The Curly Girl Method. Is it worth doing? Is it not? How much commitment do you need to give it? Did it make a difference?
Five years on, I can now finally look back on my experiences and tell you how I found the Curly Girl Method on my straight-wavy hair. You will find lots of CGM blog posts on here as I documented my hair journey as much as I could in those years.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on here so I thought it’s only right to update you all on what’s been happening and if I have any new hair tricks and tips for you all!
My hair types settled back into 1C which I’ve decided I’m not going to fight anymore. My 2A waves still come out every now and then but most days, I’m at 1C – that’s straight hair with some kinks or bends if you’re not familiar with the hair terms. They are confusing I know!
I started my wavy hair journey using the Curly Girl Method at the end of 2017 (it was Dec 2017 to be exact – you can read it here). If you read some of my later posts you’ll see that my hair went through a transition period of some sorts. I started off with 1B/1C straight-ish hair pre-Curly Girl Method then it got really wavy and ended up 2A with some 2B strands then after that it started going less wavy and regressed to 1C/2A straightish-wavy pattern. Since then it’s stuck somewhere between 1B/1C.
I was so upset with how much regression I experienced that I didn’t want to continue with the Curly Girl Method. Just to be clear, I followed a modified version of CGM and didn’t follow it strictly apart from the first couple months. This was because my hair is somewhat fine/medium density and clarifying without a sulfates-based cleanser just wasn’t doing it for me. You can read more about my swavy 2A hair journey and the products I used here. This was when my hair was possibly at its optimum health despite the colour processes it went through.
My hair went from swavy 2A back to straightish 1B within months
The last time I remember still having my waves was back in October/November 2020.
Below is a photo of my November wash day and how my hair looked wet, to 50% dry to fully dry… and this was air dried! Stupid me, I don’t really keep a diary of products I use anymore as it’s generally the same but I wish I had because I have no idea what I used then.
I went from this:
THE WAVES WERE GONE!
My hair pretty much looked like this mess from December 2020 to March 2021. I also re-bleached my ends then a few weeks after dyed it with permanent box dye and I truly believe that’s what killed it. It was never the same after that day and I was ready to give up doing the Curly Girl Method.
I told myself that I was just a “fake-wavy”, that I don’t have any waves hair and never did. It was all just “tricks” with gels and stylers. But then I decided to take one more leap of faith and jumped onto Youtube to watch more wavy girls talk about their hair journey. My all-time favourite Youtuber is Courtney from Swavy Curly Courtney. If you’ve seen her but never clicked to watch her videos… do it! Her videos very informative, helpful and she’d been through similar experiences as me and her waves are AMAZING!
My hair needed to re-balance…
Then a couple months ago Courtney released this video about her beautiful curly waves becoming less wavy and I felt somewhat relieved… I wasn’t the only one going through this! I literally found the video a few weeks ago and decided to try out Courtney’s homemade gelatin hair treatment (video below because it’s that amazing!) and OMG the results really say it all.
March 12 – sad sad hair.. waves were gone and hair was very dry and brittle so I cut out both glycerin- and protein-based products March 29 – hair started recovering and some waves returned. I can see loose waves but they dropped by the end of the day so I thought it’s time to add back in some protein-based styling products April 9 – I took this photo after my wash day with a homemade gelatin hair treatment, my hair was about 70% dry and still in its gel cast
Moisture or Protein deficiency?
Funny thing is I thought I knew… but I still really don’t!
My hair was dry and brittle – to me, that was a sign that it was protein overloaded but the more I think of it, I think it was severe moisture deficiency. It would also explain why my waves dropped so quickly during the day. It had also been a very long time since I last clarified my hair so most probably it was a combination of everything – no hair cut, too much glycerin products used, central heating drying it out and no clarifying wash.
The trio of photos for March 29th shows how my waves somewhat returned. This was from sticking to protein-free hair products after adding glycerin products back in. It looks loosely wavy again but there was just no hold. This is when I realised I needed to add protein-based styling products back into my hair routine. I looked through Courtney’s videos and found her homemade gelatin treatment and it worked SO WELL!
