The Curly Girl Method UK: The Foolproof Guide To Perfect Curls

Medically reviewed by Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Curly Girl brings together different ways to care for curly hair.

Have you ever wished that your natural hair was soft and healthy and embraced natural curls or waves?

The Curly Girl Method is the book you need. It tells you where to start and what to do next. Taking care of your curls and learning how to style them can help to bring out your hair's natural curl.

If you have curly or wavy hair, or even if you think you do, try these tips to make your curls look better and eliminate frizz. It's a guide about styling and caring for curly hair to get results. It can be hard to know where to start, so here is an ultimate guide on the Curly Girl Method UK.

Summary

The Curly Girl Method can instantly turn your unruly, frizzy hair into beautiful, bouncy curl hair. Generally, it would help if you avoided shampoos and conditioners with sulphate or silicone. Silica makes a waxy coating on the hair, while sulphate dries it. Co-washing means washing your hair with only conditioner.

You need to know that everyone has a different type of hair. What helps one person might not help another. Because of this, the method should be changed to fit your hair's needs. This means changing your routine or the number of products you use to meet the needs of your hair. 

Don't expect to see results right away if you're just starting. Your hair has to go through a change first, which you can learn more about here. So, if you want to go on this trip, you must be patient.

What is the Curly Girl method (CGM)?

curly girl method uk

The CGM, or Curly Girl Method, is a one-of-a-kind way to care for and style naturally curly hair. The Curly Girl Method says to use products and styling techniques approved by the Curly Girl Method to make your hair healthier, show off your curls, and reduce frizz. 

The Curly Girl Method is based on the book Curly Girl: The Handbook. It tells you to take care of your hair in a way that makes your curls soft and bouncy. The main idea is to avoid sulphate and silicone, often found in shampoo and conditioner. Silicone coats the hair with a waxy substance, while sulfate dries out the hair.

The CGM suggests co-washing instead. Co-wash is short for "conditioner-only washing," which means you only wash your hair with conditioner. After washing your hair with a conditioner suitable for curly hair, squeeze your curls while they are still wet and use gel to seal in the moisture.

Hair Recovery Conditioner | For Women
Hair Recovery Conditioner | For Women
Formulated with nourishing ingredients to repair and damaged ends

Then, you can let your curls dry or use a diffuser to make the process go faster. The gel forms a shell around each curl when your hair is dry. You can break this shell by scrunching your hair, which makes your curls soft and springy.

Who can use the Curly Girl method?

CGM works on all hair textures, even loose waves. It doesn't need tight corkscrews or bouncy ringlets. Many CGMs emphasize using natural ingredients, which may be good for all curly hair types. Curlier hair is naturally drier, so some things can damage it even more leading to hair breakage.

Read this: 15 Easy & Effective Ways How To Stop Hair Breakage At Home

Do you get curly hair from the CGM?

Suppose your hair is already straight or slightly wavy. In that case, the Curly Girl Method will only work to accentuate your existing natural curl or wave pattern. Curly Girl Method aims to achieve more vibrant, full and defined curls. You need a defined wave or curl pattern to get the most out of your hair.

Is the Curly Girl method good for hair?

“This method is good for curly hair. Keeping your hair free of build-up can help your curling products work better. It's also important to use products that add moisture and improve the health of your curls.”
— Dr. Kari Williams
Even though it takes time, a quick Google search will show that this method will give you beautiful, well-defined curls in the long run.

How to do the Curly Girl method: step-by-step 

curly girl method uk

The CG Method has changed the shape of tens of thousands of curls. You will see amazing results if you give the method your full attention.

But because each curly hair is different, your path to healthy hair growth will also differ. You will need to put time into the method and find the right products. This guide is meant to make the process as easy as possible.

What products do you need for the Curly Girl Method? After you've used up all of your sulfates, silicones, and alcohols (more on what you can't use below), things start to get interesting, but it takes a while.

Try out different combinations of products until you find the one that works best for you. Keep the following things on hand for the Curly Girl Method to work best:

Use sulfate-free shampoo

These hair cleansers use gentler ingredients to eliminate dirt, debris, and product build-up. Remember that if you use products that aren't Curly Girl friendly, you should only use sulfate or clarifying shampoo. If not, formulas that don't have sulfates are your new best friends.

Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
Gently cleanses the scalp of excess buildup while repairing hair strands

Co-washes

Cleansing conditioners, 2-in-1 shampoos, and conditioners with more conditioning ingredients are great for refreshing curls even when your hair doesn't feel dirty. They keep your hair hydrated and make great slicks for detangling. They are also easy to make when you don't have much time.

