Calling all curly girl enthusiasts. Have you ever felt like managing your curls is an uphill battle of frizz and frustration? Have you tried countless products that make grand promises, only to find your curls are not playing along? Well, the curly girl method might be just the curly solution you have been waiting for! It’s not just a method but rather a whole shift in practice to achieving the curly locks you’ve been dreaming of. Trust me, if you want the results you will have to put in the effort. But here is the exciting part: once you dive into this routine, it becomes second nature and you’ll never want to go back to your old hair care habits. And guess what? We have taken a note out of the curly girl handbook and broken down all the do’s and don'ts for you to learn about the curly girl method and get those luscious locks looking like you have always dreamed.
What is the Curly Girl Method?
So, what exactly is the curly girl method? The Curly Girl Method is a practice developed by hairstylist Lorraine Massey where you use gentle products and practices to enhance your natural curl pattern and shape. It is friendly for everyone who has from wavy to coil curls to redefine your shape without using any nasty chemical treatments or heat styling tools to achieve the best results. It gained popularity because so many people realised that their hair had the potential to be curly rather than frizzy by using the right practices and products. If you have always struggled with a frizzy texture or a puffy look when it comes to treating your hair, the curly girl method could be just the practice you need to unlock your natural curls.
Things to Avoid when Doing the Curly Girl Method
When following the curly girl method, there are several things to avoid to maintain healthy, defined curls and waves. Here's a list of things to steer clear of:
Avoid silicone and sulphate-filled products
Did you know that most supermarket and pharmacy shelf-standard hair care products are going to be packed with nasty silicone, drying alcohols and sulphates which coat your hair and lead to product buildup by preventing moisture from penetrating the hair shaft? Not only that but sulphates and drying alcohol strip away all your natural oils and silicone leaving a fake “shine” on top. That is why before you start the curly girl method you need to begin to strip back all the nasty product buildup that has been happening and clarify your locks. The Curly Girl Pump Trio can help you start to get your hair back to its natural state without any harsh drying chemicals or silicones. You can also use a shampoo brush to lift any product buildup on your scalp and stimulate blood circulation.
Avoid brushing your hair when dry
Because your curls are more fragile and prone to breakage when dry, dry brushing can lead to split ends or make them frizzy. You should always detangle your hair when it is wet, using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to gently work through your knots with conditioner to get through all the tangles without damaging the hair cuticles.
Avoid heat styling
The great news is, if you have naturally curly hair, by using the curly girl method you should be able to get that same bouncy texture without having to use heat styling tools. If you have slightly wavy or straight hair, try to minimise the frequency you use heat to style your hair as it can dry and damage your hair further.
Avoid hot water and frequent washing
Washing your hair frequently and with hot water is going to strip away all your natural oils and further dry out your curls. Curly hair is more prone to breakage because it takes longer for the oil from your scalp to travel down the hair cuticle. Aim to wash your hair only a few times a week with warm to cold water to give your hair and scalp time to adjust.
Avoid tight hairstyles, hairbands or hair ties
Pulling and ripping your hair by using tight hairbands or hair ties is going to be doing your curls no favours and increases the risk of breakage. Avoid anything that causes unnecessary friction to your curls.
Step-by-step Guide to Doing the Curly Girl Method
Here is a step-by-step guide out of the curly girl handbook to achieve the best results.
1. Co-washing or use a sulphate-free shampoo
Co-washing (aka conditioner washing) is when you use conditioner to cleanse your hair rather than shampoos. This is because shampoos tend to be drying, leaving your curls more prone to breakage. By washing with conditioner you are preserving the natural oils, reducing frizz and keeping your hair's moisture levels nice and balanced. We recommend the Pump Curl and Grow Mask designed specifically for co-washing.
If you feel that your hair is getting too oily, try washing with a sulphate-free shampoo or a clarifying treatment to help remove product buildup. You can also alternate between co-washing and washing with shampoo and conditioner as well. Have a play and see what works best for you!
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Keeping your gorgeous locks hydrated starts with making sure they are getting enough oils and nutrients throughout the hair cuticles to keep everything nice and locked in. Coconut oil, argan oil or jojoba oil all deeply condition the hair without weighing down your natural curl pattern.
3. Scrunch and plop
Say goodbye to rough towelling your hair to dry it. After washing and conditioning your hair, flip your hair forward, placing a microfibre towel or even an old t-shirt underneath and scrunch your hair in an upward motion. This gentle scrunching encourages your curls to form and dry in their natural curl pattern. For extra support and hold, you can use a gentle curl hair gel to help set your curls.
@daialarie Here’s how i preserve my curly hair for the week! Testing out @Pump Haircare for the first time! #naturalcurlyhair #naturalhair #washandgo #3c4ahair #curlyhairroutine ♬ Sky Aesthetic - Tollan Kim
4. Air dry or use a diffuser
How you dry your hair is key to how defined your curls are going to look. That is why the scrunch and plop method paired with air-drying is a great solution to holding your curl's natural shape. Alternatively, you can use a diffuser (compatible with any standard hair dryer) to gently dry your curls without damaging the natural curl pattern. You can also use a curl cream to hydrate and protect your hair as you heat it.
