Going Curly

One of the unexpected things that changed for me during lockdown was my hair. I have straightened it on and off since my teens (more on that off).I haven’t worn it curly for the last ten years or so and for the last several of those I’ve been chemically straightening it using Brazilian Blowdry keratin treatments. Even so, I’d still need to blow dry my hair and then run through it with straightening irons.It’s not that I disliked curly hair, rather I didn’t think I had the kind of curly hair that looked good. Now I think it was more a matter of not being able to manage it.

This is my (dyed red) curly hair about 12 years ago after putting A LOT of effort into it for a special event. It did not look like this day-to-day. Unsurprisingly I have not kept the photos of it looking a state.

Early on in lockdown I tried washing it as normal and diffusing it. It was a mess and I continued straightening. Then in early June I let it dry naturally after deep conditioning and it was much better. For reasons I can’t quite recall, I decided to investigate The Curly Girl Method – and got totally hooked.The method originated from Lorraine Massey’s 2011 book The Curly Girl Handbook in which she sets out a whole regime that curlies should follow to achieve their best and healthiest hair. Some bullet points are:

  • Cowashing (washing hair with conditioner, not shampoo),
  • Avoiding a whole list of ingredients in hair products (including sulfates, silicones, waxes, phthalates and drying alcohols).
  • No heat styling except for diffusing (I’ve been air-drying over the summer).
  • Stop colouring (no chance!),
  • Do not dry brush hair.

There is a lot more to it and I did a deep dive into the whole CG world. I’m happy to report it is about as friendly as the perfume community with just as much jargon such as ‘squish to condish’ and ‘SOTC’ (scrunch out the crunch).My wash day routine is: cowash, squish to condish, apply curl cream then gel with praying hands, scrunch, ‘plop’ hair in a towel for 15 minutes, diffuse roots, air dry and finally, scrunch out the crunch.As you can imagine, there is a wealth of information on YouTube and Instagram as well as Facebook support groups. You can laugh at the latter, but this method involves big changes in how you treat and view your hair and the transiton period can be rough, with a massive amount of trial and error in terms of products and technique.At this point I want to note that’s it’s nowhere near as rough as what many Black women go through when they decide to go natural. Invariably they have to go for ‘The Big Chop’ which involves cutting off the entirety of their relaxed lengths and starting again from scratch. This is a hugely significant and emotional moment. Much of the Curly Girl Method is derived from the Natural Hair Movement which dates back to the 1960s.I got off lightly. Despite ten years of heat and chemical damage, my hair didn’t take too long to begin to regain its curl pattern (some never get this back completely).

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This is my natural hair just before I started the CG Method in June. Basically fluffy and frizzy.

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A few weeks into the method and it’s become wavy with more definition.

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Two months CGM and a traumatic haircut later, the curl pattern is getting stronger and hair is healthier.

One of the of nicest things about embracing the hair you were born with is a feeling of self-acceptance. I still struggle with whether it suits me but I already feel some of that from not fighting it anymore.I don’t know how long I’ll keep it curly or follow the method, but right now it’s benefiting my hair. Cowashing has actually made my hair less dry as well as less oily at the roots. To prevent build-up, I wash with a sulfate-free shampoo about once a month. It’s the healthiest it’s been since I started straightening and dying it at age eighteen.Do you straighten your hair? Are you happy with natural your hair type? What is your dream hair?

35 Comments

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35 responses to “Going Curly

  1. I’ve been thinking about trying the Curly Girl method during quarentine but I’m terrified of putting conditioner on my oily roots! But your hair looks so lovely I’m tempted to try! Could you please recommend a video for me to start with?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t believe it! Of corse, I heard that many women wish for hair, breasts and other parts of them the opposite of what they got, but I’m amazed that you actually did something to that gorgeous hair that you show now to change it! 🙂
    Don’t get me wrong: the hair I knew you with was fine – same unlucky straight hair woman as I (I exaggerate, but just to make a point 🙂 ). My whole life I dreamed of curly hair, and at some point even did a “vertical perm” – not sure it’s called exactly that here, but I hope it’s understandable. It was great for a short period of time – and then it took a looong time to recover/regrow my hair. Since then I’ve never done anything radical, and I keep fighting hair stylists who try to straighten my hair even further: I met women who looked great with slick straight hair, but I’m not one of them, so I keep trying to get come … we’ll, not curl but at least “inward” shape to my hair.
    Love your new look!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, I’ve come out of the curly closet haha.

      I’m all for people making efforts to get the hair they wish for but as you and I have found out, it’s hard not to end up with some damage.

      I really appreciate the encouragement!

      Like

  3. Jillie

    I haven’t met anyone who was happy with the hair they were born with! Mine is dead straight so of course I put rollers in the end to give it life, bounce and interest, and wish I had my sister’s curls ……

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems to be the way that people with curls want straight hair and vice versa. I can tell you though that curly hair is so unpredictable that at least you can pretty much rely on the consistency of straight hair. I never know what I’m going to get from one wash day to the next. This is fine while working from home and not socialising but will be challenging when I’m back mixing more. I need to master an up do…

      Like

  4. I love your hair! ❤
    What is this treatment you are talking about? Is it something only for curly hair?

    Like

    • Thanks Ines! I go back and forth with it.

