Embracing my curls with the curly girl method

For many years I’ve struggled with my curly hair. Frizz has always been a problem, no matter how many products I’ve tried, both cheap and expensive. I’ve always envied girls with straight hair that always looks really nice while I’ve constantly battled to make mine look half decent. Trips to the hairdresser have always been stressful, unless it’s to get a blow dry.  And even then my hair only lasts about half a day straight, or I’m left looking like an 80s rockstar with super big hair. Isn’t it amazing how few hairdressers know how to deal with curly hair?

Then one day a couple of months ago, I came across the curly girl method online and it was a bit of a revelation. The Curly Girl method is based on a book of the same name written by Lorraine Massey

In a way it’s quite an easy method to follow, you just need to learn to check product labels to make sure the products you are using are CG friendly. The basis of the method is very simple, get rid of silicons, sulfates and drying alcohols and your hair will be moisturised and looking super healthy.  Silicone ingredients end in -cone, -conol or -xane. For example: dimethicone, dimethiconol, and cyclopentasiloxane. None of these are water soluble so they can not be used in the curly girl method. However if a silicone ingredient is prefaced with PPG or with PEG it is water soluble and therefore CG friendly. For example  PEG-8 Dimethicone is ok.

I have put together an infographic pointing out how to follow the method step by step.


In the curly girl method shampoo is only used for the final wash, see step 1 above. After that, you only wash your hair using conditioner. Like with any other method, it’s all a bit trial and error, and about finding the products that work for your hair. Amazingly a lot of the cheaper conditioners and styling products out there are silicon free so you won’t necessarily spend a fortune if you decide to follow it. These three products here have worked wonders for me the past couple of months. John Frieda Curl Reviver, OGX Defining Cream [EDIT: Since writing this post I’ve found out OGX Defining Cream is not curly girl approved] & Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner. The Shea Moisture conditioner is a bit on the expensive side but a little bit goes a long way.  With winter round the corner it will be interesting to see if my frizz stays away or if I need to try new products.


I’ve been following the curly girl method since early August and even though I’m not following it strictly – I’m still using shampoo – I’ve seen an amazing transformation in my hair.  Apparently, it can take months before you see improvement, so you really need to persevere. This is my hair about 8 weeks in, you can see that my curls are really defined and that I hardly have any frizz.


After forty off years I’m finally embracing my curls and I’m starting to love my hair a bit. I even had a stranger come up to me and say they loved my hair!

See how I’m getting on with the curly girl method 6 months on, read here. You can also read my other curly girl method posts here , here and here

