Curly Girl Basics: the three products you need to start

If you’re new to the Curly Girl Method and you’ve been watching videos or reading articles, you’re probably really overwhelmed.

Co-washing? Low poo? LOC method? LCO? LCEG? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? WHERE DO I BEGIN?

Before you go out and raid your local hair care aisle, let me offer some advice.

You only need to start with THREE items.

Sulfate-free shampoo

Silicone-free conditioner

Gel

This is just to get your hair wet with the curly girl method.

See what I did? Get your hair wet, not feet. Ha ha, I crack myself up.

Will you use these products forever? Maybe, maybe not. You will probably do a lot of trial and error, and that’s okay.

But wait, which products should I get? How can I be sure what I’m getting is curly girl friendly?

There are four ingredients I personally avoid: sulfates, silicones (non water soluble specifically), drying alcohols, and mineral oil. I go into more detail in this post.

While I will make my own recommendations, keep in mind that these work for MY hair, which is wavy-curly, thick, somewhat coarse, and very dry.

Sulfate free shampoo

shampooimage
Horeagrindean | © Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

This will probably be the product you’ll spend the most on out of the three. The companies that produce sulfate-free shampoos are usually catering to a specialty market.

My personal favorite budget friendly shampoos have come from Shea Moisture.

ALL Shea Moisture shampoos are completely sulfate free and are otherwise curly girl friendly. There are so many product  lines from Shea Moisture that there can be a shampoo for any kind of curly.

My current favorite is the Kukui Nut and Grapeseed Oil Damage Rehab Shampoo. It’s in the purple bottle (did I mention that I love purple?). I also like the African Black Soap shampoo for when I want a deeper clean.

While you can find Shea Moisture products almost anywhere, you might be limited in your selection depending on the store, at least where I live. I personally have to do a fair bit of online shopping.

Other budget friendly brands that carry sulfate free shampoos include: Cantu, Maui Moisture, Renpure, Hask, Burt’s Bees, Say Yes2 (most often found at Target), As I Am, Eden Bodyworks, By Made Beautiful, etc.

Although this may be the most expensive product you buy, the good news is that it may last a while because you really only need to use the shampoo on your scalp.

Conditioner

conditionerhands
Sonechka | © Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

It’s actually pretty easy to find a CG-friendly conditioner for cheap. Which is good, because if you’re anything like me, you go through A LOT of conditioner.

For now, I’ll focus on normal rinse-out conditioners. I’ll talk about leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners another time.

Suave Essentials conditioners are all silicone free and at 94 cents a bottle, cannot be beat. The V05 Herbal Escapes conditioners are also less than a dollar as well. Bonus: they are EVERYWHERE

Tresseme Botanique Nourish and Replenish (not the detox or curls conditioners) conditioner is $4 for a huge bottle. The Garnier Pure Clean Conditioner is also CG-friendly.

If you want to go to Sally Beauty Supply, they have a generic version of Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm. It’s under the name Generic Value Products (GVP) Conditioning Balm. The bottles are black and white.

Having difficulty keeping track? Here’s a list:

Suave Essentials conditioner

V05 Naturals conditioner

Tresseme Botanique Nourish and Replenish

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean

GVP Conditioning Balm.

The brands I mentioned in the shampoo section also have CG-friendly conditioner.

Gel

HAIRSTYLE
Ziprashantzi | © Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

So your hair is cleansed and conditioned, and presumably looks awesome. Don’t walk out that door! And please put that terrycloth towel down.

Gel (or mousse if you prefer) is what helps keep your curls defined and protected. I prefer a hard hold gel myself, and you want to be sure it’s free of drying alcohols and non-water soluble silicones.

Some good inexpensive CG-friendly gels include

LA Looks

La Bella

ECO Styling Gels

Aussie Instant Freeze

Herbal Essence Totally Twisted (mousse too)

Herbal Essence Set Me Up (and mousse)

Garnier Pure Clean (and mousse)

I will list others when I remember them.

Once you get out if the shower, squeeze some gel into your hand, rub your palms together, and gently scrunch the gel into your hair. Scrunch in more gel as needed.

Then I like to squeeze the excess moisture out with a t-shirt.

“But, the gel crunch! I want soft curls!” 

That crunch you’re referring to is called a cast, and it’s actually a good sign that your hair is getting enough hold. The other good news is that you don’t have to walk around with that crunchy, gelled look. There is a trick that you will swear is like magic.

Wait until your hair is 100 percent dry to do what I’m about to tell you. If your curls are even the slightest bit wet, you’ll have frizz.

Ask me how I know.

So, once your hair is totally dry, flip your head upside down, and gently scrunch your hair with your hands until you break the cast. It may take a few minutes, so be patient!

This is called scrunching out the crunch, and it has saved many curlies from a crunchy, wet-looking fate.

Then you’ll have beautiful, soft, defined, non-crunchy curls.

Conclusion

So there you have it! Some product and brand ideas for starting your curly hair journey! There will be much trial and error along the way, but with patience and persistence, it will all be worthwhile!

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