If you haven’t yet heard of Lorraine Massey’s book “Curly Girl: The Handbook”, it’s absolutely time to check it out. It’s particularly useful to check out if you’re a curly girl looking to have healthy hair.

In Massey’s book, she outlines some fantastic haircare methods and ideal types of products to help your curly hair stay on top of its game. You should certainly check out her book for further information on how you can better manage your specific variations of curly hair. But this is going to be a brilliant and quick overview for getting rid of damaging products and methods and replacing them with better options.

“Say no to shampoo, unplug the dryer, and find your inner curl. Celebrate the beauty of curls in a buoyant how-to, manifesto, and curly girl support group all in one. Beginning with hair’s true nature and underscored by Lorraine’s Shampoo Epiphany – handle your hair as gently as you do your best cashmere sweater – it’s all here: the care, the styling, the cuts, the dos, the tips, the products, the remedies, the attitude… that will change your life, one shampoo at a time.”

-Book description

Without further ado, here is a brief explanation of the teachings from this fantastic book on curly girl hair health:

Don’t Use Shampoo

Massey states that it depends on the hair type that you have. But in general, shampoo is not doing so many favors for all the curly girls out there. Many shampoos have damaging ingredients that we do not need to be putting on our precious strands.

Nobody is really supposed to wash their hair everyday anyway. People use shampoos and conditioners as a crutch, which only needlessly hurts the hair, when it’s evolved to handle much of this on its own. It’s like depending on cough syrup every day: if you do that, how is your immune system supposed to function?

If you’re going to continue to use shampoo, it’s understandable. It takes hair a while to get used to changes in products. But to improve your hair health, it’s best to switch to a sulfate-free shampoo.

To start lessening your usage of shampoo, maybe start out by trying to wash your hair every other day instead of daily. As your hair gets used to less product, you’ll gradually be able to increase the days in between washing. And then, you can potentially stop using shampoo altogether.

If No Shampoo, Then What?

It might sound pretty gross straight up to get rid of your shampoo. How else can we make sure that our hair is nice and clean? Well, there’s actually plenty of more simple ways.

Massey actually recommends using your fingertips and water to cleanse your hair. You could even do this with a good conditioner to help moisturise your hair. You’re going to want to give yourself a scalp-massage to dislodge any particles sticking to your hair.

You could probably grab a scalp exfoliating tool to do this- especially if you like to keep your nails long. Your nails are very strong and can seriously hurt your scalp, so we do not want to risk scratching it. A simple tool is much gentler and likely more effective.

Avoid Heat Tools

Just like hair products with sulfates, alcohol, or fragrance, heat tools can be actually damaging to the hair. Since all of them are intense artificial heat going full blast on your hair, it’s pretty clear that’s not a great idea. It’s better to let your hair naturally dry or to use a diffuser to speed up the drying process instead of a blow dryer.

Instead of using hair straighteners or curlers, Massey recommends utilizing a styling gel with good ingredients to keep your hair looking the way that you want.

Lorraine Massey, a pioneer in the booming Curly Girl movement, created the CG Method, which has since been adopted by hundreds of stylists worldwide. Lorraine is the sole owner of Spiral, a multi-disciplined salon, and founder of CurlyWorld, a line of haircare products. Lorraine spends her days teaching the Curl by Curl method to stylists worldwide. Curly Kids is her third book, following best-sellers Curly Girl: The Handbook and Silver Hair: The Handbook with Michele Bender.”

-Book description

Stick to Gentle Ingredients

A lot of us overlook the ingredients of the products that we put on our hair. We often care more about the benefits that we get from them. But if we want to follow Massey’s curly girl method of healthy hair, we need to take matters into our own hands and read the labels.

We need to avoid toxic or harmful ingredients and stick to natural cleansers, natural emollients, and natural moisturizers. Advertising companies have spent so much time on photogenic, made up hair, that we’ve forgotten what real hair even looks like. It’s not about smearing a bunch of junk in there, it’s about letting it breathe. Your hair is going to thank you for giving it a break.

Never Wring Your Hair

We’re trying to avoid damaging our hair here. And for the healthiest hair possible, you can be twisting and squeezing it with your towel either. For the best results, you want to blot the moisture from your hair with a towel– which is a very different motion than squeezing.

You can bend forward so that all your hair comes down in front of you and wrap it up in your towel for a bit as well.

Lorraine Massey is this acclaimed for a reason. With so many hair and beauty “experts” biased towards cishet white women, the vital information for Curly Girls often gets overlooked. But professionals like Massey aren’t putting up with those biases. They know that we are a vital market, and we are as entitled to information and attention as everyone else.

So don’t forget to pick up your copy of Lorraine Massey’s book “Curly Girl: The Handbook” today!

Are you interested in more Curly Girls content? Check out this article on another haircare legend, Tracee Ellis Ross.