The Curly Girl Method 101: The Curly Hair Routine To Keep Your Curls Moisturized, Defined and Healthy

Hey beauties! Today our topic is the curly girl method.

I’ve mentioned it a few times in other posts but today we’re gonna dive in and really get to the heart of it.

What is the curly girl method?

The curly girl method was created by Lorraine Massey and she wrote about it extensively in her book “Curly Girl: The Handbook.”

It is a regimen that trades damaging hair cleansing and styling methods such as heat tools and harsh shampoos, for a silicone free conditioner and gel to get you bouncy, defined and moisturized curly hair.

This method is the holy grail for a lot of curly haired girls but remember, you can always modify something if it doesn’t work for you.

I’m going to take you through the different steps of the curly girl method.

The Curly Girl Method can be used in conjunction with other methods such as the LOC and LCO methods. You can learn all about the LOC method in this post!

Related – How to Figure Out Your Curly Hair Type and Why it Matters

Related – 7 Ways to Protect Your Hair While You’re Sleeping

I know having curly hair can sometimes seem like a full time job and it’s easy to get frustrated especially if you’re transitioning, not seeing the progress you want or if it seems like your hair is just completely against you (trust me it isn’t!)

So that’s why I created my free email course, Caring for Curls!

This course, in addition to being completely free, goes over the ins and outs of curly hair all the way from the most basic information you need to know and walks you through the process of creating and maintaining your own curly hair regimen!

In the course I will teach you:

  • The basics of curly hair: This will give you a solid foundation of information to build on throughout the course.
  • The importance of a curly hair routine: Consistency is king! I’m going to show you why having a set curly hair routine is essential!
  • All about porosity: The porosity is probably one of the most important aspects of your curly hair and you need to know what it is to make it work for you.
  • All about curl patterns and hair texture: These are two other important parts of having curly hair that you shouldn’t gloss over if you want healthy curls.
  • Curly hair methods: We’re going to go over the most popular methods of caring for curly hair and I’ll give you the pros and cons of each!
  • Finally I’ll give you a sneak peek into my curly hair routine and you’ll get to see what my curls actually look like!

Throughout the entire course I will guide you and help you get started or improve your curly hair journey!

You can sign up for Caring for Curls using the sign up form below! (:

Caring for Curls Email Course

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Without further adieu let’s jump in the post about the curly girl method!

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All about the curly girl method. What is the curly girl method and how can it help your curly hair?

The Curly Girl Method

Rules of the curly girl method

The curly girl method is a great routine to follow if you want to keep your hair moisturized and protected but it does have a few rules that you need to follow if you want to get the most out of it.

Rule # 1

No sulfates

Sulfates are cleansing agents found in pretty much everything you use to clean including your shampoo, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap, and soap.

The point of sulfates is to break down dirt and grease which is why they are used in shampoos.

However, sulfates can be really drying to your hair especially if you’re washing your hair every day.

The point of the curly girl method is to retain as much moisture as possible sousing shampoo or any other products that have sulfates in them is a big no-no.

It’s really important that you pay attention to the ingredients in your hair products because that’s what’s going to make or break the health of your hair.

Whenever you go shopping for curly hair products make sure you’re checking out the ingredient list and making sure that water is the first ingredient and that there are no harsh chemicals or substances that can harm your hair and/or damage it.

Related: How to Refresh Your Hair and Maintain Your Curls for a Week

Rule #2

No silicones

Silicones are also agents that are found in shampoos but they are also in products like conditioners, leave in conditioners, heat protectants and styling products.

They coat the hair and provide slip, which is helpful when detangling and gives hair shine.

The problem with silicones is that because they coat the hair shaft that can cause build up on your hair.

Build-up can cause dryness in your hair because it can prevent moisture from penetrating the hair shaft.

Another problem with silicones is that most of them can only be cleansed with sulfates. So if you have buildup on your hair because of silicones the only way you can get rid of that build up is by using sulfates.

It’s a pretty vicious cycle since both sulfates and silicones can be drying to curly hair.

So using the curly girl method involves cutting out sulfates and silicones to break the cycle of dryness.

A lot of people with curly hair find this difficult because silicones do make detangling your hair easier because it provides slip but if you want to follow the Curly Girl Method exactly then there are plenty of other ways to successfully detangle your hair without causing damage.

Related: The Best Curly Hair Hacks to Keep Your Hair Looking Flawless

Rule #3

No shampoo

One of the main principles of the curly girl method is not using shampoo.

Shampoo can be harsh on your hair and can strip it of the natural oils and moisture, it can also contribute to protein loss.

So now you might be wondering, how am I supposed to cleanse my hair if I can’t use shampoo?

Well, you have a few options.

Use conditioner

Before you call me crazy hear me out.

