What You Actually NEED For Curly Girl Method On A Budget
Curly Girl Method,  Curly Hair Care

What You Actually NEED For Curly Girl Method On A Budget

After years of fighting, over-processing and straightening your curls, you’ve finally decided to embrace them.

Congratulations! This is the beginning of a beautiful journey. This is What You Actually NEED For Curly Girl Method On A Budget.

If you are reading this post, chances are you have damaged or unmanageable curls and went on the hunt for the perfect product but stumbled into a completely different world.

The curly girl method world.

You have probably seen dozens of curly before and afters that have inspired you to give it a go.

But there are two things standing in your way are…

  1. You don’t know where to start. There is a plethora of content on the web that it can make a girls head spin 
  2. You don’t know what products to start with

These were the two big factors that held me back.

The curly girl method can be a little overwhelming so I created The Ultimate Curly Girl Method Cheat Sheet (including a guide to my favorite affordable drug store products) to help simplify the process.

Get your FREE Curly Girl Method cheat sheet here!

 After having three kids, going platinum blond, and using heat in access, my hair was damaged and lost almost all its curl.

It was sad. Read more about my story here.

When I stumbled on and decided to try the curly girl method, the first thing I wanted to do was get all the products.

I’m so glad I didn’t though because I would have ended up wasting a ton of money. 

Fancy products have their place for sure.

But I don’t recommend buying anything until you know a little more about your specific curls by familiarizing yourself with your hair porosity. Read here.

Once you have a good idea of what your hair type and porosity are, you will have a better idea of what products would be a good fit for you.

My goal in writing this post is to clear some of the content clutter and tell you…..

What You Actually NEED For Curly Girl Method On A Budget

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning that If you purchase through clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

So before you go out and buy fancy products (like I almost did) let’s talk about a few things you don’t need. 

Do not purchase an expensive line of products. This is a mistake because the curly girl method takes A LOT of trial an error. I recommend starting and testing a few affordable products before you commit to a large purchase. Or try your hand at making your own.

You will see a lot of posts and articles about a co-wash. While co-washing can be beneficially it’s not necessary to get started. I would hold off and put your money toward the most essential items we will talk about in a bit. 

If you are trying to get started as cost-effective as possible, skip the deep conditioning treatment and opt for a DYI. You can find my Easy 4 Ingredient DIY Deep Condition Treatment

Ok, now that we got a few newbie mistakes out of the way, let’s talk about what you do NEED to get started with The Curly Girl Method. 

It’s kind of painfully simple. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

These are the three most basic items you will need to get started.

  • Conditioner
  • Leave-In Conditioner
  • Deep Conditioner (optional)
  • Gel

Ok, so once you’ve figured out your hair porosity and curl type it’s time to get started with the curly girl method.

Here is the best way to get started

Final Clarifying Wash: Doing a final wash is the best way to kick off your curly girl journey. There are several affordable clarifying shampoo’s on the market that are curly girl friendy.

This will last you a while because you will only need to do a clarifying wash once or every other month. I love this clarifying shampoo.

Break up with shampoo: Most shampoos are damaging to your hair and a lot of people don’t even need them. 

Start a gentle pre-poo routine before you get in the shower. This will help to gently remove tangles while cleansing the scalp.

Conditioner: Apply generously! I’m telling you, you won’t be doing yourself any favors by skimping here. Your hair should be lathered in velvety conditioner. This is a really great one to start with.

Leave-In Conditioner: A gentle leave-in conditioner is essential to help keep your curl soft and moisturized.  I love this leave-in conditioner.

Gel: This is non-negotiable. A gel is designed to lock in all that delicious moisture and hold your curl pattern. If you are worried about your curls becoming crunchy, check out this post oh how to avoiding crunchy curls.

I recommend starting with a medium to strong hold and adjust from there according to your needs. This is a great curly girl approved gel to get started with or you can make your own. I use this recipe and love it.

In Conclusion:

Though product choice matters, the most important part of the curly girl method is testing different methods and application techniques and finding out what works for your specific curls.

I recommend spending the first 30 days on your curly girl journey testing different products and techniques. 

Then make an informed purchase with confidence when you are ready 🙂  You can find My Favorite Things To Make The Curly Girl Method Easier here.

Don’t forget to download and print your curly girl cheat sheet here.


Curly Colleen

Next check out some of my most popular curly girl posts:

I'm on a mission to bring dead curls back to life➰


  • Amy

    Thank you SO much for all of this awesome info!!!! I’m just starting this journey and stumbled on you, what a life saver!!! Wondering where I can find these “two lists” that you mentioned you have posted?
    “ I broke this down into two lists for you.
    The first is a super limited list for the person wanting to start curly girl method asap with as little products as possible.

    The second list is kind of an ideal (yet still basic) Culy Girl Must Hav’s that you can work your way up to.”

    THANK YOU AGAIN for helping me save my curls:)!!!!

  • Kristen

    The link for your preferred clarifying shampoo seems to be broken. I’m curious to see what it is, really wanting to get started on getting more curl from my waves!

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