Childhood: Shampoo and Brush
My whole childhood, I spent hating my hair.
My dad has really frizzy curly hair that he brushed out big to show off in the seventies when it was cool. My mom has hair that brushes easy and could feather lightly and be considered highly fashionable.
I was born with curls that were not in vogue in my time. My mom had no idea how to deal with my curls. My hair care routine included just shampoo and then a vigorous brushing until my hair looked like Bob Ross’, but not as round or tame. My aunt (also not a curly girl) cut my hair growing up and she and my mom kept it at a weird somewhat short / somewhat long length that it was long enough to stick up about 3-4 inches above my head and yet was too short to tie back.
I was bullied all of elementary school for my hair. One boy, Alex L., said that if I fell off a cliff, no one would worry because my hair would cushion my fall. Other times, he asked if I had bees’ or birds’ nests in my hair. He was actually being nice compared to other kids who called me “afro b**ch” and threw rocks at me while I played on the swings at the park. Yeah, I hated my hair. Hated.
By the time I got to fourth grade, I grew it long enough to tie back but we still hadn’t discovered gels or conditioners… or any product other than shampoo… so it was still a frizzy disaster with strands and tufts sticking in every direction.
I actually remember the first time I learned about conditioner. I was at camp and my counselor who had wavy / curly hair was talking about how she wanted to retire in Wyoming and be able to watch the sun set over the purple mountains every evening in her backyard. In classic sequitur, she turned to me and asked me if I used conditioner. I told her yes, I used l’oreal tearless shampoo + conditioner 2in1 and that the bottle was shaped like a fish dolphin. She said “oh no, you need to shampoo and condition separately” and explained to me what the difference would feel like. Heart racing, I thought to myself I need to go home right now and make my mom buy this.
It was a game changer. GAME. CHANGER. Immediately, I put the conditioner in and my hair was slippery, smooth, soft, and detangled on its own. I was so excited. I got out of the shower and made my mom touch my hair. She was unimpressed “very nice, Jane.”
I sat in my room, combing through what for the first time in my life actually felt like hair and was just happy. It eventually dried back into a frizzy sponge and I cried.
Adulthood: Curly Girl Method
Recently, I joined a support group for curly folk on facebook (what a hilarious concept) where I saw incredible before and after photos of people following the curly girl method. What in the world is the Curly Girl method? It is a more superior way of life for curly folk and I had never heard of it! I ordered the book online and it is currently on its way to my apartment.
In the meantime, I kept perusing the group. Some improvements came in weeks, others in years. I was also surprised to learn how affordable all the curly girl method products were – the preferred conditioner for the method is the Vo5 Strawberries and Cream… which retails for about 75 cents!!!
So what actually is the method? Basically 7 major “No’s”:
- No shampoo
- No heat
- No combs or brushes
- No fragrance
- No sulfates
- No non-water soluble silicones
- No alcohols (there are exceptions to this, I think. It seems like some alcohols are drying and others contribute to product consistency and “slipperiness”)
Sounds easy enough…except now I just have to figure out the correct formula of products and care for your hair’s type, porosity, thickness, and density… It took me a few weeks of research to figure out what the okayed products were… and why… and which ones I wanted to use.
I started today as my day one with only the As I Am Coconut Cowash* and Camille Rose Curl Maker. I left out my usual Aussie volumizing mousse and Moroccanoil so I could see how the products sat in my hair alone… and I loved it!
*Cowash is a “conditioner wash” aka a cleansing conditioner meant to replace shampoo
I also bought Morning Glamour satin pillowcases to try out tonight!
Excited to see how it goes! I will give an update in about a week or when I notice a change 🙂