Conditioners have a lot of the same ingredients as shampoos and it isn’t really what’s in the shampoo that cleans your hair, it’s the act of massaging the shampoo into your scalp and hair that cleans it.

You can use conditioner in the same way you use shampoo and your hair will get clean.

Using conditioner to clean your hair is called co-washing and is a pretty common practice in the curly hair community.

There is a possibility of buildup using this method though so you want to pay attention to how your hair is feeling.

Use a cleansing conditioner

This is similar to the first method but there are specific conditioners that are made to clean your hair.

An example is the Deva-Curl no-poo cleansing conditioner.

There’s less of a chance of buildup when you use these products.

Personally for me, I prefer to use shampoo but cutting it out of your curly hair routine can do wonders for your hair because you aren’t exposing it to drying chemicals.

When you use a gentler cleanser on your hair you are still cleaning it but you’re doing it without the use of harsh detergents which are generally unnecessary.

Related: Shower Hacks to Keep Your Curly Hair Clean and Healthy

Rule #4

No heat styling tools of any kind

This rule is probably one of the most important and probably the hardest for some.

On the curly girl method, you have to give up your heat tools and styling products like flat irons and curling wands.

The fact is that these tools cause damage to your hair whenever you use them and a main factor in the curly girl method is learning to love your curls exactly how they come out of your head.

If you’re constantly using heat to style and manipulate your hair then you’re missing the point of the method.

Now there is always an exception to the rule.

Some curly girls like to use a diffuser to style their hair for wash n go’s because air drying either takes too long or doesn’t give them the results they want.

If you’re going to go this route I recommend using a heat protectant and using the lowest heat setting on your blow dryer.

This will protect your hair as much as possible but still give you great results.

Also if you want to achieve straight hair there are plenty of ways you can get that look without the use of heat.

Sure using heat will be faster and will give a sleeker look but if you do heatless hairstyles you’re be preserving the health and length of your hair.

Related: My Wash and Go Routine for Moisturized and Defined Curly Hair

Rule #5

No combs or brushes

This one is a doozy I know but hear me out.

The curly girl method is all about preventing damage to your hair and some brushes and combs can cause damage to your hair without you knowing.

The curly girl method encourages finger detangles your hair instead of using combs and brushes.

When you use your fingers to get out knots and tangles you can work through them gently instead of tearing through them with a comb or a brush.

For those of you who have thicker hair or if your hair gets really matted and tangled then it might be better for you to detangle your hair more often so it’s easier to finger detangle.

My method for finger detangling involves coconut oil and conditioner.

The coconut oil will help melt your tangles away and the conditioner will add slip.

Alright, now that we’ve gone through the rules of the curly girl method let’s get into the actual method.

A word of caution: Finger detangling will take more time than detangling with a comb or a brush but you will majorly cut down on the amount of damage you do to your hair when you detangle with your fingers.

Step #1 – Cleanse your hair

You can use a cleansing conditioner or a regular conditioner to do this.

Another option is to do a pre-poo treatment before washing your hair. You can do this with oils or with conditioner.

Pre-poo is a way to make sure your hair doesn’t get completely dried out once you cleanse it.

Remember to gently massage your scalp. This will increase blood flow and make sure all the dirt and oil is dissolved.

I recommend co-washing your hair at least once a week but if your hair is coily or gets very tangled you can do this twice a week.

You also want to clarify your hair at least once a month with a clarifying conditioner to make sure that you don’t have a bunch of product building up on your hair.

Step #2 – Condition your hair

Section your hair and distribute the conditioner evenly throughout your hair. I recommend leaving the conditioner in your hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out.

When you’re rinsing your hair you can either rinse out all of the conditioner or you can leave some of it in and use that as your leave-in for styling.

You also want to remember to deep condition your hair. Regular conditioner is important but so is deep conditioning because this is how you’re going to get a good amount of moisture back into your hair.

I recommend deep conditioning at least once a week.

Step #3 – Styling and drying your hair

Gently dry your hair by using a micro-fiber towel and scrunching your hair up to your roots. I recommend flipping all of your hair over and scrunching that way because it will give your roots some volume.

Once your hair is damp you can add in your leave-in, unless you’re using your conditioner as a leave-in, and your gel.

When you’re applying products to your hair you want to do so in a scrunching motion. This is what will give your hair the definition you want.

Once you’re done adding your product you can either let your hair air dry or you can use a diffuser.

You can also add a little bit of oil to your hair. This will seal in the moisture and will give your hair a nice shine without the use of silicones!

The curly girl method is really simple once you get past all the rules and there are a lot of curly haired girls who have seen great results using this method.

I recommend trying out different things so you can see what works best for you and your hair.

Well beauties, that’s all for this post!

Don’t forget to sign up for my free email course Caring for Curls!

Caring for Curls Email Course

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