So, as many of you may have discovered if you have anything resembling curly or wavy hair, one of the worst things you can do for your hair is using sulfates and silicones.
Why is that?
For starters, sulfates are extremely stripping. Most of the reason people that have very oily hair have hair so oily is because of sulfates. If you look on your shampoos, chances are one of the first ingredients is sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. If you look at your dish soap, it’s probably also one of the first ingredients there as well. Which is frightening in and of itself, because certainly anything that cans strip dirt, grime, and oil from your pots and pans is too damaging for your precious, fragile hair. Sulfates are used to strip the oils from your hair to make your hair appear squeaky clean, and so in response afterwards your scalp goes into overdrive manufacturing and pumping out more oils, which leads to more hair washing and more problems. So using a sulfate free shampoo can make your hair both less dry and less oily.
As for silicones, they make your hair heavy. There are a few silicones that are water soluble, however for the most part if you’re buying a conditioner meant to smooth, give volume to, or moisturize dry your hair, chances are there is at least one, if not more, silicones in it. The one you see most frequently is dimethicone, but other silicones can end in -one, -xane, -conol. Something else you should avoid if you have curly hair are waxes.
Now, the Curly Girl method is very popular. It’s commonly used by women of colour who have kinky, coily hair, but can be used by virtually all wavy and curly girls. You can find hundreds upon hundreds of blogs dedicated to it, and find how-to videos on YouTube galore. What is this method and why is it so stinkin’ popular?
First, you eliminate all sulfates and silicones from your hair’s beauty routine. You use only water-soluble gels to style, and eliminate shampoo completely.
What does this do? It eliminates the build-up caused my use of silicones and eliminates the need for harsh sulfates that are typically necessary to clean those our of your hair. It also leaves your hair less dry, less oily, and less damaged.
So you may be thinking: “How do I clean my hair?”
You use conditioner. This is called cowashing. Typically, you cowash, use a rinse-out (another conditioner), and a leave in (another conditioner, but typically people use their rinse out for this). To actually wash your hair, you use a conditioner and scrub your scalp. Rub, rub, rub until your fingers get tired, and then rinse.
I know, it sounds frightening, and it can be. Most people find there is a two to six week transition time in which your hair can appear oily and nasty, but a lot of people never have this problem and the benefits completely outweigh the chance of bad hair.
The number one thing that curly girls need is moisture. All of it. The more the better, and what better way to accumulate moisture for your curls than only using conditioner? By using conditioners that lack sulfates and silicones, you eliminate the stripping and drying process, and your hair has the chance to repair and get back to it’s natural glory.
I’ve been using this method for two months because I have relatively dry, wavy hair, and I thought that I could resurrect my original curls through this.
Now, for me, it did not do much. It helped a little, but not as much as I was expecting (most likely because my cowash had too much protein in it, but that’s a completely different blog topic). So, I’ve abandoned it and am now in the process of trying out different natural, sulfate, pthalate, silicone free products and also trying to eliminate surfactants (another completely different, but related blog topic).
BUT! Just because it didn’t resurrect my curls doesn’t mean that it didn’t do amazing things for my hair. For starters, it eliminates the need to wash your hair more than once or twice a week. I know, it sounds disgusting, but I can go four to five days without washing and my hair still looks beautiful and non-oily. Don’t be scared! It’s wonderful and time saving.
Even if it didn’t magically mend my hair, I highly and vehemently recommend this hair washing method to anyone with curly, kinky, coily, wavy or even dry hair!
If you’re interested, I will give you this website as a starting point. It has a lot of lovely information concerning the CG method.
There is a lot that I haven’t mentioned in this blog, including sprays for second-day hair, the plopping method, making your own cowash and conditioner, but if you’re interested, I’m sure you can find out lovely information on your own.
Good luck, and may your curls be ever in your favour!