Well, here I am 1 month into my curly girl method journey and I cannot believe how much my hair has already changed. They say your hair can be in the transition phase for days, weeks, months…I’m definitely still transitioning, but I’m starting to notice consistency with my curls, especially the lower half of my hair. The very top pieces give me the most grief, because those are the pieces that, by far, received the most heat damage from blow drying, straightening and colouring for years and years and years (decades!).
Product Reviews/First Impression
Any time I do a CG update, I’m going to share what products I’ve tried and review them. I know that I’m only 1 month in so perhaps it’s not enough time to give a true review, but I also know what I like and don’t like so I’m sharing regardless.
Cleansers: Shampoos, Low-poos, Cowashes
- TRESemme Undone Conditioner — big no for me. I wanted a cheap grocery store product to work for me, and maybe if I gave it a better chance or tried it again I could make it work, but it has the “itchy M” ingredients in it, which (as you may have guessed) are notorious for making your scalp itchy. I found that it was too heavy for my hair to use as a cowash.
- Live Clean Baby Shampoo & Wash — I started using this as a low-poo and I love it. I’m learning that as of right now, my hair responds much better to a low-poo than a cowash. This low-poo, however, can be very drying, so I’m going to start using less of it when I wash and see if that works better.
- Live Clean Hydrating Shampoo — I am using this as a clarifying shampoo every 1.5 – 2 weeks (I’ve done it 3 times this month) to remove build-up from my hair. It has a mild “sort of” sulphate called sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSA) that helps to clarify the hair. I like it a lot, but will try something else when I run out.
- As I Am Coconut Cowash — This is one of the products I was so eager to try as it came recommended by a LOT of wavy girls that seem to have very similar hair to mine. I really like this cowash because it’s thin and seems to almost lather; when I cowash it will always be with this as of right now vs a heavy regular conditioner.
- DevaCurl Low-Poo — Haaaated it. I only tried it twice, but that was enough for me to return it. It really dried out my hair, it even felt dry in the shower (if that makes any sense at all), and gave it an awful product-y feeling. Some curlies told me to keep it around until the summer to see how I liked it then with changing dew points and humidity, but it’s too expensive to just hang on to.
- Garnier 1 Minute Masks — these have been an absolute favourite product of mine this past month. They are affordable, go on sale often and come in 5 delicious flavours. I have used them to deep condition, condition and as a leave-in conditioner. Truly a 3-in-1 product and I won’t be ditching this anytime soon, though I would like to get my hands on a more restorative conditioning mask in the future.
Stylers: Gels, Curl Activators, Custards, etc.
Yes, I know, I have tried a LOT of product this month. I have found really great deals on these products, returned some and gotten money back, and/or used Amazon gift cards I have, so don’t judge!
- Dippity-Do Sport Gel — this has been my go-to gel that I keep coming back to. It has the perfect cast for me that’s not too hard or soft, it’s got a great hold.
- Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Scrunching Gel — I only tried it twice, but I didn’t like the hold or cast, so I didn’t want to keep trying, when I have another gel (see above) that I really like.
- DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel — I really wanted to like it, but I like a gel with a good cast, which it didn’t give me, so I returned it
- Giovanni LA Looks Gel — I feel like this gel really dried my hair out, but it could have been other products I used it with, so I’ll set it aside for now. I found it cheap at Home Sense
- Aussie Headstrong Gel — I didn’t know until last week that this is the Canadian equivalent to Aussie Instant Freeze in the States that every curly girl seems to rave about, and being so affordable, I had to try. First impressions were good!
- Cantu Curl Activator Cream — I had heard really good and really bad things about this. Some say it’s too heavy for their hair, so I only used a pea sized amount and scrunched it into very wet hair in the shower and it works SO WELL for me, I’m so pleased. This, for the first time, really gave me ringlets and some spirals!
- DevaCurl Wave Maker — When I trialed only DC products, my hair did not respond well. Perhaps it’s the time of the year, but (again) I’m not willing to keep such expensive products on hand to wait-and-see. I’ve heard from other curlies that this specific product can elongate curls and form them into waves…which isn’t what I’m looking for right now.
