SOTC stands for Scrunch out the Crunch/Cast (the c is pretty much up to you, I always say scrunch out the crunch). Basically, this is the action of taking a few drops of oil (between 2-5 drops of any oil of choice in the palm of your hand, rubbing your hands together, and scrunching upwards to remove the gel cast), preferably a sealing oil, if you do not know the difference between a sealing oil and a moisturizing oil, please click here to check out the article on that.
Before we all started on the curly girl method, I am sure we can all remember back to a time when we had this horrible wet-dog-looking, tough-to-penetrate gel remains in our hair. I don’t know about anyone else but, growing up we used to get our gel tubs for less than $2 dollars at the dollar stores or cheap neighborhood beauty supply stores. We used to cake that on and then wonder why the hell gel left our hair so hard.
Here’s the reason as to why gel leaves such a hard feeling; That feeling is called a gel cast. A gel is responsible for giving your curls a bit of hold, that way your curls last throughout the day or even your week.
Gel is manufactured in a liquid form and processed until we get that jelly-like consistency we are all used to. The original liquid state allows for the product to easily be applied to hair and evenly spread across the canvas that is your hair. The main function of gel is to deposit into the hair strands, therefore attracting nearby strands to be attracted to one another, creating our curl clumps.
Once completely dried on hair, the gel forms an invisible film around the hair. This helps to preserve/maintain the curl structure and shine from our wash n go’s. Before the CG Method, many of us would leave the cast, until it eventually wore off as the day continued. Some of you (I don’t include me in this because it never occurred to me to SOTC), were smart enough to crunch with your bare hands, which works!
The only disadvantage about SOTC without oil is (especially for high porosity hair) the cast is removed but nothing is sealing the hair cuticle to avoid frizz. Frizz is caused by the scales on the cuticle of the hair strand staying open. When the scales are not properly sealed you are susceptible to losing essential moisture and nutrients from your hair through the little gaps in the cuticle layer.
By using oil like Argan oil to scrunch, you are allowing the oil to seal the cuticle as you scrunch. Different oils penetrate the hair at different stages, like for example, coconut oil won’t go past your outer cuticle layer, so it will not penetrate and properly seal the hair, it will mostly sit on top which is why we often advise avoidance of coconut oil for sotc. Whereas, Argan oil, is a lighter but moisturizing oil, and also has sealing properties to make sure it is moisturizing deep within and sealing that moisture so it will protect hair longer.
Sealing your hair with oil will be the key to preventing split ends and breakage. Sebum (natural oil your scalp produces) doesn’t have time to make it’s way all the way down to your hair’s ends (like straight hair), to condition your hair. The spiral structure of our curls greatly delays the process. So, oils will be that extra step your hair needs to look and feel your very best.
If you want suggestions on which oils are best to use to seal and scrunch out the crunch, click here for oil recommendations based on porosity!