Basic Steps to "Going CG"
1. Make sure every single product you put near your head is sulfate- and silicone-free: That means your shampoos, co-washes, conditioners, leave-ins, stylers, finishers, everything.
2. Select a good curly-friendly shampoo (or co-wash). Look in our Recommendations to find a good shampoo for your hair type if you are unsure.
A. You do NOT need to do a "final wash" with a harsh, sulfate-based shampoo to start the "CG" process. If you are worried about clarifying your hair at the very beginning, throw a tablespoon of baking soda or a capsule of activated charcoal into an ounce of a curly-friendly shampoo instead.
3. Select a good curly-friendly conditioner, (protein-based if you have fine hair and protein-free if you do not). Look in our Recommendations to find a good conditioner for your particular hair type.
4. After you shampoo or co-wash, rinse your hair thoroughly, then apply conditioner to your hair with your fingers. Rake the conditioner through your length and use your fingers to detangle your hair. Be generous with your product application. This is no place to skimp on product.
5. Use a wide-tooth comb or pick to finish distributing your conditioner throughout your hair, even if you feel tangle-free.
A. A wide-tooth comb or a pick will virtually always give you a better product distribution and product coating than just using your fingers.
6. Let your conditioner sit while you finish the rest of your shower (wash your body, shave your legs, etc.), then rinse the conditioner out completely with cool or cold water.
A. Cool things shut the hair shaft down while warm things open the hair shaft up.
7. Flip your head upside down in the shower while it is soaking wet for the best styling product application. Apply (rake or scrunch) your products into your soaking wet hair in the following order: leave-in conditioner, curl cream (optional), gel/mousse, finishing oil (optional). Again, be generous with your product application. “Product the size of a dime” will not cut it here.
A. Make sure you also loosen those wet curls from your hairline and scalp.
8. When you are finished raking or scrunching your products into your soaking wet hair, use your hands to squeeze your curls (until the water stops running). Use an “accordion” motion to scrunch your curls up to your roots. Listen for a wet “squishing” noise as you squeeze, which will tell you the product and the water in your hair are playing nicely together.
9. Use a flour sack towel, an old cotton t-shirt or anything that is 100% cotton with a completely smooth surface to repeat the same process so that you finish scrunching out the extra water from your hair.
A. We are NOT fans of microfiber towels. Microfiber towels pull moisture out of your hair shaft so fast, they can ruffle the cuticle of your hair strands and create frizz.
10. Flip your hair right side up and arrange your curls the way you want them.
A. Using the tail of a rattail/pintail comb (or a chopstick, a skewer, an orangewood stick, etc.), find your part, separate your curls if necessary, lift your curls up off your scalp, etc.
B. Remember that how your curls dry is how they are going to look at the end, so be mindful here.
11. Clip up those roots for volume!
A. Use claw clips instead of those impossible silver prong clips: Your clipping will be much easier (look in our Tools & Accessories page). Pinch a small section of your hair about 1/2" below the root, push the section up so it forms a “hump” or an upside-down “U” just off the scalp, then clip the hair right above your fingers with a claw clip so that “hump” stays visible.
B. Do this all around your part and at the crown of your head where we have a tendency to go really flat naturally. (Tiffany calls this “car seat hair” because she says we all look just like babies whose hair at the crown always gets flattened out from laying in a car seat.)
12. Let your hair dry. Air-dry, diffuse, bonnet dryer, car vents: It doesn't matter.
A. Make sure your hair is at least 95% of the way dry before you decide you are dry enough to call it quits or you may become frizzy.
13. Finish it: Take the clips out, flip upside down again, shake out your roots and break up the dried product (you can scrunch out the crunch, clap out the crunch, smooth out the crunch using praying hands, etc.).
A. Experiment with different methods to find the one you like the best.
14. Flip right side up and arrange your beautiful curls. You can also smooth over a finishing oil or serum at this point if you’d like.
Ta-da! Hi, curly girl!