Garnier Hair Food – Chicken Soup For My Curls

If you’ve been following my sporadic blogs, you’ll know that I’ve been vaguely following the curly girl method for several years to tame what once was strange wavy frizz into a decent set of loose curls. If you’ve not come across it, the curly girl method (CGM) aims to help people with wavy to curly hair look after their hair by working with it instead of battling it with brushes & straighteners.

If you’re looking for a pure CG “approved” method, I may not be your girl. I’ve been known to suggest some of the social media groups have gone full CG (never go full CG) and become a bit… Erm.. culty. But, I do follow the general principles of the method and they have led to defined curls and my hair growing much faster:

  • Avoid shampoos containing sulphates (they dry out your hair)
  • Avoid conditioners containing silicones (you need sulphates to wash them out)
  • Avoid drying alcohols (probably best to Google the list)

If you’re going full CG, then there’s a whole list of other stuff to fret about. However, one thing that everyone agrees on is conditioner is to curls what a throne made of swords is to Daenerys Targaryen (in that it will make you obsessed, and could lead to your loving partner bumping you off if you read through the ingredients of that gel one more time!). And there is nothing better in the CG world than finding a really good conditioner.

Enter Hair Food.

Hair food claims to be a 3 in 1 product – conditioner, hair mask, & leave in. And it’s not wrong! I’ve now used the banana hair food as all three for several weeks and it’s just as good, if not better than the separate products I’ve been using at double the price individually.

Here’s a good hair day on my previous products:

Curls are happy, but there’s still some frizz. Then after 2 weeks with this as both a leave in & a weekly hair mask, I noticed a real difference.

Definition! I’m really pleased that I can enjoy my curls without breaking the bank 😁

For those who are still in their frantic CGM ingredients checking phase (I promise, this too shall pass & you’ll find your thing), here’s the ingredients:

Right now, Hair Food is in shops for around £7, but there are a few offers where you can pick it up for around £4.

This is not a sponsored post. My hair is indeed my own, yes those are filters (It’s exam season – I need filters!). Suggestions may or may not work for you… These & other disclaimers.

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Almost brushed my hair

Happened just the other day.

It was getting kinda long….

Ok. Enough with the terrible Crosby, Steele, Nash, & Young puns (Apolgies to their fans).

I’ve blogged a number of times about my journey into the realms of no & low poo in the pursuit of taming my curly hair. And with all credit to Lorraine Massey, the creator of the Cirly Girl Method, it really has worked. I’ve gone from looking like this:

Red - puppet from fraggle rock who has wild fluffy hair

To this:

Merida from Brave

Now I know that Merida is not known for her uniform beach waves, and frankly neither will I be. My hair is an extension of my personality, and as such is wild, unconforming, has a mind of it’s own, and is more often than not an alarming mess. But, it’s now doing what my genetics meant it to do instead of being dried out by sulphates and brushed into a frizzy mess. It’s now a curly mess!

This isn’t it’s finest hour (or mine – this was 1.30am New Years Day!), but it was at least behaving. So, why the post title? Well…

I’ve used a number of help groups online to guide me through my curly girl journey and learnt so many new terms that I almost speak a new language. It’s been a journey to find out what makes my curls ‘pop’ (look defined) and which conditioners & products work for me – and the kids, and interestingly there isn’t much crossover despite us all having wavy/curly hair. In the end, I’ve got a list of what works for me and it’s not wholly faithful to the strictest methods.

One particular product has an alcohol listed waaaay down the ingredient list and inadvertently posting this on a CG group was met with almost apoplectic rage reactions (I’ll post the routine below). Don’t poke the hornet’s nest? Why not? Fanatics annoy me & announcing I now also used sulphate free shampoo to negate hard water in addition to the evil styling product was just too much for some. It was akin to running into a room of hard line vegans smothered in nothing but bovril & shouting “I love bacon”.

So why is my routine still working? Probably because I follow the foundations of no sulphates, no silicones, & no brushing without being terrifically obsessed by having perfect 3c curls. Because I don’t. And it’s just hair.