19 thoughts on “Embracing my curls with the curly girl method

  1. This is so interesting! I've never heard of the Curly Girl method. I'm mixed race and have curly hair, I mostly manage to avoid frizz now but if it's a humid or muggy day I still can't stop it from frizzing. I was my hair every other day (shampoo then conditioner) and every second day I cowash with just conditioner. I usually use a detangling brush while I've got conditioner on my hair, if I only used my fingers it would get really tangled and then it starts to dread itself up! When I get out the shower I touch it as little as possible, I just run some shea butter through it (I use Fekkai Essential Shea Creme which is a bit pricey but the best I've found) and then let it dry naturally.Can I ask what you mean when you say 'final wash'? I don't quite understand the routine you follow - do you wash with shampoo then use two different conditioners every day?
    1. Hi Amy, I'm not following the curly girl method too strictly so I still use shampoo & conditioner. I then add OGX defining cream to my hair and then I use mousse. The key is to use sulfate & silicon free products, they will make a huge difference to the condition of your hair. The final wash is only if you follow the method strictly, you use shampoo for one last time to clean your hair properly and then use conditioner instead of shampoo. I use Cantu shampoo which is silicone & sulfate free and then SheaMoisture as a conditioner.
  2. Hi! You and your hair are beautiful. My curl type is 2C-3A. I too don't follow the CG method very strictly. I also often dry detangle my hair with coconut oil before shampooing it. Only a sulfate containing shampoo can remove pre-poo oils. I only learnt about the CG method sometime last December. My approach to it has been constantly evolving. I keep re-formulating it to suit my convenience. What I intend to do from here onwards is rinse my hair with water, apply a liberal amount of thick creamy conditioner from root to tip. Let it sit on my hair for about 10 minutes. Finger detangle after this and do the squish to condish method. Squish to condish truly hydrates the curls and one can even avoid using leave-ins by doing it! Rinse out the conditioner partially. Blot out extra water with a soft cotton tee. Scrunch in my leave-ins while my hair is still wet. A serum by L'oreal and aloe Vera gel are my preferred leave-ins. Let my hair completely air dry. No further scrunching with the tee, or plopping or diffusing for me. Scrunching is my favorite part of the CG method. I especially love the squelching noise my curl clumps make!
    1. Thanks a lot for your comment. I'm really amazed that it's taken me so long to fund the CG method. I'm also still trying to find the best technique that suits my hair but I'm impressed with the results. Will check out the L'Oreal serums. At the moment Shea Moisture products are the ones working better for me.
      1. Aloe Vera gel is actually the best thing to finish off your post-shower curly hair routine with. There's this Indian brand called Patanjali that makes very cost-effective and good quality aloe Vera gel. It doesn't make your hair crunchy by leaving it in hard casts. So hydrating and just the right amount of hold. For me curly hair care is all about using hydrating products and ❤️Scrunching❤️. Scrunching gives me the hair texture of my dreams.
  3. Hi, there! Not exactly sure what “type” of curly hair I have except to say I call it “bad perm.” Besides having curly hair, I have 2 extra hair problems that make styling extremely difficult. Due to hypothyroidism, I have thin hair that has boarded on hair fall. I also have a severe gluten intolerance so all my hair products MUST be gluten free. Help! Sallie
    1. Hi Sallie, Thanks for your comment. No advice on gluten free products, have you tried smaller brands, maybe those made just with natural ingredients? It might be easier to find some gluten free ones that way.
    2. Sally, thanks for mentioning gluten intolerance. I’m gluten sensitive & never considered the impact of wheat protein in hair care products. I eliminated products with alcohol & sulphates & now will eliminate silicone & wheat.Thanks

  4. stunning stunning stunning! I have bordering straight hair with a slight wave so im scrunching my life away and my hair is curling. so far about a week in and I'm definitely in that difficult unattractive transition phase!! where it looks crunchy and like i dont dry it properly. waiting on the lush locks, I won't give up!!
    1. Don’t give up, some people see amazing results straight away but for some others it can take a bit of time. I’ve been following the curly girl method for a year and a half and I sometimes struggle with my hair. Persevere and you will be fine!
  5. After seeing the Wen hair products, I wondered if someone could wash their hair w conditioner most of the time. I hadn't thought about not using silicone, mainly sulfates. I have hip-length hair & the ends can get dry. Sometimes in between washings, if my scalp is still clean, I'll condition 3/4 of it to hydrate & freshen it. My hair has always been fairly straight w some wave in it, so I would perm it bc I love my hair curly. I've found the older I get, the more grey I have to cover & the more wave I have in my hair. I wish I could follow the CG method, but I have soooo many fragrance allergies, I can only use 1 shampoo, conditioner & leave-in spray conditioner. Your hair looks great. The ends don't look lighter or flyaway & your curls are more defined.
    1. Oh I've never heard of Wen hair products before, will have to check them out. I know it's hard finding products with no fragances but you should have a look as there must be some out there. I sometimes use clay as a hair wash, it's a bit messy but leaves my hair in excellent condition so that's something you could try
  6. I have found that by using products meant for African hair types (even though I'm not African but type 4 hair is extremely coily) such as Shea moisture, Cantu, etc, I am able to keep frizz away. I also follow the wash day routines most type 4 ladies use (it is very similar to curly girl routine). I also use Indian hair products when I can't afford the other hair products. They are great as well. Most type 4 ladies deep condition and that has been the key secret. I deep condition twice a week.
    1. Thanks for your message. Agree that deep conditioning is really important. I try to do it at least once a week and even after 2 years my hair is still a bit dry - not as bad as it used to be- so I might start doing it twice a week.

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