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The Curly Girl Method 101 : Basics vs Modified

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“Could the Curly Girl Method be the secret to achieving perfect curls?”


This is the question on every curly and coily haired person's mind who’s looking to start their hair care journey to healthier, bouncier, and defined hair.




There are a tonne of testimonials from men and women with heads full of curls and coils that swear by the method. However, just as many have publicly disagreed with the method.


With there being different opinions on the method, it can be overwhelming to navigate it all at the beginning of your wavy, curly, or coily hair journey. That’s why we’ve gathered all the important information for you to make an informed decision on whether or not the curly girl method is for you.


So, let's start you off by answering the basics...


What exactly is the Curly Girl Method (CGM)?


Lorraine Massey (@curlyworldllc) created and introduced the Curly Girl Method in 2001, in her book “Curly Girl: The Handbook”. In it, she details rules on strictly what to do, what not to do, and what to avoid according to your curl patterns. In the book, she goes into detail regarding cleansing, conditioning, and styling wavy, curly and coily hair respectively.


Though the Curly Girl Method in the books varies on aspects depending on curl type, 6 rules apply across all regarding hair care products and styling that are generally the foundation.


  1. No sulfates (lauryl sulfates & ammonium laureth sulfate)
  2. No non-water soluble silicones
  3. No artificial fragrances
  4. No alcohols
  5. No heat styling
  6. Don’t brush your hair



1) No sulfates (lauryl sulfates & ammonium laureth sulfate)


At the top of the list, you’ll see one of the two most important rules that Massey mentions regarding the method in general, and that is no sulfates. It’s a harsh chemical that is found in most shampoos. Known to be overly stripping, to the point that it removes natural oils that are good for the scalp and hair, it is also an irritant for those with sensitive scalps. The Curly Girl Method suggests that for wavy, curly, and coily hair a natural, gentle, or sulfate-free shampoo that is hydrating will work with your hair instead of against it.



 2No non-water soluble silicones


The second big no-no on the list are silicones that are non-water soluble. An ingredient found in many conditioners and hair masks. It covers hair strands with a film-like substance that gives the hair the feeling of softness. That feeling will fade in just a couple of days, but the byproduct of it will have built up in the hair, and require sulfates to remove them. This is a harmful cycle for your hair, which is why switching out your silicone conditioner for one that is natural or without silicones will help your hair to develop natural softness over time.



3) No artificial fragrances

4) No alcohols


The curly girl method also states that you should avoid artificial fragrances and alcohol in your products. These are unnecessary and harmful ingredients that may cause irritation to your scalp, and damage your hair over time with continued use.



5) No heat styling


The no-heat rule refers to styling and is exactly as it sounds. No flat iron. No hairdryer.


Heat on hair can cause serious damage over time. This is why the curly girl method suggests to air dry your hair instead. The heat from hot tools and traditional hairdryers will dry your naturally textured hair out, and cause frizziness.


Curly and coily hair both need moisture for the curls to keep their form and not frizz out. Which is why it’s important to look for styling products that help keep or add moisture to your hair. Applying products in a certain way can also give different results, which is something to keep in mind.



6) Don’t brush your hair


The last rule on the list may come as a shock to many because we all know how textured hair can easily get knotted up after just a day or two. So, how to get the knots out of your hair? During your regular wash with conditioner or a co-wash session, the curly girl method says that you should use your figures to comb through the knots as it is much gentler on the hair and scalp.



Now that you have a good basic understanding of the Curly Girl Method and its list of rules, you might be wondering...


Is There A Modified Curly Girl Method By Any Chance?


Yes, there is!


Many that have tried the Curly Girl Method discussed in the book, Curly Girl: The Handbook, have tweaked the rules according to what they found worked and didn’t work for their hair, and lifestyles.


Thus, the birth of the Modified Curly Girl Method.


One popular modification to the Curly Girl Method that many now follow, is drying their hair with a diffuser. A diffuser is often an attachment that comes with your hairdryer. So, yes there is heat involved, but the heat damage is minimal and will depend on the quality of the diffuser.


Styling your hair with a diffuser will leave your curls and coils full, bouncy and voluminous. Curl shrinkage becomes less of an issue. You’ll also experience minimum frizz as the diffuser disperses air evenly through the hair. However, do keep in mind the quality (thus price) of the diffuser does matter!


Air-drying works just as well, and is the most popular option, but the only downside is that it can be time-consuming. There are many hair accessories available nowadays that speed up drying time if you prefer air-drying. One example is the Manetain Store Double-Sided Turban Towel and Towel Bonnet available in our store. You can alternate between drying methods according to your needs and preferences, you don’t have to pick just one!


Another modification is brushing hair with a brush or comb. To be specific wet or damp hair, and not dry hair. When conditioning or masking your hair in the shower, simply leave it in for a few minutes and use a wet brush to brush out knots. Others follow up by putting in a leave-in conditioner on damp hair and brushing it again.


Some have even modified the method to the point of incorporating certain no no ingredients once in a while, and monitoring if their hair responds well to it.


Now, that you have a better understanding of the two sides, you’re probably debating...


Is The Curly Girl Method The Way To Go? Or Should You Follow The Modified Method Instead?



If you are at the starting point of your wavy, curly, or coily hair journey or have already been on the journey for a while, there’s no harm in giving the Curly Girl Method a good go for a few months. Once you better understand what your hair needs to be at its bounciest and shiniest, you can make modifications accordingly.


You could also just start off with the popular modified version of the Curly Girl Method, and make changes that you think will work for your hair and your day-to-day needs. You can choose to keep intact the important rules regarding ingredients and excessive heat styling while experimenting with diffusers and hairbrushes, or vice versa.


Regardless of the method you choose to go with, @curlrinting will be with you through it all. We’ll continue to bring our curly community, curly-friendly products that will improve the health of your hair resulting in locks that are thick, healthy, vibrant, and shiny.


Do you follow the Curly Girl Method or the Modified CGM? How have you tweaked or improved it to suit your needs? Let us know in the comments <3


 With love,


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