What is the Curly Girl Method?

Overwhelmed by information? Still, don't know what exactly the curly girl method is? Well fret no more, this one article will cover all the bases for you.

My Beautiful #RedCarpetCurlsRoyalty,

This will probably be the most important article on the entire website (which I hope you are enjoying by the way).

This article will go in-depth into what exactly the Curly Girl Method is, and by the end of the article, there will be a hyperlink to take you to the next article that will show you how to properly start the method.

Please remember that this method is very individualized after three basic rules. Before following influencers and brands, please make sure you understand the basics so that you can make the proper alterations for your own journey.

What is the Curly Girl Method?

The curly girl method is a set of guidelines on the proper maintenance for naturally textured hair. Naturally, textured hair is all hair that is not straight (wavy, curly, coily, kinky). With this method, you will learn to stop damaging habits such as using heat styling tool and using bad ingredients like sulfates, in an effort to improve the overall health and definition of your natural texture.

Why do we need a specific set of guidelines to care for naturally textured hair?

Not all hair is created equal. There is no set one way to maintain our hair. Most hair salons and even hair education are focused on straight hair. Straight hair is pretty straightforward to care for because of the science of the human scalp.

Everyone’s scalp creates a natural conditioning oil called sebum. Sebum is produced by our skin to moisturize the skin all over our body. The scalp is no different. The sebaceous glands produce the sebum to condition not only the scalp but the hair.

When someone has straight hair, the sebum is able to quickly travel down the hair shaft all the way to the ends because there are no creases or twirls in the hair shaft to derail the progress of the oil down the hair strand.

Naturally textured hair (wavy, curly, coily) has many different twirls and creases in the hair strand. This will slow down the speed by which the oil travels down the hair strand. This will result in dry hair, in even worse cases, this will lead to split ends and breakage.

Since naturally textured hair has this obstacle that straight hair does not,  it is vulnerable to being far drier than straight hair.

Naturally, textured hair will always be drier than straight hair. This is why we need a specific set of guidelines for the optimal maintenance of our hair.

What are the concrete rules to follow the Curly Girl Method? 

According to Lorraine Massey (the creator of Devacurl and author of Curly Girl Method Handbook), there are three basic “rules” to the method. Absolutely no sulfates, silicones or parabens.

Why should we avoid these ingredients?

These three categories of ingredients cause the most damage and hindrance to curl health. By cutting them out of your regime altogether and opting for more natural options, your hair will have a chance to heal and restore itself to its former glory.

For more in-depth information on the effects of these harmful ingredients and which to look out for on ingredient labels, please click here.

What is the difference between “strict” cgm(curly girl method) and “modified” cgm? 

The original curly girl method (also known as strict cgm/ no-poo method), was introduced in the handbook by Lorraine Massey. The method calls for removing all forms of shampoo completely, including sulfate-free shampoos. Instead, Massey suggests the use of co-washing instead. Co-washing is the act of using conditioner to cleanse your hair and scalp instead of using a shampoo.

The theory behind this method is most on-the-market conditioners are formulated not only conditioning ingredients but with very mild cleansing agents as well. Meaning most rinse out conditioners contain similar cleansers found in gentle cleansing shampoos. The original method also prohibits the use of styling tools such as brushes or combs. With the original curly girl method, you use your fingers to detangle your hair and apply the products.

Modified cgm is essentially the curly girl method but with the use of shampoos and combs. This can also include the use of water-soluble silicones amongst others. Essentially, modified cgm is customizing the method to your specific preferences. For example, I am modified cgm. I incorporate shampoo in my regime as well as my highlights being done every few months.

I will never advise people to develop the habit of co-washing only. Co-washing only is not a proper form of cleansing. Conditioner formulas are known to “deposit” moisture into the hair. That means it covers the hair in a film to make it more manageable and contain frizz. If the hair and scalp are not effectively cleansed at least once a month not only will buildup occur but the hair will feel greasy and oily, which will throw off the natural PH balance of our scalp. This can lead to flaking, dandruff, irritation, and inflammation.

