Curly Girl VS Wavy Girl Method: What’s the Difference?

Photo of 3 girls on beach with wavy hair

Published 26th March, 2021

Curly Girl vs Wavy Girl Method. What’s the Difference?

If your natural hair pattern is made up of gorgeous waves or you can see them peeking through among damage and frizz, you need an uncomplicated routine that will help them flourish.


Curls and natural waves are often confused. While they do share similar characteristics, this simple mistake can point you in the wrong direction when it comes to hair care.


The key to achieving definition and healthy wavy hair is all in your hair care routine including the styling method you use. The Curly Girl Method is a popular way of styling and caring for curls but you can’t forget about the Wavy Girl Method too.


If you’re lost with what to do with your wavy hair or your current routine is no longer working, it could be time to switch things up and give your natural waves a re-birth!


So, what’s the difference between the Curly GirlMethod (CGM) and the Wavy Girl Method (WGM)? Fear not, we’re on hand to debunk the two!

How is wavy hair different to curly hair?

There is a lot of crossovers between wavy hair and curly hair but the way you care for each hair type is different. For one, depending on how you’ve been enhancing your curls and waves you may be asking yourself do I have wavy hair?


It’s not uncommon for natural waves to be hidden if you have damaged hair or simply don’t follow the right hair care routine. If you discover that you have wavy hair it’s important to treat it right and recognise the difference between wavy hair and curly hair.

Image of georgie on the beach

Wavy hair is looser than curly hair

For a start, you can see a distinct difference in the way curly hair and wavy hair looks. 

Waves tend to form in an ‘S’ shape. Whereas curls spiral or zigzag. 

Generally speaking, wavy hair appears looser either in beach-like waves or stretched curls that may look straight at the ends - because of the way each strand is formed, curly hair routines and wavy hair routines will differ to achieve definition.

Wavy hair falls under type 2

A good way of figuring out your hair type is to look at the commonly used hair chart or reading this article. Created by Andre Walker, the chart categorises each hair pattern from type 1 to type 4 - wavy hair tends to fall under type 2. 

 ● 2A - Hair that grows straight at the crown but has a slight wave through the lengths. The waves and body form naturally when dried but the density can feel thin and be easily weighed down by heavy products.

 ● 2B - Lays flat and close to the head but has ‘S’ shaped waves that get curlier from the ear down. 2B hair resembles loose beach-like waves that can get frizzy.

 ● 2C - Thicker hair with a defined ‘S’ pattern or deep wave that begin at the root. It can be borderline curly and is often thicker and coarser than other wave types. 2C hair has an obvious pattern that mixes waves and ringlets.

Natural waves can have less volume than curls

If you’re wondering how to get wavy hair then you need to use the right styling method. Wavy hair tends to be finer and requires more lightweight products, such as hair foams, instead of heavy formulas.

You may find that your roots lay flat and that’s normal - curly hair on the other hand may have volume in height. 

You should avoid applying products to your wavy roots in an attempt to increase volume as this can cause wavy hair to go limp. So instead try the plopping method.

Wavy hair can look frizzy

Wavy hair can get very frizzy but there are a few hair tips that can eliminate frizz. Curly hair is pretty hard to miss, especially if you have tight ringlets but waves can be hidden among frizz.


Wavy hair tends to be naturally frizzy and can appear ‘poofy’, especially in humid weather. If you’ve been brushing your hair and it looks fluffy, you may just have some beautiful wave hiding underneath!

what's involved in the curly girl method?

Created by Lorraine Massey in her book Curly Girl: The Handbook, the Curly Girl Method for curly hair is based on trading harmful habits for a healthier curly hair regime including the following hair care rules:


     Sulphate-free shampoos or Co-Washing only.

     Silicone-free conditioners ONLY.

     NO heat styling tools (such as a straightener or curling iron), or blowouts of any type.

     No chemical relaxers/straighteners.

     Do not brush your hair dry.

     Use the ‘plopping’ method instead of towel drying hair.


Sound like a lot of rules, right? Although the basic practices are beneficial to curly hair because the rules are so strict followers can end up feeling stressed or confused which should never be the case.

Image of abi blow drying her hair

what's different about wavy girl method?

Both the curly girl method and wavy girl method have similar ideas about hair care, however, the WGM is less restrictive. 

This method recognises that everybody’s hair is different and while some ingredients and method should be used mindfully, waves have different needs than curls. The main principles include:


     Primarily using sulphate-free shampoos but co-washing may work.

     Minimal heat usage (best results if none).

     Hair can be detangled dry.

     Avoid sulphates unless clarifying your hair.

     Avoid silicones but if you must use only water-soluble silicones.

     Do not chemically relax or straighten your hair.

     Use lightweight/weightless products.

     Don’t uses brushes unnecessarily. Instead use your hands to style your natural waves.



The differences between curly hair and wavy hair are partly down to natural oils and how easily it travels down each strand compared to curly hair. Therefore, since wavy hair has different moisture levels and hair patterns it requires a different routine. Aka the Wavy Girl Method. 

Wavy hair also doesn't like heavy oils and butters that are found in curly hair products. These products weigh your waves down. Which is why you should always use lightweight products to ensure your waves stay soft and bouncy. 



Revive your natural waves today with the Merwave 5 step hair care kit. Full of natural ingredients, simple to use and carefully designed, say hello to your natural waves in just 5 easy steps. Boost your confidence today!

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