CurlTalk

Getting Your Curl On: a step-by-step guide

StruttsWifeStruttsWife Posts: 819Registered Users Curl Neophyte
Even with the new "Newbies" section, there is a huge amount of information here to read and learn, and a lot of new folks are still quite overwhelmed.

I thought maybe I'd throw an assist by outlining a few "first steps" I would suggest for a new member to orient themselves more easily and get a basic working knowledge of our "language" under their belt before diving into the site more deeply.

Step 1: Learn About "Going CG"
While some members do not follow the CG method of curly hair care, plenty do: and there are enough references on the board to make a newbie crazy wondering, "What the heck is this CG thing they are all talking about???"

"CG" is an abbreviation for "Curly Girl", the book written by Lorraine Massey in 2001, that advocates not using regular shampoos, and staying away from sulfate and silicone ingredients in hair care products. Laura Lee's All in One Guide to Going CG is a must-read for any new member who wants to understand this very popular method of curly hair care:

Laura Lee's Guide to Going CG

Step 2: Figure Out Your Hair Texture, Porosity and Density
Look at any member's signature and they will most likely list their hair texture (fine, medium or coarse), porosity (low, normal or high) and density (thin, medium, or thick). The key to understanding how to establish the best maintenance routine for your curls is to know these hair properties. The following thread will help you start to identify your own individual properties and understand why knowing this information is important:

Texture, Porosity and Other Hair Type Madness

Step 3: Get a Working Understanding of Dew Points
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the humidity that is important in understanding how weather plays a role in how your curls behave: it's the dew point. jillipoo's thread on dew point vs. humidity includes some good links to information explaining the difference between the two and why dew point is a better gauge than humidity to predict your hair's reaction to the atmosphere.

Dew point vs. humidity

redcelticcurls also has an awesome longer explanation on dew points that I also recommend as a must read:

Dew Points

Step 4: Find your Hair Type
While knowing your "hair type" or curl pattern does not matter in terms of determining what products to use, finding and visually identifying your curl type can sometimes be half the enjoyment of embracing your curly hair. The system created by Andre Walker is the most popular on naturallycurly.com and includes the hair classifications most commonly used by the naturallycurly.com members:

What is Your Curl Type?

Step 5: Find a Hair Twin
Once you have determined your own basic hair properties and hair type, it is often useful to find a "hair twin" on naturallycurly.com to give you a starting point on what products to use. Most members post their hair information along with current product use in their signatures, so find someone who appears to have hair similar to yours and follow them around for a while to see if you are a match. If you find someone who shares your hair characteristics, you can start using their product recommendations as a baseline to determine the best products for you.

This is by no means a complete list of all the information and resources available on the site, but once you have a handle on the above, the world of naturally curly hair won't seem nearly as intimidating :)

Cheers!
- Tiffany
Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

Comments

  • jillipoojillipoo Posts: 3,795Registered Users
    Such a simple solution. :) Thanks for posting that, Tiffany!
    3a and strictly CG since August 2007. Porous and on the fine side. No to magnesium sulfate and glycerin. Yes to protein! Favorites:
    CO-WASHES: Suave Coconut
    CONDITIONERS and LEAVE-INS: Mop Top Daily Conditioner, KBB Nectar, Aubrey GPB or Island Naturals, Robert Craig, Any Jessicurl
    CURL ENHANCERS/CREMES/MOUSSES: KCCC, JoiWhip
    GELS: Fuzzy Duck, B5 Design, MGA Scultping, BRHG


    Fotki password: chuckle
    Blog: /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fjillipoo.blogspot.com%2F" class="Popup
    Twitter: nopoojillipoo
  • StruttsWifeStruttsWife Posts: 819Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    You are quite welcome :) I tried to think of what might be the most helpful to me if I was new and this seemed to be the most logical.

