The Curly Girl Method: A How-To Guide

As much as women and girls love to show off their curly hair, they all admit that it comes with several downsides. Aside from the constant frizz and flyaways, there are split ends, tangles, greasiness, and breakage that keep coming back no matter what you do. What many people don’t realize is that they may be doing too much to maintain their locks. Naturally curly hair needs a routine that’s simple yet effective to keep it clean and shiny without causing damage. For this reason, many have been swearing by the curly girl method for years and are thrilled with the results.

How the CG Method Came About

This method was first made popular in December 2001, when hairstylist Lorraine Massey released her hair-care guide, Curly Girl: The Handbook. At a time when pin-straight hair was the ideal look for all women, it was considered revolutionary to embrace curls. Yet just a few years after the CG method caught on, wavy and curly hair became popular once again.

Ideal for those with natural and unrelaxed hair, this no poo method relies heavily on conditioner and styling gels that are free of sulfates. The result is hair that is perfectly moisturized and curls that are full and bouncy. If you’ve considered giving up shampoo, or are just looking for a way to really bring your curly hair to life, then read on for some incredible tips courtesy of hair stylist Lorraine Massey.

Curly Girl Handbook

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Before You Start the Curly Girl Method

Before you begin, it’s important to remember what not to use. Moisture is key here, so anything that dries or damages your hair is out of the question. Avoid shampoos and styling products that contain sulfates, alcohol, fragrance, and non-water-soluble silicones. Brushing your hair when dry is what leads to the most breakage, so you’ll want to stop doing that. Combing and heat styling should be reserved for very specific circumstances.

To prep your hair, use a clarifying shampoo to rid your hair of all dirt, oil, and product buildup so your hair will be completely clean by the time you start the CG method. Since you’ll only use this shampoo once, get either a travel size bottle or a sample in order to reduce waste. Next, get rid of your old shampoo and begin your hunt for sulfate-free conditioners and styling gels. And finally, remember no amount of moisturizing can bring your dead ends back to life. Trim them off to really start fresh, and do it yourself to save money.

Once you’ve taken all of these steps, you’re ready to start.

Related Post: 10 Game-Changing Curly Hair Products

The CG Method: Wash and Go!

After you’ve wet your hair, distribute the conditioner throughout your scalp and massage it in completely using your fingertips, not your nails. This stimulates the hair follicles and strengthens the roots. It also lifts any sweat, oil, and dandruff that cling to your scalp, and allows you to wash them away more easily. Then rinse the conditioner out completely. Depending on how dry your scalp gets, this can be done as seldom as once a week.

Next, distribute the conditioner throughout the rest of your hair and untangle your hair slowly and gently using either your hands or a wide-tooth comb. Start at the ends and work your way upward as you remove all the tangles. Once you finish, rinse out most of the conditioner with cool water, as this will seal the cuticle and reduce frizz. It’s also at this point that you can use the comb to part your hair. Massey recommends a side part to avoid that awkward triangle shape, but any that you prefer works perfectly fine.

Washing Curly Hair Process

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Styling Your Curls

This step is different depending on your hair type. Those with curlier hair can apply products right away while the hair is still soaked. Wavy hair needs at least five minutes of drying time beforehand. A leave-in conditioner is also recommended as a first step. Before applying the gel, make sure it’s nice and emulsified by rubbing it between your palms. Then gently rake it through using your fingers.

Once all of your products are in, take the time to really shape your curls. You can do this either by scrunching them upwards in the palm of your hand or by twirling them individually around your finger. For those with more coily hair, a wash and go without styling or heat is suggested.

As tempting as it may be, don’t touch your hair while it’s drying. This will not only ruin the curls, but will also cause frizz. A good way to cut down on drying time is plopping: wrapping an old T-shirt or microfiber cloth around your head for 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re in a serious rush, use a diffuser until your hair is mostly dry to avoid serious damage.

Styling Curls Process

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Maintaining Your Curly Hair

First things first, it’s extremely important that you give your hair a few weeks to adjust. Years of improper care can’t be fixed right away, and your hair may look even worse for some time. Be patient, and remember that you don’t have to give up shampoo cold turkey. Use a little bit less each time you wash, and pair it with the conditioner to make the transition easier.

Once you’re settled, take the time to find a great hair stylist in case of emergencies. Do your research and ask the right questions before deciding. Make sure they’re properly trained in cutting your hair type, and ask them what products they use on their clients. An experienced stylist will know that long, rounded layers are better for curly hair and that razor cuts can often lead to split ends.

Finally, be sure to get your hair trimmed every four to six months in order to remove any dryness or damage that could weigh your hair down. If you style your hair frequently, or if it just grows abnormally fast, then get it trimmed more often. Also consider the benefits of a dry trim, as it’s harder to determine how your hair will curl when it’s wet and straightened out.

Flaunting Your Natural, Wavy Locks

After your hair has completely adjusted to your new routine, and your curls are now healthier and fuller than they’ve ever been, the only thing left to do is show them off. Remember that even though every hair type has its own unique set of challenges, they are all beautiful in their own way. For far too long, the beauty industry has spent countless amounts of time and money convincing women to completely alter their appearance. With more and more outlets encouraging women and girls to embrace and even enhance what’s naturally theirs, the Curly Girl handbook has proven to be an incredible tool in helping them to achieve the confidence they desire.

Curly Girl Method Approved Products

Any product that is silicone- and sulfate-free is CG method approved. Since it may take some time to find what works best for your hair, we at The Right Hairstyles have compiled a short list to help you in your search.

Products For Curly Girl Method

How to Check if Your Products Are CG Method Friendly?

If you’re using a product not listed above, don’t panic. There’s an easy and quick way to check whether your products are CG approved.

All you have to do is use this site to enter the full list of ingredients of the hair product, separating each with a comma. Once you’ve entered all the ingredients, hit “Submit,” and the verdict will be on its way!

Now that you have all of the tools you need to bring out the best in your curls, allow The Right Hairstyles to give you some extra hair care tips. Maybe you’re still unsure of your hair type, which haircuts would work best for you, or how to style without causing damage. Thankfully, you can find all of your answers here on this blog, and be sure to subscribe to our Facebook page to stay updated on brand-new posts.

Curly Girl Method Guide

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