Choose styling products

There are styling creams, gels, and mousses to choose from. If the list of ingredients sounds good to you, give it a shot. Keep it if you like it; if not, try again.

This is a process of trial and error. Curly Girl method-approved conditioner, a hair dryer, an old T-shirt or a microfiber towel, and Curly Girl method-approved hair gel are all needed.

Avoid shampoo (if you don't have sulfate-free shampoo)

The shampoo is meant to clean your hair deeply, which can be hard for people with curly hair. Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, which are important if it is dry. This doesn't mean you shouldn't wash your hair. Instead, look for products that don't have harsh chemicals or sulfates, which are known to strip hair. 

Some girls with curly hair can use conditioner to clean their hair. These moisturizing products are also made to clean because they have things, like tea tree oil, that can help clean. Some people will still need shampoo, so look for one with as few chemicals as possible and no sulfates.

Limit silicones from your routine

curly hair women

Silicones are often found in conditioners, hairsprays, products that protect hair from heat, and other hair products. They are used to make hair glossy, but they aren't always good for curls. Silicone is a substance that coats the hair and feels like plastic. 

So, using silicone creates a great coating that eliminates frizz. But because the plastic doesn't wear off over time, water can't get in and make your hair even drier. Last but not least, the secret to curly hair is water. Frizz is just curls that aren't getting enough water, so add as much water as possible if you want moist curls that don't frizz.

Scrunch and style

How you treat your hair after your final wash is essential if you want your curls to stand out. Again, ensure that the products you use don't have any ingredients that could hurt your curls. Also, put the cream on before the gel, and scrunch your hair up while applying the gel.

You should hear it squish and see curl patterns while your hair is still wet. If you use too much gel and your hair gets crunchy, don't worry. This is called a "cast," and once your hair is dry, you can scrunch it out with water.

Deep conditioning

Because curls need more moisture, you should use a mask or deep conditioner on your hair once in a while. The number of times you do it depends on your hair needs.

But it is possible to put too much water in your hair! If your hair is almost too soft and your curls are limp, try a protein mask or rice water rinses to help bring your curls back to life.

Dry carefully

You should think again about always using a towel to dry your hair. There's nothing wrong with frizz if that's what you like.

Even though microfiber towels are softer and more popular, they're still not the best choice because they soak up a lot of water quickly. The goal of the game is to keep as much water as possible. Always wear a simple t-shirt to cover your hair.

Gentle knot-removing

curly girl method uk

The Curly Girl Handbook says that brushing through your curls is best done with your fingers. At the same time, they are wet with conditioner, so your curl pattern doesn't get messed up.

This isn't always possible for all types of hair. Some knots are so hard to get out that you need a second set of hands. But it would be best if you only brushed it when it's wet with conditioner.

Sleeping on silk

Do you ever wake up with your hair tangled? You're not all alone. The Curly Girl Method says this can be easily fixed with a silk or satin pillowcase or a hair bonnet.

Refreshing

    It makes sense that your curls aren't always in the best shape when you wake up. Instead of reaching for your straighteners, you can use a product to refresh them. Spray water on your hair, then uses a small amount of leave-in conditioner and any other curl creams or sprays that are CGM-approved. Don't forget to add water!

    What to prevent in the Curly Girl method?

    curl cream

    In its most basic form, the Curly Girl Method tells people with curls for the first time not to use products or methods that could damage their curls. Then, use ingredients that will help your skin recover such as moisturizers, proteins, and mild cleansers. We've compiled a list of things you shouldn't do and items you should steer clear of. Things you should avoid are:

    Shampoo

    Don't worry; you won't be able to use classic drying shampoos, though you will be able to apply sulfate-free shampoos.

    Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
    Hair Strength Shampoo | For Women
    Gently cleanses the scalp of excess buildup while repairing hair strands

    Heat tools

    For example, you can use flat irons and curling irons with a diffuser and a lower heat. Sulfates are harsh detergents in most shampoos that dry out your hair and make it look like straw.

    Silicones

    Silicones are polymers that are found in 90% of hair care products. They cover your hair and make it look smooth and shiny. Most silicones don't liquefy in water, so the only way to get rid of them is to use sulfates, which aren't usually allowed in the CGM. Silicones will cover your curls if you don't use sulfates, making them look thin, dry, dull, and greasy. Silicones are the worst thing for CGM.

    Read this: How To Stop Hair Loss And Regrow Hair Naturally? - A Story

    Mineral oils and wax

    Like silicones, mineral oils and most waxes can't be taken off without sulfates, so they'll layer on your hair.

