Welcome to Week 2!
Step #8: Getting Started With Your Curls, Episode 2
There’s an elephant in the room and no one is talking about it.
Everyone thinks we have to give up that feeling of really, deeply cleaned hair if we want to embrace our natural curls.
Fact: Truly clean hair is yours for the taking, it just might feel a little bit different than you’re used to and will absolutely go hand in hand with a new train of thought.
This week I am going to show you.
When it comes to conventional shampoo, those product formulator guys have figured out that we like the bubbles. I mean, you’ve seen the commercials, there’s a lot of them.
We use them to clean everything around us, every day in and every day out.
It’s a lot of clean, *especially* for what we use directly on our skin. Using such harsh products keep us needing more products. Products like lotions and conditioners to heal the damage.
Sulfates are the trigger word. There are other harsh detergents out there (I personally try to avoid any petroleum derived chemicals in every single product in my home) but this is the big one. It’s got the market share.
They’re the cheapest and most broad spectrum surfactant in the game.
Capable of cleaning everything from the debris from within your scalp, the dishes in your sink and baked in grease on your kitchen oven.
They are the same exact cleanser used by mechanics in auto shops use to clean years of caked on oil off of dirty, nasty car engines.
Why is that necessary for our skin, our hair and our bodies?! (Spoiler alert: it’s not).
Have you ever used one of the All Purpose stain removers to get stains out of your laundry?
You know the the just you just spray on on top of any stain any and toss it right in the wash…every single time the stain is gone.
It’s like magic.
Have you every used it in the same place twice…or three times? Do you get holes there??
I know I do. That stuff is HARSH!
That’s your drug store shampoo.
It’s the same stuff that’s fading your brand new clothes in less then 10 washes. Under normal, more natural conditions, clothes last much longer.
The stuff’s ridiculous.
I invite you to start your journey toward removing sulfates completely from your life. Not all at once, but moving forward. I am 10 years into my eco journey and still have several products yet to replace.
It’s a process.
Your mentality has to shift.
Rather than depend on your shampoo blindly, bring your attention to various other tools you can use (that no one ever talks about for some god forsaken reason). We focus on our power here. On what we can bring to the table.
Our ultimate goal is to saturate and create softening in the hair. Even with cleansing, it’s a tool to achieve softening. We use it as a tool to create space for water and help hair that is resisting a softening you know is possible.
Each time you do it you can take it one step deeper (if there’s more room available to you – otherwise it’s just damage). I encourage you to get curious with your strategies for cleansing, but not take them overboard.
Your goal is to encourage the softening and that comes with a healthy balance of cleaning and conditioning so it is important to not to full on in one direction.
Find your balance. Find your rhythm.
This week, we flip our cleansing mindset right up on its head. Get Ready!
Watch this video.
Then start thinking about your own cleansing routine and what you can do to optimize it:
- How are you cleansing?
- And how often?
- Are you putting in work or depending on product?
- Do you need to go deeper?
- Is your hair feeling deeply cleaned when you wash?
- Does it still not soften as much as you think is possible when conditioning afterword?
- How will you take cleansing to next level?
Trust yourself & be honest with where you’re at, and remember that the purpose of cleansing is to soften, so don’t forget the second step of the equation (a nice deep condition to give the hair a drink) after you cleanse.
Things can only get better from here! I can’t WAIT to here about your wash day routines.
Step #9: Cleansing is Softening
My biggest revelation with my hair is when I realized that in the great scheme of things, your hair moves on a sliding scale of dehydration.
There are two major ways that your hair gets dehydrated and it is your role to keep it in center.
The first extreme is hair that is dried out and damaged, hallow like a cave and brittle and gentle to the touch. Hair that is frizzy in a lions man kind of way, it’s hard and coarse to the touch – and you role is to hydrate that hair, and to soften that hair. Think conditioning
That’s the objective.
Then there’s the other side of the scale; build-up. It looks like wet frizz. Hair that is flat and heavy and matted together, fighting off water like it’s coated in polyurethane. That hair needs cleansing strategy.
Most hair that’s been a subject to conventional strategies has both of these issues. So we seek balance and move with intention.
Once a week (or so) taking cleansing one step further, and doing lots of loving and conditioning (which will be the focus of our whole next week) to keep our hair in between the extremes.
As we enter into the world of cleansing, and different strategies to get the job done, I need you to remember this: We cleanse to soften.
I know I keep saying that over and over, and for good reason. Each cleanse must go hand in hand with a nice deep condition, and rest before the next cleanse.
