The Curly Girl Method
Before having cancer treatment, I had slightly wavy dark brown hair. I lost my hair during chemotherapy and when it grew back, it was curly and much greyer.
After researching “chemo curls”, I found out that they might grow out again after a few years. Since I quite like them, I decided to do what I could to preserve them. That was when I came across the Curly Girl Method.
For a complete understanding Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl: The Handbook needs to be read but some of the key terms are:
This is a conditioning wash or using a conditioner in place of shampoo to wash your hair. To be CG approved, they should be sulphate and silicone free.
This means Scrunch Out the Crunch. Almost every curly girl has experienced crunchy, or crispy hair. Mousse and gels create a “cast” on the hair. You need to break that cast, to reveal your soft, bouncy curls underneath.
Think of those cute little toddlers walking around with a tiny ponytail on the top of their heads. It looks just like a pineapple. Putting your curly hair in a pineapple is one of the ways to protect it at night while you sleep.
Make sure you use a cotton t-shirt or microfibre towel to “plop.” Lay the towel/t-shirt on the bed. Flip your hair over, grabbing it in the same way you would start your pineapple. “Plop” your hair onto the middle of the towel, with your forehead nearest the edge. Fold over the remaining towel or t-shirt over the back of your head, and tie with the sides to secure.
Rake & Shake
Raking is a technique to de-tangle curly hair in the shower and distribute products through your hair. Use your fingers to rake through you hair during the shower when you apply conditioner and any deep conditioning products. Some people like to use the same raking method to distribute their styling products too. And then “shake” their hair to encourage curl pattern and formation. This is done by holding the ends of your hair in sections and shaking it up to the root.
Using praying hands to distribute hair products is a great alternative to brushing, combing or raking. Which can pull your hair, disrupting your curl pattern and formation. Do one gentle sweep of praying hands from root to tip to distribute the product. Then scrunch like crazy to encourage curl formation and clumping.
Squish to Condish
If you want to get great results from the curly girl method, you need to learn the “squish to condish” technique. It’s means squishing your hair to condition it, also called “scrunching.” This is the art of scrunching your hair, primarily to encourage curl pattern and. It’s also used to distribute conditioner, which is concentrated at the ends and middle of the hair.
Clumps are curly girls’ best friends. All of the techniques (apart from Rake & Shake) will help and encourage clumps to form. One of the reasons that brushes and combs aren’t recommended for the curly girl method, is because they separate the strands of the curls. This can result in stringy, bitty curls, the opposite of clumps. One of the reasons praying hands, squishing and scrunching is so good, is because it encourages the hair to cling and bind to itself. This creates big, bouncy curls.
The most important thing to remember is that the Curly Girl Method takes time and patience. And that doesn’t mean weeks. It can take months and sometimes years to get your hair looking its best. In my case, I don’t know if my chemo curls will last. Only time will tell!
JANE GODMAN is a 2019 Romantic Novelists’ Award winner and 2018 Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. She writes thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense/Mills and Boon Heroes and paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne/Mills and Boon Supernatural and St. Martin’s Press Romance. She also self publishes her historical and gothic stories.
Jane was born in Scotland and has lived in Germany, Wales, Malta, South Africa, and England. She still gets the urge to travel, although these days she tends to head for a Spanish beach, or a European city that is steeped in history.
When she isn’t reading or writing romance, Jane enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, and enjoying the antics of her dogs, Gravy and Vera.
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