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The Curly Girl Method Beginners’ Guide

People with curly hair tend to have difficulty maintaining the natural look of their hair. It tends to easily get dry, tangled, and frizz because of its shape, porosity, and effects from the environment.

Some people would prefer straightening their hair compared to sticking with their curls either due to demanding hair care routines or lack of knowledge on how to take care of their curly hair. 

Then came English hairdresser Lorraine Massey, the brain behind the curly girl method (CGM). In 2015, Massey created a hair care routine to improve the natural looks of curls through a step-by-step procedure. The idea behind this routine is to reduce damage from preservatives and tools.

Curls need the correct kind of hair routine to preserve moisture and minimize damage to their hair cuticle. With this, CGM is the perfect hair procedure for lost curly-haired girls.

What is the curly girl method?

Without synthetic or cosmetic treatments, CGM can help care for and maintain all types of curly hair. To embrace curly hair, CGM also prevents the use of sulfates, alcohol, fatty alcohol, and hair-damaging heat styling tools.

This process also uses conditioner to remove tangled hair, curl-activating gel to help reshape curls, and a cotton t-shirt or bamboo towel to dry the hair efficiently. 

PowerYourCurls hairstylist Gwenda Harmon recommends CGM because it helps improve curl shape while maintaining health without the use of harmful tools and ingredients. 

“Using products free from preservatives, CGM can help retain moisture and enhance curl definition. You can also save more money because you don’t need blow dryers, wide-tooth combs, and cotton towels to make hair healthy,” said Harmon.

What are the benefits of the curly girl method?

One of the perks of doing CGM is improving the shape of your curls due to the natural products used. By ditching artificial ingredients, curls will enjoy retained moisture and enhanced shapes.

Another perk is reducing frizz, resulting in manageable and softer hair because of avoiding harmful chemicals in CGM.

Reducing heat damage is also another benefit because of zero heat styling tools. With this, the hair will not suffer from breakage, split ends, and dryness.

CGM also helps improve the desired haircut length over the head because the curl formation is more defined. 

“Curls are usually unruly so when you get a haircut, the curl formation is looser, resulting in an uneven and shorter hair. Curly hair when cut appears shorter than straight hair because of the shape. After doing CGM, it will prevent all these haircut concerns because CGM will enhance the hair shape,” said Harmon.

Harmon also said CGM will help the environment and minimize carbon footprint because the hair routine promotes eco-friendly hair care tools.

Is the curly girl method right for me?

CGM requires trial and error because it isn’t good for all hair types, especially if you have straight hair.

Harmon said it would also depend on your hair type because some may have stronger hair strands and may need sulfate shampoos. Some may also still need brushes to evenly distribute the natural oils down to their strands.

“It is only an ideal process for curly or wavy types and may not be good for straight or coily hair,” said Harmon.

“This is why you need to trial and error. You can use CGM for a month before altering its process. You can replace or alter some of the ingredients used to tailor which is perfect for your hair,” added Harmon.

Harmon also cited that CGM uses no heat styling methods which can limit styling hair such as straight hair.

What are the curly girl method steps for beginners?

Harmon introduced five steps to doing CGM, with cleansing the hair as the first one. You can do this by washing hair with a co-wash conditioner or sulfate-free or low-poo shampoo like Creamy Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo or Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo.

“Massage the product into the hair to evenly coat the nutrients. Rinse the soap out to allow the mixture to wash over the rest of the strands,” said Harmon.

The second step is detangling through the conditioner. For this step, you only need your fingertips to gently run through the hair and detangle it while you are in the shower.

“This process helps deal with breakage and distribute the needed moisture on the curls which tends to be drier than other hair types,” explained Harmon. 

The essential product for this one is a conditioner and a deep conditioner such as Born Curly Argan Leave In Conditioner & Detangler or Aloe & Mint Recipe Hydrate Me! Leave-In Conditioning Crème

The third step is styling, which is aided by a gel or curl cream for defining curls. Some curly-approved products you can try are Afro Naturals: Curl Defining Creme or Cantu Acai Berry Revitalizing Curling Cream

Do this while it is damp and run it through the strands until it smoothens your curls.

“The correct way of doing so is to scrunch the product into the hair and you can also add in other styling products that will cater to your curl type,” pointed out Harmon.

The next step is to use an old shirt or bamboo towel to rinse out excess water from your curls. Using these instead of a cotton towel can strip off natural oils and its rough fibers can cause friction, which can cause frizz.

“Unlike cotton towels, old shirts and bamboo towels have smaller and smoother fibers that can absorb excess moisture without getting rid of natural oils,” said Harmon.

Lastly, do these four steps again every time your hair gets wet.

What should be avoided in the Curly Girl Method?

Although CGM looks easy, it is advisable to do the steps correctly. For example, lessen the frequency of hair washing. Harmon recommends doing the routine two or three times a week.

Harmon also warned against using non-soluble silicones, which are commonly found in conditioners and styling products.

Tools like brushes and combs should also be avoided for this method as it can do the exact opposite of your goal to retain the natural shape of curls.

“There may be some brushes that work with conditioners but if you are on a budget, it’s better not to purchase anything for this routine,” said Harmon.

Lastly, it’s best to steer clear from color or other chemical treatments of the hair because CGM is best used for natural or virgin hair.

“Dyeing hair or any chemical treatments contain products that have natural ingredients which can repel the CGM routine benefits,” said Harmon.

Gwenda Harmon

Gwenda Harmon

Gwenda Harmon, our esteemed hair stylist and resident beauty expert at Power Your Curls, boasts over a decade of experience. Her specialization lies in dispensing invaluable advice on hair care, styling, and beauty techniques. Frequently featured in reputable publications such as Yahoo!, VEGAMOUR, BestLife Online, and more, Gwenda is dedicated to helping individuals attain healthy, beautiful hair by sharing her wealth of knowledge in effective hair care practices.