How To Start The Curly Girl Method - What Katy Said

The Curly Girl Method – My Experience so far

curly girl hair

Inside: My experience with the Curly Girl Method.

I was born with an ever so slight wave in my hair but that soon fell out and left me with poker-straight hair all through my teens and early 20’s. Assuming I’d be stuck with straight hair forever, I’d long for curls and buy all of the tools I could that would give me the look I wanted.

And then I had children.

Baby number 1 gave me a kink. Baby number 2 gave me a wave and baby number 3 cemented that wave into a tight s-curl. Utter madness.

I haven’t known what to do with the situation and have spent the last few years straightening it or just throwing it up into a pony. And considering I longed for curls, that is just ridiculous.

What is The Curly Girl Method?

I think it was one of my Instagram followers who first mentioned Curly Girl to me. I must have been mentioning the bizarre change to my hair, prompting them to tell me all about this process that would change my hair for the better.

I was intrigued.

The Curly Girl Method was brought to public attention by Lorraine Massey and has since become a worldwide phenomenon. To put it simply, you cut out products that coat and damage your hair and replace them with CG-approved products and go through a process to leave you with gorgeous hair.

And it really works!

Step 1 –

Cut out any products that contain silicone or sulphates, anything that contains a high level of certain alcohols and stop with the hot temperatures.

Step 2 –

Follow the process, adjusting it through trial and error for your own hair, to see your natural hair structure blossom. It doesn’t happen instantly and at the time of writing this I am only 5 weeks in, but I have definitely noticed a difference already.

What is the Curly Girl process?

Please bear in mind that this is what I have found to work, so far, for my hair. Take this routine and make it your own for what you feel your hair needs.

Wash with conditioner instead of shampoo.

Garnier Ultimate Blends Almond Milk Normal Hair Conditioner

Shampoo has lots of damaging chemicals which can dry out and damage your curls. It sounds crazy to use conditioner instead, but if you think about it, as long as you give your scalp a good old rub then the dirt will just slide away.

Deep condition (every now and then)

Ultimate Blends Argan Oil & Almond Cream Dry Hair Treatment Mask

This is not a step to include every single time, just use your own judgement as to whether you feel your hair needs extra conditioning treatment. I am doing it once a week right now but that may reduce down as my hair regains its natural oil balance.

Slop the conditioner on and leave it in for a good 15-20 minutes. If you can put on a shower-cap that will help warm it up and get it working nicely. Rinse it out thoroughly.

Use a leave-in conditioner (for curlies rather than wavies)

The curlier your hair, the thirstier it is. So as someone who has waves rather than curls (we are known as wavies), I skip this step. But if you are a curly girl then simply run the conditioner through your hair and leave on.

Many people take this opportunity to brush their hair. Use a Denman brush* or similar to gently de-tangle, while the conditioner protects your hair.

Apply curl-activating custard

This is the fun part! Time to scrunch!

Now there are other posts and videos that will say about ‘plopping’ with a towel. My hair is short and so I don’t do this but if your hair is particularly long you may wish to use a microfibre towel* or old t-shirt to gently press some of the moisture out without causing any frizz.

Get yourself a good blob of custard and run your hands down either side of your hair. This is known as ‘prayer hands’. So rather than running your fingers through, you are almost acting like a flower press to your hair – pressing the custard down the hair.

Now, scrunch upwards. Place your hand at the bottom of your hair strand in a cup and push upwards. Do this all around your hair.

Apply a curl gel

The purpose of the gel is to keep your hair in the curls formed by the custard, while it dries.

You don’t need too much, just rub it between your hands and re-scrunch your hair to cover all of the strands.

As the hair dries, the gel hardens to form a cast. You must try not to touch your hair to disturb the cast or else it won’t be able to support the curl.

Silicone Blow Dryer Diffuser*

You can either air-dry or you can use a diffuser – I use this one* that is universal for most hairdryers if I am in a rush, otherwise I dry naturally.

The final result

curly girl hair

Once you are sure the hair is dry within the cast, flip your hair over and give the roots a bit of a shimmy. Then gently scrunch the hair once again to break the cast – revealing soft curls within!

UPDATE: I found my hair was going a bit limp and the curls just weren’t boucning up when I scrunched. The answer? Banana Conditioner from Poundland (I believe you can get it elsewhere too but only £1 in Poundland of course!). Use it in-place of step 1 as a shampoo.

I filmed a video of the process to show you exactly what I do…

I hope this was useful – do comment below or message me if you have any questions!

*Affiliate link, which means I get a small amount of commission when you shop via my link.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Ophelia Chan
    July 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    I’m curious! I’ve never heard of this method before! I know deep conditioning is good for your hair but have never tried washing it with a conditioner. Does it leave your hair very oily? x

    • Reply
      July 4, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Not at all! I thought it would but as long as you choose a conditioner without silicone your hair just absorbs what it needs x

  • Reply
    Georgie Mastrogiacomo
    July 4, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Thank you so much for making this make sense! I joined a loads of CG groups to learn what is involved but they left me more confused! Xx

  • Reply
    July 14, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    The Ultimate Blends conditioner and mask are NOT CG friendly
    The conditioner contains isopropyl alcohol which is a drying alcohol
    The mask contains both isopropyl alcohol and amodimethicone which is a silicone

    • Reply
      July 14, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      Oh no! Really?? Thank you for letting me know – I just followed advice from a FB group.

    • Reply
      July 15, 2019 at 1:14 pm

      These are the cg friendly ultimate blends products

      • Reply
        July 15, 2019 at 1:16 pm

        Thank you! That is so helpful!! I’m going to go buy replacements and then take new photos. xxx

  • Reply
    Polly Rahman
    September 2, 2019 at 7:20 am

    What about the reset wash? I thought that was the most important step for a beginner?

    • Reply
      September 2, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      I didn’t think it was a necessity. But yes you can use something like Johnson’s baby shampoo to do a final wash I think. I never did one and mine has been fine x

  • Reply
    September 7, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Hi, great post, just watched the you tube video, can you tell me what conditioners i need to buy apart from the start that are cg friendly, the icloud pictures wont load for me, im about to start embracing my waves lol thanks
    D xx

    • Reply
      September 8, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Hi! So I use the ultimate blends almond crush range – the conditioner and hair mask. I have also found the banana conditioner you can find in Poundland brilliant! xxx

  • Reply
    Linda Knowles
    January 21, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Katie
    I love the idea of my hair being at its best and I have use the curly girl method x1 last time I wAshed my long highlighted blonde wavy hair. The separated look of he hair looks messy on my hair. Does anyone know if you can do this method without your hair going too curly and big ?? I like my waves when I have gently run my fingers through them and don’t know if this method will be beneficial the way I like my hair. Thanks and thank you for you video and product suggestions. Linda

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.