Hi guys! I’m Pallavi, the blogger behind The Curious Jalebi. If you’re new here, welcome to my corner of the internet where I discuss and motivate young women in India to love their natural hair.
In this post I’m going to talk to you about the most common problems, questions and issues that arises when you start your natural hair journey.
Get yourself a big cup of tea and take your time with this – don’t freak out at the length. Feel free to bookmark this and read in parts because each point is important and you will face them at some point in your journey.
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Wavy or curly hair is naturally dry
The oil from our scalp does not reach the ends of our hair because of it’s shape. Hence, additional products are needed to ensure they get hydrated, moisturised and defined! Expecting great curly hair with just a shampoo is a mistake!
It will seem overwhelming, at FIRST
You will have to read, watch and do your researching my sweetlings. No one can spoon feed you what’s the best for your hair. During your research, try to start with the basics and try them out first before reading more to not feel confused and overwhelmed! Start with baby steps! I’m always an email, comment or DM away if you want more clarification!
Find out your hair type
This is essential in avoiding confusion and finding a similar hair routine to start with! Many of you will think your hair is curly when in fact it is wavy (from my experience). So find out- is your hair light wavy, very wavy, curly or kinky? Click the below link!
One size does not fit all
You may have 2-3 different hair types on your head. The weather or water where you live could be different from someone else. What results you like might not be loved by someone else! Key is to experiment and learn what your hair loves because one routine will not suit everyone.
Difference in wavy and curly hair routines
If you have wavy hair but try curly hair routines you are bound to get disappointed with the results! Instead, choose from the two to begin your natural hair journey.
(CGM or Curly Girl Method is a philosophy followed by curly girls across the world)
Conditioners or CG Method doesn’t CAUSE hair fall
This is SO important for you to learn! One of the most common complaints is I started CG but I have hair fall.
This is what usually happens- we shed 50-100 hair strands normally everyday that come out when you comb everyday. But in CGM or curly techniques, you only comb twice or thrice a week after applying a conditioner inside the shower and after a leave in conditioner or curl cream outside it. The un-shed hair that is trapped suddenly comes out while combing in the shower and suddenly you feel like that’s a LOT when it’s not true.
Want to test this theory out? Start washing and combing your hair every 3 days, then 2 days then everyday to see how the amount that falls reduces!
You should also be using your fingers to detangle your hair gently with some oil before your shampoo and ensure your conditioner is slippery enough to ensure less breakage.
See a dermatologist for hair fall
If you’re still having excessive hair fall, instead of panicking, go to the doctor. Rule out stress, water quality, iron deficiency, hormonal imbalances (pcod, thyroid) and vitamin deficiency (B12, D).
Desi nuske (DIY Hacks) won’t help solve medical issues, remember that!
You don’t need expensive products to get healthy natural hair
So many of my readers have found affordable products and achieved beautiful healthy hair so don’t stress if you can’t afford many international products. You can also learn to multipurpose a conditioner by using it as a leave in conditioner as well. I’ve included some links for pocket-friendly routines.
There is no BEST shampoo, conditioner only your FAVOURITE (and in your budget)
I love different products for different reasons – some give more length, some for shrinkage, some for it’s price and effectiveness, some for it’s scent. Then there is the matter of your hair type. As a result, I don’t answer to this common question- ‘Suggest best products for curly hair’
Time, patience and consistency
It took me a few years of trying different products in different amounts to learn what works and what is best for my hair. Even after realizing and practicing, being consistent and patient in my routine got me to where I am now! Remember to not give up too easily!
Heat damaged or chemically damaged hair will HAVE to be chopped off
Keratin, smoothening, brazillian blowouts all chemically alter the structure of your hair. They won’t go back to how they are even after following these techniques.
Be patient while transitioning
Don’t give up. Look back at how far YOU have come instead of looking at other curly peeps and keep trying, even after you fail!
Deep conditioning is your best friend
An easy way to fasten your transitioning process is to be regular with deep conditioning your hair. You do this once a week to begin with a moisturising hair mask. This is one of my top tips for beginners!
