Having curls comes with its own set of styling rules — as anyone who has this type of hair will tell you. After countless years of trial and error, the curly hair method emerged as the holy grail for those with wavy locks. The curly hair method is based on Curly Girl: The Handbook — a book released in 2001 that dives into the ins and outs of styling and caring for curls (via PureWow).
There are three tenants of the styling method that will help you manage your mane with ease. “Most curly hair methods follow a general process: 1) co-wash cleansing, 2) conditioning with a leave-in, and 3) using curl clumping products to air-dry or diffuse curls into the desired style,” stylist Robin D. Groover tells the outlet.
The goal of the process is to cause less damage to this type of hair, while providing a high level of moisture. Part of the process involves avoiding using shampoo. Apparently, the theory is that the sulfates, silicones, and other chemicals can dampen your curls and create frizz, according to PureWow. But, not using shampoo — or “no poo” as it’s been dubbed — doesn’t mean you aren’t cleaning your hair. “During this process, curly girls refrain from using shampoos that lather and opt for cream-based cleansers or co-washes, which cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping the hair of its natural oils, leaving the hair clean, moisturized and soft,” Ronquet James, a hairstylist at Bloom Beauty Lounge explains.
The curly hair method steers clear of heat styling
In addition to avoiding traditional shampoo, the curly hair method also involves staying away from styling tools that use heat, like curling irons, flat irons, and heated blow dryers, according to Cosmopolitan. Towel drying your hair is also a no-no, as the microfibers can damage the cuticle and wreak havoc on curly tresses.
On top of the list of things not to use, the list of products you’ll need is likely different than what you’re used to. Opting for “cleansing conditioners” will do wonders for your mane, Cosmo explains. These products are basically light-weight conditioners that double as cleansers. The important part of the equation comes in the way you massage it in. That is, you’ll be rubbing it in for longer. Another important piece of the curly hair method involves scalp massaging for at least 60 seconds as a way to thoroughly clean your skin. The best way to cleanse a curly-headed scalp, this technique can make a big difference in the health of your curls.
“Healthy hair regimens are important for consistency,” Groover tells PureWow. “Healthy hair is achieved by a balance of attention, good products and technique. Example: A good cream means nothing to hair bleached seven levels from the natural color when the goal is length retention. It’s important to find a regimen that suits your healthy hair care needs and fits in with your lifestyle.”
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