You determine the rhythm.
Be intentional. Stay curious and feel the difference.
Tell me where your curiosity is guiding you for your next wash day. Gimme all the deets!
Step #10: It’s Not The Cleanser That Does The Cleansing
We need to get rid of the idea that shampoo is the only thing in your shower that can clean your hair.
Listen to this: the word Shampoo is derived from the Hindi word chāmpo, a form of Indian head massage.
I can’t make this up.
Think about that: the word for the product that cleans our hair comes from the word that means “to press, knead the muscles of the scalp”.
With that being said, I’d like to bust the myth that shampoo washes you hair. Like, immediately. It’s the massage that does the cleansing. Shampoo was literally designed to pull the assist; to enhance the cleanse that comes with scalp massage – not replace it.
Scalp massage is powerfully cleansing, and highly under rated.
I don’t care who you are or where your from, I’d be willing to bet that your hair stylist massages your scalp longer than you (fun fact: it’s not because she’s being nice). She does it because it works. Because they went to school and learned the importance of exfoliating the scalp.
The mechanical motion that you bring to the table when you massage your scalp loosens dead skin cells and removes dirt and excess product so they can fall away free. It is the single most cleansing action out there. Using your fingertips, you can literally whatever got stuck up in there, without any product at all.
In fact, there’s not a shampoo in the world that can do this work for you.
What the shampoo does it totally different (i.e. open the hair shaft wider, creates more space for debris to fall free), but it doesn’t exfoliate. It doesn’t do the work.
The simple act of massaging your scalp for 60 seconds each time you want to wash your hair takes you half way to the clean you’ve come to know and love from your conventional shampoo, no product required.
Scalp massage also is extremely beneficial, especially if you’re making the transition from conventional products to a curly girl-friendly routine, because it helps to stimulate and regulate the scalps natural functions (I’m talking about oily, flaky, scabby scalp) by stimulating blood flow and supplying the area with lot’s of oxygen, minerals and nutrients.
It also means new cell growth, regulation of the scalp’s natural oil production, distribution of the oil down the length of the hair shaft, and improved and maintained overall scalp health so that the healthiest hair of your life can start growing.
An effective scalp massage is at least 60 seconds long and often much longer. Insert your fingers into your hair at the roots and gently use the pads of your fingers to cleanse your scalp in a back and forth motion (not circles – that just makes knots and tangles up our beautiful curls).
Then remove your fingers the same way you inserted them and move on to a new location on the scalp.
Using your fingertips to rub your scalp removes excess skin cells, buildup, dirt, and oil and is the most gentle form of cleansing there is. The mechanical motion it brings to the table is not only a more effective cleanse than shampoo alone, it’s also a heck of a lot less damaging than shampoo, especially sulfate shampoos!
From this day forward I triple doggy dare you to massage your scalp for 60 seconds each time you get in the shower to reset your curls. Maybe even use some conditioner if you’re feeling frisky.
Cleanser is secondary to massage; even the name says so.
Start massaging your hair for at least 60 second 3x/week. You can do it while washing your hair but see if you can’t incorporate it a few others ways too (wet refreshes, co-washes, I even like to do them dry when I’m just watching TV at night!)
Then, tell me your plan! How are you going to incorporate scalp massage into your routine. Wet? Dry??
Tell me all the things in the comments below!
I love you,
Step 11: Stop Washing Your Hair…Kinda
If you’re new to the curly hair world I would like to formally introduce you to the idea of not washing your hair every single day.
Wait, don’t scroll by! I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds.
For most of us we simply do not encounter enough dirt, blood, sweat, product, water or whatever else to justify using a shampoo every day, especially the ones with sulfates which are just ridiculously harsh.
We already talked about how sulfates are the same cleaners that mechanics use to get oil off engine parts. They’re POWERFUL.
That’s what they’re designed to do. Remove thick, caked on grease and oil.
It is in no way, shape or form a necessity for our delicate hair every single day.
If you want to read up more on my passionate distaste for sulfates I have a lot of thoughts in my blog.
Here are the facts: daily shampooing causes unnecessary damage to the hair, because like I said – we aren’t usually encountering enough build-up to warrant a wash every 24 hours.
It’s just stripping you hair and scalp of all that is good and holy about it.
Sending your scalp into a state of extreme dryness, and therefore overdrive and an abundance of oil to rehydrate the area.
They’re designed to keep you washing.
In the curly hair world, lots of us (myself included) do what they can to reduce the amount of damage being done to their hair for one reason – plain and simple:
Hair that is healthier is easier. Period.
