So you've crossed over and made the switch to the still-growing curly girl method. Congratulations, beautiful! You've decided to ditch the heat on your hair and the straight tendency routines. You said goodbye to silicones and sulfates. Influencers and Youtubers are on your recommended page. Your wallet is crying over the giant product haul you just ordered. You're committing. Maybe you thought it would be simple since there wouldn’t be any more heat involved and you’ll be using less damaging products. Perhaps in the back of your mind, you thought the change would happen immediately. It's probably safe to say it didn't go as well as you had hoped in the beginning.
The number one struggle for new members of the curly girl lifestyle is the endless rules! We begin our journey excited to finally take care of our natural hair. CG method is trending worldwide right now, everyone loves it and raves, but what isn't talked about is the overwhelming struggle. In the community, we have what I call 'Curly Gatekeepers' or people who like to put do's and dont's on every member of CG. But what they forget is everyone is different. What works for one might not work for another. We can be so pressured into using a product and boycotting another because it didn't work for just a couple people. There's an endless do and don'ts list. Let me know if these sound familiar.
No sulfates, silicones, or alcohols and no unauthorized products that aren't CG approved
Can't wash your hair more than once a week and no brushing your hair AT ALL unless in the shower with a conditioner
Must deep condition weekly and do a scalp cleanse biweekly
Must diffuse but no heat along with silk pillowcase and silk scrunchies only
Rarely get cuts, only trims, and make sure you oil your hair daily
Style every wash day and do not switch your products
No buns, only lose hairstyles, and daily scalp massages
DIY masks and always use a leave-in conditioner
Microfiber towel only and don't touch your hair
These are just some of the rules I've seen over the past year. While many and most of these are true and helpful, not all of them have to be followed for maximum results. Influencers love to push almost all of these rules but behind closed doors, I can promise you, they break so many of them. And I get it, it's so overwhelming when you see that list. Maybe you hadn't even seen some of those rules and now you feel pressured. With pressure comes knee jerk reactions. When someone is excited to start a new journey, they can easily jump into it with no hesitation. Curly girls often love to see what the most talked-about products are. And decision-making can be rushed because we want what we think is fun and shiny. Whatever will give us curls right then and there.
So let's say you find that perfect shampoo and conditioner. Per CG rules you can't have sulfates, silicones, or alcohol. Great, step one is done, now you move onto the rules of when and how often you can wash your hair. Easy right? But remember no more than once a week, and you have to do a scalp detox every other week. Ah, make sure you pre-poo with oils and a scalp brush; and don't forget to use cold water only. Shampoo below the mid-length is forbidden and conditioner above the mid-length is a no-no. Don't forget to deep condition and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle, and while you are at it do it upside down. Sounds just a little crazy right? It is! There's absolutely nothing wrong with doing it this way if it works for you but for others, it doesn't all work. And sadly there's a lot of shaming if we all don't follow it rule by rule.
Move past the washing routine and we get to the rules of porosity, texture, and shape. This can be one of the most frustrating areas as a curly girl. More than half of the curly girl videos I watch pressure us into knowing what our hair porosity is. Up until this year, I had never even heard that word. Suddenly I felt pressured to know if I was low or high porosity. I had never dyed my hair but it felt like high porosity but it acted like low another day. Then I felt pressured to know my texture. Curly hair can range from 2a-4c. My hair doesn't like just one of those options. She decided she wanted to be somewhere between a 2c-3a which is tight waves and lose to medium-looking curls which made it even harder to find the right products. Some said to go with creams, another said gel and mousse. Once again it was all pressure and being scared into deciding without really knowing what was right vs. wrong.
The last big rule is usually how often you should get your cuts, trims, and colors. Do you have to get big chops every 4-5 months even if you want to grow your hair out? Does a trim need to happen every 6-8 weeks for maximum results? Is coloring an absolute no? We're scared to mess up. The bottom line is it's good to do research when starting something new but don't let 'rules' in the curly girl community frighten you away. There's no need for you to know your porosity and density and cause further stress. That's what the professionals are for. The rules should really be suggestions seeing as we all have different hair. So don't be afraid to figure out the routine that works best for you on your curly girl journey.