If you’re a follower of the Curly Girl Method, you may have experienced a greater amount of hair loss than usual. Is this normal and what can you do about it? In this article we get to the bottom of this question and reveal some tips to help you on your way.
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What Is A Normal Amount Of Shedding?
We all shed between 50-100 strands of hair per day. This may sound like a lot but most of us have around 100,000 hair follicles on our scalp. Hair shedding is your body’s way of regenerating new hair follicles. The process follows a cycle that starts with hair growth, then resting, and then finally, hair shedding.
According to a 2017 study, up to 9% of your hair is always in the resting phase, which essentially means it’s ready to fall out at any time.
If you have longer hair, you’ll naturally see more shedding than those who have shorter hair.
Check out my Beginner’s Guide To The Curly Girl Method.
Shedding Vs Hair Loss On The Curly Girl Method
You may be concerned that what you’re experiencing is actually hair loss and not shedding. This could be due large clumps of hair falling out or if you’re seeing a significant increase of hair in the shower.
The first thing to consider is whether or not you’re suffering from any conditions that may be causing you additional stress. For example pregnancy, illnesses, or recent weight loss may be the cause of your hair loss.
Hair shedding feels very different from hair loss and in general, you shouldn’t be bothered by it. This means that you won’t experience any bald patches with hair shedding and your hair certainly shouldn’t be thinning.
Does The Curly Girl Method Cause Hair Loss?
The Curly Girl Method encourages you to ditch the harsh chemicals such as sulfate, silicone and drying alcohols, and it also encourages you to stop using heat tools to style your hair.
Doing these things will ultimately help you restore your hair’s health back to its natural state, so is it true that the Curly Girl Method could actually be causing your hair loss?
In essence, yes it can. It is true that following the Curly Girl Method can cause the appearance of hair loss, but there’s a reasonable explanation for this. You’ve switched up your hair routine and you’re no longer using the same products or styling tools.
Let’s take a look at why the Curly Girl Method may be causing your hair loss:
No More Brushing
One of the rules of the Curly Girl Method is to stop brushing your hair. The reason for this is that hair brushing disrupts your curls’ natural pattern. It causes frizz and split ends. And let’s not forget that as you’re pulling the brush through your hair, you’re literally removing hair from your scalp. In fact, according to this study, 40% of women experience excessive shedding when they brush their hair.
So a simple explanation to why you think you’re seeing more hair loss on the Curly Girl Method, is simply because you no longer brush your hair.
Like this? Read our guide on nylon hair brushes and oil distribution.
Washing Your Hair Less Regularly
One of the benefits of the Curly Girl Method is that you can wait for 3, 4 sometimes even 7 days to wash your hair. Oh, the benefits of a refresh!
Washing your hair less regularly means that your hair will experience much less friction. It’s not being handled, pulled or soaked in water as often as it used to be. This means that the 9% of your hair which is always in the resting phase, may be ready to fall out, but simply doesn’t.
You may even find that when you do wash your hair, you end up with big clumps of hair and it’s got you worried. This is completely normal. Remember, your hair simply doesn’t shed as much as it used to and so the hair follicles that would normally fall out during the day, fall out during the wash.
You’ve Stopped Using Regular Hair Towels
Regular hair towels cause friction and friction causes split ends and well, hair shedding.
If you plop using a t-shirt or microfibre towel, you’re gently wrapping your curly locks into something soft and thus, no hairs are going to fall out.
Most people have no problem aggressively drying their hair with a towel and this results in a lot of shedding too. Think of all the hairs you’d normally see on the bathroom floor!
That just doesn’t happen if you’re following the Curly Girl Method, so this could be another reason for your hair loss.
No More Heat Blasts From The Hair Dryer
Before the Curly Girl Method, a regular drying routine would involve setting the hair dryer on max and blasting your hair with burning hot air. Surely this would get rid of a few of those loose hair follicles?
If you no longer use a hairdryer only but have switched to a diffuser or simply air-dry, you won’t be experiencing any hair shedding when drying your hair.
So this could also be a reason why you’re seeing more hair loss on wash days. The Curly Girl Method simply delays the hair shedding process until you’re in the shower.
You No Longer Run Your Fingers Through Your Hair
The final reason why the Curly Girl Method could be causing hair loss is a simple one.
You no longer run your fingers through your hair. It’s really that simple. Once your curls are locked into their gel cast, when do you really touch your hair?
Most likely it’s not until your next wash day. If you do touch your hair, it’s gentle and mostly for a refresh.
So hopefully you can now see that it may appear as if the Curly Girl Method is causing more hair loss, but in actual fact, what you’re experiencing is simply delayed hair shedding.
How To Prevent Hair Loss On The Curly Girl Method
In most cases, you shouldn’t be worried about hair loss on the Curly Girl Method.
It’s perfectly normal to experience an increased amount of shedding on wash days and remember, this simply just means you’re not shedding any hairs during the week.
But there are a few things you can do to ensure the optimal health of both your hair and your scalp.
Scalp care is incredibly important on the CG Method, and it could help reduce the amount of hair loss you’re experiencing.
