· Marla's Musings

When we lived in Colorado, I had an amazing hair stylist who made me realize I had some gorgeous natural curl. She was patient and taught me how to achieve the same results as her. I loved it! (Also, if you are near Colorado Springs, CO, and you don’t check out Ria at Alive Beauty Company, you are missing out!)

However, last summer we moved to the D.C. area. My hair has been crazy and looked as frazzled as I felt after driving on I-495. One day I decided to try to curl my hair with a highly suggested wand to get the loose curls I had grown accustomed to in my Colorado days. Let’s just say that the one heat resistant glove that came with it was not enough and I severely burnt my finger. So super thankful to have my lavender essential oil for relief!

Crazy, frazzled hair.  I call it my I-495 do.

On April 3, 2019, a friend saved me from myself and told me about the Curly Girl Method. I instantly ordered the book from Amazon and it arrived the next day. I read EVERY SINGLE PAGE IN ONE SITTING. Even though it was hard to fathom giving up shampoo or my wide tooth comb, I did. I had been one of those people washing my hair every day (every. single. day.) The book didn’t give examples of products to use, it just gives you a list of ingredients to avoid. Do you know how many hair care products are out there? TOO MANY! Good luck finding your best one!

I was already using an all-natural shampoo and conditioner so I just stopped using shampoo. That was not quite enough. Co-washing (conditioner washing) was a whole new concept and, in the transition, my hair was extremely oily. It took me a few conditioners to find one that worked great for me. For me, Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle is perfect. Not too heavy, not drying, and it makes my hair and scalp feel refreshed and clean.

Whatever conditioner you choose that fits the Curly Girl guidelines, I am sure you will use it differently than before-or maybe, I have conditioned my hair wrong my whole life. You will use a ton of it so make sure it is reasonably priced. Gently wet your hair. Tilt your head forward and squirt a little conditioner across your fingertips. Vigorously massage into scalp starting above your ears, then the nape of your neck, top of your head, and all the rest, applying more as needed. Add a big handful of conditioner and smooth through your hair by making pancake hands and gliding then down your hair from your head to the tips. Next, and only under the influence of heavily conditioner coated hair, run your fingers through your wet hair to loosen any tangles. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of hair you lose, you lose around 100 a day. Then, begin scrunching hair to support curl formation and work out the dirt. With head still tilted, rinse gently with luke-warm to cool water. If you have dry hair, feel free to leave some conditioner in.

Then, I scrunch squeeze excess water out-but don’t dry yet! Now, I add 3 pumps of my fave curl cream followed by a handful of gel to create a gel cast to hold my curls in place. Again, I have had a time finding an all-natural gel that had ingredients and a price I could live with. So, I made one. I am still perfecting it and that will be on my blog soon so stay tuned! In the interim, this gel has sufficed.

Next, dry but be careful how you dry. Use an old cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to scrunch dry your hair. I prefer my microfiber towel because the t-shirt doesn’t get my hair as dry and I do not use a blow dryer unless I absolutely have to. When I must, I use this dryer.

Before drying, either by air or blow dryer, or car vents- no judgement here, I usually clip. Because my hair is so long, to give the roots some support against the weight of my wet hair, I use these clips around the top of my head. After I am completely dry, I remove the clips and lightly tousle my curls into place with my fingertips. Now, you can softly scrunch your curls to break the gel cast or leave it. Totally up to you and whether you want more structure or softer curls. It depends on what I have planned that day and what the weather is. My hair is still figuring out it's curl journey, so I am just along for the ride!

Unclipped, naked (no product), still damp hair

Throughout the day, if I need a refresher or get frizzy, I carry a small spray bottle filled with distilled water and 1 drop of lavender oil. It smells amazing, and revives my gel. Also, to help keep frizz and tangles at bay, get a silk pillowcase.

Roots around the top had been clipped, gel cast intact

Gel cast broken

With all the gel casting, pinning, and air drying, daily washing was too much. I needed to find another way to get that clean, just-washed feeling and smell that I loved every morning. The ingredients in most commercial dry shampoos is appalling and the organic ones are crazy expensive. So, I experimented with creating several different versions of homemade dry shampoos and came up with a recipe that I absolutely LOVE!

Turns out it’s even better than my old wet shampoo ways! Now I only co-wash every 3 days. After that time, my curls are not so great and I mentally need to wet my hair. Time between washings may get longer as my scalp, hair, and mentality improve.

What's your curly girl story?

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