The Curly Girl Method: Techniques and Products for Beginners

Let’s face it, most of the hair care advertisements and mainstream media in the Philippines cater to girls and women with straight hair. There isn’t an official guide or a rule book for those who have wavy, curly, or coiled hair. This is the main reason why big-haired ladies conform to the conventional and accepted standard of hair care, even if their needs are completely different! When you mistreat your hair, it can cause damage and, mixed with the Philippines’ high humidity, frizz. We understand how annoying frizz and flyaways can get, but don’t start hating your curls. There’s actually a way for you to embrace and love your hair without chemical treatment. Look no further, here’s the rundown on hair care’s biggest discovery, the Curly Girl Method!

What is the Curly Girl Method?

person blow drying their hair

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The Curly Girl Method (CGM) is a hair care routine for naturally curly-haired women developed by hairstylist, curl expert, and author, Lorraine Massey. In 2011, she wrote Curly Girl: The Handbook and gained widespread recognition for her work. This is an approach to hair care that discourages the use of shampoo. This method is most effective on waves, coils, and curls, that have not been chemically treated. In a nutshell, CGM is a set of do’s and don’ts that allows men and women to rediscover their true hair texture. Yes, even though it’s famously called “Curly Girl Method,” men can use it too! At the same time, the method also allows you to tame your frizzy hair by enhancing your natural curl pattern, Now, CGM has become a way of life and it even has an online Reddit community. With how big the community has grown, the amount of curly girl (CG) information available online might be overwhelming and intimidating for newbies. Luckily for you, we’ve prepared a beginner-friendly guide to the Curly Girl Method, a basic routine filled with tips and essentials that are CG-approved!

The Curly Girl Method for Beginners

woman reading a book in a tub

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This is a daily regime you can follow, as an alternative to how you usually wash and take care of your hair before, during, and after a bath. However, before going on this wild ride with the CGM, make sure to know your hair type beforehand. Check out the chart below and find out!

Afterwards, you can proceed to create your own routine with these basic steps! To make things simpler for you, at the end of each step is a CGM-approved product available on Shopee Philippines. All you have to do now is add to cart and checkout! But if you want to curate your own set of CGM-approved products, just enter the ingredients of the curly hair products you’re checking out on Is It CG? to find out whether or not it’s Curly Girl approved. As a general rule, make sure to avoid harmful sulfates, alcohol, silicones, waxes, mineral oils, and your heat tools. You’re going to miss your straightener for a while.

Step 0: Reset

person washing scalp

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The starting point in CGM is a reset wash. You do this right before starting your CGM journey and occasionally, every few weeks, to remove product buildup on your scalp. This step is an exception to the CGM rules. It’s important for your reset wash shampoo to be sulfate-filled for it to fully cleanse the scalp. This is the reason why a reset wash isn’t done on a daily basis since it can dry out your hair and cause frizz. The reset wash is a crucial step since it’s the main foundation for all the other steps to come, and the method won’t work unless you get this step right! After this step, you can proceed to Step 2.

CGM-Approved Shampoo for Reset Wash

human nature clarifying shampoo

Credit: Human Nature

A CGM-approved product you can try out for the first step is Human Nature’s Clarifying Shampoo. Its silicone-free and its coconut-based sulfates wash away any product, dirt, and sweat buildup, making it perfect for your reset wash! It’s also very affordable and completely natural. Go get your hands on it!

Step 1: Cleanse

woman cleansing hair

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This is the real first step in your daily hair care routine! Most people refer to this step as “co-wash” and “no-poo” which means conditioner-only and no shampoo washing. You have to massage your scalp and hair with a conditioner. Afterwards, rinse thoroughly and rub out the dirt and oil in your scalp. You can use a shampoo brush to get the dirt out easier and it also feels relaxing on the scalp. Quick disclaimer though, not everyone can co-wash and there are people who find no-poo too oily and moisturizing. After a few weeks, if you decide that co-washing isn’t for you, you can switch to low-poo, a sulfate-free shampoo.