      The Curly Girl Method is for anyone who has anything from a slight wave to very curly hair.

      It won’t make your hair curly but it will enhance whatever curl pattern you have.

      Like

  5. Love your hair Tara! Keep it up and good in you for embracing the curl within xx

    Like

  6. That looks wonderful, and suits you so well. Right now curls are super fashionable and just about everybody who hasn’t got them naturally gets perms these days. (which I only know because I follow my hairdresser on insta)
    Funny, I had straight hair up until about 8 years ago, then I noticed more waves, and the hairdressers started telling me I had curls, since then, my curls have become more and more pronounced. I didn’t know there was a whole school about it, though.
    I also do like washing my hair, even if I don’t do it often, and do it with shampoo bars. But I’ll look into the method. I do much prefer air drying though, that definitely makes for nicer curls.

    Like

    • Lovely to hear you’ve found your curls. Sounds like you’re doing a lot of the method already. A curl cream and gel just might help with definition and hold. Are curls currently fashionable?! I have zero idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. After blowing out my hair since I was a teenager, about 20 years ago I decided to let it do what it wanted it to do and have never blown it straight again. Now all I do is wash and scrunch it and let it air dry.

    Like

  8. By the way, your curls look great!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa Aldred

    Great piece Tara!i love your curls.. stick with it!! Xxx

    Like

  10. Hayley

    This is very inspiring. I didn’t realise the curly girl method could be for wavy hair. I think I will do some research. My hair drives me crazy, if I don’t straighten it it a huge frizzy mess. I wonder if this could work for me. I’d love to embrace my hair as it is, if it could look nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hayley, I really think it could work wonders for you. So many wavies have great success with the method.

      Like

      • Hayley

        Hi again Tara well I spent most of last night watching you tube and reading up on curly girl! I’m definitely going to give it a go! Could I ask what products you use or maybe a post about them? I think I’m going to start with a Cowash, deep conditioner and a gel and try and keep it simple. This may seem a daft question can you wear your hair up whilst your hair readjusts as mine will be a frizz bomb until beautiful Beyoncé waves arrive 😂😉

        Like

        • Hi Hayley, my hair is constantly in a pineapple (ponytail on top of head) like most in transition so it’s a definite yes!

          The right products for you will depend on partly on your hair texture – fine or coarse- and your hair porosity – high or low. But the Faith in Nature conditioners in Holland and Barratt are nice for cowashing. I like the Shea Moisture deep conditioners and for gel try Umberto Gianni Curly Jelly. Hope you get on okay! Message me anytime.

          Like

  11. Gina T.

    I am a curly girl and use the DevaCurl products and method. I love my hair. People call me The Girl with the Botticelli Hair. It breaks my heart when curly girls feel shame and straighten their hair often because hairdressers and mothers don’t know how to manage curly hair. My mother’s hair was straight. She did all those things to me. I had to go learn from other curly women. Glad you are embracing your locks. They are gorgeous.

    Like

    • That’s wonderful. I wish I knew earlier how best to care for my hair.

      I’ve heard a lot about the Devacurl products causing hair loss and scalp problems for some people but clearly you’ve had no issues.

      Like

  12. You look beautiful! I love curly hair. Mine is somewhere between wavy and curly. I do usually let it air-dry after washing, with some “root-lifter” and thickening serum or gel, but I get it blown out when I have to look more formal. I’ll have to try to the cowashing technique, that sounds promising. Your hair is gorgeous!

    Like

    • That is lovely to hear! Really appreciate it.

      You could definitely try the curly girl method and see how you get on. Even cowashing every other time gives your hair a break.

      It is hard to get away from the ldea that curly hair is informal and not ‘groomed’. I’m trying to get over feeling it is messy but it’s not easy.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Tara, you look stellar with the curls. So glam yet totally carefree. Like the gorgeous heroine in a novel. It’s hard to give up long held beliefs about yourself, I can seriously imagine the trauma of leaving your safe systems to go bush.
    Job well done, it’s beautiful.
    Portia x

    Like

  14. Looks amazing!! Love the shorter length too, and can see how it looks ‘properly curly’ now. I also *love* the jargon so much!!! Yes, love everything about the change of style.

    Like

    • Ah thanks V. I’m really struggling with the length and don’t really wear it down. I’ll be happier when it’s no longer at this in-between stage. At least I’m not really seeing anyone at the moment.

      Like

  15. davina

    Wow. It looks gorgeous Tara. Good going. I tend to give up on mine. I’d love to have hair like Kate Moss (in my dreams!). It would be great if I could learn to blow dry and I might try the cowashing! Fab article Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Davina, I think if you have a slight wave to your hair you’d definitely see results if you gave the method a go. Though I already think you have Kate Moss hair.

      Like

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