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A beginner’s guide to the basics of ‘Curly Girl Method’

Hair care guides and routines are not as common to come across unlike skin care routines. If you are one of the people who has wavy, curly or coily hair then I’m sure you’re aware of how challenging it is to take care of it. It’s even harder when you are a beginner.

Curly hairs have their own needs depending on their hair type, curl pattern, and porosity so suitable products for each of them may vary. For this, we’ll talk about the basics that you need to know about the ‘Curly Girl Method’


The Curly Girl Method

The Curly Girl Method or simply CGM is a curly hair guide that was developed by a hairstylist and a curl specialist, Lorraine Massey. CGM is based on the book written by Lorraine called Curly Girl: The Handbook.

This hair care guide includes details on what hair product ingredients curly haired people should use or avoid as well as drying and styling techniques. In short, it is a hair care routine where you avoid harmful products and methods in order to have healthier natural hair.

As time went by, more variations were made to the original CGM by Lorraine Massey in order to incorporate a wider range of wavy, curly and coily hairs. Though there have been modifications, the main goal of CGM is still there; to find out what product ingredients, method of application and styling is suitable for your hair type.


Via iStock

Avoid at all cost

  • Sulfate – commonly found on most shampoos. This ingredient strips the moisture in your hair, making it dry and damaged.
  • Silicone and Wax – mostly found on conditioning and styling products. These are the ingredients responsible for making your hair look smooth and shiny. However, these ingredients can only be removed by sulfate which is also not approved for CGM. Without sulfate, the silicone and wax will only build-up on your scalp making it unable to absorb moisture and greasy looking.
  • Heating tools for styling – do not use heating equipment such as blow dryer, curling iron, or flat iron because it dries up your hair. Diffuser is allowed since it only uses low heat to dry your hair.

The Basics

Before anything else, let me just remind you that everyone’s hair type varies. For this, there are tons of CGM products available in the market that are suitable for each type. In order to know if a product you’re eyeing to buy is CGM approved you can go to the website Is it CG?

This website can tell you if a hair product is suitable to use for the Curly Girl Method. Just search for the ingredients of the hair product and input it in the ingredients section and then click submit to find out the results. In the results section you will see if each product ingredients are either CG approved, CG approved with caution or not CG approved with a detailed explanation as to why they are considered to be so.

Once you finally know your hair type and what products you can use, you can start with the basics of CGM. Here are the following steps that you can follow:

Step 1 – Final Wash

In order to start with using the CGM approved products, first you need to get rid of all the previous products you used on your hair. You need to wash off all of the silicone and wax build-ups in your hair.

This is important since the build-ups prevent your hair from absorbing moisture. In short, you are starting from a blank canvas. Wash off this silicone and wax build-up with a sulfate-filled shampoo. Repeat this step when you unintentionally use products containing silicone and wax.

Step 2 – Co-wash

Co-wash is a shortened term for conditioner washing which means washing your hair with conditioner or a sulfate-free shampoo. This may sound weird to some of you but this is an essential part of CGM.

From now on, you have to use a cleansing conditioner or a sulfate-free shampoo when you wash your hair because some shampoo contains aggressive cleansers that’ll strip natural oil from your hair. Conditioners and sulfate-free shampoos are more gentle and milder to your scalp.

To do this step, first you have to flip your head upside down so that your hair is hanging in front of you. Wet your hair with water and then use your CGM approved cleansing conditioner or sulfate-free shampoo. Gently massage it onto your scalp. Remember to use your fingertips when applying the product to your scalp and not your fingernails because it might scratch your scalp making you vulnerable to dirt and infection. Finally, rinse.

Step 3 – Deep Conditioning

After co-washing your hair, you need to proceed to applying a deep conditioner. Conditioners hydrate the hair and curly hairs need more hydration since they are naturally drier.

Pick up your CGM approved deep conditioner and apply a generous amount to the bottom half of your hair. Do not deprive your hair with conditioner so apply as much as you can or until it feels fully coated.

Detangle your hair with your fingers or with a wide-tooth comb in order for the conditioner to be fully distributed to your hair. Leave the conditioner on your hair for at least 10 minutes.

Step 4 – Scrunch

While you still have the conditioner on your hair, flip your head upside down again and scrunch your hair. Scrunching means getting a handful of hair and pushing it upwards to your scalp. You will notice that it will cause curls to slowly form.

When you have scrunched all of your hair, gently rinse it with water. Let the water run through it or scrunch it again while rinsing and not by running your fingers through your, messing your scrunched hair.

Step 5 – Styling

This part also varies depending on your hair type and what products are suitable for you. After washing your hair, you can apply a palmful of CGM approved leave-in conditioner to your hair. Start at the ends of your hair going up to your roots. However, you can avoid putting it into your scalp if you’re prone to oily strands.

Scrunch your hair afterwards. Finally, you can add some CGM approved gel or mousse so that the hydration will be sealed on your hair and the curls will stay in a great shape.

Step 6 – Dry

To dry your hair without damaging it, grab a T-shirt or a microfiber towel and plop your hair onto it. To plop your hair, lay the T-shirt or towel on a flat surface then flip your head upside down and gently lower your hair in it. Tie the sleeves in a knot at the back of your head and leave it on for about fifteen minutes.

After plopping, let your hair air-dry or use a diffuser on a cold setting. Once your hair is fully dry, scrunch it again when it feels crunchy in order to break the hard layer. And that’s it!

Just repeat steps two to six for your everyday routine. Only do the first step or the ‘final wash’ when you accidentally use products containing silicone or wax. You can also experiment and try using different CGM approved products until you find the best one for you.



DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the contributor/s and do not represent those of POP! and INQUIRER.net. The POP! staff assumes no liability for any error in the content of this material. Got something you want to share to the world? Get a chance to publish your awesome creations and share it to the world through our POP! Creator Community program. Send us your stories, videos, photos, fan fic, and even fan art at [email protected]

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