Courtney uses powdered gelatin, Shea Moisture’s power protein treatment and apple cider vinegar. I skipped the ACV because it can be harsh on coloured or bleached hair (well, it’s harsh on mine) but apparently it helps the hair saturate the gelatin better although I would say the treatment still works pretty well without it too.
I cleansed my hair with a sulfates-based shampoo then rinsed, applied the gelatin treatment for 10mins then rinsed out, applied hair conditioner then rinsed, and finished off with adding my styling products, scrunched, plopped and then diffused my hair until it was 70% dry.
My hair felt really cleansed, lightweight and how it used to feel. I’m going to try this treatment again but without diffusing to see what the result will be like. I’ll also be making a video of this and add it to my Youtube page. I’ll add it to the bottom of this post so you can bookmark this page and return in a few weeks time to see if it’s up. If not, just give me a few weeks as I’m really slow with making vlogs! Otherwise, you can subscribe to my Youtube page and you’ll get a notification whenever I post up a new video.
20/04 WAVY HAIR UPDATE: my waves are coming back!
So I decided to add a little more protein back into my hair routine and boy did it make a difference! I’ve gone back to using my old cream and gel combo (Cantu curl activator cream and ECO olive styler gel) on my second day after wash day (refresh day 1) and pixie diffused (fancy CGM term for diffusing hair in smaller sections) and I am loving the results. The waves are coming back and they look a little more defined. Still a little stringy in some bits but better than it’s been since October/November.
I’m going to try and replicate the results on my next wash day to see what happens and will update this blog post once as soon as I can.
Have you gone through a similar experience with the Curly Girl Method? Tell me about your wavy hair stories in the comments section below. X
PS. This post does contain affiliate links so if you decide to buy any of the goodies listed above, I will receive a bit of commission on qualifying purchases. This is at no cost to you and would help support me with the running this blog.
It should be no surprise that I am a BIG Noughty fan.
I really love this brand because it works for me, my hair and my children’s hair. Seriously guys. I’ve been using Noughty on and off for a few years now but always find myself returning back for more because they are that good. If you haven’t read my post or seen my Noughty video on the Wave Hello range, you can read it here.
Noughty’s 1 Hit Wonder cleansing conditioner and co-wash is a gentle non-lathering cleanser. In curl-talk terms, it’s called a ‘co-wash’ or a ‘no-poo’ as it doesn’t foam or lather, some people might technically say it’s not even a shampoo and they’re not entirely wrong. After trying out the whole Wave Hello range and a few of the To The Rescue range, I really wanted this co-wash originally for my kids because I thought it would feel too heavy on my hair but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it even worked on my hair. The light coconut-y scent smells really nice but to be honest, I like the smells of all their products especially the To The Rescue intensive hair mask – OMG! That one smells soo good and is CG approved too in the UK.
Noughty Haircare is also reasonably priced (around £6.99) so you won’t break the bank giving them a try. There are a few products available in travel sizes not this co-wash is a little bit of a shame but I’m hoping one day they’ll bring one out.
Get 15% off your order with code: WANDERINGMOTHER15
Is Noughty’s 1 Hit Wonder co-wash right for my hair?
Unless you are strictly following the Curly Girl Method, then I’d say yes! This product is not listed as CG-approved because it contains isopropyl alcohol which is known to be a drying alcohol. However, as it’s almost at the end of the ingredients list, I am able to overlook this and to be honest.. the cream is rich enough that I haven’t noticed the drying effects from using it on my hair. Other curly girls though might disagree.
Whether you have straight-wavy hair like me or dense curly hair, your hair will thank you for using this co-wash. However, I do think wavies are better off using occasionally rather than frequently. Try alternating co-wash days with a low-poo wash days because using just creamy cleansers can leave your hair eventually looking and feeling limp. What you’ll then experience is product build-up. This is totally normal, especially for wavy girls.
If your hair is really fine or limp-looking already, a co-wash might not be the best option for you. Instead, stick to lightweight low-poos and clarify your hair often. If you have curly and coily hair, it is recommended that you mainly co-wash and occasionally swap to a low-poo if you’re missing some lathering action.
