If you are looking to make your curly or wavy hair look the best that it can be, then following Lorraine Massey’s ‘Curly Girl Method’ is definitely the way to go. Unfortunately, most shampoo bars on the market do not meet the ingredient requirements to be considered Curly Girl Method approved, making it very hard to go plastic free and have great curls.
That is until now.
At NueBar we don’t use sulfates, silicones, saponified oils (i.e soap), waxes or ethanol-based alcohols in any of our products, which means that they all meet the Curly Girl Method ingredient standards. Before we go any further, of course boys, women and men can use this method too.
‘Curlsbot’ is an online ingredient analyser that is totally independent from NueBar. It's super simple to use.
- Click on any NueBar product on our website and you will find a full ingredient list
- Copy the ingredients
- Paste the ingredients into www.curlsbot.com, and bingo.
Try it with the ingredients for our shampoo for dry/damaged hair here:
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Gentle Coconut Based Surfactant), Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate (Gentle Palm Free Surfactant), Brassica alcohol, Organic Cacao butter (Theobroma cacao), Organic Argan Oil (Argania spinosa), Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Brassicamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Lactic Acid, Hydrogenated Ethylhexyl Olivate (&) Hydrogenated Olive Oil Unsaponifiables, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Purified water, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Essential oils of Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), Orange 5 fold (Citrus sinesis), Lavender (Lavandula hybrida) & Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Caprylhydroxamic Acid (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Glycerin (Low Tox, Palm Oil free Preservative system), Iron Oxide.
Of course, you can use the Curlsbot tool to test the ingredient list of any product on the market (as long as their ingredient list is one that gives full disclosure of contents). So feel free to compare NueBar to other Solid Shampoo and Conditioner bars on the market.
So, what is the curly girl method?
The Curly Girl Method is a series of techniques and tips designed to hydrate and care for curly, kinky or wavy hair in such a way as to maximise the health and look of natural curls.
It aims to celebrate curls and coils in all their glory and reduce the use of harmful products and techniques which can lead to drying, damage and frizz.
The original ‘Curly Girl Method’ guru is Lorraine Massey who wrote ‘The Curly Girl Handbook’ in 2010, but it has since become an online phenomenon with hundreds of websites, bloggers and influencers all touting the benefits of ‘The CG Method’.
The essentials of the curly girl method include:
- Avoiding harsh cleansers on the hair such as sulfate, or soap-based shampoos
- Avoiding silicones, which can build up on the hair surface
- Avoiding drying, ethanol-based alcohol styling products
- Avoiding straightening agents and heat styling tools
Instead, the method recommends using:
- Only very gentle (sulfate-free) shampoos or cleansers
- Always using (silicone-free) conditioner (in fact sometimes ONLY using conditioner and leaving out the shampoo altogether – know as the ‘no-poo’ or ‘low-poo’ method)
- Gentle drying techniques which avoid friction and support the shape of the curl
Best shampoo bar for curly hair
Whilst our full range of Shampoo bars meet the Curly Girl Method requirements, our top recommendation for curls is our international award winning, Dry/Damaged Shampoo Bar. It is super gentle on curls and unlike many solid shampoo bars, doesn’t contain saponified oils (see our blog, ‘Soap Vs. NueBar’ for more on this issue) or harsh sulfates (see our blog ‘The Problem with Sulfates’ for more on this).
Additionally, we have made this lush shampoo bar super nourishing by loading it up with deeply hydrating Certified Organic Argan Oil, Organic Cacao Butter and extra conditioning agents to really moisturise as you wash.
The extra conditioning agents provide extra balance and richness to the formula, but if you have curly hair I would definitely still recommend using a separate conditioner bar after shampooing. This is because curly hair really benefits from the even greater degree of hydration that you can attain by using a stand-alone conditioner in addition to washing.
Shampoo bar for dry or damaged hair
What is co-washing? from no-poo to deep conditioning
The tighter your curls, the more naturally dry your hair is and the more likely that you are suited to getting rid of Shampoo altogether and only using Conditioner to wash your hair. This is called ‘Co-Washing’ or ‘Conditioner Only Washing’, some people also refer to it as the ‘No-Poo’ method.
NueBar Conditioner bars can easily be used as a Co-Wash as they have a light cleansing action, alongside their conditioning action. If your hair is more wavy than curly, is fine or has soft, loose curls then I would recommend still using the Nuebar Dry/Damaged Shampoo bar occasionally to rinse out the build-up of oils from the Conditioner (every 2nd, 3rd or 4th wash depending upon hair type). But if your curls are very tight then they can tolerate all the richness that you can throw at them and Co-Washing or No-Poo can be a great way to go.
If you wish to Deep Condition your hair it is just a matter of how long you leave the Conditioner on the hair for. Typically, Conditioners are left on the hair for 1-2 minutes, but a deep condition would see the product left on for 20-40 minutes before being rinsed off. You could even leave your NueBar Conditioner in the hair all day if desired. This is probably most suited to tightly curled hair, but could also be trialled with curls and waves, especially if your hair is in need of deep hydration after years of colouring, heat-styling or use of cheap, chemical-loaded shampoo and styling products.
Our Conditioning bars use a unique, non-GM, Canola-based conditioning agent* combined with plenty of nourishing oils, like Organic Coconut or Olive Oil, Organic Cacao Butter, Olive Oil extracts and Panthenol (also known as Vitamin B5).
Conditioner bar for all hair types
Both of our Conditioning bars can be used for curly hair. The difference between the two conditioner bars is that the ‘All Hair Types’ uses Coconut Oil as the primary moisturising oil (which has a great affinity for penetrating the hair shaft) and includes essential oils of Orange and Grapefruit for a light uplifting scent.
Our Fragrance-Free Conditioner one the other hand, is designed for sensitive folks who prefer not to use any essential oils at all and it uses low allergy, Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the primary moisturising oil. This is also good for those people who aren’t so fond of Coconut Oil (as wonderful as Coconut Oil is, it’s not for everyone).
Fragrance free conditioner bar
How to follow the curly girl method with a solid shampoo or conditioner Bar.
1. Use lots of water
When using bars to wash curly hair remember that bars contain no water. This means that you need to add the water back yourself. Bottled shampoo or conditioner is around 80-90% water (shocking I know, but true). Very wet hair and a nice wet bar and hands will assist the process of dispensing the shampoo and conditioner and creating a lather.
2. How to use a shampoo bar
For most people, we recommend rubbing our shampoo bars directly onto wet hair and then working up the lather on your head. With wavy hair or loose curls, you can probably still get away with this method. For very curly hair types though, rather than rubbing the bar directly on the hair, it is best to use plenty of water and friction to lather the bar up well in your hands first and then massage the resulting lather from your hands onto your scalp.
Gently massage the lather all through the scalp and then rinse out, allowing the lather to run down the length of the hair. Unless your hair is heavy with product that you are trying to rinse out, you mostly do not need to actively ‘wash’ the length of your hair, only your scalp. As you rinse the suds out, this will provide enough of a wash for the length of the hair.
Our soap bags (also called Bits Bags on our website) can be used to more easily work up a lather in the hands. The friction from the open cotton weave of the bag means lather works up more generously and easily in the hands, thus making it easier to apply. I would highly recommend using one with our Shampoo Bars if you are going to use a method where you lather up in your hands only.
3. How to use a conditioner bar
With the Conditioning bar, however, I do recommend using this directly on to the hair, but you need to ensure everything is very wet and you have rubbed the conditioner bar well with your hands to encourage the product to release from the bar.
Cover all areas of the hair with the product and if you are Co-Washing (Conditioner only washing) make sure that you give your scalp a good massage. Use your fingers like a comb to gently distribute the product through the hair and ease out any tangles.
Remember you don’t need as much as you think. Feel for a slight change in texture of the hair as you do this. Once you feel a change in texture you know that you have coated your hair in the conditioning agent. You don’t need any more, the conditioner is on and doing its job. Now it is just a matter of giving it some time to penetrate more deeply and soften the hair further.
If you want a deeper condition, leave it in on for longer (up to 30 minutes is ideal for a deep conditioning treatment) but one to two minutes will give a good general condition if you are in a hurry.
A word on alcohol
I thought I would also explain a little about alcohol, which is one of the ingredients that ‘Curly Girl’ Method advises against because it is extremely drying. It gets a little confusing because you do find the word ‘alcohol’ on our ingredient list. However, the alcohol that is recommended to be avoided by Curly Girl Method devotees is specifically ethanol-based alcohol.
There is a whole other category of ‘alcohols’ in cosmetic chemistry, which are actually completely different from ethanol-based alcohol both in terms of chemical structure and effect. These are the fatty alcohols and they are actually moisturising and good for the skin and hair. The most common ones are Cetyl and Cetearyl Alcohol (but most forms of these contain palm oil). The one that we use is Brassica Alcohol, which is from non-GM, Canola Oil. You will find this information about the ‘good and bad’ forms of alcohol reinforced when you use the ‘Curlsbot’ tool.
Good luck discovering the world of plastic packaging free hair care for curly hair.
*Our conditioning agent, Brassicamidopropyl Dimethylamine has great eco-credentials, has been extensively studied and shows superior sensorial profile, improved combing force reductions on hair and colour protecting effects. To read the independent scientific paper on this ingredient follow the link https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2009.00566.x International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Volume 32, Issue 4, August 2010.