    Towel-drying your hair

    Your hair's cuticle gets irritated by towels, which makes your hair frizzy and tangled. Most people with curly hair like to plop, but you can learn more about how to dry your hair.

    Alcohols

    Even though not all alcohols are harmful, most can damage your hair's cuticle. They commonly come in aerosol sprays, such as those used to deliver hairspray and dry shampoo from cans. So, meet your new products: Alcohol-free dry shampoos and hairsprays.

    Read this: 17 Easiest Ways How To Repair Damaged Hair Naturally

      How to know if a product is CGM backed?

      curly girl method

      Curly girls who want to get the most out of their natural curls are choosing to use the Curly Girl Method. But this method does have strict rules about how to deal with curls. This means knowing and sticking to a list of approved products. 

      Here's how to tell if a product is CGM backed and good for curly hair:

      No sulfates

      You can be sure that your shampoo has sulfates if it has a thick, foamy lather. This is the soap that makes bubbles, but you don't need it to clean curls. Users of the Curly Girl method are told not to use shampoo at all, but some choose to keep using a sulfate-free cleanser instead.

      No silicones, waxes, non-natural oils

      When looking for a curl care product, make sure to avoid ones with silicones, waxes, oils that aren't natural, or ingredients that don't dissolve. This means you should stay away from mineral oil, petroleum, beeswax, candilla wax, and anything ending in -one, -conol, or -xane, which are all silicones.

      No drying alcohols

      Drying alcohols should be avoided as much as possible in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products.

      You should really stay away from these, especially in products that will stay in your curls for a long time, because they can really dry out your hair.

      However, some alcohol helps to moisturize hair instead, so alcohol isn't always bad.

      Just enough protein

      Be careful when dealing with proteins. Some curlies really need protein to keep their curls healthy, but too much protein can be too much for others. To avoid hygral fatigue, pay attention to the type of curls you have and how your hair responds to protein use. if your curls are getting stiff, hard to manage, dry, or frizzy, it could be because you are using too much protein.

        Can I use shampoo on the Curly Girl method?

        curly girl method products

        Yes, the Curly Girl Method requires two shampoos: a reset shampoo with harsh, stripping sulfates and a regular, sulfate-free shampoo that is very moisturizing and mild. Because before you start the Curly Girl Method, you must get rid of all the silicone and wax buildup in your hair. The Curly Girl Method will never work for you if you don't. 

        So, when you take your first shower after starting the Curly Girl Method, you will need to use a "reset shampoo," a sulfate-based shampoo, to give your hair a clean start. What's the next step? No longer use sulfates. After your first wash to reset your hair, you can use conditioners for cleansing or sulfate-free shampoos, like this Hair Growth Routine.

        Shampoos without sulfates

        Shampoos that don't have sulfates are sometimes called "low-poo" shampoos because they don't strip the hair of its natural oils and buildup. These shampoos are great for thin curls and waves that get oily and greasy quickly. 

        You can tell if a sulfate-free shampoo is drying because of how your hair feels shortly after you rinse it off. If your hair is squeaky instead of smooth after washing, you probably used too strong a cleanser. You can save money by adding some conditioner to your shampoo before using it.

        Conditioners for cleaning

        Cleansing conditioners are light conditioners that can be used as a shampoo. They are also called no-poo or co-washes. Numerous dry-curl hair types don't need many detergents. To clean them properly, you must use water, moisture, and a good scalp massage, like rubbing your co-wash into your roots for 60 seconds.

        Scalp Stimulating Massager
        Scalp Stimulating Massager
        A massage tool to both exfoliate and stimulate the scalp

        All coil patterns, significantly drier curl types, can benefit from these conditioners. Regardless of your hair type, most CGM recommendations will advise you to begin using a cleansing conditioner rather than a sulfate-free shampoo. After a month, most people's hair and scalp have adjusted nicely.

        How often should I shampoo my curls?

        Every hair and scalp texture is unique. Therefore, how often you "shampoo" or cleanse is up to you, even though many guidelines advise you to only "shampoo" or wash every other week. It is a false belief that one can train their scalp to become less oily. It often makes matters worse, such as with dandruff or scalp irritation.

        However often you cleanse, as long as you use mild, hydrating products, your skin won't react negatively. Still, a decent rule of thumb is to co-wash once a week if you have very coily hair, cleanse 1-3 times a week if you have coarser, thicker curls or waves, and cleanse every other day if you have delicate, oil-prone curls or waves.