Modified CGM is following the core of the curly girl method with some alterations to fit your specific needs. For example, the use of any kind of shampoo including sulfate-free is considered modified CG since the original no-poo method advises co-washing only.

Modified CGM can also include avoiding three other ingredients along with the initial three. So in total, you will avoid six types of ingredients; sulfates, silicones, parabens,  synthetic waxes(emulsified waxes or natural waxes are fine), drying alcohols, and Mineral Oil/Petroleum.

Drying alcohols dry the hair out more which leaves it vulnerable to breakage and split ends. Synthetic waxes coat the hair strands forming an impenetrable barrier to seal moisture into the hair. Similar to silicones if the hair that is already sealed is dry, you cannot properly moisturize it. You will need a clarifying shampoo to remove it. Mineral Oil/Petroleum acts exactly the same as silicones and waxes, forming an impenetrable barrier to seal in moisture. This too will have to be clarified out of the hair.  

The strict curly girl method advises using apple cider vinegar or lemon rinses. While you can incorporate rinses into your regime, if the mixture is not properly measured it will not be effective or even worse insanely drying further exasperating any issues your hair and scalp are having.

Is Final Wash Necessary to start the Curly Girl Method?

No, the final wash was not created by Massey or even spoken about in the book. Final washes were created by Facebook curly hair groups. Thanks, Facebook.

The idea behind the final wash is that sulfates are the only things that remove silicone. So, in order to remove the silicone buildup from your previous non-cgm routines, you would, in turn, use a shampoo with sulfates one final time to start with a clean base.

I cannot stress enough how unnecessary the final wash is. Sulfates are not the only surfactants that remove silicone build up. Clarifying shampoos are formulated with strong or often multiple surfactants that are meant to remove all types of buildup; hard water, mineral water, products, and yes even silicone build-up.

Using a sulfate free clarifying shampoo like my favorite, Inahsi Naturals Soothing Mint Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoo, helps to remove all build up, giving you a deep clean feeling without stripping your hair completely of your natural sebum. Pairing shampoo with a scalp brush also helps get a deep clean feeling and helps remove dead skin cells on the scalp that can clog the hair follicles, hindering hair growth.

How do I start the curly girl method?

If you feel you are ready to start the method, click here for the official article on the proper steps to start.

You can then take a look at the collective lists of curly girl method products available at two big retailers. These lists are exclusive to Red Carpet Curls you will not find them anywhere else. So, make sure to subscribe to the website so you don’t miss the newest lists coming soon.

All the CGM products in Sally Beauty: https://redcarpetcurls.com/sallys-beauty-cg-safe-products-list-including-hyperlinks/

All the CGM products in Walgreens: https://redcarpetcurls.com/walgreens-cg-safe-picks-as-of-dec-2018/



Cline, Abrigail, et al. “No Sulfates, No Parabens, and the ‘No-Poo’ Method: A New Patient Perspective on Common Shampoo Ingredients.” Www.CUTIS.com, Jan. 2018.

Queen Monroe

Queen Monroe

Curly Girl Method enthusiast and educator. I have been on my own CGM journey for a bit over three years now. I take a scientific approach to the Curly Girl Method. I believe by learning Trichology (the study of hair and scalp) you can better understand your hair's needs and behaviors. This will help when you need to learn ingredients to read product labels. I research and write each and every article in this site. The information used and referenced on this website come from open access, peer-reviewed journal articles from publications such as the Journal of Cosmetic Science and the International Journal of Trichology.

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About Red Carpet Curls

About Adrienne Monroe and Red Carpet Curls : In this section you’ll get to meet your guide…me! I’ll tell you more about my Curly Girl Method Journey along with all the resources you can expect to find on this website. You will also find out exactly what makes Red Carpet Curls different from any other Curly Girl Method Website.

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