If you get product or oil build-up, simply cut down or cut out the co-washing for a few weeks. If there’s still no improvement, check out the two options below.
Option 1 – do Apple Cider Vinegar or Rice Water rinse at your next wash to cleanse away any build-up. If you have coloured hair, go for the Rice Water rinse because it’s more gentle on the hair than ACV. I haven’t personally tried the rinses but have heard so many good things about them. This is the CG-friendly option.
Option 2 – wash your hair with a sulfate-based shampoo (yes, sulfates. Not CG friendly!) as this will strip away any build-up and follow with a deep conditioning mask for at least 20mins. This is because nothing clears build-up as good as sulfates-based shampoos but do your research before trying it out to figure out your hair will respond. As I dye my hair and I follow a modified CGM approach, I do use this option and find that it works for me.
Using Noughty’s co-wash on wavy hair
In the first row of photos I had just recently coloured my hair with a semi-permanent colour so the hair was already a little drier. I should’ve chosen to use the co-wash then but as I hadn’t washed my hair for a week and a half, I wanted to use a lathering cleanser so opted for a low-poo and deep conditioning mask. I diffused my hair to dry. Two weeks later, my colour had already faded and I only washed my hair once between these two weeks which is not shown.
In the second row of photos, I cleansed my hair with Noughty’s co-wash/conditioning cleanser and used their Colour Bomb conditioner (lightweight conditioner) instead of a deep conditioning hair mask. I also diffused to dry on that occasion. You can see that there is a little more clumping going on when I used the co-wash (my hair normally doesn’t clump well or at all), waves look a little more defined and less stringy. It gave my hair a little bit of what it needed – moisture.
Using Noughty’s co-wash on curly hair
My Little Miss has mixed hair and her curly combinations range from type 2C all the way up to type 3C depending on where you look on her head or how well I’ve looked after her hair post-wash day. Most of the time, it’s around type 3A/3B. Her curls responded wonderfully to Noughty’s cleansing conditioner (thanks to the castor oil and shea butter). Little Miss’ hair density is more on the fine side and tends to dry out, feel brittle and knot very easily so her wash day consists of a co-wash followed by a deep-conditioning hair mask (so I can detangle her knots easier), then applying a leave-in conditioner or curl cream. I also like adding a bit of melted pure unrefined shea butter into her ends and mid-lengths whilst her hair is damp to lock in all that added moisture.
What’s the difference between a co-wash, cleansing conditioner/conditioning cleanser, and just using hair conditioner to cleanse your hair?
It can get a little confusing with all the jargon but co-washes and cleansing conditioners/conditioning cleansers are the same thing! ‘Co-wash’ is an abbreviated term for ‘conditioning wash’ which used to describe a cleanser (shampoo) that has a creamy, conditioning, non-lathering texture. This is exactly the same for a ‘cleansing conditioner’. I don’t know why there are so many name variations for the same thing, it can really be confusing. Low-poos, however, are totally definitely different as they do lather but don’t contain any sulfates.
Now… what is different is using your conditioner to cleanse your hair instead of a co-wash/cleansing conditioner. Please don’t do this!
Hair conditioner has been formulated to ONLY condition the hair – hence why when you use a co-wash or cleansing conditioner, you will/can still use a conditioner depending on your hair type and moisture/hydration needs. Co-washes and cleansing conditioners are formulated specifically to CLEANSE the hair but also giving you the added conditioning, nourishing moisture your curly or wavy hair needs.
There’s also leave-in conditioner but that’s used as a styling product as you leave the product in the hair and don’t wash it out.
How to use Noughty’s 1 Hit Wonder cleansing conditioner
It’s super simple. Get in the shower or bath – pump a good-sized amount into your hands and massage it into the scalp. If you want, you can add a little water to emulsify it to get it going. Don’t scratch the head with nails, use the pads of your fingers and thumbs to provide friction against the scalp. If you want you can leave it to work its magic for a few minutes before rinsing out thoroughly.
I won’t lie to you – if you’re not used to or never used a creamy cleanser before, you will think “WTF am I doing? This is not going to clean my hair properly!” but you are wrong. It does and it will. The coco-glucoside ingredient in this creamy cleanser will help to remove all the dirt and natural oils build-up in your hair and wash away without any stripping the hair nor feeling heavy and sticky.
