Hair Care

I’m Trying the Curly Girl Method

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I’ve been wanting to try the Curly Girl Method for a while, but I felt discouraged because I didn’t want people to see me with messy hair during the transitioning phase. Being in lockdown due to the COVID-19 situation has provided an ideal opportunity to try the Curly Girl Method because very few people will see my hair!

What is the Curly Girl Method?

The Curly Girl Method was developed by hairstylist Lorraine Massey. It is a methodology for caring for naturally curly hair. It emphasises using natural products that are free of sulphates and silicones and avoiding the use of brushes, combs and heat tools. The results are supposed to be soft, healthy, defined curls with minimal frizz. The method is suitable for any hair type from tightly coiled afro hair to slightly wavy hair.

Lorraine wrote a book about her method, called Curly Girl: The Handbook. I have just finished reading it and I am going to post a review of it within the next few days. Now that I am armed with lots of tips for how to care for curly hair, I am ready to get started!

The front cover of Curly Girl: The Handbook

Some Background on My Hair

As a child, I had straight hair. When I reached my teens, it went curly. I have always thought this a bit strange, but according to the Curly Girl Handbook, it can happen. Throughout childhood, I had a fringe (bangs) which looked fine when my hair was straight, but when it went curly my fringe would stick out at funny angles and look stupid. I definitely had a phase of very bad hair as a teen! I later grew my fringe out but still, my hair looked a mess. Since reading the Curly Girl Handbook, I now know that this was because I was still treating my hair as though it was straight. 

In my late teens, I discovered the joys of hair straightening irons. Finally, I could tame my crazy hair and make it look a bit better, which really boosted my confidence. I loved my hair straighteners! Ever since then, I have been using straighteners regularly. I even cut myself a new fringe. Most of the time, my hair looks fine, but it still curls up and sticks out in random directions when it is raining or humid.

Because of the frequent use of straighteners, my hair has got quite dry and damaged over the years. It’s thinner than it used to be, and it won’t seem to grow beyond a certain length even though it was very long when I was younger. I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it. So, I am excited to ‘embrace the curl’ and get started on the Curly Girl Method!

Related post: Hairburst Shampoo, Conditioner and Elixir – My First Impressions

What products will I need?

The main hair products recommended by the Curly Girl Method are a sulphate-free cleanser, conditioner and gel. I have several shampoos and conditioners already, but I wasn’t sure whether any of them were suitable for the Curly Girl Method. Luckily, I found a tool where I can check them!

This site called ‘Is it CG’ allows you to enter the ingredients of a product and it tells you whether it is suitable for the Curly Girl Method or not. I checked all my existing hair products using this site and I was pleased to find that about half of them are Curly Girl approved. I’m glad about this because I would rather use the products I already have before buying new ones.

A selection of hair products I own that are suitable for the Curly Girl Method.
Some of the hair products I already own that are suitable for the Curly Girl Method.

As for the products that are not approved, I don’t want to waste those either. Therefore I have put them in my ‘use up pile’ and I may still use them sparingly until they are used up. Then, I will replace them with Curly Girl approved products. I might also give some of them away to my sister (who has straight hair) or a friend.

One thing I don’t already have is hair gel, because I’ve never used gel on my hair. I have other hair products such as ‘hair moisturisers’ so I am going to use those instead, at least until I get hold of some gel.

Because of the current COVID-19 situation, I can’t just go out to the shops and buy new hair products. Therefore any that I need I will have to order online.

Homemade hair care

I also plan to make a few of the simple recipes described in the handbook. One of these is a lavender spray, made up of lavender essential oil and water. This supposedly helps to cleanse and refresh hair between washes, as well as making it smell nice. I also want to try making the scalp exfoliator, which is made up of brown sugar and conditioner. The handbook suggests using this once per week.

What tools will I need?

There are a few tools suggested in the book which I don’t currently have. The first is clips, to place in hair when wet to give volume to the roots. I have hair clips already but not the right sort. I tested them and they don’t effectively hold up the roots. 

The second tool is proper haircutting scissors. I currently cut my own hair but I have always used ordinary scissors. These are not ideal because they are not very sharp so they can cause fraying and split ends. There is advice in the handbook for how to cut your own curly hair, so I may well continue doing it myself. Even if I did want to go and get a haircut, this wouldn’t be possible for a while because of the lockdown. If I have my own hair cutting scissors, I can at least trim off the split ends in the meantime.

The third ‘tool’ is soft pillowcases that won’t cause damage to the hair at night. The handbook suggests silk but I prefer not to use this for ethical reasons. Therefore I will go for satin or high-thread-count cotton. I plan to order these tools online along with any hair products I need.

