What is the curly girl method? The secret to perfect curls, obviously

What is the curly girl method? The secret to perfect curls, obviously

What is the curly girl method? The secret to perfect curls, obviously

If you have curly hair, you already know how moody it is. No matter how many conditioners, gels and creams you throw at it, it just refuses to play nice. Well, no more! As a fellow curly haired girl (hello!), this writer is going to let you in on a little secret - the curly girl method.

What is the curly girl method, you ask? Besides giving curly haired girls ~amazing~ results around the world, the curly girl method (CGM) is a hair care routine that swaps out damaging hair habits with more curl-friendly ones. It’s not just about the types of products that you put on your hair, but what you do to your hair.

Of course there’s a lot more to it, so let’s dive right in.


What is the curly girl method in a nutshell?

Originally, the curly girl method is from Lorraine Massey’s book, ‘Curly Girl: The Handbook’. It’s all about loving your natural hair and really looking after it using just conditioner and gel. This means you need to ditch any hair care products that have:

  • Silicones
  • Sulphates
  • Drying alcohols
  • Waxes
  • Mineral oils
  • Non-natural oils

You also need to say goodbye to heat styling tools (or at least reduce your use of them), understand your hair’s porosity level (more on that here), adopt a few new techniques and invest in deep conditioning products. Why? Because all of these things can have an impact on your natural curl pattern (which the CGM aims to perfect).

While there are some devotees to the exact curly girl method, it can actually be adapted to suit you. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re switching to clean, natural hair products and following a few of the curl-friendly methods.

Who can do the curly girl method?

Anyone with curly, textured or wavy hair! The curly girl method actually dives into all the different curl types and hair types, but since this is just an intro, you can read more about that here.

What about using the curly girl method for straight hair? Yes, of course! You might even discover a whole new side to your hair that you’ve never seen before. Because, what is the curly girl method? It’s a hair care routine, with an emphasis on the care. When you take out stripping shampoos and hair products, your hair is going to get incredibly healthy.

Does it actually work?

Um, yes! If your old curly hair routine was your ex, then the curly girl method is Chris Hemsworth (or George Clooney, Zac Efron...you get it).

Think of it this way, your typical shampoos, conditioners and hair care products contain things like sulphates, parabens, silicones and other nasties. When you use these, you can actually strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture, which in turn, leaves you with frizzy, dry and damaged hair. With repeated use (and probably without even realising it), you’re ruining your curl’s natural pattern and never really giving it a chance to do its thang.

If you do decide to try out the curly girl method (which you should, by the way), there is something that you need to keep in mind. If you’ve been mistreating your hair for years, colouring it, bleaching it etc., it will take some time for your hair to improve. You’ll also need to do a bit of trial and error to figure out which of the techniques and hair products work best for you. 

The curly girl method: a quick step-by-step guide

Step 1: Final wash

If you’re following the curly girl method to a T, you’ll need to do what’s called a “final wash”. This is where you’ll wash out any silicones in your hair for the last time (hence the name). To do this, you’ll need a shampoo that has a hard sulphate in it.

After doing this once, you shouldn’t have to do it again.

Step 2: Cleanse or co-wash

The curly girl method typically doesn’t encourage you to use a shampoo. Instead, you can do a co-wash or a cleanse. A co-wash is using a conditioner to wash your hair. If this is too heavy for your hair, then opt for a cleansing conditioner (we’ve picked out some for you below).

Step 3: Condition

This step is the same as your normal hair care routine! Just make sure your conditioner is either CGM approved or doesn’t have any sulphates, silicones etc.

Step 4: Style

This is where you apply any gels or curl defining creams. After this, you can either diffuse or let your hair air dry. You can also give the ‘plopping’ method a go to dry your hair.

Step 5: Scrunch it out

Once your hair is dry, it’s probably going to feel super stiff (especially if you’ve used a gel). This is called a gel cast. To soften the hair, use your hands to scrunch the gel cast (you can also use your diffuser to help with this too).

Our fav curly girl method products

Like we’ve already mentioned, there’s an entire list of things you should avoid like the plague when it comes to adopting the curly girl method (or a variation of it). To help you get started, we’ve handpicked some of our absolutely favourite products for you - which are all CGM approved.

Curly girl method approved conditioners

Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Conditioner

What is the curly girl method without Shea Moisture? When it comes to the CGM, you’re going to see Shea Moisture pop up a lot, but that’s because their products are so darn good. This one, in particular, is amazing because it instantly softens and detangles dry frizzy hair, while giving your curls an intense hydration boost.

Not Your Mother’s Naturals Curl Defining Conditioner

Formulated with Tahitian Gardenia Flower and mango butter, this conditioner will give your curls the most beautiful bounce. It doesn’t weigh your hair down, defines your curls, and it smells divine.

Joico Curl Creme Wash

Remember how we mentioned co-washing before? This Joico conditioner is absolutely perfect for exactly that. It’s going to give you soft, frizz-free curls and you won’t be able to stop showing them off.




A note: technically the curly girl method says you shouldn’t use a shampoo. But, the amazing thing about the CGM, is that you can adapt it to suit your hair and lifestyle. So if you do want to use a shampoo, these are the ones we recommend.

Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Shampoo

Get shiny, bouncy and unbelievably manageable hair with this shampoo. With certified organic shea butter and natural ingredients, it’s super gentle and will do wonders for your curls.

Not Your Mother’s Naturals Curl Defining Shampoo

Yes, we’re also including another product from Not Your Mother’s, but how can we not? This shampoo is going to gently cleanse your hair while still ensuring your curls are hydrated and bouncy.



Hair dryers

With the curly girl method, you’re supposed to steer away from heat styling tools (looking at you curling irons and straighteners), but what about blow drying?

In an ideal world, we’d all air dry our curls - but that’s not realistic. So if you do have to use a hair dryer, use one that has a diffuser. Diffusers are basically these magical attachments that diffuse the heat so your hair doesn’t get blasted by a stream of hot air. Most hair dryers these days have them, but we absolutely love the Cloud 9 Air Shot Hair Dryer and Parlux 385 Power Light Ceramic and Ionic Hair Dryer which come with a separate diffuser attachment.

If you have a hair dryer already, then opt for a universal diffuser - like the Dateline Professional Soft Air Diffuser Sock.

Curly girl method approved hair styling products

Paul Mitchell Extra Body Sculpting Foam

This thick, rich foam creates a flexible hold while still enhancing shine and sealing in moisture. As a bonus, it also gives your hair extra body, fullness and control.

Joico Curl Refreshed Reanimating Mist

If your curls are looking a little flat, turn to this hair mist. With a couple of pumps, your curls are instantly revived and bouncy again.

Quick tip: If you ever want to check if a hair care product is curly girl method approved, check out Curl Scan!



So, what is the curly girl method? A hair care routine that is about to change your life.

To get you started on your curly girl method journey, we’ve created a dedicated section where you can find products that are all CGM approved. We’re also giving away a free full size Joico Curl Creme Wash with every 2 products from the Curly Girl Method category.

So what are you waiting for, get shopping and get the curls of your dreams! Shop curly girl method hair products online at Oz Hair & Beauty today - plus with Afterpay and Zippay available, you can stock up for a lifetime.

You might also like: