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Frizzy Friday: How to Wash Your Curls

I promised a follow-up to the discussion on proper care for your curls (or waves, what have you). Now that I’ve explained the basics, let’s take it to the next level and look at how to actually co-wash your hair.

Things you need:

  • no sulphate shampoo, if you’re going that route
  • botanical, silicone-free conditioner (read the labels, people!)
  • hands
  • old cotton t-shirt

I prefer to go no shampoo entirely, but if you’re able to find a no sulphate one (Dermorganics has a great one, their line to be reviewed later — ), then you can use this for the first part.

To begin, try to figure out your hair type – this is a great guide to help you get started. Depending on how curly/thick/long your hair is, this can greatly impact the amount of product you use, and how much stays on your hair. Go with your gut on this one – sometimes it takes some trial and error to figure it out. Know that your hair will thank you, in the end!

Step into the shower and let the water do a waterfall-type thing over your hair. Don’t touch it, just let it run through it. Alright, if your going the shampoo route, do it like you normally would. However, if you’re going to co-wash, like me (hooray!…not that I’m biased, obviously….), grab your botanical conditioner! Depending on your hair size, place conditioner on the ends of your fingertips, like you’re applying toothpaste, like so:

Don't actually use this as toothpaste.

Don’t actually use this as toothpaste.

Then squish both hands together and start applying directly to the scalp, massaging in a circular motion, near the temples. I go back and ‘reapply’ using the toothpaste method a few times, until I’ve covered my entire scalp (ew, does anyone else hate that word?). I like to take my time with this part – it’s like a free massage, and you’re also working off the dirt and excess oils. This part should take about 7 minutes. Once you’re done, let the water wash over your hair and rinse out the loosened dirt. I like to continue my massage at this part, just to make sure it’s all out.

Next up: The full conditioning. Basically, your hair is comprised of different layers, the canopy layer being the one at the top on the outside, which is also the most dry. This section and your ends need the most TLC to stay healthy. Put a generous dollop of conditioner in your palm, and then slather it on your head like you’re icing a delicious cake. But that delicious cake is your yummy self! Focus on the ends and squish the hair up from the ends to the roots (I like to hear that squelching, extra-moist

All of the conditioner!!

All of the conditioner!!

seaweed sound. That’s when you know it’s moisturized). If you’re anything like me, your hair sometimes dreds or does horrid tangly things at the nape of the neck. Put an extra dollop of conditioner and work it into this area. Do your regular shower stuff (no one needs to know everything about your routine), and let the conditioner sit on your hair for a few minutes. Once it’s fully penetrated, start to gently detangle and work your fingers through. This can take a short or a long time, depending on how much crazy action my hair has seen in the past few days. Once done, hold your hands underneath the shower stream in a type of ‘cup’ (like you did when you were little at the pool…and may have, MAY have been drinking the water). Splash this over your hair a few times to rinse just a little bit of conditioner out. Now, this part is personal preference, but I leave almost all of the conditioner in. My hair just soaks it up and it makes such a difference over the next few days. At this point, flip your head over (away from the shower stream, you crazy lady), and starting at the ends, squeeze upwards to help make a curl formation. Ahhh, healthy squelching. Once you’re out of the shower, grab that old t-shirt you have lying around (or one that you want your partner to get rid of….) and plop dry starting at the ends and squeezing up to the roots again (it’s all about natural curl formation, baby!). Then apply leave-in, if you feel it necessary, and wrap that loving t-shirt around your hair. Let it sit for as long as you desire (the more moisture it sucks up, the bigger your hair will be…I like volume though, so I leave it on for about 10 minutes).

Ta-da! Your hair is already feeling a bit healthier! Next time, I will talk about styling, including gels to use, potential hairdrying, and upkeep. Thanks for reading, curly girls!



  1. Ann McTaggart

    This is all very interesting! Any advice for me? My hair is v curly when it’s short but goes a bit lank when it has any length. I reckon it’s probably quite grey under the colour now. I use lots of deep conditioner and serum and oil and probably too much stuff. Do you recommend alcohol free silicone free products? Do I need to do anything to remove all this build up? I’d like to avoid shampoo, too.
    Any advice gratefully received!


  2. Molly

    I just stumbled across your blog a few days ago and love it! I decided to begin transitioning into the curly girl method this morning. I used the tiniest bit of shampoo to get rid of any remaining silicone product, left in a good amount of conditioner, and styled with a curl cream. I am a 3a curl type (I think) and definitely notice more definition, but also a residue…. Perhaps that is a result of the product I am using, or is it just normal in the beginning?

    • Hey Molly! Firstly, thank you so much for your compliments, and for reading! I always love to hear from fellow curly girls. I’m so excited that you’ve decided to ditch the silicone and sulfates! Let me ask you a few questions about your hair type – do you have fine, medium, or thick strands? Does your hair tend to take a very long time to absorb moisture (low porosity), or does it drink it up quickly? These types of questions can help determine how much conditioner to use, and whether you’ll use a lighter product (like TRESemme Naturals), or something heavier and deeper conditioning.

      When I first started using CG method, I personally went a little overboard on product until I figured out a balance (which I’m still changing around). Try rinsing out some of your conditioner, and leaving some on the ends, and then lessening your curl cream. I never use a curl cream; I prefer to use a gel or even organic aloe Vera to seal in moisture. Basically, play around with quantities until you feel your hair is responding its best! After that, you can experiment with different products to really find your best routine.

      I hope that was helpful – please let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Molly

        My hair is fine, but there’s a lot of it. Probably medium in “weight”? I have no idea about porosity… it normally feels soft, but looks puffy and not defined. It’s changed since giving birth to my daughter almost two years ago, and I haven’t been happy with it since… I had some thyroid issues which caused a weird receding hairline that is still growing back. I am definitely switching to a gel for a bit to see how that goes and need to play around with conditioners…. let the product exploration begin!

  3. Pingback: Hair ‘Mane’-tenance: Curly Basics, Part 3 | The Diary of a Curly Girl

  4. Chelsey

    Oh hello miss Jess!! Loving your new blog so much 🙂 I am seriously considering switching to this method when my Redkin is all gone!!!

    • Jess A

      Thanks for stopping by, Chels! I would love to guide you through the process…let me know! It’ll probably be cheaper than Redken too.

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