5. Refresh and protect
Because continually adding the product into your hair or washing it leads to product buildup and diminishes the bounce of your curls, using a refresher product in between washes is a great way to keep your curls bouncy. Spring Back Curl Spray is a lightweight option to help bring that bounce back into your hair without weighing it down with the product. Alternatively, you can mix water with your conditioner in a spray bottle and gently scrunch upwards for a refreshed look.
With the curly girl method, it doesn’t stop at protecting your hair throughout the day. You also need to minimise friction to reduce frizz while sleeping. To address this issue, you can use a silk pillowcase or a hair wrap to prevent your curls from tangling and becoming more susceptible to breakage or moisture loss, as opposed to using regular cotton pillowcases.
The Pros and Cons of the Curly Girl Method
As with every hair care practice, there are pros and cons to the curly girl method. Take everything with a grain of salt and do what works best for your hair and scalp needs. Even so, here is a breakdown of what to look forward to and look out for when beginning your curly girl method journey.
Healthier, defined curls
By incorporating the curly girl method into your hair practice, your curls are going to be well-moisturised and hydrated, leaving your natural curly hair to thrive and keep its natural curl pattern.
We don’t have to tell you twice that frizz is the bane of the curly girls' existence. As the ethos of the curly method is using sulphate-free and silicone-free products, your hair is going to thank you for not drying it out and keeping that frizz and breakage to a minimum.
The less heat exposure the better when it comes to maintaining your natural curl pattern. The curly girl method is all about soft and gentle treatment and you will notice your curls thanking you by incorporating it into your hair care practice.
Enhanced curl pattern
The core part of the curly girl method is to get your natural curl pattern back to where it was meant to be all along. With all the nasty chemicals our hair has been exposed to without us being aware of it, our natural curl pattern has been disrupted. Many people have seen fantastic results by taking on the curly girl method and we hope that you do too!
As with every hair care practice, people's hair will differ and take time to adjust to new products and methods. The desired results may also vary so it can take time to figure out what products and steps work best for your hair and scalp. If you want further guidance on what products are best for your hair texture, take our quick hair type quiz and we can send you all the information you need to get started.
This method is all about knowing what is in your products and avoiding the nasties. Finding compatible and affordable products may be a challenge depending on where you live and your budget.
Lengthy washing process
This is probably the biggest deterrent from starting the curly girl method, but as all curly girls know, having curly hair is a high-maintenance practice. By treating your curls with the right products and following this method you will find over time your hair becomes more manageable and requires less maintenance.
As you transition out of using sulphate-based shampoos, product buildup can occur to the hair and scalp over some time. This is why it is always good to slowly introduce new products and give your hair time to adjust. We also recommend clarifying your hair with a sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner a few washes before you start layering curly girl products on top so that your hair cuticle can properly absorb moisture and nutrients.
Common FAQs about the Curly Girl Method
How many times a week should you do the Curly Girl Method?
The frequency by which you should be using the curly girl method depends on your individual hair needs. There is no set guideline and the curly girl method is best practised by those who are happy to experiment. Even so, here are some general guidelines for approaching each part of the curly girl method.
How often you wash your hair depends on how quickly it becomes oily or starts to look weighed down from product buildup. We recommend doing it one to two times a week and adjusting the frequency based on how your hair reacts. You can also mix it up by adding in a co-washing day to give your hair that extra moisture boost.
Deep conditioning by using leave-in hair masks or oil treatments can be done once a week to not cause too much product buildup but still give your dry or damaged hair an extra nutrient and moisture boost. Argan oil is a natural option to rehydrate your curls either pre-wash or as a leave-in hair mask.
To prevent product buildup, we recommend clarifying your hair before starting the curly girl method as well as every few weeks after you begin to keep product buildup down to a minimum. This is done by choosing a sulphate-free, clarifying shampoo.
How long does it take for the Curly Girl Method to work?
Again it varies from person to person due to your hair type and starting condition, this could mean you need more or less time before you start seeing results. The good news is that if you keep a consistent approach to the curly girl method and are using the right products, in due time you will start to see results. Don’t get discouraged if you don't see results right away, the curly girl method is all about trial and error whilst following the key steps mentioned above. So have some fun with it and in due time your curly hair will be thriving.
Is the Curly Girl Method good for hair?
For individuals with wavy, curly or coiled hair, the curly girl method may be just the thing you have been missing to get your natural curl pattern to your dream bouncy and luscious look.
If your hair is naturally thin and brittle and is normally straight in texture, this may not be the method for you. If you are confused about what your hair type is and what products to get started on, take our hair type quiz and we will guide you!