It’s not because were dirty hippies. It’s not because we are defying the government or trying to prove a point. It’s just a fact.
When you stop covering your hair in superficial junk, and stripping it of all that is good and holy about your bodies natural processes, you will start growing in the healthiest hair of your life. Plain and simple.
I can say from experience that it keeps getting better. Year after year my routine has gotten easier, my hair hydrates more quickly, and it stays hydrated (and fights frizz) for longer than ever before.
My hair’s not magic, it’s healthy.
So, the next time you get in the shower and fully saturate your hair with water, you have a decision to make: to cleanse or not to cleanse.
To step into your consciousness, or operate on auto pilot.
If you are the girl that normally reaches for her shampoo without thinking much about it, I encourage you to give co-washing a try.
Co-washing is where you use conditioner just like a cleanser.
I remember the first time I heard about co-washing when I was 15 and I was literally shocked. “Use a conditioner like a shampoo?” I remember thinking my best friends’ sister (who told me about this strategy) was a little cray-cray.
But I tried it anyway – you know, just to see. And it was…amazing.
My hair got fuller, chunkier, smoother and more defined without changing even one other thing about my routine or the products I was using.
I wasn’t blindly stripping my hair of all that was good and holy about it every day, day in and day out, anymore. From that moment on I just started to pay attention to how my hair felt when I got it wet in the morning.
Sticky, tacky, stiff, heavy, oily and a general lack of softening would lead me to reach for my cleanser, per usual. But if my hair got wet easily, but still felt somewhat dry, coarse, hard, or stringy hair, I started skipping the shampoo and going right for conditioner and my hair has thanked me every single day since I started over 15 years ago.
In my experience Co-Washing works great for lots of women, especially those with thirstier more core, high porosity hair types.
Tell me what you think! Does this idea sound a little Looney Tunes? Are you going to give it a try?? Have you already tried it???
I wanna hear all the things in the comments below!
If you’ve always washed your hair every day and the idea of not washing makes you nervous, I encourage you to give it a shot and find what feels good. Even washing just every other day is a 50% reduction and can do wonders for the overall health of your hair.
Step #12: It’s Wash Day!!!
Call it Cleansing, clarifying, shampooing. In this group, all of those terms are interchangeable, and refer to your WASH DAY!
Cleansers are designed to remove environment dirt, styling products, excess sebum, and shedding skin scales from the hair and scalp.
Washing upside down can be helpful, especially with thick hair as accessing the scalp with the hair upside down, rather than sitting on the scalp, is MUCH easier and we know that cleansers should be thoroughly worked into the roots and scalp with a deep massage for at least 60 seconds.
The entire point of washing your hair is to get water inside of the hair shaft.
The problem is that cleansers cause damage. All of them, to some degree.
That is why you will often hear, in the curly hair world, of women who seldom cleanse their hair. Here are Consciously Curly, we encourage you to think less about how often you cleanse, and focus on the goal.
Getting water inside the hair shaft.
Once it’s in, your golden.
All cleansers and shampoos work by creating an alkaline environment that opens up the cuticle of the hair shaft and the pores of the scalp to allow cleanser inside. That’s damaging in and of itself (the definition of hair damage is a lifting of the cuticle).
Then when you start bringing more aggressive cleansers into the mix it can become a lot quickly.
If you are ready to get experimenting, I recommend you do something like this:
Let life build-up on your hair for a few days. As you do you can notice how your hair blocks out water more and more as the build-up builds when you do co-washes or wet refreshes.
Then wash it.
The deeper you go with the cleanser (with your hands) the more of the build-up you can remove. Notice that. What does it feel like?
Be present. Massage deeper and with difference sections of hair and notice how the hand feel changes.
Go deep with it.
Rinse it all out, but continue to work it out with raking, massaging and scrunching.
When the water runs clear take a moment to check in with your curls and notice. Feel the true difference in what’s in your hair. Envision the space you fashioned for water by cleansing deeper than you have ever before.
Notice the hand feel – the space you’ve created.
Then condition like crazy. Your hair needs love and hydration ASAP.
THAT is your new homework.
I cannot WAIT to see how this goes! Be sure you share all the things in our Facebook Group or tag me (@curliestgirlintheworld) on Insta!
Xoxo – Lo
Step #13: There Is No Award for Washing Your Hair The Least
I will never understand how having curly hair became a competition for who can wash their hair the least.
