Updated: Jan 14
My mom and I could’ve saved at least PHP 200,000 or around $4000 in the past 20 years. Thanks mom for paying my salon visits until I got my 1st paycheck.
I’ve always sported bobs and mid-length styles as a small child. So fast forward to fifth grade, I started wanting to finally grow my hair. However, my hair became really unruly, and kinkier and curlier than ever. I was jokingly called "Kirara", an aeta fictional character in a Philippine TV show, so I decided to straighten my hair and spend less time outdoors. On a side note, I’m so glad that more and more Filipinos are now finally embracing our Pinoy hair and skin color.
I remember visiting Going Straight Salon – Megamall for a needle-straight, non-moving, Egyptian-inspired hair lol. I would then go back x times for x amounts of treatments, like hot oil and cellophane (hot-oil + eggplant color tint that would wash-off everytime you shower haha), to make my hair look healthy.
Then came Rebonding. It's a bit-more expensive-but-easier-to-maintain option to achieve that gorgeously soft, straight hair. It has then became my go-to and fall back salon treatment in the next years after.
My Curly Hair Journey
The desire to simplify my hair routine and grow my natural hair has always been present. I would get a pixie everytime, but have always failed and resorted back to hair rebonding. Then, I discovered the Curly Girl Method or CGM, which totally made a difference and changed my life.
I did a lot of research before I jumped into CGM. I finished and gave away all non-CGM products at home, before I invested on my first basic set of CGM-approved products. And when I knew that I was finally ready, I chopped off my hair, and started with a clean slate.
What is Curly Girl Method?
Curly Girl Method is a routine for wavy, curly, and coily hair types defined by Lorraine Massey in her book, "Curly Girl: The Handbook". Since curly hair needs extra TLC, it details steps and products to use or avoid that I actually found new. Sad but I came from a country whose most hair dressers and product brands would just suggest for a straightening treatment and style. Here’s a basic overview.
My Minimalist CGM-Inspired Routine
CGM can be overwhelming at first – there are too many jargons, not much product option, and so on. But, I love that it can be adjusted depending on your hair and lifestyle. So, I started slow, and took and tried the basic steps first. I was planning to build from there, and add when needed, but it looks like my hair is already a-okay.
Final or Transition Wash.
This is only done ONCE to remove gunk and all impurities from all the products you’ve previously used. After this, there's no more turning back. Most CGM girls use dishwashing liquids, I used a proudly-pinoy hypoallergenic laundry soap bar made with Coconut oil and other natural ingredients. It's tough yet mild enough for hands and makeup brushes, so I thought of using it and it surprisingly worked well.
Shampoo ONCE a WEEK
You'll hear about Low Poo and No Poo a lot in CGM. No Poo means totally skipping shampoo; while Low Poo means using a CGM-approved shampoo that are free from sulfates, parabens, silicone, mineral oil, and other unnecessary chemical ingredients - a.k.a the baddies. Choosing which shampoo will really depend on your type of curl. I discovered that I have a type 2 curl, so I went Low Poo.
I had a bad case of dandruff in my first weeks, which was a common problem in CGM. So, I tried a couple of low poo shampoos, and finally found one that my scalp likes. I'm now using a shampoo infused with Tea Tree Oil, which is known to soothe itchy scalp, prevent excess oil production, and reduce flaking.
Conditioner Wash or Co-Wash DAILY
Instead of using shampoo, wash your hair with conditioner. This way, curly hair will maintain its natural moisture. I just scrunch my hair from tip to root to help define my curls, detangle using my fingers, then rinse off most of the conditioner. I discovered that this method can actually add and help seal in moisture. Unlike before when I would rinse my hair until there's no more film-like feel on my hair before.
Deep Conditioner ONCE a WEEK
I use this every after shampoo, because shampoos are actually drying. I wrap my hair for 20-30 mins, then rinse out but (again) not all of the conditioner.
Avoid heat while you can! Use a diffuser if you really need to.
I loosely wrap my hair with a microfiber towel for about 15mins to remove excess water. Then, I let it air dry after. I also resist the temptation to comb it. But if I really need to, I finger-comb or use a wide tooth comb while my hair is still wet. I then scrunch again to curl undefined strands.
Refresher Spray when needed
I use a refresher spray when my hair gets dry mid-day. But instead of buying, I make my own using 90% Rose water and 10% of the conditioner I use.
So, what are the CGM steps or products I skipped?
Straight to Curl or S2C
Most use separate products for this, like a lighter conditioner. But instead of considering it as a separate method or product, I find scrunching in the shower with my conditioner adequate.
Hair gels and curl-defining products are used to keep the curls intact. But I really hate the feel of these products on my hair, and not to mention, the extra time I need to rinse them off.
Scrunch out the curl or SOTC
This step is done through scrunching when you used styling products. This, based on my research, should encourage bouncy, less frizzy hair. But since I don't use stylers, this is totally unnecessary for me.
Any helpful resources?
Before you shop, make sure to check curlscan.com for a list of CGM-approved products. Check out communities on Facebook (like Curly Girls Philippines) as well, where curly members generously share tips and recommend products that are locally available. It’s actually inspiring to see more and more Filipinos embracing their curly hair. But, I just hope that more local brands would catch up and realize that curly hair is beautiful too, and develop products for curly types. Yes, the options and availability of products are still limited.
I just barely started, 3 months to be exact; but I’m really happy and satisfied with my progress. This journey taught me to accept and love my hair. It’s not always a great hair day, and I’m still in the process of exploring products that my hair would love, but I now freely embrace my hair’s natural wash and wear state.
Love the hair you wear,