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  1. Hi Gabriella,

    Thanks so much for writing this post, it’s been incredibly helpful. I took the plunge and got the big chop done this past week, it’s made such a difference! And thanks to all these great tips in your blog I’ve got some really good products.
    One question: what exactly do you do with the black castor oil after a scalp massage? Do you leave it in your hair or wash it out and how much do you use?



  2. Love this page. Was your long term goal to grow long curly hair, and cutting it to keep it healthy discouraged this goal?

    Also I read your page on protein/moisturize balance but am confused. I have 2A, 2B hair fine hair… and it’s been unmanageable. I recently did with clarifying shampoo three malibu hard water treatments with heat in a week or two since I thought the culprit was hard water which helped, but my hair was still super dry kid to ends. Yet conditioners didn’t help once it dried. I want to run my fingers through my hair without fingers getting stuck in there.

    I did a redken protein milk treatment just to test it out and it feels so much better. But I thought this was strange since I thought my issue was that it was too dry. But could it just have been that it needed protein? How? So confusing!

    I tried to cut out protein when I lost more hair than usual when toning my hair with Arctic Fox which has protein. Tried A F a few times over the months and still had more hair loss as usual afterwards. So I hid all the protein products! (But maybe protein wasn’t why I lost hair using it… Especially when my hair feels much better now using the protein milk by Redken leave in and hasn’t fallen out like when using A F?)

    Thanks for any help you have. You are a beauty!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Bridget, there’s a lot going on there. My goal was to get my curls back, which meant healthy hair. Second to that was to grow my hair long again, but healthy this time without all the heat and colour damage, and maintain my natural healthy curls. I cut it short in order to be able to do that, as I had a lot of heat and colour damage in my hair. Next, three hard water shampoo treatments in one week is extremely harsh on your hair, I would NOT recommend doing that. And most certainly you need to deep condition after each clarifying treatment. So if you weren’t doing that, for 3 clarifying treatments in a row, then no wonder your hair is super dry. You’ve literally sucked every bit of hydration, moisture, natural oils and sebum right out of your hair and haven’t replaced and replenished it. Having curly hair in general doesn’t allow for “running fingers through your hair”. I don’t recommend Redken as it’s loaded with silicones generally, which is no doubt why your hair may be “feeling” better, because it’s coated in silicones, which aren’t good for the hair. I don’t recommend colour treating your hair, nor do I think the protein in Arctic Fox is responsible for the hair loss. Colour damages the hair and could more likely be the cause of hair loss if it’s happened every time you’ve used it. Also, stop using it if it’s making your hair fall out! And ifnally, I think you need to ease up on the clarifying shampoos, once every 4-6 weeks is enough, and you need to do regular weekly deep conditioning with a good quality deep conditioner that has a good balance of both protein and moisture, check out my modified rice water rinse post as I think that will be beneficial for you. And finally, I suggest using a thermal heat cap (I sell them on Etsy, just click on Shop) when deep conditioning once a week, to really help the DC penetrate the cuticle of the hair so you can get the maximum benefits from it.

  3. Beverley Wheeler says:

    hello, great read, thanks
    How do you sleep, so you wear anything on your head to protect it. I find my hair is lovely when I let it air dry, but then I go to bed, wake up and is a tangled disaster!

  4. I was so happy to see you mention the Tropic Isle Living oils as I was just looking at them, wondering if I should buy. My only question is, since the pimento oil is a blend that contains JBCO, do you think it’s really necessary to buy/use both?

    1. Gabriella says:

      I have both, but the Pimento one is a little thicker, and it goes solid easily if it’s not kept in a warm place. I have to put it on a radiator for a day before I want to use it. So for ease of use, and the consistency of the oil, I just tend to prefer the JBCO.

  5. Help! I started my curly girl journey recently and I don’t know what to buy! I’ve tried different things and nothing seems to work!! Any advice?

    1. Gabriella says:

      I’ve got a tab on this blog called What to Buy – check out the post and recommendations there. Don’t buy a tonne of things at once, take your time, start simple and work from there.

