Curly Girl Method Hair Products

A Breakdown Of The Different Products Available For The Curly Girl Method And What They Do

The Curly Girl Method, while life changing, can be daunting, but as long as you know what each product does, it's the best thing you can do for your hair.

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Chances are, if you clicked on this article, it's because you have naturally textured hair and have no idea what the Curly Girl Method is. Or maybe you've heard it here and there but have never fully looked into it because you figured it's super complicated and a waste of time.

Believe me, I've been there.

Even though I've only been loyal to this method for almost a year now (10 months to be exact) I can remember a time when I heard the name of this lifestyle (because it's more than just something for your hair, I'll tell you that) and wondered what the heck was the point; but now, I know.

It was definitely hard to take the first steps into this method. It took a lot of back and forth with myself and a lot of unsure-ty if I really wanted to spend money on products that might not end up working on my hair, essentially wasting money. Still, the ultimate deciding factor was the severe lack of health in my hair and my desperate longing for it to get better.

So, if you've read through multiple articles on this method (one of my own included) or watched dozens of videos about it and feel like you're ready to dive right in, here are some of the starter steps that I took to get me to where I needed to be.

Step 1 - Find a good Curly Girl approved shampoo

One of the most important parts of taking care of your natural hair is to not dry it out. Textured hair, whether it's wavy, curly or kinky, is dryer than straight hair and therefore needs all of the preservation of moisture possible. This is impossible to accomplish when you're constantly draining it of all of the natural oils your scalp produces by using shampoos consisting of sulfate cleaners!

Sulfates are harsh detergents often found in laundry detergent, dish soap, and other similar products. Do you really want to put that in your hair? I would hope not.

There are much safer, kinder options to cleanse your hair with, such as sulfate-free shampoos. The brands Cantu, Curls, Sheamoisture, Not Your Mother's Naturals, and Mielle Organics are some of my favorites that don't break the bank too badly, while others such as DevaCurl might also work but will definitely cost you a pretty penny.

The most important thing to remember is to avoid any and all sulfates in the ingredients list. And even if the front of a bottle says it is "sulfate free" make sure you still check the list on the back and search for anything ending in "sulfate" or "sulfonate" because those are no-nos.

When in doubt, paste ingredients list into CurlsBot to check. Or find something else you're more sure about (probably easier.)

Step 2 - Find a good Curly Girl approved conditioner

Hydration is key for textured hair, and if you want any chance at nursing your dry, damaged strands back to health, this is going to be one of the steps to get you there. However, not all conditioners are created equal, and in order for one to be considered "Curly Girl approved" it has to be free of all silicones.

Silicones are similar to plastic in the fact that they coat your hair and prevent stuff from getting into it, such as hydration. Silicones will build up on the hair and prevent any of the good, moisturizing ingredients from hair products from penetrating the hair shaft, keeping your hair dry and damaged for longer.

The worst part? The only way to wash them out is by using sulfates (unless you google them and they turn out to be water soluble silicones, in which case they'll come out within a couple of sulfate-free washes.)

In order to remain Curly Girl method friendly, try to look out for brands such as Cantu, Sheamoisture, Mielle Organics, and Not Your Mother's Naturals for all of your conditioning needs. Or, if you're really pressed for money, consider using VO5 or Suave, seeing as they also have some approved conditioners for dirt cheap that get the job done.

Just make sure you're utilizing CurlsBot, once again, to check what's appropriate and what's not.

Step 3 - Deep condition at least once every week

If your hair has been heat styled for years, if you've dyed it so much that you can barely remember what your natural hair color is, or if you simply feel like your hair is weak and brittle, deep conditioning is what you need to be worried about.

There are various different deep conditioners, deep treatments, and hair masks on the market that cater to different needs. Sheamoisture makes three of my favorite ones, for example: The Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Hair Masque, the 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Rehydration Treatment Masque, and the Raw Shea & Cupuaçu Frizz Defense Masque. Each of these provides different, specific benefits for my hair and I like to rotate my use of them from week to week.

Of course, there are multiple others available on the market from other brands (I hear the Not Your Mother's Naturals Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom Nutrient Rich Butter Masque is a good one to use) and as long as you're using them at least once a week, you're doing it right.

If you feel your hair is really dry, though, it's your prerogative to use them as often as you see fit. But if your hair is prone to get weighed down easily, be sure you keep that in mind as well.

Step 4 - Leave-In is key

A lot of people might disagree with me on this, especially if your hair is finer and gets weighed down a lot easier than others (I'm looking at you 2A-2C girls) but leave-in conditioner is life-changing, truly.

If you ever find that your hair seems to become dry easily, even after you've conditioned and deep conditioned for what seems like hours, maybe a leave-in might be what you're missing.

Leave-in conditioners provide extra moisture for your hair, seeing as they are left to sit on the hair until they are fully absorbed as opposed to being rinsed out like a normal conditioner or a deep conditioner. For some, the thought of this might be terrifying, but you'll never know if it works or not without using it.

For me personally, I only use a leave-in on days where I feel my hair is dryer than usual. For you, maybe it'll be needed it every day, maybe it won't.

But you have to try it before you decide.

