Back in 2011, I became aware of Lorraine Massey’s famous Curly Girl method. Having spent a lifetime hearing both praise and shame about my hair (“it’s so pretty!” “you should straighten it, you look like a wild woman!”), finding this book was really validating and helped me embrace my hair in a way I’d never really been able to.
I tried to stick with the method laid out in the book, but just…struggled. I struggled with it. Washing my hair with conditioner? Drenching it in gel? Never ever being able to brush it or towel-dry it? My hair seemed more healthy after doing it for a few months, but my scalp was constantly itchy and felt like I could never quite get rid of any buildup that happened. I also felt like the entire process was tedious without having enough of a payoff. I eventually gave up and went back to the “typical” shampoo, condition, gel. My hair certainly suffered, but my scalp felt so much better.
When I started wearing makeup regularly for the first time this past year, I started focusing on hair care as well. I found some old shampoo I’d gotten when I tried to do the Curly Girl method a few years ago, and absolutely fell in love with it. My hair was softer, scalp was happier, and everything seemed to be going great. So naturally, that shampoo was discontinued (Burt’s Bees, you have betrayed me!), and I’ve been on a search for the perfect hair care regime ever since.
My hair right now.
I’ve been adjusting my routine as needed for the past 8 months, but especially as fall has settled in (and with it my rise in the consumption of coffee and orange juice), my face and scalp have been dry and flaky. My face care routine hasn’t changed much at all — I’ve just added a couple drops of vitamin E oil, and it’s been fine. My scalp, on the other hand, is still constantly itchy and just in desperate need of help. I’ve also noticed that as my scalp is more unhappy, my hair has gotten frizzier sooner than usual. Typically the third morning after doing my hair, it’s a little frizzy but still manageable. Lately, though, on the second morning after styling, it’s simultaneously frizzy and a little oily (which is UNHEARD of for my hair!).
I only wash my hair 2 – 3x a week. I find that any more than that, and it gets dry, frizzy, and generally unhappy and unpredictable. The last thing I want is for my curls to be even less predictable than they already are!
The first thing I do in the shower is wash my hair. I’ve tried not using my fingernails on my scalp, but this always leaves my scalp feeling like there’s a build-up that I haven’t quite washed off and typically leads to my scalp itching like crazy. When I’m finished rinsing the shampoo from my hair, I use a generous amount of conditioner and leave it in while I wash the rest of my body. The last thing I do before exiting the shower is rinse most (but not all!) of the conditioner out of my hair.
When I get out of the shower, I very lightly towel-dry my hair — I’m careful not to rub the towel over my head, but just to press it to my head to soak up excess water. Then I grab argan oil and distribute it through my hair, focusing on the tips. I use a rather generous amount of this, as well, then top it off with a frizz-reducing hair spray. I let my hair air-dry for a few hours, then seal the ends with a little bit of gel right before bed. In the mornings, usually all that’s required is a little bit of frizz-reducing hair spray and shaking my hair out, and I’m good to go for a few days!
For the past few weeks, I’ve also been doing a jojoba oil mask on my scalp for an hour or so before my usual shampoo and conditioning, but unfortunately the supremely itchy scalp remains.
I feel like my process is a little too time-consuming, especially considering I have a slightly-grown-out pixie cut, so any input my fellow curly girls have is more than welcome!
Shampoo. I’ve tried Aveeno’s moisturing shampoo and Ogx Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo, but both of them seemed to strip more moisture from my hair than they put back into it. So I recently switched to Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus shampoo, which is totally sulfate and paraben free. Thusfar, I’m really enjoying it. It doesn’t leave my hair feeling completely robbed of moisture, but it also doesn’t feel like it leaves any sort of residue on my scalp or hair. My curls have been a lot softer since I started using it, and I’m all about how the company focuses on empowering women and uses sustainably renewable organic resources.
Conditioner. At the recommendation of a couple of friends, I tried the Ogx Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner. Initially, I really liked it, but I’m not sure it’s working as well as I want to think it is because of the sheer amount I have to use (not quite a handful). No matter what conditioner I use, I end up leaving it in my hair for 10 – 15 minutes before mostly rinsing. I try to make sure there’s just a little bit left still in my hair before getting out of the shower.
Argan oil. I use either the Penetrating or Extra-Penetrating Moroccan Argan Oil from Ogx, usually a half-dollar amount or more. I also use a tiny amount of this in the mornings when I wake up and need to smooth away some fly-aways. I cannot say enough good things about this product. Seriously. If you have thick, dry, curly hair, go buy some. Now.
Sprays, gels, and creams. This is where I’m pretty sure I need to change something. I typically use Frizz Ease Dream Curls directly after using the argan oil, scrunching it all through my hair. Then I often use a handful of Gloss n Define Curl Cream from göt2b’s Kinkier line. After letting my hair air-dry for a few hours, I use a dime-sized amount of gel, either Garnier Fructis’ Pure Clean Style gel or Frizz Ease Clearly Defined gel and scrunch into the ends of my hair to seal the curl and the moisture. (I have tried not doing this, but wasn’t too thrilled with the results.)
Things I’m going to try.
Washing my hair less. I’ll still be showering 2x-3x weekly, but I’m going to try shampooing my hair only 1x a week, and just rinsing and conditioning it the other times, just to see if that helps my scalp retain its natural oils a little better.
Coconut oil hair and scalp masks. We found a nice big jar of coconut oil at a local market for pretty cheap, and I’ve read rave reviews from friends and strangers alike about the magical properties of coconut oil for my hair. So tonight, I’m going to try it and see if it helps calm my scalp a bit.
Switching conditioners. Thanks to Ulta’s recent Buy 1 Get 1 50% sale coupled with their 20% off your entire purchase coupon, I was able to pick up some hair products I was running out of, so I picked up Shea Moisture’s Hibiscus and Coconut conditioner to go with the shampoo. I’m going to try it to see if it works better with my hair than the Ogx argan oil conditioner does, and if I could maybe get away with using less of it.
What about you?
What do my fellow curly people do for your hair, especially in the harsh fall and winter months? Any input on things I might be overlooking or overdoing in my own routine?