Test Lab: Curly Girl Method: Week Two, The What

Can I just start by saying, I wish I could go back and tell my 90’s self- you’re halfway there! With my crunchy hair and butterfly clips little did I know I was actually one step away from having decently styled hair because two of the most popular Curly Girl styling techniques involve a “gel cast” aka the ramen noodle look, that you scrunch out until it miraculously dissolves into soft perfectly formed curls and “root clipping” for volume.

Before: root “clipping” and a gel cast | After: removed the clips and SOTC (scrunch out the crunch)

Before: root “clipping” and a gel cast | After: removed the clips and SOTC (scrunch out the crunch)

This also means that when I experiment with techniques such as these, I see my awkward teenage self staring me back in the mirror and am overcome with a rush of my old insecurities. It’s a very strange feeling, but it’s motivating me to learn a bit more about my natural texture and how to embrace it, even if I go back to my blowouts at the end of this experiment. 

This would probably be a good time for me to stop and give you the basics, so you know what I’m rambling on about. The Curly Girl method was created by a hairstylist Lorraine Massey who published The Curly Girl Handbook. The basic premise is that if you focus on caring for your hair correctly (eliminating sulfates, heat styling and other sources of damage) and stop masking the damage and creating buildup (silicones) instead of treating it, your hair will respond by doing what it was naturally meant to do.

As simple as this sounds, there is an insane amount of information out there to parse through, from styling techniques with catchy names like “squish to condish” to which products to use... I was pretty amused to find out that lube has a place in many curly girls arsenal of products and they aren’t shy about it. There are also diffusers and hair towels, head-wraps and silky pillowcases, specially designed hair accessories, and the controversial Denman brush. After a couple of weeks of experimenting before diving in I’ve got my lineup of Curly Girl friendly products, all available at Target, and to keep things relatively simple and affordable I’m attempting to stick with them for the month. 

Test Lab: Curly Girl Method: Week Two, The What

Cleanse: NYMN Curl Defining Shampoo, Kinky-Curly Come Clean, DevaCurl Conditioning Cleanser

Condition: NYMN Curl Defining Conditioner, Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In, Curls Blueberry Reparative Hair Mask

Style: Camille Rose Natural Curl Maker, Kinky-Curly Curl Custard, Aussie Instant Freeze Gel

Check back in next week to see how my hair is responding to the new routine and find out what factor I’m finding nearly impossible to control. I’m giving it a month so this is the second post in a series of four.

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