Curly Girl Method Simplified
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This month's curl post is gonna be a little different. My curly hair routine is still the same and while my curls are getting curlier, there hasn't been that much of a change in between the beginning of the month and the end.
I figured what I'd do today was focus more on the Curly Girl Method. I know that a lot of people haven't heard of it, and it's really freaking complicated to figure out just by researching it because there is SO much information/variations about it out there. I've been in a Curly Girl Facebook group and I feel like everyday I see people arguing about what the Curly Girl Method is and what it is and it just makes everything way more confusing.
As someone with curly hair, I grew up not knowing how to take care of my hair. My mom has straight hair and usually would just make me go brush my curls and call it a day. I figured out around age 11 that brushing my hair with a wet brush helped my curls, but that was about the extent of my curl care knowledge before I spent about eight years straightening and destroying my hair.
The Curly Girl Method is not an end all be all way to take care of curly hair, but it's a great place to start until you figure out what works best for you and your hair. I've also heard from all the curly girl YouTubers I follow say that it's a really good method to follow strictly if you are just starting to embrace your curls after a long period of heat damage (so if you're like me and straightened your hair for a really long time).
Still doesn't change the fact that it's gotten so complicated to figure out what is it or where to start if you want to follow the Curly Girl Method.
That's why you have me!
What is the Curly Girl Method?
To start, the Curly Girl Method is a hair care designed specifically for curly hair by Lorraine Massey, who was actually one of the founders of DevaCurl. It is for all types of curly hair, from loose waves to super kinky tight curls, and is designed to promote better and more articulated natural curls while minimizing damage and keeping the curls moisturized.
Do's and Don'ts
Co-Wash or a "Low-poo" instead of regular shampoo
Finger comb only
Use a microfiber towel or T-shirt to dry hair
Scrunch to encourage curls
Use protein hair masks
Don't brush or comb your hair: finger comb only
Don't use any heat on your hair
Don't use shampoo
Don't use sulfates
Don't use regular terry cloth towels (they create frizz and break up curls)
Don't use any non-soluble silicones
Don't color or bleach hair
Don't wash your hair everyday; limit to three times max a week
How to Get Started
You're also going to want to figure out what your hair type is. There are three main things you want to know: curl pattern, porosity, and density. The reason why is because once you know these things, you'll know what products to buy. You can take a curly hair quiz on Naturally Curly.
There are three types of curl patterns: wavy (classified as 2's), curly (classified as 3's), and coily (classified as 4's). I'm a 3, in case you were wondering. This just helps with knowing what styling methods to use and what products to look for.
Porosity is basically how your hair absorb moisture and products. High porosity means your hair absorbs and holds onto product and moisture really really well, which is why it might take you 1000 years to air dry your hair. If you have high porosity, you're going to want to buy lighter or water-based curl styling products so you don't accidentally over moisturize and make your hair greasy. If you have low porosity, it means that your hair is difficult for moisture to get into, but also difficult for it to get out. You're going to want to buy heavier, moisture rich, and oil-based products in order to make sure your hair is getting the moisture it needs.
Density is how much hair you have on your head. Pretty simple, but important to know in order to find products that work best for your hair type.
If you're wanting to just go ahead and get started with the Curly Girl Method, then start by throwing away all of your non-CGM approved products and buying stuff that is CGM approved. Personally, I just used the rest of my old stuff up because it mostly just had non-soluble silicones and I was shampooing every day anyways and then once it was gone, bought new stuff, but you do what works best for you.
Everything I've researched since starting my curly hair journey has said that the first thing you want to do hair wise is use a clarifying shampoo to do a final wash to deep clean your hair. This will get rid of all of the product build up on your scalp and essentially give you a blank canvas to start with.
Disclaimer: These are not the only CGM approved brands and products. These are just the ones I've used personally or have seen being used the most in the CGM Facebook group I'm in.
Kristin Ess Curl Line
Products that are not approved are the Ultra Hydrating Curl Repair Mask and the Ultra Hydrating Leave-In Creme.
Products that are not approved are the Daily Oil Moisturizer, Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner, Coconut Curling Cream, Deep Treatment Masque, Thermal Shield Heat Protectant, Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil, Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment, Shea Butter Leave in Conditioning Repair Cream, and Hair Dressing Pomade
I use the Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo as my deep cleansing shampoo.
Not Your Mother's Curl Talk
Products that are not approved are Curl Talk Defining Cream and Curl Talk Refreshing Curl Foam
I really like this line's Curl Activating Mousse because it's really good for volume and definition.
Not Your Mother's Naturals & Shea Moisture
The best product I use from Shea Moisture is their Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein-Strong Treatment.
JessiCurls & RawCurls
I put these two together because every curly hair group I'm in say that these are the only two brands that are 100% curly girl approved, but still just double check anything you buy just to be safe. I personally have not used any products from either line.
What I Do that is Not CGM Approved
I'm adding this section in because I don't want one of you to start doing the Curly Girl Method and then get confused when I say I do something that isn't CGM approved in my regular curl post.
While all of the hair products I use currently are CGM approved, my wash and styling routine are a little bit different than what the traditional Curly Girl Method wants you to do.
To start with, I shampoo every time I wash my hair. I tried co-washing for a while, but I felt like my hair would just feel gross because when you co-wash, you really do have to scrub the hell out of your head in order to get it clean and I just never did it enough.
I also diffuse my hair instead of letting it completely air dry. This is because my hair takes like 900 years to dry and I'm impatient. That being said, I do use a diffuser which is on medium speed and medium heat, and I do protect my curls by hovering and constantly moving the blow dryer instead of smushing them into one place until they're dry. Plus I usually only use the diffuser on my roots because that's what takes the longest to dry and I'm not frying my ends.
I also color and bleach my hair which is a huge no-no in the Curly Girl Method, but I like having pretty colored and fun hair so whatever lol. I've gone ahead and ahead and attached my progress pics so far below from July to now.
The Curly Girl Method is a great place to start if you don't know how to take care of your curls, but I definitely recommend trying out different products and styling methods until you find something that works best for you. The number one thing I've learned over the last few months of taking care of my curls is that every head of curls reacts differently to different products; it's not a one size fits all. You have to find your own personal routine; don't worry about copying mine or the curly girl influencers you see on Instagram and YouTube.
Please feel free to shoot me a DM or an email or leave a comment below if you have any more questions about this method or if you need help getting started or if you just need someone to hype you and your curls up. I'm here for you.
Take a shot for all the research I did to figure out what the heck CGM actually was and toast to all the beautiful heads of curls out there.