        You'll have to switch between co-washing and low-poo washing your hair. But your scalp, hair type, and styling products will affect how often you co-wash and shampoo your hair. To get you started, here are some general guidelines:

        Curls or fine waves

          Use a low-poo shampoo to wash your hair every other day. Try co-washing if you need to wet your hair more often, like when you work out, and it gets sweaty. After you co-wash or shampoo your hair, always use a conditioner.

          Medium-to-thick curls

            Use a low-poo shampoo once a week and co-wash your hair in between washes to keep your curls looking fresh.

            Coily hair

              Wash your hair with water and conditioner once a week. Everyone has different hair, so try out different things and find a routine that works for you.

              How long does it take the Curly Girl method to work?

              bouncy curls

              Because it's unlikely that you'll be able to master the Curly Girl Method on your first try, remember that this method takes time. Think of it as a chance to learn. You'll need to clean up your favourite hair products and maybe try some new ones. 

              So, it can take one to four months to commit to the method and find your curly cocktail that works. The transition time is one of the most common reasons people don't start the Curly Girl Method. 

              Most likely, your hair will look worse for the first 3–4 weeks of the Curly Girl Method before it starts to look better. It could be greasy or curled in an unnatural way. Set aside at least three months to figure out how the system works. Take pictures along the way to show how far your hair has come and to remember your journey.

              What if the Curly Girl method isn't working?

              Changes to your hair will not occur overnight. Give this simple, three-step routine 4–6 weeks to work.

              For instance, if, after a month of CGM, your hair is still feeling dry, you can add a leave-in conditioner prior to your gel or massage on an oil layer after your gel to lock in moisture and prevent further dryness.

              Do your curls or waves still not work with gel? Think about putting a mousse on top of a light curl cream. But do you see how hard that got? Exactly! You can ease into the Curly Girl Method with our product line.

              Hair Growth Routine | For Women
              Hair Growth Routine | For Women
              Cleanses, hydrates, and reduces hair thinning, in 3 easy steps

              This easy-to-use product routine is a great natural way to get started with the Curly Girl Method. It comes with a reset shampoo that you can use if you accidentally use a product with silicones or waxes.

              Do I need to deep condition my curls?

              Deep conditioning is a method of taking care of your hair that involves using a good conditioner. Curly hair tends to be drier than straight hair. When you have curly hair, it takes longer for the oils from your scalp to get to the ends.

              Deep conditioning is an important part of taking care of curly hair. It is a method to give the hair nutrients, keep it moist, and make it stronger.

              Depending on the type of deep conditioner used, it hydrates, strengthens, nourishes, and improves the hair's elasticity and amount of moisture. They help keep your hair healthy and make it easier to comb and style.

              Deep conditioning should be done once or twice a week for beautiful, healthier, shiny curls that hold their shape better.

              many curly girls

              Buy a good deep conditioner

              A deep conditioner should be like a thick, creamy lotion. The package doesn't need to say that the product is a "deep conditioner." What's in the conditioner is much more important. Before you use it, check the label for more information! 

              When buying the product, think about your curls and hair type, as well as whether your hair needs more protein or hydration, to ensure it works well with your curls. Hair gets its strength and nutrition from protein. It helps your hair grow and determines how flexible your hair is.

              Because you want your curl to bounce back when you pull it into a curly hairball, your hair must have the right elasticity. Protein and water must be in the right amounts for hair to be strong and healthy.

              Have you noticed that your hair doesn't have enough protein, which makes it too wet? Then, before your treatment, you should focus more on adding protein than on getting more water.

              Use the deep conditioner

              Once you've found the right deep conditioner for your hair, co-wash it! Co-wash is an abbreviation for "washing with conditioner," which means washing your hair with conditioner. It is important to do this first to eliminate any hair products that have built up in your hair.

              If you use the deep conditioner in this way, it won't be able to get into your hair. After shampooing, gently squeeze the water out of your hair, but don't wring it out. To make sure that deep conditioning works on all of your hair, divide it into four sections, or eight if you have very thick hair.

              If you put conditioner on your whole head at once, it might not get to the middle of your hair. Then, apply the deep conditioner from the ends to the roots of your wet hair. Pay attention to the ends of your curls, which are often the driest.

               This is especially clear if the ends of your hair are dry, frizzy, or broken. Work the product through each section of your hair from the roots to the ends. This way, the deep conditioner can get into the hair and work as well as possible.

              Maintain the deep conditioning

              Give the deep conditioner 20 to 30 minutes to work. Deep conditioning is all about how long it takes to remove the product. Because of this, it takes a little more time, so do it at night or on the weekend. You can also sometimes let the product sit overnight.