Techniques over products
I can’t stress this enough. Learn techniques like combing after conditioner/leave in conditioner, Raking, Praying Hands, Squish to Condish and practice them with the products you already HAVE before getting more!
You don’t NEED only CG Friendly products
Silicones is not always the bad guy. For many years, I applied the techniques with Non-CG products and still achieved bouncy, healthy curls. So do many women across the world. Granted, CGM has its advantages but don’t feel discouraged if you can’t find cg products near you in the beginning.
Simply use a mild sulphate shampoo and a creamy silicone conditioner that is very moisturising- even with them you will see a difference!
#MadeinIndia #CGFriendly products
Thankfully there are many companies in India now that have products for us! Try Arata Zero Chemicals (Discount code- CURIOUSARATA ), Ashba Botanics, Fix my Curls (Discount code- THECURIOUSJALEBI), True Frog (Discount code- CURIOUSJALEBI10)
You don’t NEED the Denman Brush or Flexi brush
Don’t have to GIVE UP on straightening your hair once in a while
Don’t and don’t listen to anyone who shames you for switching things once in a while. As long as its rare and you use a heat protectant cream and also understand the damage heat has, your hair is your own. No policing on my page!
High, long duration of heat is BAD for you
If you overdo straightening or blow outs with heat or use an iron or use high heat while diffusing your hair, you will see more split ends and get hair that doesn’t curl as much anymore.
Treat dandruff with Curly Girl Friendly routine.
You can absolutely manage your dandruff even after following CG method!
Frizz is normal
Even after following a routine, there will be some frizz, it is natural, especially in a tropical and humid environment like ours. The key is to reduce it as much as possible (if you want to, that is) but understand little will always be there.
Natural hair will get increasingly drier
The longer you go without washing your hair, it will get drier and frizzier. That’s just how it is. You can however protect your curls at night like this and Refresh them in the morning with this method to decrease frizz.
Parabens is not written in Curly Girl Method
Avoiding parabens is a personal preference – Lorraine Massey, the founder of CGM has not written about this ingredient in her book.
Air dry Versus Diffusing
I love to use a diffuser (learn more here) because it speeds up my drying time and it gives me tighter curls as compared to when I air dry. I encourage you to try both and see what you like better.
Don’t compare your natural hair journey to someone else’s
Another tip I can’t stress enough. This is also something I have to remind myself too, from time to time. I can also get envious of other women’s length or much curlier texture.
It is human to compare but essential that you pull yourself back as well and shut the door on that thinking. Try to compare your journey only to yourself and follow more people with similar hair type like yours.
Keep a record/diary
To avoid the confusion, keep a virtual diary with a picture of the results, how you feel it’s texture is and what products you use. It will help you navigate and learn what results you want again.
Change one thing in your routine at a time
If you have many different new products, for eg, a new shampoo, a new conditioner and new stylers, don’t try all of them in the same routine. Change one thing at a time so you can tell the difference, be it good or bad.
Your parents or peers might not understand or appreciate your hair
Indians are not used to a different method of taking care of curly hair. Oil and plait has always been what we have grown up listening and keeping our hair open counts as unruly or ‘jungli’ for many older people.
They also won’t get that we don’t need to comb our curls everyday. I understand that it is not possible in many families to practice this routine or while attending school so I encourage you to show this testimonial section to the people who doubt you to win them over.
Only some DIY hair masks work as well as a store bought deep conditioner/ hair mask
Pinterest may be full of magical grow-your-hair-twice-as-long-overnight masks but please, don’t believe such claims. Yes there are a few great, natural DIY masks but store bought masks have rich oils and conditioning ingredients in them and I firmly believe you should invest in one. It doesn’t need to be expensive!
Another alternative is to take your favourite conditioner, add a spoon of oil and a spoon of honey and apply to post-shampoo hair for 30-40 mins! You can read more about deep conditioning here.
Understand Protein-Moisture Balance Without Getting Obsessed
The natural hair community can get really confusing and sometimes in my personal opinion, a tad bit obsessed over certain trends (looking at you, rice water rinses!). Here’s what protein-moisture balance means – if you use a shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner and gel in your routine, keep two products without proteins as an ingredient and two with protein.