- Moptop Curly Hair Custard — I use sparingly, but I’m neither impressed or unimpressed by this product. It doesn’t make my curls better or worse, so I likely won’t be buying it again, unless my curls respond really well to it in the summer or as it changes.
- Curl Keeper Original — This isn’t a gel or a custard, it’s more of a “serum” and it’s supposed to be great for anti-frizz, but it has the opposite effect on me and makes my hair super frizzy right now. So many curly girls LOVE this, so I’ll put it away until next year to see if it works better in the warmer months.
- Pantene No. 2 Alcohol-Free Hairspray — NOPE. It sprays funny and feels horrible on my hair. I’ve heard amazing things about Bounce Curl hairspray…but it’s too expensive to buy/ship to me, so I might just have to go hairspray-free.
What I Love
Taking the time to learn my hair. Many people have commented that they would hate to have to put the time that I do into my hair, but the time I put into it really isn’t that much, and I love doing my hair and seeing what it will do every day. I find it very therapeutic and my “me time” to do my hair daily. I listen to a Podcast and just disappear into my own world.
Seeing and hearing people’s reactions to my curly hair. Nothing but wonderful and positive comments, which is very uplifting and very appreciated! I have received a LOT of “you are brave!” comments, which I don’t really understand…but I’ll take it!
What I’ve Learned
Washing my hair every day isn’t working so well. I love to do it, but I can tell my hair is drying out because of it and is getting quite frizzy. So, I’ve only had one day 3 hair this past month so I’m going to see how my hair does with more refreshes this month.
What works for others, won’t work for me. Be it products, routines, methods, etc. I do regard others’ product recommendations highly, but I also need to take into account their hair type, porosity and where they live. An example of this…
Smasters doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried the smasters technique of styling hair (when your hair is 50% dry, you apply more product and keep drying) and it does NOT work for me. So many raved about it and I was disappointed that it didn’t work for me, but that’s okay. I don’t need to do what everyone else does, I need to learn what my hair responds best to.
A wonky wet curl will turn into a wonky dry curl. I always “arrange” my curls because I’m so used to having a part. I have made the mistake a few times of leaving a really straight piece or wonky curl and it will most definitely dry that way, so I’ve been practicing finger coiling or applying some extra gel and scrunching the piece until it forms into a wave/curl.
Scrunch, scrunch, scrunch, squish, squish, squish and do it again. For me as a wavy, this is the product application method that works the very best. I scrunch and squish until my fingers are sore, trying to force waves/curls to form. If I don’t see a wave or a curl when it’s wet, it won’t magically form when it’s dry. Also, at this stage in the game, finger coiling doesn’t work and I don’t think I’m willing to put in that much effort to try to “train” my hair to curl like that.
Bad hair days in transition are inevitable. This is a hard pill for me to swallow, as I fully admit I’ve always been quite vain about my hair. I don’t get fussy about my make up, I just need some foundation to even out my skin tone and hide my imperfections, but I’ve always needed to have GOOD HAIR. I’m just going with the flow with my bad hair days, and it’s been very freeing.
Wash your face AFTER product application. I was breaking out along my jaw line and I figured out this was because of product dripping down my face as I applied it in the shower upside down with dripping wet hair. Now I wash my face when My hair is plopping in a t-shirt and I’ve had no more issues.
I’ve always been extremely self-conscious and, at times, paranoid about my hair. I hated sleepovers when I was a kid and a teen because I knew my hair would look horrible in the morning from bed head. This is also why I’ve never loved camping and being away from the comfort of my hair tools at home. To this day, I won’t get my hair wet when we go swimming because I hate how I look with soaking wet hair. I’ve always hid behind my bangs and tried to take attention away from how I STILL have acne and skin issues at 35 years old.
However, as I’m getting closer to 40, I’m starting to not care as much about how I look, and I mean that in a positive way. Yes, I still get acne, but I won’t hide in my house and cancel outings anymore. I’m not going to let bad skin and bad hair dictate when and where I go somewhere anymore. I’ve prepared myself for a lot of loss-than-stellar hair days, and I’m embracing it instead of hiding from it. This is so much more than a curly hair transition for me.