              Cover and heat your hair

              Wear a shower cap if you don't want your deep conditioner to get all over the place. A plastic bag will do if you don't have a shower cap. The shower cap keeps your scalp's natural heat in place, which also helps the product soak in. If you need to, wrap it in a towel. You can also help nature by using a hair dryer to warm your scalp.

              The Curly Girl Method doesn't use anything that heats your hair. Instead, it uses a deep conditioner, which works very well. The heat opens up the cuticles of your hair, making it easier for the deep conditioner to do its job. You can use a hair dryer, a steam attachment for a hair dryer, or steam from a hot shower.

              You could also use a heat cap. This is like blowing your hair dry with an electric hair dryer. The difference is that it takes up less room, can be used without wires, and can be moved around easily. The cap is heavier than you might think because it is filled with linseed. 

              Before using it, all you have to do is heat it in the microwave. Then use it right away to treat your hair deeply. The linseed keeps the heat in the cap for about 30 to 45 minutes. This makes hair smooth and soft.

              Rinse the deep conditioning off

              Rinse the conditioner out of your hair with cool water. This takes a long time and is very cold, but it ensures that the cuticles on your hair close back up. After using a dryer or a steam hood, let your hair cool down before washing the conditioner. It's not a big deal if some are left behind, so you don't have to rinse it well. After all, it's grooming!

              How to dry curly and wavy hair - Curly Girl approved?

              leave in conditioner

              A diffuser will aid you

              Use a hair diffuser to tangle the hair. The dryer is light, and the prongs of the diffuser stick out over the top of the diffuser. This lets air move through the hair, i.e., air dry as you diffuse.

              Also, the better the diffuser, the bigger it is. To keep your hair from getting frizzy, dry it slowly and with heat. Lift the diffuser under the curls gently to support the hair and help the curls grow. But don't use too much, and let your hair dry. 

              If you use the Hair Recovery Conditioner while diffusing, your hair will go through a crunchy stage; don't worry. Work your way through it, and when it's dry, gently crunch it up. This may worry you initially, but it's due to the drying process. Leave it alone for a few minutes after it's dry, then scrunch it up to make soft curls.

              Hair Recovery Conditioner | For Women
              Hair Recovery Conditioner | For Women
              Formulated with nourishing ingredients to repair and damaged ends

              Revitalize your curls between washing

              Put a little leave-in conditioner and lightly diffuse curly hair with wet hands to make it last longer. Make sure not to get the hair too wet; get damp hair. This will give your curls a new look and make your style last longer.

              Wavy hair Curly Girl tips

              If your hair is curly, you may notice that as it dries, the weight of your hair makes the waves spread out. A stronger curl can be made by scrunching and setting them with the diffuser. Don't wash your hair too much. The less you wash something, the better. The goal is for the hair to stay in good shape. The more you wash it, the more of its natural oils you get rid of.

              Will the Curly Girl method work on my hair?

              If you're unsure if the Curly Girl Method will work for your hair, type-3 curls benefit the most from Curly Girl Method. Again, if you know what kind of hair you have, it will be much easier to understand the jargon you read. But many people with 2c and 4a hair have done well. So, if your hair is straight or curly, don't be afraid to try new things, but remember that your results may differ.

              FAQs

              What do I need for the Curly Girl method?

              You need a shampoo that doesn't have sulfates, a silicone-free conditioner, a cotton shirt or a towel made of bamboo, and a curl-defining lotion or gel.

              Is it better to wash curly hair in the morning or at night?

              If your hair is thin or fine and loses its style quickly, wash it in the morning. If you have thick, rough, or curly hair, you should wash it at night.

              Read this: 8 Best & Proven Ways How To Thicken Hair Naturally

              Should you use hairspray before or after curling your hair?

              Use a heat protectant and a hold product on your hair before you blow-dry it, and then spray it with hairspray before you curl it. It will keep your hair from becoming too hot and will aid in the formation of the curl.

              Do I need to brush my curls after I do them?

              When your curls are completely cool, get a brush with nylon bristles. Brush your curls out in small pieces, starting at the ends and working up to the top. It will give you soft waves and help you avoid the tight curls that were popular in the 1990s.

              How long does it take before the Curly Girl method works?

              Most of the time, the Curly Girl Method works as soon as you start this routine. First, your hair gets fuller, healthier, and less frizzy. It should take about six weeks for the change to be finished.

              Read more:

              Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S. is a House Physician in the Medical Unit 3 Allied Hospital, Faisalabad, and deals with hepatic, cardiac, neurological, and dermatological issues daily. He did his MBBS from Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad. He believes that a good haircare routine is one where you nourish it naturally. During his free time, he works as a dermatologist for Scandinavian Biolabs.