The hairdresser's 6 tips for the Curly Girl method
The Curly girl method is about ensuring plenty of moisture for curly hair, which by nature is drier than other hair types. The focus is on restoring the health of the hair with natural care - and even slightly wavy hair can end up as beautiful shapely curls.
However, the method is shrouded in mystery and with its many rules, it can seem a bit overwhelming to even get started.
Read more if you wish to get our experts' best tips on how to get started on your journey towards beautiful and natural curls with the hairdresser' s curly girl method.
1. Avoid sulphates, silicones and alcohols that can dry out your hair
If you want to follow the curly girl method, it is important that you avoid silicone as well as drying sulphates and alcohols in your daily hair care - no hair type benefits from being dried out by harsh chemicals. Even people with a tendency to get greasy hair should avoid drying out their hair, as it will result in a scalp out of balance.
Why is silicone bad for your hair?
Silicone wraps a film around the hair shaft that prevents nourishing ingredients from conditioners and treatments from penetrating in to your hair. Furthermore, silicone can clog the scalp and result in it being difficult to clean out of the hair again.
Avoid silicone by bypassing ingredients ending in -icone or -ixane, on the ingredients list.
Why are some sulphates harmful to your hair?
Sulphates are soap substances that cleanses the hair by dissolving grease and removing dirt and product residues. Some sulphates end op cleansing the scalp so well, that it effects your scalps overall health and can result in an irritated scalp. Harsh sulphates leaves the scalp and your hair more exposed, as it dries out and removes your hair and scalp from it's natural oils, that are highly essential for a healthy and shiny hair.
Avoid drying sulphates such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfat (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfat (SLES) in your shampoo.
Alcohol in your haircare can benefit your hair
Most types of alcohol does not do any good for your hair - just think about what alcohol do to your hands. However, certain types of alcohol, such as fatty alcohols, you do not need to avoid as it helps to keep your hair healthy.
You can read more about why some alcohols in haircare can benefit your hair, here.
Only use fatty alcohols such as lauryl, cetyl, myristyl, stearyl and behenyl alcohol.
2. Clean your hair and get started with the curly girl method
You will need to clean your hair free of silicone one last time before you are ready to embark on your curly girl journey. At ZENZ we recommend that you use a natural detox treatment that removes both silicone residues, lime and dirt that builds up in your hair and scalp.
How to use the detox treatment?
Wash you hair one last time with your old shampoo. Dissolve three capsules of Hair & Scalp Rinse no. 87 in a glass of water. Pour the mixture into your hair, massage and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and finish with conditioner.
Hair & Scalp Rinse no. 87 is an intensive hair treatment that does a deep cleanse, adds moisture from aloe vera and leaves your hair beautiful and soft.
3. Wash your hair with mild shampoo's
At ZENZ Organic we only use mild shampoo's with caring sulphates such as coconut, that does not dry out your hair but gently cleanses, nourishes and adds moisture to your hair.
Use Shampoo Deep Wood no. 07 to add moisture and a warm scent of cedar and patchouli to your hair wash. Clay shampoo Rhassoul no. 16 is also suitable as it gently cleanses your hair, while the clay containing minerals from Morocco soothes and nourishes your hair.
How often you should wash your hair is individual, for some people every third day is suitable, whereas for others they can go for a week or more without washing their hair.
If you need to remove styling products from your hair between washing your hair with shampoo, you can use lukewarm water as long as you choose styling products without silicone - all styling products from ZENZ Organic are without silicone. Massage the scalp well to loosen dirt and product residues, and finish with a conditioner.
4. What is CO-wash in the Curly Girl Method?
CO-wash or conditioner only wash, is a hair wash only with conditioner and water. It is a good way to make sure your hair gets enough moisture in between your hair washes. Furthermore, your conditioner protects your hair by closing the hair strand.
Many of us have learned that conditioner should only be used in the lengths of the hair, not the scalp, but you can actually use your conditioner without silicone from the root to the tip of your hair. Do not forget your scalp, as the conditioner's nourishing ingredients can help restore a healthy and natural balance.
Use Conditioner Deep Wood no. 08, if your hair lacks moisture or is chemically coloured. If your hair tends to get greasy, you can choose a less rich conditioner like Sweet Sense no. 05, which creates volume even in fine hair.
