The Curly Girl Method can take your curls from frizzy to fantastic—here's everything you need to know about this beloved haircare system.
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illustration of woman with curly hair
Credit: Caitlin-Marie Miner Ong

If you have waves that can't be tamed, frizz that can't be managed, and hair that just seems to go in whichever direction it wants, you may be in need of a little haircare rescue. Don't worry: the Curly Girl Method is here to save the day. Yes, my curly-haired, fly-away prone, thick-stranded friends, there really is a method that can help tame all your follicle madness. Here's everything you need to know about the beloved Curly Girl Method and how it could change your beauty routine forever.

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1 What is the Curly Girl Method?

The Curly Girl Method is the brainchild of Loraine Massey, who literally wrote the book on it with Curly Girl: The Handbook. It is a method of haircare meant to help women and men find their hair's true texture and maximize natural waves and curls. Basically, it's re-training both yourself on what your hair actually needs and your hair to fall into its natural curl pattern.

2 Who is the Curly Girl Method good for?

One thing you should know right off the bat is that the community around the Curly Girl Method is strong. There are Facebook groups dedicated to it and tons of blogs about the lifestyle; a quick search of Pinterest with the term "Curly Girl Method" will yield thousands of results. As these groups prove, the Curly Girl Method is good for anyone who wants to truly dedicate their energy to changing their hair habits forever.

The system is good for anyone who wants to set their curly hair free and see just how far their waves could really go if they stopped damaging their hair with heat tools, shampoos, and specific haircare ingredients. In most cases, flat or very loose curls and waves can become fuller and more defined.

3 How can I start the Curly Girl Method right now?

The best thing to do would be to pick up the book, join a Facebook group, and start asking around to find out how people maintain their system. Then, it's crucial to learn all the lingo (terms such as "hair porosity" and "curl type"). It's most certainly a commitment, so make sure you're ready. After that, it's all about learning the dos and don'ts of the system.

A few Curly Girl Method don'ts:

  • Don't use shampoo (at all).
  • Don't use heat styling tools (bye-bye, curling iron).
  • Don't use combs and brushes (let your hair be free).
  • Don't use any products containing sulfates (they are the baddest of bad boys for this system).
  • Don't use non-water soluble formulas (they will be too heavy).
  • Don't use anything containing silicones, alcohol, or fragrance (oh the damage they can cause!).

Still, it's not all about restriction with the Curly Girl Method. You can (and should) ween your hair off of your normal shampoo pattern. You can also pick up a sulfate-free shampoo or a co-wash to start you on your journey. For wavy hair, the method says it's OK to wash once a week with a shampoo, but to condition both before and after. For curly hair, it's best to just cleanse once a week with conditioner or a co-wash, and for coily hair, it's recommended to cleanse as little as possible.

Your Curly Girl Method dos:

  • Do find conditioners and co-washes with gentle cleansing ingredients such as decyl polyglucose (it helps clean without stripping).
  • Do use products with rich emollients like shea butter and proteins like wheat (this helps to restore your hair follicles).
  • Do use styling gel with ingredients like PVP (these will help bring a little bounce to your curls and tame frizz).

RELATED: 6 Reasons to Wear Your Hair Curly

4 Does it take long to see results using the Curly Girl Method?

This is a tough one to answer because it totally depends on your individual strands. Just look around on Instagram and you'll see plenty of progress photos from users who are already on the system. What you'll also see is social media users being realistic about their transformations, often sharing how it can take months to see results. Give yourself at least three months on the system to really see how it works for you, and make sure to take progress photos along the way so you can both share your journey and see just how far your hair has come.

5 What are some Curly Girl-approved products I should use?

Now that you've decided to invest in your hair, it's time to invest in a few products, too. Luckily, the Curly Girl Method doesn't have to be expensive. Try swapping your shampoo for products like Say Yes to Cucumbers Color Protect Shampoo. Next, switch over to a conditioner such as Not Your Mothers Naturals Tahitian Gardenia Flower and Mango Butter Curl Defining Conditioner or Suave Essentials Tropical Coconut, which contain only Curly Girl-approved ingredients. And don't forget that much-needed gel: Test out Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Gel and see how it works for you.

Remember, the Curly Girl Method isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, so if you need to switch up your routine to make it work for you, that's OK. You can come back and thank us for your stunning locks in a few months.

RELATED: Easy Styles for Every Kind of Curly Hair