I wrote my original wavy haircare routine back in 2018 and after two years+, constant chops and colour changes I wanted to write this post to show you how my hair is looking post-CGM, almost two and a half years (29 months) on.
In my opinion the Curly Girl Method is quite a lengthy hair journey to follow and if you follow it strictly, it can be very difficult. It’s also incredibly varied when it comes to results – some people start CGM and see beautiful transformations as little as three months into it. For others, it takes them a year plus – then there’s others like me that are still on the journey of discovering what works. I started off following it so strictly – no hair brushing, no clarifying but I eventually ended up with stringy waves, oil and product build-up and flat roots.
After a year, I started getting used to the products more. Then by 18 months I kind of figured out that gel really works for my 2a wavy hair and the styling technique also makes a big difference. However, I started bleaching my hair and my wavy 2a hair regressed to straight-but-bendy 1C hair. Here are some photos of my hair back in July & August 2019. I used a strong-hold gel, applied with lots of scrunching and wet plopping then scrunched out the crunch (SOTC) after fully air dried:
You can see that July’s hair looks more straighter but by August, the waves tried to come back. It looks wavy but still stringy as I put in more colours. Sometimes chemical processing can bring out the hair’s curl pattern but at the expense of drying out the hair. The result is stringy waves like mine but I loved my unicorn colours too much to care! I was able to salvage my hair with regular deep conditioning and cutting out all heat styling. 🙂
So what’s changed with my routine since then? A few things. My hair is back to being wavy 2A most days and if I’m really lucky, a few strands of curly wavy 2B. I really need to stop the damage from colouring. It’s like an addiction! My hair was its healthiest 1 year post-CGM (minimal hair colouring) and the waves were well-defined. You can see a photo in my previous posts. I need to get my hair health back to then! I’m still using the same brands; Shea Moisture and Noughty but introduced a few new ones too. I also realised that my hair responds well to both low-poos and co-wash and I need to clarify with a sulfate-based shampoo every now and then.
I mentioned in a recent blog post about sulfate-free cleansers that wavy 2a hair will experience build-up more quickly than any other curl types. For me, I clarify with a sulfate-based shampoo to ‘reset’ my waves as using only aBsulfate-free cleanser just doesn’t cut it. Fact.
However, when I use a sulfate-based shampoo I always follow it with deep conditioning for 15+ mins and apply a leave-in conditioner or curl cream as my final styling products. I only do this sulfate-clarifying when my hair really feels like it needs it (usually after 3-4 months). The last time I clarified my hair was in March 2020.
Note: Only think about clarifying with a sulfate-based shampoo if you’re not strictly following CGM or doing a modified routine. If you are then try rinse techniques ie. Rice Water Rinse (coloured-hair friendly) or Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse instead.
My updated type 2a wavy hair routine
[I will update this routine section whenever I change up my routine instead of creating a new post unless it’s a complete routine change.]
Cleanser: I usually wash my hair with a low-poo cleanser once (twice max!) a week. I occasionally swap out my low-poo for a co-wash once every three weeks or whenever my hair feels like it’s lacking moisture. I apply the product in my hands and concentrate on the roots, massaging firmly onto the scalp, I don’t dig or scratch the scalp. Any left-over residue I try to scrunch it into the mid-lengths and ends. Currently using Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yoghurt Hydrate & Repair Shampoo (low poo) or Noughty’s One- Hit Wonder conditioning co-wash (wasn’t sure with this one at first but it has helped my hair to clump better). If I haven’t washed my hair for 8-10 days, I prefer using the Manuka Honey & Yoghurt shampoo as it cleanses better and lathers up nicely.
Conditioner: I always use conditioner after cleansing/shampooing and use ‘squish to condish’ technique. I apply the product when my hair is dripping wet using prayer hands. I de-tangle my hair with my fingers and rake hair away from my head to ensure my hair doesn’t stick to my head. Currently using: Noughty Colour Bomb conditioner
Leave-in Conditioner: I’ve been skipping this step as I’ve not bought myself a new leave-in cream and my daughter’s leave-in is too heavy for my hair. My previous go-to choices were As I Am leave-in conditioner for more hydration (very lightweight) or Shea Moisture JBCO leave-in cream for more moisture. Currently using: Noughty Thirst Aid conditioning & detangling spray which I recently purchased to try out and it seems to work nicely on wet/damp hair.
Gel: Gel works a real treat on my hair, it always gives me the best definition and hold if I get the right one. I apply my gel when my hair is wet and rub a big amount into my hands (if it’s a thick gel, I add extra water in my hands) and apply using the prayer hands method and gently scrunch it in. I scrunch enough to squeeze out a a little excess water but not too much. I tend to use A LOT of gel to get a super solid cast which I scrunch out when it’s fully dried. I’ve found that when I add a small amount of gel I don’t really get a cast and then my waves don’t hold past the first day. Currently using: Boucleme’s curl defining gel on my wash day and Shea Moisture Curling Gel Soufflé for next day refresh which gives me curl boost. I gently apply using wet prayer hands then scrunch into the hair.
Styling finish: I am now back to only air-drying my hair as these warmer days means I don’t need any extra heat for my hair to dry however my hair is also getting longer so I may eventually need to use the diffuser again but will stick to the cold setting. If I’m impatient, I would diffuse to 50% dry then air-dry the rest of the way.
My haircare favourites!
Here’s a list of my favourite products that I’ve used over the years. The ones I’m currently using are listed in my haircare routine above but I’ll put an asterisk (*) beside so you can see here too. I’ve used a fair amount of other products from same or similar ranges too but as I didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would, they haven’t made it onto this list.
– All green highlighted products are CG friendly-
- As I Am Co-wash Conditioning Cleanser (co-wash)
- Noughty One- Hit Wonder Cleansing Conditioner (co-wash)*
- Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo (low poo)
- Shea Moisture JBCO Strengthen and Restore Shampoo (low poo)
- Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Shampoo (low poo)
- Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yoghurt Hydrate & Repair Shampoo (low poo)*
- Noughty Colour Bomb Colour Protecting Conditioner*
- Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defining Conditioner
- Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Conditioner
- Maui Moisture Hydration Hibiscus Water Conditioner
- Maui Moisture Smooth Revive Vanilla Bean Conditioner
- Noughty To The Rescue Moisturising Hair Mask*
- Garnier Silicone-free argan hair mask
Curl Enhancers & Leave-in Creams:
- Shea Moisture JBCO Leave-in Conditioner
- As I Am Leave-in Conditioner
- Noughty Thirst-Aid Conditioning & Detangling Spray*
- Cantu Moisturising Curl Activator Cream
- Boucleme Curl Cream
- Boucleme Super Hold Styler
- Boucleme Curl Defining Gel*
- Shea Moisture coconut + hibiscus curling gel soufflé*
- Twisted Sistas Amazing Dream Curl Gel
- Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly
- ECO Style Professional Styling Black Castor & Flaxseed Gel (black lid)
- ECO Styler Olive Oil Gel (green lid)
- DevaCurl Wave Maker – not a gel, more like a creamy ‘whip’ texture