    I will try to keep this bumped for visibility.
    - Tiffany
    Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

    Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
    Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

    Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
    3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

  • whatsercurlwhatsercurl Posts: 4,049Registered Users
    Love it! Thanks Tiffany! :D

    I think you should send it to Gretchen to be put in as a sticky to save continual bumping. I was thinking of putting together an introduction to posting guide that would include much of the same information you've listed here - hair type, texture, porosity, etc.
    Current Products: CJ Products: CF, DF, CT, SG, AFG, CIAB AND CK is back!
    Current Experiment: S&C by D

    Curl Fix and Daily Fix are my HGs :love4:


    Sulphate and cone free since July 2007

    wavy/curly fine texture/medium porosity/medium-low density

    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.fotki.com%2Fwhatsercurl%2F" class="Popup

    PW: wavycurly

    Seek not to change the world. Rather seek to change your mind about the world.
  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users
    I agree it should be a sticky. Great info!
    High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

  • curlsgirlbrazilcurlsgirlbrazil Posts: 234Registered Users
    bump
    :thumright::love1:
    3b/a


    I like my microfiber towel and plopping

    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fclubedoscachos.blogspot.com%2F" class="Popup
    No comb,blow-fried, sulfates,silicones detangle Only the [/SIZE]fingers!!
  • dactyldactyl Posts: 5Registered Users
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been wanting a Curly 101 since I discovered this site a few weeks ago. I've been lurking trying to learn everything I can, but it's so overwhelming. Thanks for giving me a starting place!
    I have no idea what's going on with my hair! I think it's low porosity, fine texture and medium density but I'm really not sure.

    CG since 2006, off and on.
    Routine:
    DevaCurl No-poo once or twice a week
    DevaCurl One Condition
    That's it. No coloring, straightening or blow drying in several years.

  • AnnieAnnie Posts: 12Registered Users
    Thank you for this, it's very helpful!
    greying blond hair
    3a/3b, fine, medium density
    product minimalist
    experimenting w/ soaps, clay mixes, borax
    HG is one product to cleanse, natural moisture when needed, and that's it!
  • goobernutgoobernut Posts: 2,317Registered Users
    woot, tiffany wrote the "cliff's notes" for curly hair! Thanks!
    Grand Goobah Caedran, Aqueous Infusion of Demulcents, Order of the Curly Crusaders

    Fia 2cFi, fine texture, med porosity CG 5-29-09 * My hair loves protein! Currently using : DermOrganics Shampoo and IHM, G2B Kinkier Mousse, Re:Coil VMM, Anything Spiral Solutions! MO Sealing. Coconut Oil Pre-Poo, once a month Hard Water shampoo. Avoiding Glycerin in finishing products.
  • redcelticcurlsredcelticcurls Posts: 17,502Registered Users
    If anyone want a longer read on dewpoints, I have a longer page about it. It will be adjusted as my working knowledge of dewpoints evolves.
    Kiva! Microfinance works.

    Med/Coarse, porous curly.
  • madma123madma123 Posts: 3Registered Users
    Redcelticcurls thanx for the longer read on dewpoints, the more I learn about their effects on my hair, the more comfortable I feel with them. I live in south Texas and the dewpoints are miserably high. My problem is with products. The leave in, BRHG, CK combo only gives me sticky limp hair, but at least little frizz. Any product suggestions for porous hair in high dewpoints?
  • FTFEFTFE Posts: 163Registered Users
    Don't mind me. Just bumping...
    CG (modified) since 6/18/2009
    ii, 2c/3a?, med/course, porous (I think), normal elasticity
    co-wash: Suave green apple, Deva no-poo, Giovanni TTTT, occasional Deva low-poo
    condish: playing with NatPathAV, AOHR,
    leave-in: KCNT
    styling: HE set me up, curl keeper, KCCC, and BRHG
  • redcelticcurlsredcelticcurls Posts: 17,502Registered Users
    madma123 wrote: »
    Redcelticcurls thanx for the longer read on dewpoints, the more I learn about their effects on my hair, the more comfortable I feel with them. I live in south Texas and the dewpoints are miserably high. My problem is with products. The leave in, BRHG, CK combo only gives me sticky limp hair, but at least little frizz. Any product suggestions for porous hair in high dewpoints?

    ACV rinses and protein if you can take it!

    There is a high dew point support thread over on general hair that may be of help to you!
    Kiva! Microfinance works.

    Med/Coarse, porous curly.
  • IzzyTheTerribleIzzyTheTerrible Posts: 194Registered Users
    Not bumping, just bragging.

    Soooooooo going to get my hair cut by Struttswife this month!!

