As I look in the mirror at my half-wavy, half-curled, half-dried hair, I soon realize it is yet another failed attempt at enhancing my curls. I sigh and reach for the conditioner to co-wash the atrocity of a hairstyle from my head, and hopefully, my memory. Why can’t I get this right? Does this scene sound familiar? It took me years, but eventually I discovered the Curly Girl Method was the best technique to define my curls. Review the techniques below to find one that suits your curls.
1. Curly Girl Method (CGM): This technique was created by Lorraine Massey-she has prevented countless curly girls from whacking their locks off in fits of rage. This method works on every hair type and is fairly simple to follow.
• No shampoo unless it is sulfate-free or use a conditioner to wash.
• After cleansing, apply a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer.
• Then apply a styling gel with your fingers. Do not comb or brush your hair since it creates frizz.
• Hands Off! Don’t touch your curls. This allows the ringlets to form on their own.
RELATED: I Love My Curls: Nikki Walton Explains Why Embracing Your Curls is The Best Thing Ever
2. Tightly Curly Method (TCM): This particular method was created by curly girl, Teri LaFlesh. The TCM works well but requires tons of leave-in conditioner so if you have a bushel of natural hair, this may not be the right technique for you.
• Apply a large amount of conditioner to your hair to the point where it squishes through your finger.
• Then section your hair and delicately brush your curls. Usually a Denman brush is used.
• Next, smooth and twirl your curls as you finger comb.
• Once again, no hands! Do not disturb your curls as they form.
3. Smoothing: This is perhaps the easiest of all of the methods. This technique usually works well for those who don’t want to put a lot of time and effort into their hair.
• First, thoroughly cleanse, condition and detangle your mane.
• Section by section, glide your hands down your hair in a smoothing motion. Move your hands in the same direction and pattern.
• Hands on your knees! Allow your curls to thoroughly dry before touching.
4. Shingling: This method is a little more meticulous than the others. It gets the job done and is well worth the effort.
• Use your fingers, a comb (wide-toothed of course) or a brush to apply product to your hair.
• After thoroughly washing, create four sections. Take one section of hair and split it making a smaller section.
• Apply leave-in conditioner to your fingertips and apply it in a raking motion.
• As you apply the conditioner, lightly pull the curl to stretch it and smooth the strands.
• Don’t touch your curls. Allow the hair to lay down freely and continue to the next section until your entire head is complete.