So you are new to the Curly Girl method? Confused by acronym's and wondering what on earth you should buy to begin the journey?
First I believe in KISS --especially in the beginning with CG where you are struggling with the transition to the CG method. Both you and your hair are likely frustrated. We can relate--we started there too!
It goes without saying that you need to read heavily--go visit the naturallycurly.com website or any of the blogs I link below as all have various amounts of information. The Live Curly Live Free website is a goldmine of information as is the blog by Jillipoo.
So here is what I recommend for you to purchase in the first weeks of going CG. Most will be on ground but I've thrown in a couple of recommendations for online purchases if you want to give that a try:
1. Suave Naturals or V05 Moisture Milks or similar for a co-wash. These are widely available and cheap. If you have medium to coarse hair stay with things that don't have a lot of protein in them (V05 or Suave is fine except the coconut)Cost: $1.25
2. LA Looks Sport Gel (LALSG): again cheap and widely available. If you can't find the Sports one then try LaBella or a generic (e.g. CVS) version of hard hold gel. Cost $2.00
3. Lustrasilk Cholesterol Conditioners--choose one of the three without cones (Olive Oil, Shea and Mango, or Organic with Argan Oil). At a price of $2.50 you can afford to pick up a couple. I vote for Olive Oil for Leave-in and either Shea Mango or the Organic for your DT's. Cost $2.50
4. A good conditioner. Giovanni and/or Trader Joe's conditioners: Depending on your hair type and scalp issues and if you have a TJ's around you. Choose the Tea Tree is you get itchy scalp or your preCG hair was oily/greasy. If your hair was pretty dry but not ultra frizzy and dry then I recommend the TJ Nourish or Refresh or the Giovanni 50/50. If you have really dry hair or want to do a couple of very moisturizing DT's then try Smooth as Silk by Giovanni. Your other option is the ones we use on my daughter--Garnier Fructis. The Triple Nutrition and the Sleek and Shine (fortifying Conditioners) are excellent choices for really dry hair or just normal to dry, cheap, and work great. They are reviewed on my blog so you can see what they look like. Cost $3-8
5. Any or all of the following hair accessories if you do not already own them: mini clips, bobby pins, ponytail holders, headbands, clips, barrette's, Flexi-8's, etc. You are likely going to put your hair up or back at some point. Inevitable. Make sure you have some products you can live with to do that. Trust me. You may also want to clip your hair to give it volume on top so clips can be a lifesaver. Hit up the Goody or Scunchi isle's in your local CVS, Target, Walmart, or Walgreen's.
6. A diffuser or hard hat dryer. Whichever floats your boat. Peeps with very thick and potential-poof hair might want a hard hat dryer (I use and love Ion Conditioning Hard Hat dryer from Sally's). I use a diffuser more often on my hair--check out the Conair attachments for regular dryer's available at Sally's as those work well and are cheap $5-8.
7. A towel or something that functions as one. Either a curl towel OR use old Hanes type undershirts or other tshirts or flour sack towels. You won't be using regular terry cloth towel's on your hair and you need something to get some water out.
8. Ingredients to either make your own Flax Seed Gel OR to do DT's and soothe your scalp: Honey, Coconut Oil, Flax Seeds, strainer, Avocado Oil, Jojoba Oil, Tea Tree Oil, eggs, mayonaisse, avocado and more. No you don't have to be a Mixtress to do this-it's easy and you'll like using what you have on hand to have beautiful hair! Recipes are all over the net and on naturallycurly.com on the Recipes board.
9. If you have coarser hair you may want to invest in some butters or cream's that are moisturizing. This is where you start to go online. I recommend something like Karen's Body Beautiful or Shescentit for your butters and creams. We've also used Ohm Avocado Custard and Oyin's whipped pudding to good effect. Just google them. If you are a finer haired wavy or curly I recommend investing in a good protein treatment. There are numerous options like Nexxus Emergencee, Apoghee (may have cones) or one of the online like Hairveda's Methi set or Curl Junkie's Curl Fix. In addition if you are a wavy you may want to invest in a low-poo because many wavies need to low poo--there are many to chose from including the Giovannie or Trader Joe's shampoo's, EO shampoo's, and others you can get from a health food store or drug/grocery store.
10. If you want a curl creme or gel (and trust me you will) then check out any of the following (mostly online but Whole Foods in states other than CA have some Kinky Curly products and you might find the AG and Mop products in a local BSS or salon):
Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Donna Marie Mira Curl Curling Jelly, Amourai Organique Duchess of Curls, AG Re:Coil, Jessicurl Rockin' Ringlet's and Confident Coils, Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle, Coffee-Coco Curl Creme or Smoothing Gellee, or Mop C Curl Creme and Darcy's Botanical's Natural Coils Curling Jelly.
I've listed in order of importance IMHO. You can always use #1 as a rinse out conditioner as well until you figure out what your hair likes.