You balance out the protein in one product with pure moisturising ingredients in another. This, many people believe helps in achieving more defined curls without extra frizz or weighed down curls.
It can happen that by using only moisturising products, your hair can get over-moisturised, leading to weighed down curls that have lost their bounce. Alternatively, too much protein can make hair prone to breakage and frizz. Balancing your products ensures this does not happen.
I personally have not seen any difference with all the products I have tried out, protein or not protein, plus I honestly can’t be bothered to this level of mathematics!
You don’t have to be so scared of protein
Many of you are scared of protein, sorry let me correct that, many of you are terrified of using products with protein in them without even trying. Don’t forget hair is made up of proteins and needs some of it (at least one product in your routine with protein is a good bet) to get extra definition.
Also, if you have over moisturised your hair (also called as hydral fatigue), doing a protein treatment is a great way to get back the bounce in your curls. I think doing a protein treatment once a month is also a great way to incorporate this result in your hair and no you don’t need a fancy product to do this. Try the DIY Gelatin mask to see the difference!
Wet hair is weak and needs to be handled gently
While the Curly Girl Method states that you should comb after applying conditioner or leave in conditioner when your hair is still wet, don’t forget it is the weakest when it’s wet.
Hence, take care to gently detangle once with oil before you shampoo and then use a very slippery conditioner inside the shower to ease the detangling process. Put your hair up in a bun if you’re in a hurry instead of washing it too quicky and yanking it while combing.
Basics first, product junkie later
There is no shame in becoming a product junkie but avoid it in the beginning. When you first start out, you tend to buy too many products and forget to learn about techniques!
I’d rather you follow the techniques with the products you have currently and learn your basics first!
Once you have learned the techniques and found what works, buy as many as your heart desires!
Learn to read ingredient labels
Sending me ingredient labels on DM does get annoying, if I’m being honest. I don’t like spoon feeding.
I would recommend for your own benefit that you learn the basic ingredients of what to avoid in the CG Method from this post.
This also helps you to learn what your hair reacts well to or doesn’t and will inform all your future buying decisions. Be an informed consumer.
Sheabutter is not the enemy but be careful
Sheabutter or other raw butters have a love-hate reputation in the CG community. Some find that since this oils are heavy and rich, they can sit on top your hair (especially low porosity hair types) and leave them weighed down. Since hair swings in front of the face while styling and drying, they can also cause acne.
Here’s my take on it – don’t mirror someone else’s experience as your own, especially the negative ones without trying. Is your skin prone to acne with face oils and face creams? Then I suggest you be cautious with any curl cream or curl butter that has such oils.
You can do that by simply keeping your hair out of your face’s way by a head band while it dries. Also, wash your face with your cleanser AFTER you’re done styling.
A famous victim is the Cantu curl activator cream. I know too many people who have loved using the cream but those who haven’t are scared of other people complaining about the acne it caused. Then there are some for whom it didn’t even after being prone to it. I don’t think the verdict is out on this so please try and experiment.
I would however recommend you choose lighter products without these butters if your hair is loose wavy or loose curly since butters do weigh down fine hair!
Neither is oiling
Same with oils. Some people in the CG community are against oiling, stating they block moisture, just like silicones. Being an Indian, I cannot discount the advantages of oiling.
I would suggest though that while styling, use an oil last, to ‘seal’ your curls. This step also leaves your curls shiny!
To oil your hair before shampoo, do it lightly (pre-poo) so that you don’t need a lot of shampoo to wash the oil out. Oiling your hair before washing also prevents protein loss!
Low porosity/High porosity
Finding out whether your hair is low or high porosity is not easy. You can’t fully trust the tests that are simple enough to carry at home.
Also as long you genuinely experiment with products and find out what suits you, you don’t need to get stressed about it. I have low porosity hair but my hair loves butters. It loves layered products. That’s not what a low po curl type is supposed to benefit from!
Post pregnancy hair loss is natural
To all of you new moms, congratulations and good luck! In between navigating mommyhood, many of you will find yourself worried about the accelerated hair loss. This is normal and expected.