Here’s a few ways to help you take better care of your scalp:
If you suffer from product build-up, it may be worth clarifying every once in a while. Oil and product can form a layer on your scalp and if your hair follicles become damaged, you could potentially experience hair loss.
Now clarifying isn’t actually part of the original Curly Girl Method because you should only need to co-wash when following the method. Co-wash means conditioner washing only. Some CG followers choose to use baby shampoo as it contains less harsh chemicals, but sometimes that too isn’t enough to remove build-up.
To clarify is using a shampoo designed to really get rid of dirt, grime and build-up from your hair.
By removing these from your scalp, you’re more easily able to hydrate your curls and prevent any hair loss potentially caused by following the Curly Girl Method.
Now some CG followers clarify using a shampoo that just contains stronger cleansers. A clarifying shampoo such as the Aunt Jackie’s Coco Wash Coconut Milk Conditioning Cleanser works really well. This product doesn’t contain any sulfate and so technically, is still Curly Girl approved.
Others prefer to use a sulfate shampoo such as the Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo once every 4-6 weeks.
This doesn’t follow the Method exactly, but it’s a great way to remove any stubborn product build-up.
This shampoo also works great if you live in a hard water area as you may be suffering from calcium and mineral build-up. If this is the case, a chelating shampoo, such as the Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo is necessary.
It’s completely your choice whether you choose to clarify, but if you suffer from dandruff, itchy scalp, or any other scalp issues, perhaps adding a clarifying shampoo to your routine may just do the trick.
Apple Cider vinegar Rinse (ACV)
If you’re looking for natural ways to bring life back to your curls, I suggest you try an apple cider vinegar rinse. Some Curly Girl followers use the ACV rinse as a clarifying routine, but it’s not as effective as sulfate shampoo.
However, regular use may just be the thing you need as apple cider vinegar does help to naturally cleanse your hair and protect your curls from hair loss.
If you don’t have product build-up, then an ACV rinse once every 2 weeks may be all you need.
Simply add 4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to about 100 ml of water. Apply to soaking wet hair and let sit on your hair for a few minutes. Use a scalp brush to really mix it in. Rinse off and follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.
Use A Scalp Massager
There isn’t really a reason to not use a scalp massager. It’s cheap, it’s effective and it feels great! On wash days, spend 2-3 minutes using a scalp massager to really massage your roots.
It helps to get rid of any product build-up as well as circulate the blood flow to your scalp. This allows your scalp to breathe, producing healthier hair follicles that reduces the risk of hair loss when following the Curly Girl Method.
Wash Hair More Regularly
One of the benefits of the Curly Girl Method, is that you don’t need to wash your hair very often. Most curlies wash their hair only twice per week.
This naturally creates product and oil build-up and of course, more shedding when you do finally wash your hair.
To avoid the appearance of excess hair loss on wash days, modify your Curly Girl Method routine and wash your hair more regularly.
This way, the hair shedding is spread out over more days of the week and it won’t seem so daunting.
Just remember, it’s perfectly natural to see a big ball of hair in your hand on wash days!
Use The Right Products
Although it’s very unlikely that the Curly Girl Method is causing genuine hair loss and not just additional hair shedding, you may want to look at the hair products you’re using,
You may be sensitive to ingredients such as glycerin or coconut and therefore could try switching out your products.
You can try coconut-free shampoos or perhaps switch out your regular conditioner.
If you do believe that your hair is genuinely thinning and that you’re experiencing hair loss on the Curly Girl Method, you should stop using your products and revert back to your regular hair routine.
Other Reasons You Might Be Losing Your Hair
In the event that you are suffering hair loss and not just excessive hair shedding, you should firstly consult your doctor to ensure you’re not suffering from any underlying conditions.
Generally, the following conditions or situations could be the reason for your recent hair loss:
- Medical treatments
- Poor immune system
- Poor nutrition
- Chemicals or harmful ingredients
- Thyroid conditions
- Giving Birth
Should I Stop Following The Curly Girl Method?
There is no reason why the Curly Girl Method in itself should cause hair loss.
If you do believe that something has changed since starting the method, you should look into the products that you have been using.
Removing harmful ingredients such as sulfate and silicone from your hair care routine is very unlikely to be the cause of your hair loss.
You could like into other chemicals such as parabens, sodium hydroxide, or DMDM Hydantoin to see if they may be the cause of your hair loss.
Try using a clarifying cleanser once every 4 weeks instead of just co-washing if you’re concerned.
If your hair follicles become clogged, not enough moisture would reach your scalp and build-up would occur.
This could also be a reason for hair loss but you should be able to reverse the effects quite quickly.
If the Curly Girl Method is not for you and you do believe that it is the cause of your hair loss then of course, you should absolutely stop following the method.
Disclaimer: This site is not intended to provide professional or medical advice. All of the content on LovedByCurls.com is for informational purposes only. All advice should be followed at your own discretion. Ingredients may change at any time so always check the product label before using. Check our full disclaimer policy here.
Dee has been following the Curly Girl Method for over four years and is our in-house Curly Girl expert. She has a keen interest in natural haircare and has tried and tested her share of CGM products. She has a photographic memory of most sulfate and silicone-free hair products available on the high street and she’s always happy to recommend you her favorites.