Book Review: Curly Girl - The Handbook

If you're a naturally curly girl then this is the book for you. Written by Lorraine Massey with Michele Bender, this book is the only book of its kind out there that is completely dedicated to the caring of curly hair, no matter what type you have.

Being Fijian, as all Fijians out there know, the odds that I have curly hair were huge. And guess what? I do!

Being almost completely Melanesian, a lot of Fijians have what is generally referred to as frizzy hair, often styled in the Fijian Buiniga or, as the rest of the world refers to it, the afro.

What many don’t realize is that this hair is actually small, tightly-coiled curls. These curls, when combed out, frizz out to make that afro look. That “frizzy” look is alright if that’s the look you’re going for, especially for us Fijians as the Buiniga is part of our cultural identity and back in the days, there were concoctions made that were applied to the hair of Fijians who had “softer” hair in order to harden it and make it stand so their hair could be styled in the Buiniga style.

However, if that’s not the look you’re going for, then frizz can be a major problem for all curlies. This is especially true for those of us Fijians or Melanesians or Pacific Islanders in general who happen to be of mixed ethnicity. And as all Pacific Islanders know, the region is full of all kinds of mixes! Whether it’s a mix between Melanesians, Polynesians and Micronesians or between Pacific Island and the rest of the world, the region is full of hair of all types and when it comes to curly hair, boy do we have a variety of mixes there!

In my case, a mixture on both sides of the family resulted in my curls. But for the longest time, I didn’t know if I really had curls. That’s because my hair did what it wanted. There were days I got up with curls and then other days I woke up with something indescribable! Of course now, many years later, I know why that happened. But back then, you just accept that your hair will do what it wants. Probably why the bun hairstyle is so popular back home!

It was only when I finally decided to research curly hair (after much prompting from the other half, a lover of curly hair!) that I discovered, a website dedicated to curly hair, and subsequently, Curly Girl – The Handbook.

Curly Girl – The Handbook is a follow-up of the first Curly Girl book, both of which I’ve read.

The first Curly Girl book was great but it did make me crave more so I was thrilled when I first heard that Lorraine Massey was working on the second book. And now that I have it and have read it, I can tell you that it met all my expectations!

Curly Girl is the handbook I would recommend to everyone out there who has curly hair whether you’re a man, a woman or if you have children with curly hair and no matter what ethnicity.

Curly Girl helps you identify just exactly what type of curly hair you have, a great chapter for those like me who have varying curl types on their head and a great chapter for those of us curlies of Pacific Island descent.

The book instructs you on how to treat your hair according to your curl type from cleansing to conditioning to styling and overall maintenance.

It guides curlies wishing to color their hair from what techniques are good for your hair to the all-important questions you should ask any hairdresser to be sure they are the right person to handle your delicate curls.

There’s even a chapter instructing you on how to trim your own hair, a chapter much needed by curlies like me who travel a lot and therefore, never have a constant hairdresser or if you simply trust only yourself with your hair.

Have children with curly hair? There’s a chapter for you providing instructions all the way from cleansing to conditioning and styling.

Then there are recipes which everyone can use to make their own hair potions at home. Another interesting part of the book are the curl confessions which feature throughout the book where curly-haired people share their past hair traumas and how they came to love their natural hair.

And best of all? The book comes with a dvd with step-by-step instructions on cleansing, trimming and styling!

All in all, a truly great handbook for curlies that will help you embrace your curls and help you maintain them.

The book is well-illustrated with excellent pictures throughout that help you understand the instructions they give and of course, show you the curls you could have.

One prominent feature in the book is the method known as the No-Poo Method. If you’re a regular on, then you might already know about this method.
No-Poo is a method discovered by the author Lorraine Massey and it simply involves never using shampoo on your hair ever again!
The method recommends only using a botanical conditioner to both cleanse and condition your hair with the belief that the harsh chemicals found in most shampoos ( like sodium lauryl sulfate) strip your hair of moisture which curly hair so desperately needs. Dryness in curly hair is the main culprit for frizz.

I had known about this method for about 2 or 3 years now but somehow could not let go of shampoos! It’s been programmed into us for so long that we need to shampoo our hair so I can understand people who share my reluctance.

However, since all the other tips I’ve picked up from both Curly Girl and has helped transform my hair into the curls they were always supposed to be, I’ve decided to really give it a go this time around. So expect updates from me regarding that and let me know if I do forget!

But basically, to round this review off, I must congratulate the authors of Curly Girl, Lorraine Massey and Michele Bender, for an excellently compiled book that I’m sure will be useful to so many curly-haired people out there who have long searched for how to care for their curly hair or have lived for too long disliking, even hating, their hair.

If you’re one of these people, this is the book for you and I won’t be surprised if it completely transforms not only your hair, but your whole outlook on you!

Follow this link to to read their article on the book.