Distribute conditioner in the hair with a comb or by running your fingers through your hair. There is no need to use a large amount of conditioner - all ZENZ Organic Conditioners have a high amount of active and natural ingredients, which means that you only need a tiny amount of the product for it to be effective.
A good distribution of conditioner from root to tip leaves your hair healthy, soft and shiny. Finish with your conditioner without silicone every time you wash or rinse your hair.
All ZENZ Organic Conditioners are without silicone and suitable for the curly girl method.
After a shower you can gently squeeze your wet hair with a towel. Avoid rubbing the hair as it may get damaged. Many curly girls prefer to use a microfiber towel or a cotton t-shirt, but you can also use a terry towel, preferably in pure cotton.
Always finish of your hair wash with conditioner
The outermost layer of the hair is called the cuticle. When the hair is wet, the cuticle opens and allows water and shampoo to penetrate and clean the hair of dirt, lime and product residues.
Your conditioner will close the cuticle again so that the nourishing ingredients are encapsulated and the hair remains strong and soft. Therefore, conditioner is crucial for a beautiful and healthy curly hair.
5. How to style your hair within the Curly Girl Method?
When choosing styling products, avoid the same ingredients as in your shampoo and conditioner: silicone, harsh sulphates and drying alcohol.
Avoid blow-drying your hair, as the warm air dries your hair out. Instead wash your curls in the evening so that your hair has time to air dry before the next morning.
If you have thick hair, our experts recommend that you make a hairdo with your moist curls with a clip. The lifted curls creates air passage so that the hair dries faster, whilst your scalp can breathe.
What is plopping?
Plopping is a way of drying your hair that highlights, gathers and gives shape to your curls. Gather your wet hair in a plop on top of your head, and wrap a towel or old t-shirt around like a turban. Allow the curls to dry partially while they are gathered in the towel and thus not pulled out by gravity. The result is curls with more definition.
What is gel cast or a squeezed cast?
A gel cast, or squeezed-cast is another way to give shape to your curls. This means covering the hair with a generous amounts of gel and forming a thin layer of gel around each individual strand of hair.
A gel cast encapsulates moisture, minimizes frizz and enhances beautiful natural curls. So when the hair is partially dry after plopping, you can squeeze a generous layer of Styling Gel no. 12 in your damp hair and let it air dry afterwards.
When the hair is dry, you can use a little Oil Treatment no. 99 to avoid a stiff gel feeling in your hair. Squeeze your hair until your curls feel soft and supple. You can always add a little extra styling gel to gather and define your curls.
Finish by squeezing natural oil in the lengths of your hair - all ZENZ Organic Oil Treatments are made from 100% natural ingredients, without any mineral oils.
Can I blow dry my hair when following the Curly Girl Method?
If you once in a while need to blow dry your hair, blow dry on medium or low heat and use a diffuser. The diffuser distributes the heat and is milder towards your hair. Turn your head down and blow dry from the tips and up.
Always use a heat-protective product such as our Styling Gel no. 12 or Styling Mousse no. 90, which also adds moisture and is suitable for the curly girl method.
Avoid using heated styling tools such as hair dryer, curling irons and so on as they dry out and damages your hair.
If your hair needs moisture during the day, use your conditioner and leave it in and squeeze it in the lengths of your hair - for instance Conditioner Cactus no. 18, it is available as travel size, so you can have it in your bag throughout the day. You can also mix 1 part conditioner with 4 parts water in a spray bottle if you prefer your leave-in conditioner as a spray.
6. Take care of your scalp with a treatment
Your curls and scalp benefit from a nurturing detox treatment - preferably once a week. Use the cleansing cider Hair & Scalp Rinse no. 87 in the same way as with your first cleanse, so you get rid of any build up products, limescale and dirt from your hair.
If you stop using shampoo either partly or fully, the detox cure is especially important as it cleanses your hair and refreshes it.
Your hair will also love a protein hair treatment. The gluten-free wheat protein in Treatment no. 03 penetrates to the core of the hair shaft and strengthens the hair from the inside. Use your protein hair treatment as much as needed - most people will benefit from a weekly cure. Finish with conditioner.
You can add a few pumps of your ZENZ Organic Oil Treatment if your hair needs an extra moisture boost. Read more about how to use an Overnight Oil Treatment here.
Which products and methods best moisturises your curls depends on the thickness of your hair strands, the structure of your curls and whether your scalp is in balance or not. The most important rule in the curly girl method is that you should try and find the methods and products that work best for you and your curls.