A little more than a year ago, I decided to quit using sulfate shampoo and silicone conditioners, a movement known as “no-poo”. I’m not normally a trendy, band-wagon-y type person, but it seemed logical. Sulfates are harsh, oil-stripping chemicals, and silicones require sulfates to remove. So, no sulfates, no silicones. Besides, it’s supposed to be better for naturally curly hair, which I have- the “Cooper Curl” my aunt calls it. I used the most common method, a baking soda scrub and vinegar rinse, for a year or so with varying results. (You can google “no-poo method” if you are curious.) I was reliably getting 2a and 2b wavy curls with just water rinsing and air drying between scrubs.
Then, I discovered the Curly Girl method.
It is a no-poo subculture, if you will, of naturally curly-haired ladies (and gentlemen) who avoid sulfates and silicones religiously (and a various other ingredients, variably) with the primary purpose being to enhance curls. I scheduled a DevaCut with a Pittsburgh curly stylist, Christopher Langlois, and started experimenting with my new cut. I discovered I have very fine strands, but a lot of them, and when properly encouraged, they can be a 2c curly.
Initially, I used Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter sulfate-free and silicone-free (and a long list of other things free) shampoo and conditioner. Then I tried the salon brand conditioner that Christopher used (but that had hidden silicones in it, sorry Christopher!!). Then I went back to SM. Then I added a curl cream. I tried Miss Jessie’s Quick Curls, and Jessicurl Rockin’ Ringlets styling potion. I finally settled on leaving a little shea moisture conditioner in and then some Curls Crème Brule curl cream, followed by about 10 minutes of wrapping in a t-shirt (also known as “plopping”. I know. But it really works!). All of that worked great for about 3 weeks. I was getting wildly awesome curls- tighter, more defined and less frizzy than I thought my hair could get.
Then… it said no. One day it was just limp and stringy and ill-defined and frizzy and sticky. Yuck. After a lot of reading, I think I may have overdone the moisturizing products. Apparently, “protein” and “moisture” counteract each other, but too much of either makes your curly hair frizzy and icky in similar but different ways.
Aaaaand, that’s where I am now. This morning I tried a protein mask and it seemed to help somewhat, but I still don’t have those rockin’ curls back that I had last week. I got some new products yesterday and will keep experimenting and trying until I get those amazing curls back!
photos to follow… for comparison.