The Curly Girl Method: Easy Steps & Routine For Beginners

curly girl method for beginners

The curly girl method is a process of caring for natural hair types (wavy, curly, coily). It involves healthy hair care practices that work well to repair and improve the health of your curls.

In this post, I’m going to share with you:

  • the curly girl method steps
  • affordable curly girl method approved products
  • an easy, no fuss, curly girl hair routine

If you’ve landed here, you already know that this method may be just what your hair needs.

So, bookmark this page to refer to it as often as you need on your curly hair journey.

Please note, however, that this is not a full or detailed overview of the cg method. If you’d like to know everything, you can get the CGM book written by Lorraine Massey.

Affiliate Disclosure: “This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.”

What Is The Curly Girl Method ?

The curly girl method is a simple, but effective method that aims to prevent damage to the hair shaft and to promote healthy natural curls for those with textured hair.

The method focuses on gentle cleansing, conditioning, and styling your hair with products that contain certain ingredients specifically designed to protect and enhance the health of naturally curly and wavy hair.

When you follow the curly girl method, the main change is probably that you’ll be ditching many products that contain harsh and damaging ingredients with better, curly girl method-approved products.

By following these steps (outlined below), you can prevent your hair from becoming dry and frizzy, and achieve the sleek, bouncy texture that you desire.

For reference, the curly girl method is also referred to as cg method or CGM.

Curly Girl Method Steps: How To Start The CG Method

To start the curly girl method, there are a few steps we first need to take:

  • Assess the state of your hair
  • Use only curly girl method approved products
  • Ditch heat styling tools
  • Trim stringy ends
  • Clarify to remove build up
  • Deep Condition your hair
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1. Assess Your Hair

The cg method can be used on any hair type but if you’ve been wondering, here’s how to tell if you have naturally curly hair.

It’s also important to find out your curly type, porosity, and overall health of your hair. Knowing your curl type and porosity will ultimately drive your curly hair product choice and styling technique.

Check out this post for more about curly types and hair porosity.

If you’re not sure if your hair is damaged, perform the following simple test:

Run your fingers through your hair. If it feels dry and straw-like, there’s a good chance that it is damaged.

Another telltale sign of damage is when your hair breaks easily or has split ends.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s time to start a new hair routine that will help to repair and strengthen your hair.

2. Use Only Curly Girl Method Approved Products

Next, it’s time to get rid of your curly hair products that are not CGM approved and replace them with approved products.

When shopping for curly girl method approved products, it’s important to read the ingredient list to make sure the product is free of harsh chemicals mentioned below in this post.

If you’re unsure that the product you want to use is cg approved, just enter it on a site like Curlscan to check.

Be sure to grab a few of the recommended cg products below to get started as well as check out the links below this article for more curly girl approved product options.

3. Ditch Your Heat Styling Tools

When following the CGM, your flat iron and curling iron are useless!

The high heat from hair dryers, curling irons and straighteners can cause significant damage to your curls, leading to frizz, split ends and even hair loss.

Give your hair a break and let it air dry as often as possible to allow it to regain its natural curl pattern.

If you must use heat styling tools, try to keep the temperature on the low or moderate setting and avoid using them every day.

Also, make sure to use a good quality heat protectant spray or serum to help shield your hair from damage.

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4. Trim Straight Or Stringy Ends

Depending on the state of your hair, you can opt to get a trim before you jump into following the cg method. This will help you to start with the healthiest hair possible.

Some girls prefer to do a big chop and cut off the damaged length of their hair.

Of course, this will leave you with pretty short hair but the newer growth will be much healthier and curlier than the damaged parts.

This way you also don’t have to go through a transition phase and you don’t have to train your curls.

Instead, you will be following the cg method to ensure that your new growth is healthy and well defined.

5. Clarify Your Hair To Remove Build Up

It’s important to ensure tht you start off your cgm journey with a clean slate by using a clarifying shampoo to remove heavy product build-up.

This leaves your wavy hair or curly hair looking greasy, lymph, frizzy and can lead to scalp issues like dandruff or dryness.

CG approved clarifying shampoos are gentle enough to remove all the build-up without stripping away our natural oils.

Check out these Clarifying Shampoos For Curly & Wavy Hair.

6. Deep Condition

Textured hair is prone to dryness and frizziness, so it’s important to give them a good deep conditioning treatment at least once a week.

After a deep conditioning treatment or mask your curls will get the moisture and protein it needs, resulting in incredibly soft and hydrated waves or curls.

For best resutls, be sure to always leave the product in your hair for the recommended time on the product’s instructions

Try These curly Girl Method approved deep conditioners!

curly girl method steps

Curly Girl Method Routine For Curly & Wavy Hair

Following the curly girl method, your wash day routine may be a little different than your previous routine.

The goal is to avoid stripping your natural oils and to condition your hair properly.

Here’s what you need to do for your curly girl method routine:

1. Wash & Condition Hair

Start by gently cleansing your scalp with a co wash or sulfate free shampoo. You can also use the scalp brush recommended below to exfoliate.

By using your favorite sulfate free cleansers, you will keep your scalp clean without damaging your curls.

After rinsing, apply your favorite cg approved conditioner and gently detangle.

You can also “squish to condish” which is basically scrunching your curls with the conditioner.

Once a week, deep condition your curls for the healthiest curls. Remember to leave on for the recommended time for best results.

Try these curly girl method sulfate free shampoos.

2. Styling Using The Curly Girl Method

Some people apply their styling products to soaking wet hair before getting out of the shower. Depending on your hair porosity, this may work well for you.

Personally, it has never worked well for me. Others, like myself, get better results by styling their curls damp.

Experiment to see what’s best for your curls.