  6. Kimberley says:

    Hello Gabriella,
    I have recently disappeared down the curly girl rabbit hole and, along with a stiff neck from staring at my phone, my brain is fried. I THINK my hair is pretty similar to yours and I THINK it is low porosity. I am at the day 3 after first wash stage. Before I started this journey I had spent a life time blow drying and/or straightening my very wavy hair because I didn’t know how to get any sort of definition. It was just a frizzy mess. However, I only washed my hair once a week which at least allowed the oils to return. So I don’t know what routine to employ and how often to co-wash, Lo-poo, clarify and do you only deep condition on clarifying days or
    also on lo-poo days. I would love to just wash once a week, as I’ve always done but do I need to wash more often at the beginning to encourage the curl? I managed to get a good wave from my first wash and my goal is to get somewhere near your fabulous locks. One thing is I do colour my hair. I am very grey and I have it coloured every 6 weeks. So I need to accept this may set me back each time. Can you recommend a suitable shampoo that I can bring to the salon to wash after the dye has been applied.
    Thank you so much for your amazing blog. I am so glad I have found it at the beginning of my journey as I feel you will really help me avoid making too many costly mistakes. I am looking forward to watching your YouTube video on your wash routine/technique when it comes out. I shall also be adding your fabulous heat cap to my Christmas list xxx

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Kimberley, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Okay, let’s get stuck in. You can absolutely just wash your hair once a week, if you do that however, I recommend using a lo poo to cleanse and a deep conditioner to condition. Then whatever you usually use to style, the LMG method works best for me and gives me the most long lasting results. You can read about that in this post: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/the-lmg-method/ I want to point out that I am 2.5 years into my CG journey, so my hair is incredibly healthy, so if your hair is damaged and yes, colouring it every 6 weeks isn’t going to help, then you’re not going to get curls like mine overnight, or maybe not ever, if your hair hasn’t got the same natural curl pattern or potential as my hair. You need to love, embrace and encourage your own natural curl pattern. As for going to the salon and bringing your own products, I absolutely recommend that. For you, and your cleanse and condition routine, I would recommend Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo, it’s a colour safe shampoo gentle enough for regular use, I suggest using it for your weekly wash, and to take to the salon. Get 10% discount using CURLYCAILIN10 at checkout. And then for your deep conditioner, which you can also use for your weekly wash, I recommend the Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque, which contains protein, so great if you colour your hair – it’s in my Amazon shop. I have a US and a UK one, so just click whichever one is applicable to you. I would also suggest using Olaplex No. 3 which is great for coloured hair to repair the bonds that are broken in the hairshaft during the colouring process, it’s a take home treatment, and I would use that every 6 weeks after you get your hair coloured. And my heat caps will help both of those product really penetrate the hair and help the overall health, healing and recovery of it. Hope that helps. x

  7. Gabrielle says:

    Hi Gabriella! I love your blog and often refer to it. I have a similar hair type as to when you first started your curly girl journey- a mix of fine waves and curls. I have low porosity hair that easily gets weighed down. I am currently using a denman brush to style my hair but I have not seen a significant improvement in my hair. I have found that the back of my head is significantly less defined than the front of my hair and I am not sure how to bring it back to life(it is also more damaged in the back for some reason). Would you be willing to make a youtube video on your current hair routine? Do you still use a denman brush?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Gabrielle, thank you so much! I don’t use a Denman brush to style my hair, only to brush through my hair after I’ve applied conditioner, and occasionally after I’ve applied my styling products. From what you’ve said about the back of your hair, I would suggest you read this post: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/get-root-volume-curly-hair/ I recommend washing your hair upside down in the shower/over the bath, turning the temperature of the water down, and the pressure. If you’re washing your hair standing up in the shower, with hot water beating down on the crown of your head, it’s going to pull the natural curl pattern out and loosen it, also cause more frizz. I will do a YouTube tutorial on my wash day, but not just yet – I’m getting my bathroom tiled in a few weeks. I hope that helps x

      1. Gabrielle says:

        Thank you so much for your feedback!

