This Reddit Hair Trick Changed My Curls — And It's So Easy
As far as beauty goes, Instagram and YouTube get all the glory—thanks to being home to savvy influencers who boast complex and often entrancing routines. But as the young beauty gurus of the internet age know all too well, Reddit is an equally robust gold mine of skin care and hair care tips and routines.
I've been using the social media platform on and off for about three years now. There, you can find forums (or as they call them, subreddits) about most beauty woes and topics, like acne scars and makeup hacks. My personal favorite? r/CurlyHair.
The forum is famous—well, as famous as a subreddit can be—for their exacting "method." The Curly Gurl/Guy Method prescribes safe products, the exact order to use them in, how often to use them, and with what tools. It's a road map to springier, shinier, healthier curls. If you need any proof, simply scroll through the feed to see the plethora of before-and-afters.
Now, I personally don't follow the method exactly. Not for lack of belief but for lack of opportunity. Since it's my job to test and try out the newest in hair care, I'm often switching things up. I just can't realistically stick to a set routine day in and day out. (I do try to avoid silicones as much as possible—one of their golden rules—but that's also just a personal preference.) But there is one key technique I learned from the method that I swear by—and you can do it even if you don't follow the rest of the method.
It's a technique dubbed "squish to condish"—and it's genius. I first discovered it almost two years ago on the forum. Here's how I do it. Yours might look slightly different depending on your hair length or texture, and that's OK: I'm a firm believer in tailoring any and all beauty advice to your own wants and needs.
After applying liberal amounts of conditioner, I detangle my strands. Given my hair type and curl pattern, I need a detangler to help loosen knots without tugging and breaking my strands (for me, a regular brush on dry strands will result in shedding the size of a yarn ball). Instead, I use both my fingers and a wide-tooth comb to work through it. Then I let it sit for a while as I do a body scrub, shave, or exfoliate my face.
When I'm ready to rinse, the fun begins. I flip my whole head over (If I'm being lazy, I just flip it to the side), so my hair is falling down from my scalp—but not underwater yet. I cup my hands under my hair, ready to pool water. Then I inch my hair under the shower spray and let the conditioner-water mix collect in my palms. Then I start squishing upward with my conditioner-water cocktail. The hand motion should feel like a you are lifting and scrunching up the curl pattern, like you might if you were applying mousse. You do this while your hair is under the shower stream. Some on the forum suggest to leave some conditioner in, but I try to rinse almost all of it out, personally. Conditioner residue is too heavy for my hair curl pattern and strand thickness, and it will weigh my hair down.
The idea is that it is a less abrasive way to rinse out your conditioner. Water, especially hot water, is hard on hair. And when you rinse out conditioner by tossing it under the shower and pull or squeeze it out, your stretching out your strands (hair is more elastic when wet—and this is not good for hair health). But if you coddle it during your rinse, there's far less physical damage.
It also makes more out of the conditioner: Think of all those hydrating actives just swirling down the drain as you rinse it out. This gives the product more time to do its work as you're slowly and gently massaging it back into the strands while scrunching. Sure, it takes a bit more time to do this correctly, but it's worth it.