I recently posted a series of pictures of how my hair has changed since starting to follow the Curly Girl Method on Instagram, and was honestly shocked by how many questions I got in response. This seemed to be the easiest place to compile information, so if you have no interest in curly hair products, feel free to disregard this post and stay tuned for regularly-scheduled programming.

For me, this process started because I decided I really, really wanted to be able to wear my hair naturally curly all the time. I’ve liked my curls for a long time, but didn’t always feel like my natural curls were right for work, formal events, or any time I wanted to look put together. I was blow-drying and curling my hair with a curling iron at least once a week, which was actually making my curls worse –it’s a cycle. When I told Zinnia at Luxe what I wanted to do, she suggested a haircut every 10-12 weeks, which has made a huge difference and removed a lot of my damaged hair. She also said, “The process will take a year, and you’ll have to be in it” which is certainly a metaphor for a lot of things.

T H E   G E N E R A L   R U L E S
No products with silicone, sulfates, or alcohol.
No brushing, straightening, or curling irons.
Only wash hair once a week (work up to it!).
Sleep in a silk bonnet, scarf, or on a satin pillowcase.

Most of what I know about the Curly Girl Method, I’ve learned from Instagram and Pinterest. I’ve learned so much from following accounts like @powerdomi and @curlycailin. Because there’s so much information about this method online, it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. And because everyone’s hair is different, what works for me might not work for you. It’s a process, but I’ve honestly found it to be fun. It’s become easier to follow over time, and I’m quite happy with the results. Don’t feel like you have to get it all right today. All you really need to do in the beginning is commit to learning and not freak out about not washing your hair so much.

W A S H   D A Y   R O U T I N E
1. Wash or co-wash.
2. Condition using the “Squish to Condish” method.
3. Detangle with fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
4. Rinse with a rice water rinse (optional).
5. Deep condition using “Squish to Condish” .
6. Leave it in for five minutes, then rinse upside-down.

S T Y L I N G   R O U T I N E
1. Scrunch in a leave-in conditioner & curl cream/mousse while hair is soaking wet.
2. Plop hair in a t-shirt for 20-ish minutes.
3. Scrunch in gel.
3. Air dry or diffuse upside-down.
4. When hair is dry, scrunch in an oil.
(Refresh with water and products as needed throughout the week.)

It’s taken me awhile to figure out which products work best for me –it’s a lot of trial and error. For that reason, I’ve tried to stay away from super expensive products. While it was a little painful, the best thing I did was finally throw away anything that had silicone, sulfates, or alcohol in the ingredients. (You can find tons of lists of Curly Girl Method-friendly products as well as lists ingredients to avoid online.) Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to immediately buy everything on this list! Choose a few, see how you feel about them, and repeat until you have a routine that works for you.

S H A M P O O S   +   C O – W A S H 
Not Your Mother’s Naturals Curl Defining Shampoo
DevaCurl Buildup Buster Micellar Water Serum
As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner (Co-Wash)

C O N D I T I O N E R S   +   L E A V E – I N S
Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
Not Your Mother’s Butter Masque
Not Your Mother’s Naturals Leave-In Conditioner

C R E A M S ,   M O U S S E S ,   G E L S  +   O I L S 
Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie
DevaCurl Coconut Curl Styler
Not Your Mother’s Curl Talk Mousse
Aussie Instant Freeze Gel
Curls Blueberry Bliss Hair Growth Oil
Lavender, Cedarwood, and Rosemary Oils 
(I just made a refresher spray that’s a couple spoonfuls of Curl Smoothie and 10 drops each of lavender, cedarwood, and rosemary oils in an 8 ounce spray bottle topped off with water.)

That was a lot of words about hair. Don’t be overwhelmed, and don’t feel like you have to spend all of your time and all of your dollars on being able to wear your hair curly –because that’s the exact opposite of the point. The process can be fun, but it is just hair. Incorporate new products and techniques over time, and when your hair looks weird, wear it up and take a break. If you have questions or comments or products you love, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.