Always follow with a thorough warm rinse then apply conditioner or deep-conditioning mask. If you have fine or wavy hair, I would suggest using a lightweight conditioner and occasionally use a hair mask once a month or whenever hair feels drier.
Try to avoid skipping conditioner. If you feel like the co-wash didn’t leave your hair ‘clean’ enough, you can either do a second cleanse with the co-wash or a low-poo cleanser. Alternatively, add conditioner mid-way down the hair to the tips. I tend to concentrate my conditioner on the ends but apply all over the head.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a go. For £6.99 you really don’t have much to lose but a new product on your shelf to gain. 🙂
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:
July 2019 (L)
July 2019 (R)
Aug 2019 (L)
Aug 2019 (R)
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)*
Can you believe it’s already been 18m (that’s 1 year and 6 months!) since I started my CGM journey and created my original Curly Girl post! So what are my thoughts on CGM after a year and a half of plopping, squish to condish-ing and scrunching?
Well what can I say really? I still see myself as a newbie; still learning every day and still finding it hard to work out my hair. Just when I think I’ve got the hang of it – BAM! Back to square one but then again it’s self-inflicted as I am to blame for that. I constant colour my hair and lighten it; just a last month I processed the hell out of it with bleach to lift it light enough to go pinky/peach.
I thought I’d create this post so you can see the highlights and the struggles of my wavy hair journey. It’s not always been rainbows and sparkles but can if you stick at it (unlike me and avoid chemical damage which is just as bad as heat damage) and really take the time to learn about your hair, you will yield much more. Now enough of the hair lecture, here are my progress/regress photos for you to feast your eyes on:
December 2017 – Pre-CGM
The photo below was taken pre-CGM by a week or two. WOW. As you can see it’s pretty much straight but there’s a few slight waves in the middle section at the back of my head.
A month into my Curly Girl Method hair journey…
May 2018 – 6 months Post-CGM
My waves began looking more wavy but also stringy which was prob due to the colour processing. My hair doesn’t seem to clump as much as when I started but the waves have more of a squiggly pattern than a loose S pattern.
I’ve gone pink! In this photo my hair is a little more undone but those are waves after being out all day. More clumping happened that day and I had a better curl pattern. The more frequently I deep conditioned my hair the better it looked.
Had my first wavy cut at Jones & Payne Shoreditch but a fellow wavy called Lisa. She cut my hair really well and my hair felt much lighter. Unfortunately because she had to comb and brush it so much the waves were almost gone and she styled it by twisting strands to encourage clumping. I actually loved this technique and it helped my wavy hair look more defined, healthy and has a good loose waves/tousled look.
Once the pink colour faded I threw on a teal (semi-permanent) colour followed by intense deep conditioning to save it as much as I could. Here’s a photo of my hair wet and dry so you can see how different it looks. When my hairs wet, my waves always look good but by the time it’s dried (usually air dry) it looks a little more fluffy and wavy with a curly twists.
The two photos below are from one of my best hair days; I had the most curl clumps this day and cannot for the life of me remembered what I used or what I did because I didn’t keep a record! Argh! It looked amazing from the back and there was so many chunky, twisty waves I loved it. I do remember applying the Cantu curl activating cream but that’s about it. :’-(
Colour has faded but waves are curling slightly more. The photo below is actually around day 2 refresh and it looks good. Slightly fluffy but overall, okay. I find that my hair always looks good on refresh days; days 2 and 3 are usually the best.
December 2018: 1 year post-CGM
So I went back to dark hair and that marked a year since I went CGM. The condition is not bad and a slight change since I started. Not bad but a lot of other CGM wavies have had much better transformations than I but I’m not too sad about it. I put in as much effort, time and money as I could and this was the result. With two children, it’s not always easy to even spend 15mins on my hair let alone longer.
The photos below are from one of my rare best hair day. The waves looked amazing! It was one day post-wash day and I started off my wetting the hair with water, scrunching in mousse but then the waves were too hard but had beautiful definition so I did a light prayer hand over the top of the hair with some leave-in conditioner and lightly scrunched.