Current routine*:

(✔ = hardcore CG friendly)

  • Small amount of Shea Moisture Black Castor Oil Shampoo (sulphate free) ✔
  • Cowash & detangle with Sainsburys Coconut Oil Conditioner & wide toothed comb ✔
  • Condition with Shea Moisture Coconut oil & hibiscus conditioner (leave in) ✔
  • Add a bit more by squishing in Organic Shop Honey & grape conditioner ✔
  • Squish in a tiny 2 peas worth of Cantu curl activator ✔
  • Squish in some Boots pink Curl Creme (….eviiiiiiiiiil – has a bit of alcohol, but removes all frizz so fuck it)
  • Squish in some Shea Moisture curling custard ✔
  • Plop for an hour
  • Diffuse until crunchy
  • Replop into a buff/satin cap & sleep
  • Scrunch out any final crunch in the morning

*My hair is super thirsty, so this much conditioner will not suit everyone.

This only happens once every week. All other days I sleep in a buff & if need be wet, re-diffuse, thenlargely ignore.

I’m looking forward to getting a bit more length so I can properly channel Merida.

For now, have you found what works for your wavy/curly/coily hair? Share the love!

No Poo for This Curly Girl

My no poo journey has been rather haphazard at times, but I’ve finally fallen into a routine that works for me and with some surprising results. I’ve gone from I’d like healthy hair to it’s all about the curl pattern!

For those of you not used to the terminology, “no poo” means no shampoo – let’s get this straight, this does not mean I don’t wash my hair. If anything, I spend more time cleansing & preening than when I was full soapsuds. It’s just that I’ve changed what I stick in my hair to match what it needs to stay healthy.

Just like eating well, my hair requires a balanced diet & sone gentle encouragement to bounce into it’s natural curl pattern. That diet means not stripping out the natural oils with shampoo leaving it dry & frizzy. Instead I cleanse my hair with conditioner, called “co-washing”. Just like ditching the washing machine, this requires extra effort on my part to scrub & massage my scalp until the conditioner grabs anything that needs to be washed away (having Mr Geek on hand helps avoid dislocated digits). And now for some chemistry! Another big no-no for curlies are non-water soluble silicones as they don’t wash away without sulfate shampoos (did I mention that I don’t do the poo thing?). This means following a strict set of ingredients & squealing with delight when they’re sold in a local supermarket – there’s lists of “curly girl approved” products that range from 79p to +£20 and just because they’re expensive doesn’t mean your hair will love them more. Lots of it is trial & error and as my hair recovers from the torture I put it through my needs change.

Transition to healthy hair takes a long time (like 8 months +), but even after a few short months my curls are happier than I’ve ever seen them. And yes, curls! Not just frizz & waves, but big 2C/3A curls 😌

Er… 2whatnow? Well, curl patterns come in all shapes & sizes from 1a (straight as a ruler), to 4c (kinky ziggly). Prior to using the Curly Girl Method, I had 1c – 2b on a good day.

I’m really lucky to have such an easy transition – lots of people find their hair rebels for a good few weeks, but mine has only objected when I tried a gelatin treatment (that’s another post!). So, for now I’m co-washing with silicone free conditioner once or twice per week, deep conditioning once per week with this lot:

(For reference, the skin active is for my face!!)

A combo of olive oil massaged in with the (un)done and left in a showercap for an hour whilst I bathe – rinse – then 2Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar in warm water tipped over & left for a few minutes to remove any build up – rinse – cowash – rinse – squish in a 10p splodge of conditioner (don’t rinse) – squish in Cantu Curl Activator Creme – squish in gel (preferably flaxseed, but usually V05 hard set because my homemade flaxseed invariably goes off) – plop for 30 minutes – diffuse until crunchy – finally Scrunch Out The Crunch! Et Voila! And….. Sleep. In a buff.

Seems like hard work eh? It’s only once a week & a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do (or a guy if you’re Luke Arnold, because we all know he’s secretly plopping those curls).

Whilst he may have my #hairgoals I’m still pleased with my progress. So much so that I even gave myself a DIY deva cut before our holiday! (Again, for those of you not following CG, a deva cut is a haircut where you cut the hair dry by cutting one curl at a time to form a shape that encourages your curls to form well – usually by adding lots of layers).

For the lowdown on the nopoo / Curly Girl terminology, I wrote this post post a while back.

Are you no poo, low poo, or a curly girl? What are your tips for making your hair happy?