Before starting your CGM journey, it’s good to know the basic products to have in your stash. Having a full stock of the basic products will ensure that your CGM journey won’t get disrupted and the transition phase will be smooth.
Since CGM products are often hard to find, it would be best to stock up on supplies before you do your final wash. This way, you won’t resort to using non-CGM products in the middle of your transition phase when you suddenly run out of CG-friendly products – doing so will save you money, time and effort. Since you will have to redo your final wash once you use non-CGM products, you will be back to zero. This will be frustrating since after all the effort and time you have put into your routine, you will start again from scratch.
Basic CGM Products and Routine
The CGM routine is usually comprised of lowpoo wash, condish, leave-in and styling. Pre-poo and deep conditioning are also part of the routine, though these are done sparingly.
You will need at least one product for each stage. Hence, it will be ideal to have five to six products in your CGM stash.
A low-poo wash is shampooing of your hair using sulfate-free shampoo. This will clarify your hair and scalp to prevent product buildup. This will also promote hair growth since your hair follicles will be unclogged and new hair can easily grow.
Use CG-friendly shampoo sparingly. Even if these shampoos are designed for curly hair, they can still be too harsh since they contain ingredients meant to cleanse the hair and remove buildup. Using low-poo once or twice a week should be enough.
Remember to use minimal amount of product. You don’t need to see a full lather on your hair so don’t be tempted to use more shampoo when you are not seeing a lot of foam during the low-poo stage. CG-friendly shampoos do not lather up since they don’t contain foaming agents such as sulfates: they contain mild cleansing agents that clean the scalp and hair without drying.
When cleansing, focus on the scalp since it’s the area where oil, dirt and product usually build up. The tips do not need a lot of shampoo unless you are clarifying your hair.
Product Type: Low-poo shampoo
Frequency: Once or twice a week
Applying conditioner to curly hair require squishing. This process is called “squish to condish” (S2C/STC). Since curly hair does not absorb moisture easily, you need to squish your hair when you apply conditioner. This will not only help with hydration but with curl formation as well.
When doing STC, make sure that your hair is dripping wet with water and slippery with conditioner. Curly hair needs a lot of water and conditioner to keep it from drying out so make sure that you use multiple pumps of your favorite CG-friendly conditioner every time you wash your hair.
Take your time in squishing your hair and don’t overdo with rinsing. Rinse only 50% to 80% of the conditioner to keep your hair moisturized.
Product Type: Conditioner
Frequency: Every wash
Leave-In and Styling
If you are happy with your conditioner and you feel your hair is already hydrated and moisturized, you can skip the leave-in and styling steps. But if you think that your hair needs extra care, or if you need to style it, it is ideal to use leave-in and styling products. These steps will help define and maintain the curls of your hair.
The leave-in product will protect your hair while the styling product will keep your curls, waves or coils in place. You can choose one or the other or you can choose both if you want that extra volume, moisture and definition in your curls.
Product Type: Leave-in conditioners, gels, styling creams, mousse
Other CGM Routine Steps
You can add these steps to your CGM routine to make your hair healthier faster. These are optional but these steps can give major benefits to your hair, especially if you are still on the transition phase.
Pre-poo is the process of applying oil or treatment before washing your hair with a shampoo. This is usually done during wash days when you are using low-poo or sulfate-free shampoo to cleanse your scalp. Since frequent shampooing can be harsh to your hair (even with CG-approved shampoos), it is recommended that you use nourishing oils before washing your hair. It is also recommended that you wash your hair with low-poo only once or twice a week to keep your tresses from drying out.
A good pre-poo product should moisturize your hair and add protection against cleansing ingredients in your sulfate-free shampoo. Avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, Jamaican black castor oil, coconut oil and almond oil are some of the most popular natural oils that are good for curly hair. Just make sure that these are natural and don’t have too much chemicals in them. It would be ideal to mix your own hair oil cocktail to ensure that there are no harmful or excessive chemicals that can harm your curls. Your hair will thank you for it.
Product Type: Low-poo shampoo
Co-washing your hair is simply cleansing your hair using a conditioner (conditioner washing). Since you can only use low-poo once or twice a week, you can use conditioner as a substitute to wash your hair. This is often done when you need to wash your hair more often to prevent your hair from getting damaged. If you want to wash your hair daily, opt for co-wash instead of a full low-poo wash.
You can use your regular CG-friendly conditioner that you use during the STC stage when co-washing. But if you want, you can also use a different kind of conditioner. Some use a thinner type of conditioner for the co-wash then proceed to use a thicker formula for the STC. There is no single rule for this. You just need to find out on your own which method works best for you and your hair.
For the co-wash, rinse the conditioner thoroughly: then, rinse 50% to 80% of the conditioner during the STC stage.
Product Type: Conditioner
Deep conditioning is essential to keep your hair healthy. This process uses rich and thick conditioner that deeply moisturizes the hair. The type of deep conditioner that you use will depend on the type and health of your hair. High porosity hair needs protein-rich conditioner while low porosity hair requires moisturizing conditioners to keep the hair shafts healthy.
Most deep conditioners contain protein so be careful and not overdo it. Protein, although quite beneficial, can cause the hair to snap and break. Since protein covers and protects the hair shaft, it can keep moisture from penetrating into the hair. This will cause dryness which can lead to breakage.
Product Type: Deep conditioners
Frequency: Once to twice a month
Ingredients to Avoid
When buying hair products, be wary of these ingredients. A CG-friendly product should not contain any of these:
There are a lot of types of silicones, waxes and sulfates that are used in hair products. It would be hard, if not impossible, to memorize all of them. Memorizing terms is not foolproof as well. There are multiple versions of the same ingredients, making it harder to trace which ingredients are truly CG-friendly. Thus, it would be best to check the ingredients of every single product that you are planning on buying. There are websites that you can use to check a product’s ingredients for free.
Curlsbot.com is one of the most popular websites that offer such free service. You just need to encode the ingredients and you will be given a report whether the product you are checking is CG-friendly or not.
Using the right products is not enough to make your hair achieve its healthiest state. You also need to have a routine to make steady progress. Read this post to create your own CGM Routine Schedule for a hassle-free and stress-free CGM journey.
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