The Curly Girl Method

by Lauren Wert

Lauren Wert is Madeleine’s friend from all the way back in middle school. She’s recently home from two years with the Peace Corps in Guatemala.  She’s living in Winchester, Virginia these days, working, traveling, and keeping honey bees. 

As a young female in her twenties, I have recently jumped on the pinterest band wagon and I try to get everyone I meet to do the same. During a recent pinterest conversion attempt I was asked “Well out of everything you pin, what have you actually done?”  Flabbergasted I immediately thought of my failed glitter everything attempts, a few things I had bought but then I remembered The Curly Girl Method. I saw a pin about the CGM and I was intrigued from the start. After doing some investigating on google complete with amazing before and after photos, that look something like this:

I was very interested. I mean who doesn’t want gorgeous hair? The hair photo intrigue combined with my total embarrassment about my obsession with pinning and no follow through- made me decide to give the CGM a shot.

In the past 5 years my hair has gone through many phases varying from wavy to moderately curly and I always have an inner battle about how to style it. The CGM suggests healthier, beautiful curls within 6 weeks.  It was created by Lorraine Massey, who is a hair stylist from New York. There is even a book all about her method and suggested hair products not to mention there are also many other web posts (even a wiki how!) So after my internet research I decided to save 10$ and start my 6 week hair adventure.

First let’s sum up the basic dos and don’ts of CGM:

1. Get a hair cut before starting. This will get rid of your dead ends which tend to be worse for curly hair.
2. Use a Deep Conditioner and Leave in Conditioner every time you “wash” your hair.
3. Dry your hair with a cotton towel or t-shirt.
4. Buy hair gel and use lots of it!
5. Only use a wide-tooth comb on your hair.

1. Use shampoo. EVER! Cue witty phrase about why shampoo is bad.
shampoo= sham+poo = phony+ poop
CG claims that shampoo is bad for your hair and strips it of all natural oils (and that marketing companies want it that way so you’ll have to use conditioner and then have to buy more and more of their products- WHAT JERKS!) But basically don’t use it  and only use deep conditioner and conditioning products better if they are made specifically for curly hair and better yet made my Lorraine herself!
2. Blow Dry, Straighten or Dry your hair with a towel that is not 100% cotton. All of these things promote hair breakage.
3. Throw away all old hair products and buy new ones that are sulfate free, made specifically for curly hair, or get rid of your hair brush.

Now for the how-to:
1. Wash your hair with a natural conditioner ( I used Suave Conditioner, they recommend checking your product for silicones and sulfates). Massage your scalp and roots in order to remove dirt, excess product etc. Rinse completely.
2. After this wash apply a deepening conditioner that you leave in for a few minutes. You can comb your hair during this process but this will be the last and only time you can use one. Rinse your hair with cold water (to set curls) but leave some of the conditioner in.
3. Dry your hair by squeezing the water out of it and then scrunch it with a cotton t-shirt or cotton towel.
4. Apply leave in conditioner. Then high amounts of Gel. A LOT! Best to leave your hair to air dry.  You can also use “The Plop” method. Piling your hair in a t-shirt and tying it onto your head so hair will dry in a scrunched position.
5. 1 Hour after drying scrunch your hair again to break the gel cast that formed.

The CGM is a really simple process that has a lot of flexibility from what I can tell. I have been doing it for 4.5 weeks and I can already tell a difference in my hair (even my co-workers have) I will say that I do a few things differently from the exact method but I feel that it works for me. I’m also still willing to play around with it and break the rules every once in awhile in order to find a regimen that I like and can stick with.

My method differs in the following ways:

1. I only condition my hair once in the shower and I rinse thoroughly. From other bloggers I’ve learned that using the method strictly can cause a lot of product build-up and makes your hair impossible to run your fingers through, which I didn’t want. So I don’t use as much conditioner but definitely no shampoo. However there are home remedies you can find to use once a week in order to clean your hair in a natural way without losing the natural oils and moisture curly hair needs.

2. I use a leave in Conditioner spray every time I shower. After I wash my hair with conditioner and dry it with my cotton t-shirt! I spray my hair with leave in conditioner and try to wait 3 minutes before I apply a curl defining cream.

3. I don’t use as much gel as I should because I don’t like it. The method does suggest that 1 hour after using gel if you scrunch again you will break the gel cast that forms and your hair will be softer and not have a ‘wet’ look and it does work! However, I still mix using a curl defining cream, some gel, sometimes mousse, sometimes wave spray. I think it is best to mix and match and find what works best for you, which may take time and depends on your curls.
Products I have used that I like:

4. Finally, I do occasionally use a blow dryer but I use a diffuser. And I only use it because I’ve noticed it takes my hair much longer to dry than before. I had a friend state that is due to the increased moisture from so much product in my hair. I’m not sure but it sounds good to me.

All in all the most important parts of the CG method are no more shampoo and lots of curly hair products that work with your hair’s natural curls. I think it is a give and take combined with a bit of experimenting but totally worth the effort. I have noticed my hair is much healthier and the curls are more defined and I’m enjoying experimenting with new products and curly hairstyles. My last plug for this method is that Miss Massey says anyone with wavy hair should try it because it will really bring out the curl in your hair and make your hair healthier overall. So if you got some waves and want to try something new, try the CGM and embrace your natural hair beauty.


One response to “The Curly Girl Method

  1. I know this is an old post.. but I just stumbled on it today and the before and after pictures cracked me up.. so thanks for that.

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