I decided to do a DIY chop at home to see if it would help my hair wave a little more and it did a little but not much. My hair did feel much healthier and all the dry ends were gone. I stopped deep conditioning regularly and only did it when I felt like my hair needed it and felt too dry.
If you like, I would say my wavy hair regression started from here – when I started to bleach my hair. Usually I would have my hair lightened in the salon but I was really broke so opted for a box job, which even though it looked nice, it really dried out my hair. I went back to deep conditioning my hair on a bi-monthly basis.
June 2019: 18 months post-CGM
Then went blonde in May and kept the blonde from becoming brassy with a regular treatment of silver semi-colour and silver shampoo which unfortunately contains sulfates. It really dried out my hair so each time I used the silver shampoo I would always follow with a deep conditioner. Last month (June) I added a pink semi-colour to my hair which is fading to a lovely peach over the weeks. I continue to deep condition and used a protein pack for the first time which worked really well for my high porosity, chemically-damaged hair. It left my hair feel UBER soft!
So, to summarise…
I haven’t followed CGM strictly as other people.
Let’s just say my hair journey became even LESS CGM and more about processing the F*** out of it but hey! I get bored of my hair so quickly and couldn’t help it. Because it’s been processed, the condition and texture of the hair is no longer the same as when I started. It’s now more drier and coarse due to the chemical processing and damaged (a lot of deep conditioning helps!) and the curl pattern is less wavy than before but I’m slowly getting it back on track. I recently used a protein pack hair treatment which my hair loved so much, I was surprised how well it worked. As my hair is highly porous due to the damage the protein is necessary to help the hair repair.
To get the best results from doing the Curly Girl Method;
Avoid chemical processes to your hair ie. bleaching, dyeing, colour stripping
Deep condition your hair at least once a month or once a week/two weeks if you have damaged hair with a suitable hair masque
Keep a record of ALL the products you used on your hair each time you wash it or style it and take a photo to make a visual note of how your hair looks and responded to the products
If you need to change a product from your current routine, change one product at a time so you can pinpoint exactly whether that product works/doesn’t work for your hair
Be patient. Getting the best results from CGM takes time… I’m still learning and I’m 18 months post-CGM!
Like living a healthy lifestyle, following CGM is not about getting to the end, it’s about the journey and the processes in between – learning what works, what doesn’t and how you can do it better. I don’t think I will ever stop colouring my hair so I have to learn to adapt CGM to a way that suits my hair best. The only time I had been really strict with CGM was probably when I first started but right now, my modified approach works for me.
So the take-away lesson here is to not be afraid to adapt CGM to make it work for you and your hair. There is so much information out there on the web that you’re sure to find another wavy/curly girl in a similar situation to you so don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Read the articles on NaturallyCurly.com and BritishCurlies.co.uk because they are so helpful and on BC you can even sign up and chat on the forum with other wavies and curlies. Failing that Curlsbot has your back for checking all product’s ingredients list using a traffic lights system. Simply copy and paste the list into their box and it’ll do the work for you.
So this post is a little late as I wanted to wash my hair twice last week. Last wash day Thursday and I washed it again last night Sunday. I’ve also purchased a new product – As I Am conditioning cleanser, £9.99 from Look Fantastic. It’s a gentle co-wash and apparently great for wavy hair as it’s really lightweight but still cleanses well. If you’ve never used a conditioning cleanser or know what it is, it’s basically a conditioner that has been formulated to cleanse and condition the hair without stripping it of natural oils. It’s great for curly girls but for wavies, it can be hit and miss as a lot of conditioning cleansers are too heavy for fine waves.
My hair is 2A but very ‘sensitive’ as the wind can blow my waves away and leave me looking a hot mess. I also find that my hair usually looks its best on refresh days, compared to wash days. I think that’s because my hair’s had time to ‘settle in’ and the gel has had time to work in the hair and the reviving mist of water just creates something beautiful.
The cleansing conditioner worked really nicely on my hair and I felt like it did feel a little bit more moisturised than when I just normally cleanse with a low-poo. After rinsing out the co-wash, I still carried out my normal routine: conditioner, leave-in, and gel.