  8. I have only just found this blog and wow has it changed my relationship with my hair already. Now I actually know what I’m doing with it all!

    I just have one question about day 2/3 hair…how do you refresh? I’m using the As I am cowash, Pantene mousse and currently devacurl gel (need to buy another one but money is tight just now). Wash day hair is awesome but I can’t get it right the next morning. Any ideas?

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Karen, thank you so so much for such kind, sweet words! It’s always such an honour to be a part of someone’s curl journey. I have my refresh routine on the highlights on my Instagram page, or on Boucleme’s IGTV on Instagram. I actually much prefer Aussie Instant Freeze Gel or Giovanni LA Natural Gel which are both much more budget friendly than Deva Curl if that helps.

  9. Hey Gabriella, first of all I would like to thank you for sharing all your knowledge with the readers. Your posts have helped me so much!

    I would like to ask you something about starting the curly girl method. I was thinking about buying these products to start off the curly girl method, do you think they are good as a combination: Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo (final wash and I plan on using it to clarify my hair), As I Am Coconut Co-Wash, followed by Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Conditioner (my scalp tends to get oily and sometimes even itchy), (I plan to leave a little of it in instead of rinsing it all off) and finally as a styler Giovanni Natural Mousse.

    Also I believe I have high porosity hair since it dries quickly (about 2hours or less) and absorbs water quickly as well. Looking forward for your reply! Wish you a great day!

  10. Hi there!
    I really hope you are settled after your move, I’ve been through an awful move too and wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    Love reading your posts and I was almost ready to give in after a year but I’m going to persevere.

    My main issue at the moment is really stringy hair and major loss, handfuls are coming out in the 2 times a week I wash it and I don’t have a lot as it is so to lose this much is having a big affect. Any ideas or help would be gratefully recieved.

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Laura, thanks so much! Yes, moving house is one of the most stressful things in life, along with death and divorce, apparently. I want to encourage you and say don’t give up! We all hit bumps in our journey, but it’s all about perseverance! Okay, so hair loss firstly. Have you always washed your hair twice/week? If not, it may “seem” like you’re losing more hair, but its actually not, it’s just that you’re not washing your hair as often, so instead as losing a little hair often, it seems like you’re losing a lot of hair. When in fact it’s just a build up. If that’s not the case for you, look at the products your using, has anything changed in your routine. If not, and you’re still concerned, then I’d advise you to go and see your doctor and speak to them about it. As for stringy hair, that sounds like it could be from too much protein. Is your hair dry, brittle and snapping off? If so, you need to look at your products and see if they all contain protein and balance it out with more moisture, and do regular deep conditions with moisturising conditioners. Hope that helps and answers your questions.

  11. Looove this girl ! Congrats on 2 years 🙂 I’m trying to stay away from scissors as well I love reading your post! I think we have similar hair textures. Still learning about protein and stuff so I am going to watch your video.

    1. Gabriella says:

      Yaaaassssss!!! Girl, I literally wanted to get my scissors out yesterday as soon as I finished the post. Looking back at pictures from the last year and that amazing DIY cut for shape and volume I gave myself. But I read my own post, and took my own advice and resisted! ha ha ha. Yes, check out the YouTube video and the corresponding blog post. xoxo

  12. Firstly happy curlaversary!

    I love reading all the highs and lows you’ve experienced this year. I too am trying to make time each week to deep condition. I’ve started doing it on a Sunday and making that my main wash day of the week.

    As a fellow sufferer of anxiety/depression I’m sending you lots of hugs! I’ve spent the past few months floundering around but finally went to the doctors a month ago and got some help, now I keep telling myself to focus on one day at time x

    1. Gabriella says:

      Aww Liane, thank you! Yes, I’m making Sundays my deep conditioning days, because I have more time on that day. Sorry you’ve been floundering lately. I suffer with SAD, so the Autumn and Winter are when I struggle the most. Sending you lots of love and hug xx