I have put my hairbrush and hair straighteners away so that I won’t automatically reach for them out of habit. The method states that you can blow dry your hair but only if you use a diffuser, so I have attached a diffuser to my hairdryer. I have never used a diffuser before so that will be a learning curve.

My black MarkHill hairdryer with the diffuser on.
My hairdryer with the diffuser on.

What changes am I making to my hair care routine?

I plan to follow the Curly Girl Method as strictly as possible to start with. However, the handbook emphasises that everyone’s hair is different, so I may need to adapt it if it’s not working for me.

I have always washed my hair every other day but following the advice of the method, I am going to try washing it every 3 days instead. This will give my natural oils a chance to moisturise my hair, as well as giving my hair a break from harsh shampoos.

The handbook recommends giving your hair a cool rinse after washing, to help the hair look extra shiny. I already do this so I will definitely continue.

At night, I always used to put my hair in a plait. However, I realise this would mess up the curl shape. One suggestion in the handbook is to make a ‘unicorn’ hairstyle, i.e. tie your hair in a very high, loose ponytail on your forehead. This stops your hair getting too ruffled on the pillow. I have been trying this so far and it seems to keep the shape of the curls.

A curly fringe?

Currently, I have a fringe which I have been straightening nearly every day for years. I like having a fringe because I think my face looks better with one. However, when I let it go curly, it looks messy and stupid! My plan is to let my fringe grow longer so that it might go into neater ringlets and I can have a curly fringe. I’m not sure whether this will look good or not. Otherwise, my two options are to grow my fringe out completely or to continue to straighten my fringe and just use the Curly Girl Method on the rest of my hair. If I grow out my fringe, I may create a side parting in my hair (I currently have a centre parting) because I think this would look better.

My hopes for my hair

I have seen lots of impressive ‘before and after’ photos of the Curly Girl Method, and I am hoping to achieve results as good as those. I’d like to have healthy, defined, glossy curls that fall in a regular pattern, instead of sticking out in random directions like mine currently do when it gets wet or humid!

I would also like my hair to grow thicker and longer. I know it will take time for my hair to grow, so I will have to be patient with this one!

My hair before starting the Curly Girl Method, and after 6 days.
Left: My hair a few weeks ago, before I started the Curly Girl Method.
Right: My hair after 6 days of following the Curly Girl Method.

I will write an update post in a few weeks or months, to let you know how I am getting on with the Curly Girl Method and whether it worked for me!

Related post: Blogtober Day 6 – Colouring my Hair with Henna

Have you ever tried the Curly Girl Method?

Do you have curly hair? Have you ever heard of, or tried the Curly Girl Method? I would love to hear whether it worked for you and if you have any tips or product recommendations for me. Let me know in the comments!

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I'm Trying the Curly Girl Method

44 Comments

  1. I’ve never heard about this method before. I love the result. It looks so pretty. My hair is a little bit wavey but I always do no-heat hairstyles to make it curly.

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you, I’m hoping the result will improve even more as that picture was taken after only 6 days! I bet your hair looks lovely especially if you don’t use heat on it.

  2. My hair is absolutely ridiculous because somehow its only curly/wavy in the front and sides and I’ve always had a hard time keeping it natural, but this is really informative and I definitely will consider following some of these steps for my own hair!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I get ridiculous curly bits at the front too, so I’ve always straightened it! I’ve no idea whether this method will actually make my hair look any good but I thought it’s worth a try, especially as no-one except my family has to see my hair while we are in lockdown! I hope it works for you if you do decide to try it x

  3. I’ve briefly heard of this method before, but I haven’t tried it yet! I might actually give it a go now after reading this post. I have really curly hair myself with lots of frizz and I’d love to tame them a bit. I’ll definitely read more on the subject, thank you for sharing!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Good luck, I really hope it works for you if you try it!

  4. I need that blow dryer! I already have curly hair so I feel like it would make my curls not so frizzy. Awesome post, it looks great!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I’ve been letting my hair air-dry so far since starting the method, so I haven’t actually tried the diffuser blow-dryer yet! But I plan to try it soon and see if it makes my hair less frizzy.

  5. Your hair is so pretty! I have tried this before (as a teen) but I’m afraid I was too lazy and found it quite time consuming! You’ve made me want to try again though!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Aww thank you! It’s taking some self-discipline to keep up with it but I’m hoping it will be worth it! Good luck with yours if you try it again!

  6. Never heard of this and my mom is a beautician. I will ask her. I have wavy yet very frizzy hair and never use any curling irons on my hair. I would like to check this out more.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I only quite recently heard about this method, so I’m not sure how well known it is! Good luck with it if you do decide to try it!