CGM-Approved Co-Wash Conditioner

suave waterfall mist conditioner

Credit: Unilever Beauty Official Store

The next CGM essential in your curly hair products is Suave’s Waterfall Mist Conditioner. The deeply moisturizing formula gives your scalp the nourishment it needs. It also leaves you with a cool, clean, and fresh ocean scent that’s long-lasting. You will definitely not feel oily and greasy after the first step with this holy grail!

CGM-Approved Low-Poo

zenutrients shampoo

Credit: Zenutrients Official Store

If your scalp is not responding well to conditioner-only washing, you can switch to a sulfate-free shampoo like the Curls Avocado & Tea Tree Sulfate-Free Shampoo from Zenutrients. This silicone, paraben, protein, and sulfate-free shampoo comes in 250mL, 500mL, and 1L. This low-poo is a part of the Curls by Zenutrients product line. They also offer a co-wash conditioner that comes in 250mL, 500mL, and 1L, a deep treatment, and a leave-in conditioner.

Step 2: Condition

dispensing conditioner

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After washing your scalp with conditioner, you add even more conditioner! Compared to Step 1 which focuses on the scalp, this step conditions the hair strands and uses different techniques, like the squish to condish! Here’s a quick demonstration:

You can also use a detangler or any wide-toothed comb to help you sort out your hair while it’s wet. You’re not supposed to comb your hair while it’s dry since it poofs it up even more. In this step, you don’t have to fully rinse out the conditioner and there are leave-in conditioners made specifically not to be rinsed off.

CGM-Approved Leave-in Conditioner

lauat leave-on conditioner

Credit: Cambert Pilipinas Inc.

Speaking of leave-in conditioners, the next product recommendation is the Lauat Leave-on Conditioner. It comes in 125g and 50g, you can test out the smaller one first to see if it works for you. This leave-on conditioner contains Lawat, a plant used for preventing hair loss, promoting growth, and relieving itchiness. It also contains Gugo extract, which prevents dandruff and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This means there’s no harm to not rinsing off the Lauat Leave-on Conditioner in your hair!

Step 3: Style

styling hair

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The second-to-last step in your hair care routine is styling! This might come as a surprise to you since you haven’t even dried your hair out yet. The Curly Girl Method is really full of surprises, but trust us on this! There are so many ways to apply styling products to your wet hair. For beginners, it would be advisable to use your CGM-approved styling gel or styling mousse, then scrunch it on your dripping hair. Here’s a video showing how to scrunch. There are so many other techniques in applying your curly hair products, so go for the approach that works for you. 

CGM-Approved Styling Product

bed head styling mousse

Credit: TIGI Official Store

Easily whip your curls into shape with this next curly hair product! The Bed Head Foxy Curls Extreme Curl Mousse is a surefire way to get those dreamlike curls. It’s CGM-approved and it won’t leave your locks feeling stiff. This styling mousse will give your curls ideal and long-lasting definition, style, and flexibility.

Step 4: Dry

drying hair with towel

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And to cap off your hair care journey, you will finally dry your hair! The key thing to remember in this step is that you can’t just towel-dry your hair like you always do. Towel-drying leads to tangles and frizz, plus it also damages your hair cuticles. You can air-dry or diffuse your curls with a diffuser. The less you touch your hair while drying, the better! It might take a while, so it’s better to multitask while you’re on it. You should start on your full face makeup look and have breakfast while waiting for your hair to dry. Here are easy breakfast recipes to start your day right, being late isn’t CGM-approved!

CGM-Approved Drying Tool

microfiber towel

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If a diffuser or a blow dryer doesn’t fit your budget and if air-drying doesn’t fit your schedule, you can still dry your hair with a microfiber towel or a cotton shirt. There are so many techniques for you to choose from, but plopping is currently all the rage! Here’s a video on how plopping works.

Flaunt Your Natural Curls with the Curly Girl Method

woman lying down on the grass

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There’s absolutely no reason for you to feel ashamed of your natural hair. If you think your hair is just frizzy and messy, the author of Curly Girl: The Handbook, Lorraine Massey said: “Frizz is just a curl waiting to happen.” All you need to do is to nurture and love your hair with the Curly Girl Method. And once you get that good hair day and you want to shower or wash your face without getting your curls wet, a shower cap would be really helpful. Who run the world? Curls!

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