    Ok, done bragging. Thanks for this post though, seriously!
    2a-2b/fine/LOTS of it/Florida Dews
    CG as of 7/29.


    Co-Wash: Suave Tropical Coconut
    RO-Condish: Suave Tropical Coconut / Matrix Conditioning Balm
    Low-Poo: Daisy Fuentes

    Protein --> :love8: <-- My Hair
  • mpgirlmpgirl Posts: 1,163Registered Users
    Yay, Izzy! another curly to attend our curly gatherings in Florida!:occasion2:
    3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
    Picasa:
    Link
    Deva Low Poo
    Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
    Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
    Homemade FSG
    KCCC
    Curl Junkie Stuff
    BRHG


    Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. -wabi-sabi

  • notyouraveragecurlnotyouraveragecurl Posts: 193Registered Users
    Man, I gotta say, I'm overwhelmed! Going CG I understand, but I'm still a little confused about porosity! I did the porosity "test" and i'm getting kind of a squeaky sound...I would say it was normal to high porosity...I dunno...and elasticity...bah! All of this is incredibly overwhelming. :(

    Still. Trying! :)
    There is a phenomenal amount of beauty in self-acceptance. <3
  • mpgirlmpgirl Posts: 1,163Registered Users
    Squeaking typically indicates you're dry so add moisture. A good deep treatment might do the trick. Many of us do one every week or two.

    Try not to let all of this overwhelm you. Your texture is much more important than porosity. If you have a coarse texture that will indicate limited use of protein. If it's fine, you will need regular protein. If it's medium you will need a little less than regular protein. In either case, you will take care of the porosity with some level or type of protein.

    Just relax and take things step-by-step. I promise, the overwhelmed feeling will pass with each new success!:icon_smile:
    3b spirals, fine texture, normal porosity, dense
    Picasa:
    Link
    Deva Low Poo
    Suave Naturals Coconut for detangling
    Renpure Organics conditioner/leave-in
    Homemade FSG
    KCCC
    Curl Junkie Stuff
    BRHG


    Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. -wabi-sabi

  • notyouraveragecurlnotyouraveragecurl Posts: 193Registered Users
    bumpety bump bump!
    There is a phenomenal amount of beauty in self-acceptance. <3
  • StruttsWifeStruttsWife Posts: 819Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Soooooooo going to get my hair cut by Struttswife this month!!
    Soooooooo want to know when :mrgreen:
    - Tiffany
    Hair Stylist and Curly Hair Specialist - St. Petersburg, FL (Tampa Bay)

    Blog: Live Curly, Live Free
    Facebook fan page: Live Curly Live Free

    Sulfate- and non-water soluble silicone-free since 04/22/2002
    3B, brunette: medium texture, low porosity, high density

  • IzzyTheTerribleIzzyTheTerrible Posts: 194Registered Users
    Soooooooo going to get my hair cut by Struttswife this month!!
    Soooooooo want to know when :mrgreen:


    On the 29th!! :blob5: Excited!
    2a-2b/fine/LOTS of it/Florida Dews
    CG as of 7/29.


    Co-Wash: Suave Tropical Coconut
    RO-Condish: Suave Tropical Coconut / Matrix Conditioning Balm
    Low-Poo: Daisy Fuentes

    Protein --> :love8: <-- My Hair
  • chestersladychesterslady Posts: 25Registered Users
    Thanks this helped a lot! :wave:
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]:love5:R.I.P Big B 7/13/09

    Hair Type:3a
    Using Suave Shampoo's & Conditioner's and La Bella Hair Products
    :wav:

  • dailywavydailywavy Posts: 249Registered Users
    bump ;)
    2b, 2c / f / ii / medium-high porosity
    Vo5-never again, i now can plop!
    CG since may 09, and hubby LOVES the new wavy 'tude!
    :thumbleft:
    products: CV SB, burt's bees more moisture conditioner, co-wash suave naturals coconut condish. FSG, shea hair butter, hair refresher
  • DEL2CDEL2C Posts: 6,418Registered Users
    bump, I wish they would make this a sticky..........anyone else PM Gretchen to request this?
    Discovered CG 2007

    2C Fia BSL/Thick/Med-Coarse/Low(crown)-Normal Porosity Protein and Oil Sensitive

    Link-Spritz & Condish Washing:glasses7:

    I'm aCurlJunkieJunky :love4:

    My hair LOVES Coconut DESPISES Soap Bars :tongue6:


    CJRehab or H&B Fix, Deva NO POO, EO Rose & Cham POO & Condish, CJ CurlFix, CJ Pattern Pusha, CJ CIAB, SS FHG, KCCC, BRHG, AG Mousse Gel, ACV Rinses,Shikakai Conditioning Hair Rinse.
  • turncoatturncoat Posts: 6Registered Users
    What a post :D

    This probably sounds quite sad, but recently, I have been getting really down about my hair.