  7. I have naturally curly hair too but I wear it straight a lot because it takes a lot to maintain my hair but this method sounds great and it’s made your curls look lovely! X

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I always straightened my hair but it’s got so dry and damaged! I am hoping that my hair will look healthier with this method 😊 x

  8. I’ve never heard of this method before. I’m kind of surprised I haven’t! I might give it a try and see how it works. Your hair looks so cute!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I’m hoping it will look healthier after a while though. Good luck with it if you do give it a try!

  9. Your curls look lovely! I have naturally curly hair and I stopped using heat on it other than for special occasions years ago because I was worried about the damage of daily heat. I also use sulphate free shampoos so I think this method would be fairly easy for me to adapt to. I still struggle with frizz so it would be great if it can help with that. I can’t wait to read your update! x

    Sophie

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! It sounds like you are already pretty close to following this method already. Good luck with it if you do decide to try it! x

  10. Interesting. I have naturally curly hair and damage it like crazy straightening it. Maybe I should try this like you did. Your hair looks great.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! Mine is so damaged by straightening too. Good luck with this method if you do decide to try it!

  11. I really really enjoyed this post. I’d never heard of the curly method before but as I have long hair I always like to curl it. My hairs naturally curly but I blow-dry it straight as its easier. This is actually something I’d really like to try. Look forward to seeing the results in a few weeks.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post! I have also blow-dried and straightened my hair for years but it’s so damaged from it so I’m hoping this method will make my hair healthier! I’m also looking forward to sharing the results.

  12. Your curls look amazing. I’ve got frizzy hair and I’m tired of shampoos. Will definitely try this method once! ❤️

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I hope it works for you if you do try it!

  13. First you look amazing! I grew up with the mentality that my hair needed to be straight so from a very young girl I will do all I could to have straight hair even though my hair is super curly. Two years ago I decided to embrace the curly hair and have never look back! Great post! and I will check out the products you used.

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you finally embraced your curly hair!

  14. I don’t even have curly hair but I keep on watching videos on the Curly Girl method and I have no idea why, I think I just find it so interesting! Your natural hair is so nice, I wish I had lovely curls like that! I hope this method works for you and gives you the results you want, I look forward to getting an update in the future 🙂 xx

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I really like watching videos on the Curly Girl method too, and seeing people’s results! Thank you, I’m hoping my hair will end up like some of the videos and pictures I’ve seen! 🙂 xx

  15. I have wavey/curly hair and have always brought different products to try out on my hair but never really found the right ones. I will definitely try out some of the products you listed as your hair looks amazing!!!

    http://www.iambandanakb.co.uk

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! I hope you find products that work for you!

  16. I love your hair curly. It really suits you

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! 😊 I’m hoping it will get neater and healthier-looking though!

  17. I would love to have curly hair, so sweet..

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I like having curly hair but it takes so much effort to maintain! I’m hoping this method will be worth it.

  18. Never heard about this before but it looks amazing, you are so pretty! I’ve always had really straight hair, that’s also incredibly thick so i can’t do a lot with it! Thanks for sharing ☺️

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Aww thank you! Thick, straight hair sounds like it would be so much easier to deal with than curly hair! ☺️

  19. This is such a great post. I haven’t heard of the curly girl method before. I have very thick and wavy hair so I am tempted to try this out on myself!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you! Good luck with the method, if you do decide to try it!

  20. I love your curls, they look so cute and pretty! I’ve never heard of this before, but lockdown is the perfect opportunity to get experimental with hair! I have really short hair and am in desperate need of a haircut, haha! I love your suggestions for keeping your hair healthy between washes, the lavender spray sounds like a great idea, thanks for sharing Sophie! <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you so much! I agree – lockdown is the perfect opportunity! I’ve seen a lot of people getting experimental with their hair, dyeing it bright colours etc. Do you live with anyone who could cut your hair for you? Or would that be a bad idea?! Thanks for reading ☺️ xx

  21. I’m looking forward to following your journey! Lush R’n’B is one of my favourite hair care products, so I’m glad to see this has made the list… I’ve been trying to adapt some of these methods into my hair care routine including silicone free products & a softer pillow. Your curls are really cute & I hope this method helps you love them more!

    Pixee xo | Thats What Pea Said

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I used to use LUSH R’n’B regularly but haven’t used it for a few years, I’ve dug out an old pot and started using it for this method though, it is a lovely product 😊 Thank you so much!

  22. I’ve been hearing quite a lot about this recently and different people’s ways of giving it ago. Can’t wait to hear about how you get on with it!
    Sarah x

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’ve been hearing a lot about it too and I’m hoping my results will be as good as some of those I’ve seen! Thank you, I look forward to writing an update on my progress! x

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