Curly Girl Basics: The four tips you need to start now

Have you heard about the Curly Girl Method? You haven’t? To sum up, it’s a way to enhance your curls, waves, coils…whatever you have. It comes from the book The Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey.

So, where do you begin?

Toss the terrycloth towel


This t-shirt was for a Halloween costume years ago. I now use it for my hair.


Here’s the deal: using the terrycloth towel will actually make frizz worse. But, what will I dry myself with? You can still use the towel to dry the rest of yourself off, just not your hair. What do you use for your hair? You have many options, but the possibly cheapest option is using…an old t-shirt. Most of us have at least one or two hanging around. I’ve been known to use t-shirts from my husband’s old jobs that he doesn’t wear anymore–he actually doesn’t mind. When you get out of the shower, just use one to squeeze the excess water out of your hair (or after you apply styling products)

If your old t-shirt is a prized possession that you don’t want to use on your hair, there are other options. Flour sack towels are nice and big and smooth. You can find them with washcloths at Wal-Mart, Target, or wherever you shop. Amazon isn’t a bad place to look either. Microfiber towels are also popular with curly girls–Deva Curl sells some, but I know you can find some in housewares if you don’t want to spend that much money.

If you have babies, chances are, you have burp cloths. Burp cloths actually work great for curly hair towels.

You can even use paper towels if you’re really in a pinch.

Point is, keep the terrycloth away from your hair. Your curls will thank you for it, believe me

Next….

Banish the Brush

Wide-tooth combs are your friend, but only when your hair is wet.

Brushing curly hair (ESPECIALLY when dry) is a recipe for disaster. Actually, using pretty much anything on dry hair is a bad idea.

Trade your brush for a wide-tooth comb, but only use it to detangle your hair when WET, like when you’re washing your hair. But proceed gently.

You can also use your fingers to detangle when you’re washing as well.

One exception to the no brushing rule: the Wet Brush is fine to use, but ONLY on wet hair (see a theme?). The Denman brush is also popular with other curlies, though I haven’t tried it myself yet.

Want more? Keep reading.

Sleep on satin

Me and my satin cap (also called a bonnet in some circles)

Or silk.

When curly hair meets a cotton pillowcase, bad things happen. They fight each other, and the curls often lose the battle. The friction that happens between curls and the cotton pillowcase when we’re sleeping is just not optimal. But, when you sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase, curls are happier because they have a nice, smooth surface to rest on.

If you don’t want to buy a satin or silk pillowcase, you can get similar results from wearing a satin cap or bonnet to bed. You can get them very inexpensively at your local drugstore I think I spent less than three bucks on them. You can also find sleeping caps at Sally Beauty Supply or another beauty supply shop.

I do both–I have a silky pillowcase and I wear a satin cap. You can also pile your hair into a HIGH ponytail on top of your head and sleep that way–it’s called the “pineapple”. I don’t always pineapple but lots of curlies do 🙂

Just say “no” to sulfates and silicones

Sulfates are great for getting grime off of dishes, not so great for your hair.

Sulfates dry the hair out while silicones coat the hair and cause buildup, and then you have to wash the silicones out with a sulfate shampoo. It’s a nasty cycle.

So, just look for a sulfate-free and silicone-free shampoo, right?

If only it were so easy.

Most of the shampoos and conditioners in your local big box store have sulfates and silicones. I cover all of that in this post.

The Takeaway

Does all this seem overwhelming to you?

That’s okay, you don’t have to follow all of this advice at once. Pick one that seems the easiest to do now, and work from there. I actually tried to put this list in order from easiest to hardest, but you can pick whichever one start on. Whatever you decide to focus on, I promise it will make a difference!

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