Your hair will grow back so allow yourself to be swept away by your many other responsibilities and recheck in a few months with your dermatologist if you find it has not reduced.
Don’t blindly follow any influencer or blogger (yes, even me)
This is something I have specifically noticed with the Indian CG community on Instagram. They’re very easily influenced. By chance a brand is being bashed by someone, there will be hysteria and an absolute refusal to try something themselves.
I ask you dear reader to not fall in the same trap. Take every blogger/influencers review with a grain of salt, even mine. What did not suit me, could be the product that gives you stunning hair.
Have someone looking or posting for affordable products? Don’t shame them.
Are they always buying new products to try and experiment with? Don’t shame them!
Everyone’s hair is their own priority – simply concern yourself with finding yours and encouraging those around you to do so within their means!
Using products with glycerine in either hot or humid areas can be tricky since it’s something that draws moisture into itself from the environment (it is a humectant) leading to more frizz (when it doesn’t find any water in the environment) but the key again is to experiment.
Usually using a hard hold gel or an oil to seal in the product helps in spades! If it doesn’t try to find glycerine free products (post on this coming soon) instead!
Eggs and mayyonaise are NOT protein treatments
The protein molecules in eggs or mayo are too big to penetrate the hair strand so it CANNOT act as a protein treatment. The results you see from both are actually due to the fat content in both!
If you want to do a protein treatment, use a hair mask that has a protein in the first 5-10 ingredients or try the Gelatin mask!
Ingredients potency decreases as you go down the label
This is the principle of formulation – the first 5 ingredients are in the highest concentration of the product and make up to 97-98% of the whole. The remaining ingredients compound the last 2% so for some ingredient to be highly effective, look for it in the first 5 ingredients in the label!
Same with a bad ingredient like IPA (drying alcohol and not allowed in cg method), they are there in some products in the last few ingredients to speed up the drying. I don’t think you need to get scared with such products.
DIY Flaxseed gel is amazing
Can’t afford a gel or you want a no fuss routine- try the natural DIY Flaxseed gel. Great for wavy, curly and kinky, this moisturises hair and gives it a light hold! If you’re scared of trying out stylers, this is also a great option!
It is normal to get crunchy curls after using a gel
After using a gel and even a good curl cream, it is natural that your waves and curls form a hard cast. In fact, this is recommended.
To remove it and get softer, bouncier hair, simply SOTC or Scrunch Out The Crunch by scrunching upwards with your fingers and shaking the hair at your crown loose with the tips of your fingers!
Spread the love – share your tips with people around you
If you find these tips and techniques helping you, don’t forget to share it with more people you think will benefit! You never know who’s struggling with their hair!
Your hair type won’t drastically change
If your hair is not straightened chemically or heat damaged, don’t expect your wavy hair to change to really curly even with time. The key is to not let your expectation lead your to disappointment- remember that this journey is to get to see the healthiest version of your natural hair. Aim for that and be realistic about it as well!
Resist combing daily (Especially in the beginning)
The habit of combing or brushing your hair everyday will be difficult to resist, but it’s essential in the beginning. When you comb your curls dry daily, the clumps WILL break and you will be left with frizzier hair. In case you need to comb it into a hairstyle for work or school, then simply style your curls with your leave in or curl cream and/or gel and comb. Plait it right after before it dries up. That way your hair will still retain moisture.
It won’t look perfect all the time
There will be many times where you won’t get perfect curls – yes, even after using products that gave great results before. Curly hair is often full of surprises and sometimes these methods of taming fail!
It’s important that on such days you don’t feel disheartened and realise next wash day could be better!
Protective Styles While Transitioning
If like me, you also got Keratin or smoothening done and want to cut off your damaged hair slowly, your hair will be a mix of new curly hair (from the crown) and straightened (at the end). Yes it does look strange sometimes so if that bothers you too much and you can’t cut the straight part yet, tie it into a bun or a plait!
I know these are a LOT (I can come up with more lol) but these are things I find myself gettig queries about readers often. In your journey, your will find yourself thinking about them so bookmark this post and simply come back when you find yourself getting confused or demotivated!
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