I mean, I get where it came from. Convention has us washing with crazy aggressive cleansers every single day without second thought, so that we need all of dozens of other products to fix all the dryness and damage.
Cleansing is harsh. We want to reduce damage. I get it.
You know what else causes hair damage?- an irritated scalp. Dehydrated hair. Hair that has so much product in it that the shaft swells.
I have a secret for you – – not washing your hair can be just as damaging as washing it too much.
This is not an all or nothing experience.
I would like to formally give you permission to wash your hair as often as you friggin’ feel like.
This curly hair stuff doesn’t have to be a lot to read. A lot to mess up. Lists and apps to scan your products.
It can be about just one step from where your at.
If you are feeling called to explore the number of days your can take your hair in-between washes, then follow that intuition.
If you aren’t, you don’t have to worry. There are, no joke, thousands of other curly hair strategies out there for the taking. Be curious about them and feel free to explore what feels fun.
Hi, I’m Logan and I hate playing by the rules. Always have, always will and you can be sure that I am going to wash my hair whenever the hell I feel like.
The next time you think it’s time to wash your hair I want you to close your eyes and take the deepest breath of the day.
Take one more.
Run your fingers lightly through the ends of your hair and ask yourself this: How does it feel?
Not on some scale that someone else made about porosity or moisture and protein.
How does it feel compared to yesterday? Compared to wash day? Compared to the last time you had day (whatever it is) hair?
Next time your are going to do your hair and wondering which of these 900 curly hair strategies to try, just breath.
Run your fingers through your hair.
Can you go another day without washing?
Will it be with fun curiosity? Or does it feel forced and uncomfortable?
What would a co-wash feel like? Or a gentler/different cleanser?
There is no perfect. There is only one step further. There is only deeper trust and understanding. There is only progress.
Once you get it out of your head that you are going to mess this up, then the curly hair journey is free to be fun!
It’s not about finding new products and all of a sudden and having perfect hair.
It’s about stepping into a totally different mindset when it comes to your hair and having fun being curious and trying new things.
Being open to the idea that there is a totally different way.
That you can learn and experiment with the literally thousands of ideas out there and find what feels good to YOU, wherever your curiosity takes you.
Create your own path and find your own method.
That this can be easy. This can be fun.
So let me know in the comments below what your biggest ah-ha moments have been this week when it comes to shampoo and cleaning!
Step #14: Going Deeper
Gentle cleansers are not a one size fits all.
They are not going to be as broad spectrum as we are used to with what we used before. Point blank.
Because of that, you have to step into the role of the Master of Your Curls in the same exact fashion as you would if you wanted to be the master of any other craft out there.
Step into the role. Do what that girl would do.
I’m not sure about you, but if she were me, I’d start figuring out what clean hair actually feels like.
I’d go lots and lots of days without washing my hair, letting life and water and air and dirt and oils all build-up on it (and take a stab at getting used to what build-up feels like while I’m at it) and then I’d wash it all out.
And get used to what clean hair feels like.
Then’ I’d condition, and see if I can get my hair to feel softer than over before.
Do it all over again, this time washing it someway different. More massaging and raking, maybe a double cleanse, or a different cleanser, more water, more saturation first.
Make it different. Take it deeper.
And see if I can create a cleaner hand feel in my hands than last time, after I cleanse, and a softer hand feel than the last time when I condition.
That’s the name of the game.
But there’s another super secret tool that literally no one is talking about; Cleanser Rotation. I love this strategy and practice it all the time. I have a cleanser I reach for most days, but on the occasion I want to go deeper with my cleanse I have acquired various tools in my curly kit to help me push the limits.
I’ve been known to keep several different “cleansers” (think Innersense Hair Baths) and “cleansing treatments” (think Scalp Scrubs, Detox Masks, etc.) within reach at any given time, and even like to switch them out over time, and find myself favoring a different ones every year or so.
I’ve also been known to rotate ACV (or kombucha) rinses, Shikaki Powder, Ascorbic Acid, into the mix.
My rhythm looks a little something like this: I use a “daily shampoo” (or hair bath) as my primary staple every 5-10 days (with a co-wash and wet refresh or two somewhere in the middle).
Once or twice a month, I reach for something deeper and use my cleansing strategies, coupled with my cleansing treatment of choice that week, to see if I can create more space for water.
To see if I can create more softening when I condition.
Do you have a secondary cleanser you can incorporate into your routine to help you push the envelope and go deeper with your wash day? I want to hear about your rhythm and how you plan to incorporate it.
Tell me about it in the comments of todays post!