If you are a curly-haired girl, you probably heard about the Curly Girl Method and got motivated by before/after photos of the people who followed this routine all over the internet, but when you decide to start your natural hair journey, you get stuck and fail to achieve your goal.
To end this confusion, we have to tell you that the only reliable source to follow the curly girl method is to read Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Messay, who created this method.
After I started my personal journey by trying the routine of the curly girl method to get my healthy curls back, but I faced many problems, the most important of which was the misleading misinformation about the correct steps for the routine that is posted on social media groups and Facebook groups in particular.
So, after testing, experimenting, and research for two years, I came up with accurate information about the routine, and it was time to share it with others to answer all the questions about the curly girl method, and of course, starting your journey for getting gorgeous tighter curls or even looser curl patterns.
What is the Curly Girl Method?
The curly girl method is a haircare routine created by Lorraine Massey. It is designed for curly & wavy hair to enhance natural curl patterns and get healthy and shiny curls to look by moisturizing it and avoiding harmful ingredients and damaging hair habits.
Curly Girl Method basics before starting
You have to know some main rules before starting your journey in CG Method to get the best result you are looking for. It’s not a bible, but don’t say that you follow CGM when you break them.
Identify your hair type
Lorraine designed this method to meet all curly hair type needs, so she was classifying curly hair in “Lorraine’s Curl-ections” which contain seven curl types between tight to loose curls; you can determine which of them is the hair type by the following instruction.
First, make sure that your curls are totally dry; pull a strand to your shoulder or neck to its entire length. Then, Leave your finger at the point where the strand touches, now let it go.
After that, With a ruler, measure the distance between your finger and where your curl naturally ends.
Now, you can know your hair type by that measurement depending on the following lengths:
- 9- to 16-inch spring: Fractal or Zigzag
- 9- to 12-inch spring: Corkscrew
- 5- to 10-inch spring: Corkicelli and Cherub
- 5- to 8-inch spring: Botticelli
- 2- to 4-inch spring: Wavy
- 1- to 2-inch spring: S’wavy
Things to avoid in the curly girl method
Giving up on bad habits and harsh ingredients in your hair routine is an essential step to take. Think about it, how can you fix your hair and make it look healthy if you keep doing bad things? You probably can’t.
Cheek your products if they have those ingredients; you have to stop using them and look for new products which will help you to reach your goal of pretty healthy curls:
- Sulfate & lather
- Dry alcohol
- Dry and mineral oils
Note: We will explain why these ingredients are forbidden to use in the Curly Girl method in a separate article
Exposing the hair to heat causes big damage, breakage and destroys the curls pattern. That damage can’t be fixed, and by the time your hair porosity hair will increase, that means your hair won’t maintain the moisturizers well. Keep all the heat styling tools like a blow-dryer, flat irons, curling irons, and hot water away from your precious curls.
Brushes & combs
Brushing curly hair, especially when it dry, will breakage the hair and make the curl undefined. Instead of using brushes and combs, you can use your finger to detangle your hair when it is soaking wet; before doing that, you can apply enough conditioner to make it easier while detangling your hair.
Curly Girl Method step-by-step
This will be an easy step by step guide for CG Method beginners, but we will add some extra tips depending on each curly hair type in a separate article, while these steps are enough for the beginning:
Step 1: Cleansing
Wash your hair with water until it gets soaking wet, then put some of your sulfate-free cleansing conditioner that contains gentle cleansing ingredients on, then massage your entire scalp with fingertips well to strip all the dirt. Then, rinse out the cleanser.
Step 2: Conditioning
Apply enough amount of conditioner along with your hair, and don’t be skimpy. After that, try to detangle your hair using your fingers. Then, rinse out the Leave-in conditioner; you can leave some of the conditioners on your curls for extra hydration or by doing deep conditioning.
Step 3: Styling
By using a microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt, scrunch your hair to get rid of any excess water, do that while you move your head from side to side and upside down. Then, apply your favorite approved styling products (don’t contain any harsh ingredients) like any curl creams or styling gel or mousses, try scrunching, or using styling techniques that work well with your hair.
How long does the curly girl method take?
The answer depends entirely on how damaged your hair is. Surly when we talk about damaged hair exposed to dye, chemical hair straighteners, and heat won’t take the same period to fix it by CGM routine comparison with hair that wasn’t exposed to harmful chemicals substances or heat.
How long is the curly girl transition phase?
No matter how healthy your hair is, you will face a transitional phase that extends between 1 month to 3 or 4 months.
There is no magical solution that can transform your hair into a healthy one instantly. You must be patient and follow the rules.
Within this phase, you may feel your hair is worse than ever due to the abandonment of the chemicals which gave fake curls shine. Stay patient, discover and find the favorite products your hair loves and the perfect styling method for it.
How often should you wash your hair in the curly girl method?
There is no rule for this, except trial and error to figure it out. If your curls/ waves still look good after wash day, you probably shouldn’t wash them; just try to refresh your curls if you think they need to.
In general, at the beginning of your journey in the curly girl method, you may need more hydration, but once you notice your hair is well hydrated, you don’t need to condition them every wash day, especially if your hair wavy because it isn’t dry like curly hair.
Wrong concepts about curly girl method
During my search journey about the curly girl method, I found many wrong concepts which don’t relate to CGM; they all are social media trends. Some reviews about those concepts are good. When you decide to follow one of them, it’s all up to you, but don’t call your routine CGM.
this is one of the most common steps which Lorraine didn’t ever mention. The follower of final wash claims that you should wash your hair for the last time before starting your CGM routine with a sulfate shampoo to remove all the silicone build-up from your hair.
That’s surely not recommended and not logical. Think about it, it’s like saying I’ll start my healthy lifestyle tomorrow, but I want to eat the last fast food meal today. The sulfate will increase the damage to your hair; it’s better to start with detoxing DIY recipes to avoid the harsh effects of sulfate.
CG Method and hair loss
the natural hair loss rate per day is between 100-150 hair strands, but the curly girl method isn’t allowed to brush your hair except when it is wet and covered with conditioner in the shower. Above that, when you start in the curly girl method, your curls pattern and health will enhance; as a result, your hair wash time will be less.
For example, when you wash your hair after three days then detangle it with your finger, you will notice that the amount of falling hair is greater because the falling hair over the past three days will be stuck in your curls. Three days means 300- 450 falling hair.
The curly girl method is not linked to any hair loss problems, CG Method is a hair care routine, and any types of problem you might face in this phase should be followed carefully to know the reason behind it.
CG Method and dandruff
some beginners in CGM notice that their hair become greasy quickly, and some dandruff accumulates on their scalp by the time; that happens typically if you don’t give your scalp enough time at least 5 minutes to message it because the cleanser or the conditioner which used in curly girl method contains the gentle cleansing ingredients.
In case you are facing dandruff despite the previous step, you should try one of the detoxing (clarifying) recipes.
Note: we have a separate article about clarifying, also we will write an article about Lorraine’s recipes.
Sulfate-free & Clarifying shampoos
you can find some shampoos labeled as sulfate-free; despite that, they may have other kinds of lather. If the shampoo cause foam or lather, it isn’t allowed to use it because this lather will strip all the hair moisture.
That’s all! But not everything is “literally”, correct curly hair care practices do not depend on a three-stage routine for cleansing, conditioning, and styling only; it is much more than that.
Many articles on our site will cover almost everything related to these good practices, which we explain in a simple way in line with hair science, Happy Curls Day!