Chloe and Georgie On Beach

Published 28th June, 2021

What Is The Curly Girl Method? Beginners Guide

As we all know, it can take a little trial and error to find a good styling technique for curly hair and waves. Although there is no official handbook for styling curly hair types, there is one method that has taken the world of natural hair by storm - the Curly Girl Method.


If you’re new to wearing natural waves and curls and you need a little guidance, the CGM could be a good place to start until you get to know your hair better. Personally, I don't follow it to the letter. I think it's a little bit too complicated and strict. Although I use Curly Girl friendly products, my routine is a little more flexible. 


That being said, here’s all you need to know about the curly girl method. Have a read and see if it's for you. 

why follow a hair method?

Curly hair requires the right kind of products and styling techniques for it to look its best. So if your current methods are no longer working (or you’re just starting your transition) following a method can help.

You might consider following the curly girl method if:

● You want a clear set of rules to follow.

● Your curly hair routine is no longer achieving the results you want.

● You are unsure about which products are best for your curls.

● You have never styled your curly hair before and need guidance.

You should always pay attention to your particular hair’s needs since all curls and waves are different, but the curly girl method can be a great place to start.

Chloe on beach

what is the curly girl method?

Within the natural hair community (including afro hair, curls and waves) the CGM is renowned despite being created over 10 years ago. 

The method comes from the best-selling book Curly Girl: TheHandbook written byLorraine Massey. The book aimed to help people create healthier curly hair routines and cut out damaging habits.

how do you follow the curly girl method?

To follow the curly girl method you’ll need to understand the rules. Lorraine’s handbook contains a set of do’s and don’ts that are designed to help curly hair and wavy hair thrive. The idea is that you avoid chemical-based products and any harmful styling techniques.


When it comes to looking after curly hair and wavy hair, it’s important to maintain natural oils for added moisture. The curly girl method avoids heat, chemicals and damaging techniques that will otherwise result in dehydrated curls and therefore, damage.


According to the curly girl method, you should follow these 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.


The CGM has also been adapted by those with wavy hair to suit this hair type - known as the wavy girl method. The rules for this method include:


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

     Minimal heat usage (best results if none).

     Hair can be detangled dry.

     Avoid sulphate unless they clarify 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 use brushes unnecessarily, instead use your hands to style your natural waves.


The rules for both methods are very similar. However, since curly hair tends to be drier than wavy hair there are minor differences between the two.

Image of girls sitting on beach

how do you wash and style your hair with the curly girl method?

If you want to try the curly girl method, you will need to make some changes to your existing washday routine. Depending on your hair type you can make some changes to your curly hair routine, but here’s what the original regime should look like:

1. Reset your hair with a final wash

Firstly, you will need to reset your hair with a final wash using a shampoo that does contain sulphates but doesn’t contain silicones. The idea is to remove any build-up so your scalp can absorb more moisture when styling.

2. Use a gentler shampoo

After your final reset wash, you should use gentler sulphate-free shampoos, such as Merwave's Cleanse Shampoo, or better yet, a co-wash. Stimulate the scalp using your fingertips and avoid scratching your scalp!

3. Apply a moisturising conditioner

Once the shampoo has been rinsed out, apply a curly girl friendly conditioner - or a co-wash will replace this. Focus on the lengths of your hair, use your fingers to gently detangle as you go then rinse with cool water.

4. Style, scrunch and plop

Now it’s time to style your curly hair. Again, use curly girl friendly products such as a cream or gel for enhancing curls and scrunch the product into your hair. You should then use the plopping method or let your hair dry naturally.

Image of chloe and georgie on beach

what are the pros and cons of the curly girl method?

For some curly hair types, the curly girl method can be a lifesaver! The method includes helpful tips that can transform your hair and help you better understand the way that curls and natural waves need to be cared for.


The pros of the curly girl method include:


     You will cut out harmful products that make your hair dry and damaged.

     You can achieve better curl definition.

     Using curly girl friendly products can prevent moisture loss.

     Your wash day results can last longer.


The cons of the curl girl method include:


     You are restricted as to which products you can use.

     Using a co-wash may not clarify your scalp as well as you’d like.

     Not all curly hair types will achieve the same results.


It's important for you to understand that everyone's hair types are different. What works for one person may not work for another. The method should therefore be tweaked to suit your own hair requirements. This involves adjusting the routine slightly or volume of products to suit your hair needs.

If you are just starting out you're unlikely going to see results immediately. Your hair must go through a transition period first - read more about that here. This can take up to a month. So patience is a critical factor when embarking on this journey. 

All I'd say is that the wait will be worth it. By the end you'll have gorgeous, natural hair that you can be proud of. 

Want To Awaken Your Natural Waves?

The Merwave range is built for wavy hair. Simple, natural wavy hair products that unleash your natural waves after a few washes. 

Click here to discover the full range. 



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