    I used to have perfect tight curls. I loved them.

    But recently, my hair has become really loose and VERY VERY Fluffy.

    I'm going to try the CG method to see what happens after a month or so.

    Should I use NO shampoo then ????

    And do you have any other tips as to how sort my hair.

    Another question I have is that when I get out the shower, I dry my hair by scrunching using a towel, but once it has stopped dripping I don't know what to do with my hair. Do I leave it all over the place or what???

    Does that make sense????

    I often find my self flattening it and making it look good while its wet.

    HELP ME PLEASE :S :S :( :(
  • bergasaurusbergasaurus Posts: 375Registered Users
    My hair used to be tight spirals. I could let it air dry, it was past bra strap length, and it would dry up curly as all heck. Now it is just past my shoulders and I have to use a diffuser or it will be droopy and sad and the back of my head doesn't curl nearly as much as the front. It's a struggle to get it to curl. I miss my highschool hair. I also am hoping that going CG will get more curl back into my hair, especially in the back.

    I have worn a ponytail to bed for years...could that have something to do with why the hair on the back of my head is so flat? If so then I'll stop immediately!!!

    eta: apparently I don't know how to add a signature pic although I thought I did! darn it
    No cones since 08/25/09. Occasional low poo.
    Fine, normal to low porosity (still not sure which), ii, 3a/3b curls
    Playing with products: HEBE Mousse, BRHG, AOMM, HESMU. Nothing blows my mind just yet. :D
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. - Eleanor Roosevelt
  • CurlyCarrieSCurlyCarrieS Posts: 200Registered Users
    /bump
    CG since10/26/09
    Co-wash Suave Naturals Wild Cherry Blossom
    Leave-in Suave Naturals Wild Cherry Blossom (Just a little before adding La Bella Max Hold Plus Volume Styling Gel.)
    Just bought Olive Miracle Leave-in Conditioner to try. I used it to scrunch out the crunch and it smells wonderful. (05Jun2012)
    Fotki pwpics
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • mhtinkerbellmhtinkerbell Posts: 13Registered Users
    Does goin CG mean u never can use a flat iron? I like my curls but I also like having the option of straightening it every once in a while.
  • finaleofseemfinaleofseem Posts: 900Registered Users
    Thanks so much for this! I'm just starting to embrace my waves, and this was immensely helpful.

    Now I just need to do some tests and start experimenting.
    Location: West Virginia (Eastern Panhandle)
    2b/cMii, medium-high porosity

    Likes protein and most oils, HATES mineral oil
    Summer Routine
    Poo: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture
    Cowash CJ Daily Fix
    Rinse out: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture
    Leave In: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture, SSRPT
    Stylers: Ecostyler Krystal, LALSG (in really high dews)
    PT: SS Repairing Protein Treatment
  • sweetypiesweetypie Posts: 86Registered Users
    Bumping for the newbies

    4b
    BC May 2009
    less product is enough
  • springlilyspringlily Posts: 59Registered Users
    Bumping this awesome thread.:toothy2:
    Wave, fine, medium texture, color-treated, porous
    Lo Poo: DevaCurl Lo Poo
    CO Wash: VO5 Kiwi Lime
    Condish: Tressemme Naturals Moist and GCP CB
    Leave in: (experimenting but like KCKT)
    PT: (experimenting)
    DT: (experimenting)
    Styling Combos: SS CEJ add SS FHG, KCKT and KCCC
    Experimenting with: Suave Captivating Curls Mouse
    Techniques: Icequeen, Smasters
    Hair Dislikes: glycerin!!
  • SailaSaila Posts: 1,212Registered Users
    Wow, this was very helpful. Thank you.