August 19, 2009

Riding the Wave: Week 1 of The Curly Girl (CG) Routine

Excuse the slightly goofy look on my face. This was taken last year on a wavy day when I was fooling around with my webcam. I never thought that it would end up on So Loverly or I would have changed the look on my face. But as it is, this is roughly how my hair looked like on a good day before the frizzies started.

At the crux of the CG routine is the idea that you should stop using sulphates and silicones in your hair products. Sulphates are really harsh cleaning agents and as curly hair is a lot more porous than straight hair, they penetrate the hair shaft to have frat-style wild parties each time you wash your hair.

The result? Really dry hair with a tendency to frizz. And what do we do with frizz? Turn to hair serums and the like, of course! My John Frieda Anti-Frizz Serum is a god-send for bad hair days. But most of these styling products (along with our many conditioners and treatments) contain silicones, which coats the hair shaft leaving it soft, silky and manageable.

Cool, so silicones give me nice hair. What's so bad about that?

Here’s the stinger. Most silicones are not water-based so in order to wash them out; you need to use sulphate-based shampoos. If you don’t get rid of the silicone, it gradually weighs down your hair so it stops being bouncy and pretty.

Sulphates -> silicone -> sulphates -> silicone -> sulphates

You get the picture. It’s a vicious cycle which results in unhealthy hair.

So what now?

The solution to this is the CG/ no-poo routine which is also known as co-washing or conditioner-only cleansing (COC). Thankfully, Kahani has already written about this method here, saving me 15 minutes of head-scratching.

As some of you will be too lazy to click on the link, the co-washing means not using shampoo for your hair. Just use a light conditioner without any silicones (or anything ending with –xane, I forgot what that is) in place of your shampoo. Use it liberally over your head and hair. Massage your scalp thoroughly with your fingers and then rinse out. Use a more moisturising conditioner or a leave in conditioner (without any ‘cones or –xanes, please) to follow.

If no-pooing sounds icky to you or you find your scalp can’t handle it, you can opt for the modified CG routine/ low-poo method instead. Wet your hair, lightly coat your hair with conditioner from mid-shaft to the ends (this will protect it from the shampoo) before applying shampoo to your scalp and roots. Rinse out, work in some conditioner and then rinse out (just for a few seconds) again. Try to use a shampoo without sulphates, of course.

Btw, you are not supposed to brush or comb your hair as curly hair is prone to breakage and it separates the curls. You can only comb and detangle it when your hair is wet and preferably with some conditioner on it. Hairdryers are a no-no unless you are using a hair diffuser. Even so, its best to leave wet and air-dry.

For more reading on the CG routine, click this.

CG Week 1

Day 1: I decide to go CG and go out to buy the following (as recommended on the Aussie CG forum): Pears conditioner for co-washing, Clairol's Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner (I will read the ingredient list 2 weeks later to find that it DOES contain dimethicone) and SunSilk Curl Booster Balm. Also pick up a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap for low-poo washing. The only CG-friendly product I already have is the L'Oreal Elvive Nutri-Gloss Hi Shine mask.

So I wash my hair, plop (to be explained next week) and then scrunch in some of the Sunsilk Curl Booster. As my hair dries, I resist the urge to take a brush to my hair and apply some anti-frizz serum. I end up hiding everything right on top of my wardrobe so I don't reach for it.

To my dismay, my hair dries into poofy S-type waves. I crawl into bed worrying about second day hair.

The pictures are of Day 1. I thought it would be good to put up pictures every week for all of you to compare.

Day 2: I walk around campus looking and feeling like a disgruntled lion. Spritzing water and some SunSilk balm has helped a little but I still look poofy.

Day 3: So, sleeping on my hair has helped flatten things out a little. I absent-mindedly run a hand through my hair and immediately hit a snag. OW.

I am heading down to boyfriend's place for a week and debate fiercely in my head if I should continue with the CG routine or not. CG wins and I find myself doing my first co-wash in the boy's place after 3 hours of bus travel.

Co-wash come out better than expected so I scrunch in some balm and plop. Boy tries not to laugh at my weird head. I end up plopping for too long and end up with flat head. *swears*

Day 4: Lumber into the loo with the bleak realisation that sleeping with a wet head equals disaster. I try to remedy matters but stepping out into the cold hair to pick up my sister kills my hair. I spend the next 2 days with my hair in a bun.

Day 6: I do my second co-wash, using more conditioner and really taking my time. Hair feels better and more moisturised this time but still dries poofy. Maybe its the cold dry air. Hmm...

Sister gives my hair a dubious look and asks if I need a comb. She has a "Have you gone mad?" look on her face as I explain the CG routine to her. Then, she exhales a long "Okaaaaaaaaaaaay."

Day 7: Walk in the cold air to meet a friend for lunch. Damnit. Cold air IS murder. I have to find a way to keep moisture in my locks.

Next week: The method known as plopping and Week 2 of the curly diaries.


Connie De Alwis said...

Your hair looks great! gah! I miss this part of long hair. I was able to curl it! :( I just tried to create some sort of wave on my hair and failed miserably

Kahani said...

Aww.. maybe you could try running a wide-tooth comb through it when it's air-drying but not completely dry? And yeah stop sleeping in your wet hair, that can't be helping it!

Eli said...

Connie: But I love your pixie hair! A friend used to braid her hair before sleeping for waves in the am so you can give that a shot next time?

Kahani: Ooh, I tried that but it broke up the curl and I can't be fussed to finger curl my whole head after that. Think I need to get an air diffuser for my birthday.

Ghost said...

Thanks for this eli, I wish you all the best on your CG mission.

After my hols in sept I'm going to give this a try to see if it will help my wacky hair.

Eli said...

Hey Ghost, thanks for the support! Take all the time you need before taking the CG plunge and you are forewarned: you might end up adding "hair product junkie" after "SN collector".