmare.
Nonetheless, François factors out that there’s some room for debate right here. “Labeling components pretty much as good or dangerous simplifies a fancy space, when there are completely different sorts of alcohols, completely different sorts of silicones, and the general mix of components in any given method is essential.”
What’s the only means to make use of conditioner whereas doing the curly woman technique?
The most important mistake that somebody with curly hair could make is immediately rinsing out conditioner after making use of it. Conditioner is a moisturizing agent that replenishes your hair with hydration and offers an ingredient-rich protecting coating, so you must take time to let it soak into your hair strands. And most significantly, you must use conditioner through the detangling course of. “When your hair is moist and saturated with conditioner, it turns into extra pliable and simpler to comb by means of, which will help to scale back the chance of hair breakage and harm,” says Mestour. “Make sure to pay further consideration to the ends of your hair, which are usually extra liable to dryness and harm,” she provides.
It’s additionally essential to notice that your hair strands are at their most fragile state whereas moist. François has a trick for detangling: “My go-to is gently detangling hair by hand when it’s dry, earlier than shampooing and conditioning—nice care ought to at all times be taken when detangling hair to keep away from extreme pulling and breakage.” François additionally shares that one of the simplest ways to detangle your hair whereas it’s slathered in conditioner is “by sectioning it first to succeed in all areas of your head extra simply,” says François. “Begin from the ends and work your means up in direction of the scalp, utilizing downward strokes.”
So, how have you learnt in the event you’ve utilized sufficient conditioner?
Nicely, the quick reply is that the quantity of conditioner varies per particular person, however Mestour recommends a common precept to observe: “Work the conditioner by means of your hair till you’re feeling that every curl is well-coated, and with follow, you’ll develop a way of how a lot conditioner your hair must feel and appear its finest.”
If you happen to go a bit overboard whereas making use of conditioner, it’s okay, however do not forget that including greater than vital isn’t useful. “Oversaturating the hair with extra conditioner received’t add any further profit as a result of hair can solely take up a lot,” says François.
Why is the usage of gel essential on the subject of styling?
“Gels present maintain and definition to your hair, serving to to maintain your curls in place and stop frizz,” says Mestour. She notes that a whole spectrum of gels exists, starting from gentle to strong-hold formulation, so your gel of selection ought to coincide together with your hair texture and styling wants. Regardless of what the curly woman technique would possibly endorse, it is not an absolute should. “It’s your private selection as to how essential gel is for you, relying on the look you’re hoping to attain,” says François.
Can you utilize a leave-in conditioner as a part of the curly woman technique?
Completely! Though the official curly woman technique doesn’t require the usage of leave-in conditioners, some individuals like to make use of them as a step earlier than gels, myself included. The curly woman technique is just a information, and it is inspired to personalize the strategy to your hair care wants.
After I visited Candace Witherspoon Salon in Manhattan to obtain a much-needed curly minimize, my stylist confirmed me her model of attaining outlined curls, which concerned frivolously coating my hair strands with a leave-in conditioner earlier than including gel to nourish my curls. “A high quality leave-in conditioner is essential as a result of it helps to create a great basis to work from earlier than the styling course of,” says François.
Because of their helpful properties, leave-in conditioners are sometimes thought of a strong place to begin within the styling course of. “Many leave-in conditioners include components similar to nutritional vitamins, antioxidants, and proteins that may assist to guard your hair from harm,” says Mestour. She additionally mentions that leave-in conditioners are important for these with tighter textures which might be liable to dryness and frizz.
What further methods are you able to outline your curls through the styling course of except for scrunching?
Styling is commonly probably the most intricate a part of the curly woman technique as a result of it requires a sure stage of approach. “I bounce curls in an upward route utilizing a flat palm with fingers gently curving in to encourage the pure form of curls, coils, kinks, spirals, or waves,” says François. “It helps if the hair is finger coiled with slightly light-weight serum on freshly washed and conditioned hair that’s about eighty p.c dry beforehand.”
One other follow I like implementing into my haircare routine is the “rake and shake” technique. This tactic just isn’t included in CGM, however I’ve discovered it a worthwhile different to scrunching. After sectioning my hair and making use of my leave-in conditioner and gel, I concentrate on every part and rake my fingers by means of from my roots to my ends. After I attain the underside of every part, I’ll frivolously maintain my ends and shake my wrist forwards and backwards to assist kind the pure form of my curls.
What are the advantages of air-drying versus diffusing?
Every drying technique has its advantages, so it actually is determined by what consequence you are attempting to attain and the way a lot time you have got. François makes use of the air-drying approach on his shoppers to attain bounce and minimal frizz. “Finger coil or two-strand twist it first, then gently scrunch it each every now and then whereas it’s drying to get a curl that’s unmatched,” he explains.
If you happen to don’t have a lot time to spare or just don’t have the persistence for air drying, then utilizing a diffuser on low warmth can speed up the drying course of. Mestour explains that different advantages of utilizing a diffuser embody enhancing curl definition and quantity. “Utilizing a diffuser lifts your curls and encourages them to dry with extra physique,” she notes.
As for my routine, I like to combine air-drying and diffusing, which François additionally suggests as a substitute for utilizing one technique versus the opposite. “Attempt leaving hair to air dry, then ending it off with a diffuser, or begin with a diffuser till hair is eighty or ninety p.c dry, then go away it’s,” François provides.
How do you have to type your hair at night time to guard your curls?
When the day is completed and your head is about to hit the pillow, how do you have to protect the masterpiece you created? One choice is the “pineapple technique,” which you are able to do after your hair is totally dry. “Collect your hair loosely on the prime of your head—as in the event you have been going to make a ponytail, however do not pull it during—and safe it with a scrunchie or mushy hair tie,” says Mestour. After perfecting the pineapple, you’ll be able to wrap your hair with a silk scarf or bonnet for cover.
If you happen to’d moderately not have your hair in a pineapple, there are many different methods to protect your hair in a single day. “Loosely braid or twist hair to assist preserve it tangle-free,“ François recommends, particularly for these with longer hair. Those that aren’t a fan of sporting a bonnet or silk scarf, as they’re typically notorious for slipping off in the midst of the night time, then attempt a silk pillowcase. “An alternative choice to sporting a silk cap is to spend money on a silk pillowcase to reduce friction and pulling as you progress throughout sleep,” says François.
If you happen to get up the subsequent morning and resolve that your hair wants a little bit of a touch-up, Mestour suggests rejuvenating your curls with a couple of easy tips: “Refresh your curls by spritzing them with water or a leave-in conditioner, then scrunch them gently to revive their form.”
Total, what do you have to bear in mind when starting the curly woman technique?
“The Curly Lady Technique could be an efficient method to caring for curly hair, however it might take some experimentation and adjustment to seek out the best merchandise and strategies to your hair sort and texture,” says Mestour. Consider CGM as a science experiment, and proceed to check completely different combos of components and strategies till you discover the proper match to your curls. Discovering one of the best method to your curls could be daunting, and generally discouraging, nevertheless it’s essential to have persistence with your self as a result of, as François says, “attending to know your individual head of hair could be enjoyable.”
Meet the Consultants
Vernon François is a star hairdresser, educator, and founding father of VERNON FRANÇOIS Haircare. His shoppers embody Lupita Nyong’o and Serena Williams.
Ilham Mestour is the inventive director of Balmain Hair Couture.
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