I thought to include photos of my hair immediately post-wash after styling this time so you can see how it looks when it’s wet and dry. Below, my hair is about 70% air dried after scrunching in gel with an old tshirt. My hair still looks quite stringy because my hair still doesn’t clump very well. My clumps are very thin and I still need practice with getting larger sections to clump together. I think I need to leave more water in my hair for when it dries, that will also help with the moisture but I need to figure out a way to lock that moisture in without weighing down my hair. I think I also need to switch back to my old gel; I love my Bouclème gel but it’s not giving me that super strong hold like my ECO olive oil gel did. It’s also a lot cheaper so I’ll have to give it a try again.
And here’s my hair the next morning after wash day. As I usually wash my hair the night before, when I’ve gone to bed with damp hair I tend to accidentally alter the wave pattern as I probably lie on it and squish my waves flat. I always consciously plop my hair to the top of my head but don’t use anything to cover it when sleeping. I’ll wash my hair during the day next week so you can see how it looks after air-drying… minus the squished waves!
If you read my first post about starting my Curly Girl Method hair journey, you’ll be able to see how my hair has transformed so much since then. Before I started bleaching and dying my hair for the second time, my waves and curls were much more defined but they’re slowly starting to return to their lovely shape.
Not sure if you have type 2A wavy hair? Think of it like swavy (straight-wavy) hair – you will be able to see actual S-shape waves in your hair is type 2A. It’s slightly more than the straight-with-kinks-and-bends 1C hair but less wavy than the loose waves type 2B or 2C hair.
My curl pattern has changed slightly, my hair doesn’t clump well so it’s difficult to tell how it’ll look on a daily basis. Some days the waves look more defined and I even get a few loose ringlets forming. Other days I get a loose S-shaped wave, it all depends on how much I scrunch and which products I combine together. I need to keep a journal because weeks later I can never really remember what I did. Below you can see how my hair was the morning after wash day and by the afternoon when the waves had dropped, they seemed to look more clumped/defined, thick and shiny.
Since my 6 months update which you can read here, I’ve had my hair cut professionally at Jones & Payne in Shoreditch by a lovely lady (who’s also a fellow wavy) called Lisa Ind. I was my first wavy girl cut so I really didn’t know what to expect but it was fab and she styled it fabulously. She did do lots of hair combing which made me want to die inside as I haven’t combed my hair since going CGM (I only finger-comb when in the bath/shower) so I wasn’t sure there’d be any waves but she managed to really bring them out which was fantastic.
The cut set me back £80 but as I only get my hair cut once a year, it was a good investment! Here’s a photo of my hair post-cut:
As I mentioned above, my waves pretty much change on a daily basis. I usually wash my hair at night after putting the kids to bed so it gets a little squished and looks a little different the next morning. I find that by the afternoon the curls spiral more and looks a little more stretched out.
My hair still has difficulty clumping which I think is because I don’t have a specific curl pattern, it’s kind of waves, bends and curls in all directions. My hair looks shorter in the first photo but it’s not shrinkage, I think it’s just the angle of the camera and maybe because the curls are more defined and haven’t dropped yet. Personally, I prefer when my waves hang loose although sometimes I do wish they were a little tighter.
Watch the vlog of my recent hair wash day routine:
In this video I swapped my normal conditioner for the conditioning mask as my hair was more drier than usual. Apologies for the bad audio – will sort that out soon for next vlogs or will stick with the voiceovers.
So here’s my current routine for my type 2A wavy hair…
1. Cleanse & Condition (1-2x weekly)
I use a low-poo and conditioner – either the Noughty Colour Bomb* range or Shea Moisture Weightless Coconut Fruit Fusion range which smells divine. I alternate between the two as I have coloured hair but love using the Shea Moisture weightless range as it gives me just enough moisture but feels completely weightless. To my surprise, this Shea Moisture low-poo lathers up more than the Noughty Colour bomb one. My other Noughty fave is their Wave Hello range which is great for wavy hair. Noughty is cheaper too! 😉
Once the conditioner is on, I sometimes finger comb my hair to detangle it then scrunch my hair to ensure the product goes into the hair. I then move on to rinsing using the Squish to Condish method.