Step 5 - Pick the right styler for you

Arguably the most important part of any natural hair routine is the end when you style your hair how you want it to look and make sure it stays that way by using the right product. But how do you choose one when there are so many?

The main categories of styles are as follows: Creams, mousses, and gels. Each of them serves a different purpose, and each of them has so many varieties to choose from based on ingredients and benefits so you can find the perfect ones to use.

Creams typically tend to enhance your natural curl pattern. They provide little to medium hold and bring the best results when topped off with one of the other two.

Mousses are used for hold, which can be medium to strong. While some may have specific benefits when it comes to enhancing your curl pattern (based on ingredients) they are best used when mixed with a product from the other two categories.

Gels are what most curly girls swear by, seeing as they provide the most hold. Some gels have benefits to your hair aside from that, but overall they are best used after a curl cream to keep your style and hard-work in place.

My styling routine is as follows: Either Cantu's Wave Whip Curling Mousse or Mielle Organics' Babassu Brazilian Curly Cocktail Mousse, followed by one of my favorite gel (including jellies and custards) products, either Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly, Miss Jessie's Jelly Soft Curls, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, or Garnier Fructis' Curl Treat Jelly.


Once you find your holy grail products from each category, you'll learn that the Curly Girl Method really isn't as hard or scary as you initially thought, and your hair will thank you immensely for finally showing it some love.

So go ahead and take the plunge! You (and your hair) deserve it.

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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If You Want Smoother Skin, Take A Look At This Beginner's Guide To Chemical Exfoliants

There are two types of chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

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I'm sure there was a time in your life when you used the St. Ives Apricot scrub with the tiny granules to exfoliate the flaky skin off around your nose. But what if I told you there was something that could that and more? Behold, chemical exfoliants, an absolute game changer to skincare. The way chemical exfoliants work is different from physical ones. They use, you guessed it, chemicals to help speed up the process of cell turnover, which is just a fancy way of saying dead skin being shed. They also help to brighten dull skin, smooth fine lines and textural issues, fade pigmentation, unclog pores, and even reduce acne and oil production.

OK, so maybe they're a bit more superior. That being said. if you want to know the 411 on everything about chemical exfoliants and become a skin goddess, keep on reading.

Benefits and products that contain chemical exfoliants

There are also two types of chemical exfoliants: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

Alpha hydroxy acids

This is a water-soluble acid, so it doesn't penetrate as deep as BHAs but is great for moisturizing the skin and is still very effective at shedding dead skin cells. AHAs are great antiaging fighters as they stimulate collagen production, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It also reduces the appearance of acne scars and dark spots. AHAs are naturally derived and can be found in fruits like grapes. Products that include AHAs will be labeled with glycolic acid, lactic acid, alpha-hydroxyoctanoic acid, etc.

Beta hydroxy acids

BHAs are oil-soluble so it can penetrate deep in the skin. This is very beneficial for acne-prone skin as it works to unclog pores and reduce oil production. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in BHAs is what makes them great to put in acne products. Be on the lookout for products with salicylic acid and citric acid on the label.

How do you use them?

First off, when trying out chemical exfoliants for the first time, it's best to gradually incorporate them into your skincare routine. Start by using the product once a week until you can handle using it every other day. Also, if you have sensitive skin, try a patch test first to see if your skin can handle it. Now, depending on the way the chemical exfoliant is added or used in the product, instructions can vary. Those that come in the form of toners can be applied with a cotton pad all over the skin after you've cleansed then followed up your moisturizing routine.

There are also exfoliating pads that give you the best of both worlds and include a chemical exfoliation in the solution and a physical exfoliation via a more abrasive texture on one side of the pad. With these, you can just rub it all over your face and let it dry or some require you to wash it off afterward. Serums and essences can just be pat into the face by putting a few drops into your hands. Chemical exfoliants can also be used day or night, depending on your preference.

One very important thing to remember when using chemical exfoliants is to use sunscreen! Using chemical exfoliants makes your skin more sensitive to the sun and can cause more damage for you to fix.

Recommended products

Now that you know the lowdown on chemical exfoliants it's time to dive into some products to try out!

Toner

The Pixi Glow Tonic is a holy grail for many and there's a reason why. It's an AHA product with 5% glycolic acid that brightens dry and dull skin, giving your skin a glow. It's formulated with aloe vera as well to help soothe the skin.

Exfoliating pads

The Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine pads are also a cult favorite for many. The pads include lactic acid, but the star ingredient is Resveratrol, naturally fermented in red wine and has naturally occurring AHAs. This ingredient is a great antioxidant that helps prevent wrinkles.

Serum liquids

The COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is my personal fave and I've been using it for months now. As the product name suggests, this essence targets blackheads and unclogs pores. I also found that it helped to fade preexisting hyperpigmentation as well as quickly fade any scarring from a popped pimple. This essence really helped to clear up the acne I would frequently get on my forehead and it really smoothed any texture on my face. I also noticed the number of blackheads on my nose decreased.

I know, that was a lot to take in. But hopefully, you've learned a lot and will consider working chemical exfoliants into your skincare routine. Try out some of the products mentioned above and witness your skin transform into the skin of your dreams!

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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