Whether you style on soaking wet or damp hair, it’s important to evenly distribute your styling products.

You can achieve this by taking a sufficient amount of products into the palm of your hands and gently raking it through your hair or, smoothing it over your hair.

Lastly, gently scrunch your hair for definition.

curly girl method steps

Take away:

Styling Techniques To Avoid

When following the cg method you also need to avoid certain styling techniques that will damage your curls and cause frizz.

  • never brush dry curls
  • terry cotton towels
  • heat styling tools

Instead, Style Using CG Method Approved Techniques Like:

  • finger detangle, use detangling brush or wide tooth comb
  • always style on wet or damp hair
  • deep conditioning every week
  • air drying or diffusing with cold air

If you have wavy hair, check out this super easy wash day routine for 2a 2b and 2c hair. 

And, check out this quick and easy routine if you have 3a hair or 3b hair.

3. Air Dry Or Diffuse

After styling, you can plop your hair with a tshirt for about 20 minutes.

Then, air dry or diffuse your hair.

Air drying will take longer and typically results in less volume. The cg method does recommend root clipping to give lift and volume. If you’re starting with damaged hair, this is your best option.

For healthier curly hair, and once done right, diffusing your curly hair will leave you with defined, frizz-free, voluminous curls.

If you choose to diffuse, remember that this method recommends that you don’t use any heat. So don’t put your blow dryer settings on high heat, try cold air.

4. Scrunch Out The Crunch

Once your hair is dry, gently scrunch your curls to get rid of the gel cast.

This step will leave you with soft, defined curls.

Read all about scrunching out the crunch here.

Curly Girl Method Approved Products

Some curly girl products may work better than others with your natural hair and the only way to know for sure is to experiment.

I’ve compiled a short list of fantastic cgm approved products to start your journey.

For more curly girl method approved product options, check out this post: 45 Drugstore Approved Products.

To purchase any of these on amazon, click on any of the links below.

Shampoos & Co Wash

Get more options here – Sulfate Free Shampoos


Get more options here: CG Approved Conditioners

Deep Conditioners

Get more options here- CG Deep conditioners

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Leave In Conditioners

Get more options here: 11 Leave In Conditioners – cg approved

Curl Creams

Get More Options – 11 Curl Activators That Will Make Your Waves & Curls Pop!


Get more options – CG approved Gels

curly girl method

Ingredients To Avoid In Your Curly Girl Method Products

If you want a more comprehensive list of ingredients to avoid in your products, check this list.

One of the most important things you need to do to get started with the CG method is to become aware of the ingredients to avoid and the best products to use.

When you’re following this method, it’s important to avoid harsh ingredients in your hair products.

Harsh ingredients can strip your hair of its natural oils and moisture, leading to dry and damaged hair.

Some common harsh ingredients to avoid include sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols and mineral oils.

  • harsh sulfates – like Sodium Laureth Sulphate
  • drying alcohols – for example ethanol or propyl alcohol
  • non water soluble silicones – like dimethicone

Sulfates are harsh cleansers that strips the natural oils and moisture from your hair. They can leave your hair feeling “squeeky clean” and dry. Instead try any of the sulfate free shampoos below.

Drying alcohols can be found in gels and mousses and will damage your curly hair by causing it to be extra dry, frizzy and of course, brittle.

Silicones are found in conditioners and styling products and don’t damage your hair as the other ingredients do.

However, they can build up over time causing your hair to be frizzy and dry, leading to damage and breakage.

The CG method argues that you need a shampoo with sulfate to clarify your hair after using silicones.

There’s been a bit of discussion on whether all types of silicones require sulfate to wash it out or not – I think it’s best to experiment to see what’s best for your curly hair.

If your hair is damaged and you’re now starting out, it’s probably a great idea to stay away from the recommended ingredients until you’re hair is repaired and healthy.

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Other Curly Girl Products You Must Try

To ensure that you’re equipped to give your curly hair the best care, pick up these products as well:

curly girl method

How Long Does It Take For The Curly Girl Method To Work

The length of time it takes for the curly girl method to work depends on the health of your hair when you start. However, most see results within six weeks.

If you’ve been using damaging products and heat styling for a very long time, it may take you longer than someone who had not been.

If you decide to try the CG method, it’s important to note that in the beginning, it’s very possible that your hair will look worse before it gets better.

The reason is that you’ll be trading in products with silicones and other ingredients that coat your hair with products that temporarily make your hair look good, with clean ingredients.

So, stick with it and take progress photos so that you can see the improvements as you go along.

Can Anyone Do The Curly Girl Method

Anyone with a textured hair type will benefit from following the curly girl method.

By giving up on damaging hair products and practices, girls with wavy hair and curly hair can see a remarkable improvement in the health and definition of their hair.

Not sure if you have wavy or curly hair? Try this free curly hair type quiz

Why I Don’t Follow The Curly Girl Method

Personally, I don’t follow the CG method precisely.

There are great habits to adopt but some aspects are a little too strict for me to stick with it.

I’ve therefore used the CGM as a recommendation or set of guidelines to learn how to take care of my curly hair better.

For instance, sometimes I use products with silicones and I use my Denman brush to style.

If you’re interested, check out my curly hair routine.

The good thing is that over time I’ve found the best products and practices for my curly hair that leaves me with healthy, defined curls, which is always the desired result.

My best advice to you is to experiment and find the best products and routines for your curly hair care and journey.

What about you? Will you try the curly girl method? If you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

Before You Go, You Will Love These Other Posts For Curly Hair:

Product Recommendations
Product Reviews
Important Information To Care For Curls & Waves
Dyeing Textured Hair At Home Without Damaging It
Wavy & Curly Hair Routines & Hairstyles

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