Silver Hair Transition Pt 2: Curly Girl to Silver Sister

It only took me 47 years to embrace my natural wave and silver hair. You can read about the first part of my silver hair journey (well, it was more of a box set of The Hobbit trilogy, featuring Gandalf the Calico and a quest that made forging rings in the furnaces of Mordor look easy) here: https://shinyhappysilver.com/2022/04/08/silver-transformation-part-one-the-first-47-years/

The Curly Girl Method

In February 2021, I discovered the Curly Girl Method (CGM) – a hair care movement that avoids common damaging habits like daily sulphate shampoos and heat styling, and focuses on condition and natural hair styling to restore shine, volume and curl.

The CGM is based on simple principles, and it can be as basic as you choose to make it. You can read more about it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Curly-Girl-Handbook-Lorraine-Massey/dp/076115678X

However, to the uninitiated, CGM can be overwhelming. It’s easier to learn Elvish than understand the strict rules such as: is low poo better than medium poo? And terminology that reads like an unauthorised biography of The Teletubbies:  Micro Plopping, Pixie, Cowash, Po.

You also need a degree in Algebra to figure out if you’re a 1c or 3b. And, before you get excited that the acronym SOTC is a reboot of Sex and the City, be aware that it stands for scrunch out the crunch, where you apply Slimer levels of gel to dripping hair to form a solid cast that you scrunch out (with fingers or a pick axe) to hopefully reveal ringlets worthy of Bridgerton.

It’s not for the fainthearted, and the CGM is big business. It can take over your life – and your bathroom.

But I had reached a point of sheer desperation with the colour, condition and style of my hair. It was lockdown in the UK and I was working remotely, so this was a good time to experiment and walk around like a King Charles Spaniel.

Hair despair! Full disclosure: this leopard print robe features heavily throughout my blogs.

The CGM costs

After lots of YouTubing and some successful results, I threw myself into the method, purchasing a host of pricey products from across the globe and installing additional shelving to accommodate them.

My bathroom resembled an operating room. There were bowls, medical gloves, lotions, surgical style caps, and even a special shower head.

Sure, I lost some friends in the process, as their eyes glazed over with tales of microfibre towels and Denman brushes. I became embroiled in meaningful social media conversations like: “She actually used shampoo with sulphate? What was she thinking?‘ But I was a convert.

Woman with brown dyed hair covering up silver hair
An early attempt at the Curly Girl Method.

Within weeks, I had fully embraced the method and trialled various natural hair remedies: coconut oil, rosemary water, rice water, pasta water, and even potato water rinses – all fermented. My fridge was like a laboratory and on more than one occasion I had to stop my husband drinking the milky pasta water that was, rather confusingly, stored in a milk bottle. Yum!

I watched videos on how tribes of women cared for their mermaid hair, with only the resources of Mother Nature.

My hair was doused in Apple Cider Vinegar rinses and Orange Marmalade, washed down with Evian. It was so well fertilised that it could have yielded a bountiful harvest.

There was specialist equipment to consider too. Fed up of walking around for half a day with sodden hair, and, after venturing down a blow drying rabbit hole, I invested a small fortune in a Dyson Supersonic and diffuser. Some followers swear by colander bowls instead, and with the amount of organic matter sprouting from my head, this may have been more appropriate, and free.

What happened with the CGM was a game changer. The condition of my hair improved dramatically and the shine returned to my lacklustre locks. Even the Toxic Tango Orange was enhanced.

The CGM rules

But there are hard and fast rules – Just like Ghostbusters’ ‘do not cross the streams’: Do not break the code, do not crack any jokes, and stay in your lane. If you’re a 2B, then don’t even attempt to muscle your way into 3A, or you’ll be cancelled.

And, if you think you’ve nailed the method, then think again, because there will always be somebody who extracted clay out of a quarry using their bare hands, or retrieved water from a mountain stream in Switzerland.

I ventured into the less regimented world of the Wavy Girl Method, which doesn’t view shampoo as contraband.

One rule of CGM involves avoiding adding dye to your hair. Not only is it full of nasties, but it might impact the curl pattern. I shuddered at the thought of ditching the dye, but wondered if it was hampering my Wavy Girl progress.

My silver crown

However, after a couple of weeks of enjoying silky, tumbling waves and embracing organic, earthy vegan products, I took to that old habit of slathering dye and other chemicals over my long-suffering scalp. But, a seed had been planted.

One day during lockdown, my family took our daily walk. It was windy and my very fine, flyaway hair blew around like a windswept Medusa. One of my teens said: “I can see your grey spot.” I was aghast. But at 5ft 1, everybody can look down on my scalp, so there is nowhere for grey to hide.

When we returned, I asked my son to take a picture of my crown, a common spot that many home dye-ers fail to catch. Its greyness – more Quatermass crater than spot – betrayed the rest of my freshly painted hair.

Enough was enough. I was no longer prepared to fake it, and so I set foot on the silver brick road.

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