2. Hair Mask (fortnightly)
I use the Noughty ‘To The Rescue’ hair mask once a week but if my hair doesn’t feel like it needs the added boost that week I skip this step. The Noughty hair mask smells so good and works really well. Despite it feeling really thick to apply, once it’s on, it feels really lightweight. Very surprising but a nice surprise. 🙂
3. Leave-in Conditioner (each time after step 1)
I use the Shea Moisture JBCO leave-in conditioner* which not only smells good, it is also feels super lovely on the hair and very weightless. It’s the ideal product if you have coloured/chemically processed/damaged hair. I scoop a good amount and apply when my hair is still wet using the prayer hands method then ‘squish to condish’ again to get all the product into the hair.
Enhancer – Curl Cream (optional step)
I tend to skip the curl cream step (I use Cantu Curl Activator Cream) when I use a leave-in conditioner because I don’t feel like my hair always needs the extra moisture. However, if I skip the leave-in, then I’ll use a little dollop of the curl cream before finishing off with a styling product (gel). I scrunch my hair until it’s about 50% dry then go in with the gel.
4. Styler – Gel (each time after step 3)
I use the Eco Styler olive oil gel for a hard hold gel but I also like switching to my Umberto Giannini scrunching jelly which is a medium hold. I make sure my hands are wet with water before adding the gel to my hands. I gently rub my hands together to emulsify then apply to my hair. I apply the gel with the ‘prayer hands’ technique then cup the ends of my hair to my head without closing the fingers. I do this instead of fully scrunching because I find that I get less frizz like this. Once fully dry (the next day if I’ve washed my hair at night), I scrunch out the crunch using my hands and a microfibre towel. And there you have it!
*these products are not completely 100% CGM friendly as they contain one ingredient that is questionable for strict CGM followers. Please do your research and use the Curlsbot ingredients analyzer to learn more.
Last year, December to be exact, I decided to start a hair journey called the Curly Girl Method (CGM). This method is known by many hair bloggers as the technique to really bring out your natural waves and curls. The method encourages using natural hair products that contain no parabens, SLS, sulfates, silicones, alcohols and other chemical nasties. Lorraine Massey’s book called Curly Girl: The Handbook was where it really took off from. It’s said that by eliminating these ingredients, wavies and curlies can unleash their hair’s full potential.
My hair has always been – what I thought – was pretty much straight hair (fine/medium density) with a few kinks. It wasn’t until I started looking back at some of my photos that I noticed I did have a wave halfway-down my hair and thought I might as well give the Curly Girl Method a try…
Here’s a pic of my before and afters. Wow oh wow!
What a difference right?! I’m telling you, no matter how much I tried to scrunch my hair before starting CGM, there were no waves were coming through. Now I can get my waves to come through with a quick spritz of water on the second day!
My hair type:
Curl Type – a combination of 2A/2B
Density – fine/medium
Porosity – high and coloured-treated
Length – long
Conditioner: I used Noughty’s Wave Hello conditioner (CG approved) and also switched over to Shea Moisture’s Fruit Fusion weightless conditioner in March.
Deep conditioning hair mask: I didn’t use one to start with as I couldn’t find one that was good and cheap but then found Garnier’s new argansilicone-free mask (CG approved) in February and was using that once a week. I now use Noughty’sHair To The Rescue mask once a week.
Styling: for styling I was using a CG-approved favourite, Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly which smelt amazing and worked well however I decided to try out my new fave styling product, the ECO Styler olive oil gel (green one, also CG approved). When I prefer to have a natural, softer wave I opt for my daughter’s leave-in product, ORS anti-breakage monoi oil curling creme however it’s too heavy for my hair so I’ve been thinking about purchasing the Noughty Hydrate & Shine serum. As my hair is fine/medium it needs really light products and I’ve found Noughty is great for this. 🙂
My favourite products/brands
There’s no doubt about it, the two brands I really love is new UK brand, Noughty and popular US brand, Shea Moisture.
