I titled this so that men would rush over looking for p-0-r-n. I mean, till they got to the 2C part and then they were all, ?
Four or five years ago, The Other Copy Editor, fmr., said two life-changing things to me:
“Have you read The Curly Girl Handbook?”
“Do you think you might have ADD?”
Both were topics I needed to address. My doctor du jour confirmed I had ADD, and then later, I told my therapist du jour, “Well, I’ve been diagnosed with ADD, but I’m not sure–”
“Oh, you have ADD,” she interrupted.
All of you.
Ask me how often I remember to take my Ritalin. In fact, I forgot to today. Hang on.
…Okay. Now this post is gonna be EXTRA focused.
As for the second topic, I borrowed the Curly Girl Handbook from The Other Copy Editor, fmr., who has those kinds of thick coils of curls. She had them as a baby, too, and was ridiculously cute.
I remember going home that evening and doing all the Curly Girl things in the book even though it was night and no one was gonna see me except Edsel, just because I was so excited to start. And I saw a difference!
Because here, for example, is how my hair looked before:
Here was how I handled my troublesome hair in the ’80s:
Here is the very best my hair could look before the Curly Girl Method:
I mean, I was trying hard to look good there, and my hair is, you know, not horrible, but mostly it looks like I just did the best I could with bad hair.
Here is another “June tries her best” hair look, with Faithful Reader LaUral at my birthday party:
June hair. Now with boobs.
Mostly I thought I had hair that was kind of wavy and not quite curly. I was like, pick a shape, hair. And I never knew if it would behave or give me the General Custer hair you saw above. I had no control over it.
Anyway, here is my hair recently, on a regular old Sunday when I wasn’t trying to look good:
Better, right? I don’t have perfect ringlets, but at least it, you know, curls and doesn’t just S frizzily all over my head. Here’s another from not long ago when I was headed out on the town:
So, I feel better about my hair, but I also spend way too much time thinking about my hair. Shouldn’t I be worrying about the state of the world or starving children or, really, anything else?
So here I am writing about it.
People have asked, “Will you tell us about the method, and how you do it?” and I always said, “No. Buy the book.” It felt immoral to reveal its contents. But now, since all I do is think about my hair, I can tell you the method is all over the internet, so here is how I do the Curly Girl Method:
Don’t use any sulfates or anything with “-cone” in the word, like silicone. Apparently those are terrible for curly hair. You’ll find yourself obsessing over shampoo/conditioner/gel ingredients at the store. Bring reading glasses!
There are all kinds of really cheap products with none of these bad ingredients in them (such as V05 Moisture Milks Strawberries and Cream Conditioner and Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Mousse).
What I started with, because I didn’t know about the cheaper stuff then, is the line of products the book hawks, the Deva Curl line.
I love the Deva Curl products (and I get Deva Curl haircuts, which you can Google to see where in your town they have them. When I started out circa 2014, I had to drive a long ways to get a Deva Curl cut, but it makes a difference. Now people certified in this cut are all over town).
The problem with Deva Curl products is they cost 11 million dollars. I mean, it’s okay if the shampoo costs a lot, because I seldom wash my hair. But I go through 6 tons of conditioner and gel, and the gel alone is almost $50.
This is what led me to the Curly Girl pages on Facebook. Girl. Don’t get started. Because it’s enormously helpful. They tell you things like determine what your hair type is:
I think I’m a 2C.
And if you have high porosity or low porosity hair (I think I’m porous) (you spray your hair with water. If it just sort of sits on your hair, your hair is nonporous).
Then, based on this info, you have a
WORLD of products to choose from, lots of which you can get at beauty supply stores in the Women of Color aisle. You will do nothing but haunt Sally Beauty Supply and annoy the women of color who’ve been standing in the aisle unharrassed by white women for decades.
It is my belief that based on products recommended by Facebook groups, I have spent a year’s salary on low-cost Curly Girl Method hair products trying to find something cheaper than Deva Curl, and so far I mostly just like Deva Curl.
So, here’s what I do to my hair. First, I spend too much time thinking about it, but you knew that. See above.
Also, I get Deva Curl haircuts. Also see above.
Shampoo once a week:
Once a week, I wash my hair using low-poo shampoo and then I condition, using products without sulfates or -cones (silicones, etc.). There are now several low-poos out there. Who knew I’d ever say “low poo” and not giggle?
Conditioner other days of week:
Other days of the week, I might still wet my hair and just use conditioner.
In either event, I apply a TON of conditioner, and bend over in the shower–thank heavens I’m not in prison–and squish the conditioner in there, I squish squish squish till my hair hangs before me looking like seaweed.
Then I leave it in there as long as I can, maybe 5 minutes. When it’s time to rinse, I sort of scrunch my hair up with my hands to rinse it so it doesn’t stretch out.
Putting in product:
Afterward, I touch my hair AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. Mostly I shake my head over the tub and make self dizzy. Then I use A T-SHIRT to dry it. Don’t use towels! The roughness makes your hair frizzy. That’s been a huge discovery.
There’s this method called plopping that people do (Google it) but it seems to make no difference to my hair so I just wrap it in a t-shirt and go about my business.
Some people put product in the moment they’re out of the shower, when hair is soaking wet, but this does nothing for me. I keep my hair in the t-shirt as long as I can, maybe 10 or 20 minutes, then add enough gel to kill a family of 10, if gel killed people. I bend over and use the same squishy seaweed method I used in the shower.
Then I DO NOT COMB IT. The only time I comb or brush my hair is in the shower, with a wide-tooth comb, to distribute conditioner. I look back at old photos and can see I brushed my hair and I look like Beethoven and it’s absurd.
I air dry, which is awful and takes forever and I don’t know what else to do because I can’t afford a $400 ionic diffusing fancy hair dryer.
I DO NOT TOUCH IT till it feels completely dry, then I scrunch out the crunch, meaning I get the gel cast off of it by scrunching, NOT pulling my fingers through my hair.
Sleeping on it:
At night, some people pineapple their hair, which does nothing for me. Others sleep on a satin pillowcase, which I do and it does help make my hair less frizzy.
Days I don’t wet my hair:
On days I don’t wet it, I have this curl refreshing spray I really like. I spray it in my hands, about 10 pumps, then scrunch it into my hair. It never looks as good as it does on day one, but at least it looks less absurd than it used to.
On Sundays, I deep condition. If you get on those curly hair groups on Facebook, yet another thing you’ll obsess over is whether your hair needs extra moisture or extra protein once a week. Through trail and sad error, I discovered I need moisture, so I use this:
I wet hair in shower, and put this on. Then I add a shower cap and look like Strawberry Shortcake. I get out of the shower and go about my business with Strawberry Shortcake shower cap on for at least 30 minutes. On ambitious days, I sit with shower cap on under my Layla Ali hair bonnet. So then I’m Strawberry Shortcake mating with Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee.
After 30 minutes minimum, I rinse my hair in the kitchen sink. Then I add product as usual and go about my day.
Truthfully I’m not that crazy about this product but can’t find one I like better.
For me, all this adding moisture moisture moisture and little shampoo makes my hair look stupid after awhile. It just looks lank and lifeless like my sex life. So once or twice a month I use a Curly-Girl-approved clarifying shampoo.
My hair looks infinitely better after I use this. Sometimes I wonder if I should use it every shampoo but I’m afraid to try.
So that’s my method, and that’s how I came to think way too much about my hair. I still play with different shampoo, conditioner, gel and deep conditioning masks, and if I find any where I’m all, THIS IS THE ONE! I’ll alert you.
But in the end, I went from this to this, so I’m glad I started on this Curly Girl path.