How to Do the Curly Girl Method – Ultimate Guide for Beginners

By Leah Williams •  Updated: 03/07/22

The Curly Girl method is a styling practice for curly haired girls. This was created by Lorraine Massey, a curl expert, who came up with a styling guide for all types of curls, coils, and waves. Based on her guide, there is a different way of managing waves, to curls, to coils.

There are various iterations of the program which I think will work well for my in curls. Think of it as THE ultimate guide to curls. Where do I sign up then?

Getting Started with The Curly Girl Method

Who is it suited to?

Unfortunately, the Curly Girl method isn’t for everyone. This method suits those who have around 2a and 2b wave patterns. Those who are between 2c and 4a best suit this program but this doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment o them based on your hair type. This program is more of a huit and miss for everyone who is thinking of amplifying their curls.

What to avoid?

If you read Curly Girl the handbook, you will find the do’s and don’ts there. It appears that there are certain items that curly ladies have to avoid if they wish to maintain their mane. At least now I know that I have been doing my hair wrong. So, on to the things that need to be avoided. There are several things that you need to understand


The first thing on the list is using traditional shampoos which are too harsh on the skin. The stripping agents on these products will not benefit your mane hence you need to rethink your hair care routine.

Heat tools

It appears that exposing your curly to wavy strands to heat will be detrimental to having beautiful curly locks. Although using a diffuser service to low is alright, it is best that you put down that styling tool you’re holding and start considering the effects of it in the long run.


Sulfates are perfect for creating lather which is typically found in shampoos. Unfortunately, when you have naturally curly hair, you need to reconsider exposing yourself to this kind of product. This is due to the fact that sulfates can strip the natural oils from your mane leaving it dry and damaged.


Silicones are these compounds that do not really dissolve in water. Since you will be removing Sulfates you should also say goodbye to silicones. Once you do, your hair will be better for it. Skip these drying ingredients to save your strands from deterioration and revive them with boosting email.

Towel-drying hair

I have to admit that I am guilty of towel drying my hair since I am impatient. Unfortunately, rubbing wet hair with towel creates friction which can be quite damaging to one’s strands in the long run. Additionally, this will lead to frizz and breakage which can ruin your beautiful waves or curls. So before you blame your frizz with your products think of your contribution to the problem.


Alcohols in hair products like hair sprays can have a drying effect on your strands and as such, they must be avoided if your primary goal is to have great curls or waves. They have a drying tendency which is not good for your a

Waxes and Mineral Oils

The problem of using products containing waxes and Mineral Oils is that they can only be removed using Sulfates. And since you cannot use Sulfates in the Curly Girl method, these are must be avoided at all costs.

Well, what products can I use?

Now that you are hankering to get started on using the method the curly girl needs to consider, you’ve probably encountered a dilemma. What shampoo and conditioner to use. Well, there are only a handful of Curly Girl approved products and these are:

Sulfate free shampoos

The first thing that you should keep in mind when following this method is that you can’t use any products containing Sulfates. Instead look for sulfate-free shampoos that can get rid of the build up in your hair and scalp. Those who have flat curls of even think waves can experience drying in regular shampoos but not when you use this product

Cleansing conditioners

Cleansing conditioners or no poo are these lightweight hair products that can cleanse hair and scalp easily. Most curly hair individuals should know that washing your mane with too much harsh ingredients can affect it considerably. Instead, your hair and scalp will be happy with enough moisture, water, and about a minute of massaging. This best suits those who have coil or curly hair.


You can actually use gels on your strands as a step prior to applying oils. The gel can help seal in the moisture on your strands to prevent them from drying out too much.

What are the steps of the Curly Girl Method?

Step 1. Cleanse

Consider a final reset wash. The final reset watch is basically getting rid of any product build up you are dealing with on your hair and scalp. A clarifying shampoo is the best choice here as it is known for its ability to cleanse thoroughly.

Use co-wash or sulfate free shampoo. These two are among the approved products in Curly Girl Method and must be applied for a full minute. Use your own fingers as your massager to get the product into your scalp.

Cleansing frequency can depend on hair type:

Step 2. Condition

It’s not necessary to rinse out all of the conditioner from the hair. However, this will depend on the type of curls that you have. Just to give you a general idea on what to expect when conditioning your strands you should think of the following:

Step 3. Dry & Style

There is a right way of drying as well as styling your curls when following the Curly Girl method. Typically, you will have to bend forward and from there cup your curls using a towel. A word of caution, never squeeze or disturb your curls even. If you need to rush things a diffuser us a good option to try. If you can, allow your hair to air dry.

When scrunching gel, start from the ends then work your way towards the scalp. You can do this from the nape, then work your way upwards then clip at the end.

Scrunching and upside down method tends to vary from one hair type to the next. Here’s how they go which you can try out yourself.

What products should I be using?

What products should you use when you are following the Curly Girl method? Basically, you will need two products only and these are gel and the other one is conditioner. It is possible that you use some shampoo to cleanse your hair but always make use of one that is sulfates free.

There are several products that are appropriate for the Curly Girl method based on hair type. Here are a few to get you started:

Type 2 Wavy

The best product that you can use on your type 2 Wavy hair is Giovanni Direct Leave in Conditioner. Style your hair while conditioning at the same time with this leave-in product. It styles and nourishes at the same time. Show off your waves in style with this brand and you will see how easy it is to maintain that gorgeous style.

Gel type products are also good for Curly Girl Method. For wavy hair you can try Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera gel. Ideal for soothing burnt and dry skin. The same can be applied to the hair for extra moisture. Dry brittle strands will need the help they can get. It creates a protective barrier around the mane so they will not get dislodged easily.

Type 3 Curly

For curly hair, you can get the Oyin Handmade Hair Dew. This is specially formulated to be used even on naked hair after giving it a good cleanse. You will find that your mane looks more malleable because it is soft, smooth, and is already cleansed. Once you have tried this out, you’ll be glad that you switched to it for your mane.

For type 3 curls, the best gel to use is As I Am Smoothing Gel. The gel is soft and smooth but has a strong hold on your strands that you can style your mane without worrying about applying too much product. You will enjoy beautiful curly, wavy, coily hair without worrying about hardness of your strands.

Type 4 Coily

Coily strands can be nourished further when you choose Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Leave-in. This product makes use of coconut water with natural oils to deliver nourishment to your strands. It is a non-greasy formula that cleanses mane. Thus giving you that extra shine to your hair.

For ladies with coily hair and are looking for a product that will meet the Curly Girl method, then choose Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel. This all natural gel keeps your hair style in place minus the hard texture common in many products. Use it on your coils to make them more detailed.

Final Thoughts

The Curly Girl Method is a great guide to women who are sporting natural curls, coils, and waves. Here you will find the importance of taking care of your locks and how you can maintain your strands in the long run. Learn what products to avoid and which ones to use for your waves, curls, and coils. You will be surprised to find that there are other ways to manage your strands even at home. I didn’t realize it that much until I came across this guide!

Take advantage of this method when you are sporting curls, waves, and coils even since there are different dos and don’t’s that you should consider for this task. Maintain your curls with this helpful guide and get to show off the details of your natural curls without leaving it damaged.

Leah Williams

Leah Williams is the founder of Lucky Curl and has been in the hair care and styling industry for the last 15 years. Since then, she has developed incredible expertise and a deep understanding of how to treat and style the most difficult hair types and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the readers of Lucky Curl.

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