I first heard about the Shea Moisture brand from my friend who is mixed and has coily hair (4B curl type) and she recommended the castor oil range for my children’s hair. When they launched their weightless Fruit Fusion I decided I had to give it a try. Unlike Noughty, Shea Moisture’s shampoo still lathers up quite well without SLS and sulfates. For people who are just starting out their curl journey and feel like their hair might not be able to handle the little/no lather and have fine to medium hair will love the Fruit Fusion range. It smells really nice too and the coconut water in the Fruit Fusion range seems to help my hair stay a little more hydrated.
Noughty is a brilliant UK brand and I can’t recommend it enough for curlies and especially wavies. Their products are always lightweight and smell amazing. Every product is 97% and vegan-friendly, they never test on animals.
I was sent the ‘to the rescue’ hair mask by Noughty to try out and was a little skeptical at first because I tried the Garnier argan oil mask and as lovely as it smells and feels on my hair in the bath (the only silicone-free range by Garnier), it did weight my hair down a bit but it’s great for Baby Girl’s curl type 3A/3B hair.
Noughty’s hair mask is extremely lightweight, easy to apply and smells absolutely delicious – think sweet, sweet almonds! The mask was light enough to not even fully rinse out. I really loved it and it definitely offers my hair more moisture without weighing it down. On the Noughty website, they offer free delivery for orders over £10 – happy days!
Another brand I’d like to try is Boucleme, I’ve heard lots of good things about their products so might try them out once my Shea Moisture products have finished.
6 months on…
I started off with straight hair that had a few kinks in it here and there. After six months of going CGM, I would say my wavy hair curl type is a combination of 2A/2B. There’s few good clumps of 2B but it’s mainly type 2A. I’m really excited to see how my hair journey progresses in a few month’s time, and eventually in a year’s time.
It’s been a difficult six months as I loved dying my hair and now it’s so tricky as each time I dye it, it gets damaged. Hair masks with protein does help but my hair eventually feels weighed down by it so I’m still looking for a protein-based hair mask that doesn’t do that… still searching! If you know if any, please comment and let me know asap. Plus if it’s available in the UK that’ll help as US products are really expensive to ship over. I would love to try out the DevaCurl range but it’s expensive to ship and I’ve read reviews about it being watered down from Amazon purchases… yeah I’ll pass on that one.
My haircare tips and advice for fellow wavies…
Squish to condish is one of the most important steps in our hair washing routine. After adding conditioner, I comb through my hair with my fingers to detangle then squish to condish from there to rinse and finish.
Don’t fully rinse out all of the conditioner – stop rinsing one cycle short to leave a little conditioner in, I find it helps with the flyaway hairs. If you find this too ‘greasy’ you can run water over the top of your head and cradle your hair to prevent the waves from stretching out.
Scrunch scrunch and scrunch! When towel-drying use an old cotton or jersey tshirt as it’s much softer and prevents frizz. Stop scrunching halfway to add your styling product however I found with gel it’s best to add it to the hair when it’s wet then add in again when it’s halfway dry.
Plopping works great unless your hair is very long. A quick blast with a diffuser will help cut drying time and helps prevent the waves from stretching out, I usually switch from a blast of the hot setting to 5 secs of the cold setting then wait 3-5 secs before taking the diffuser away to do other sections.
Regularly trim your ends to keep your hair healthy.
A weekly hair mask is vital especially if you have coloured hair like me. Experiment between products with and without protein (if your hair is low porosity, it won’t like the protein).
The Curly Girl Method does really work but it is definitely NOT a quick hair fix. You do really have to work hard for your waves and watch out for the products that are not CGM-approved especially if you follow CGM strictly. Use Curlsbot Ingredients Analyzer to help you work out what is/isn’t and do your own research.
Learning more about my hair has also made me realise how much I need to teach Baby Girl about her hair when she gets older. Unfortunately, our products are different and her hair requires a little more care than mine but it’s a good learning curve. She loves her curls and I’m so glad that she does! 🙂
I was kindly sent a sample of Noughty’s ‘to the rescue’ hair mask to try in exchange for a product review. All words, photos and opinions are my own content. This post also contains affiliate links.