If you are reading this post, you’ve probably fallen into the Curly Girl online abyss and have been inspired by countless curlies around the world to finally embrace your naturally curly or wavy hair.
This post is all about How To Start The Curly Girl Method | Beginners Guide
Congratulations and let me be the first to welcome you to the curly community! <3
It can be a little overwhelming getting started and today I want to clear some of the content clutter and tell you that it is pretty simple.
Want perfect curls? You’re going to want this download!
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.
I first stumbled on the curly girl method on Instagram, and it gave me hope that I could have healthy curls again.
My curls were damaged and nonexistent due to multiple pregnancies and over-processing. Read about my story here.
I was excited to get started and found multiple curlies that shared beautiful curl transformations that I could learn from.
After scrolling through dozens of articles, youtube videos, and Instagram accounts, I became a little confused about how to get started.
The more I scrolled, the more overwhelmed I felt.
So I decided to write about and track my curly journey in hopes to inspire and help guide other curly girls around the world.
How To Start The Curly Girl Method | Beginners Guide
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Though the internet can make the curly girl method seem complicated and overwhelming, if you peel back the layers it’s quite simple.
It comes down to seven basic steps that I will define for you below.
The first thing you want to do to get started with the curly girl method is to do one final wash with a clarifying shampoo.
This will help you start with a clean slate.
Over time, products like creams, gels, mousse, and hairspray build up on your hair strand which can leave your hair looking flat, dull, and can affect your curl pattern.
These are two of my favorite clarifying shampoo’s:
The next step in your curly girl journey is to learn how to properly detangle your curls.
There are many different techniques to detangle but my favorite way to detangle is by doing a pre-poo.
You can use any hair oil, conditioner or deep conditioner.
Simply apply the product to your hair and gently detangle using a brush or your fingers.
The reason this step is important for curlies is because if you are not properly detangling your hair, you can cause damage and even hair loss.
These are my favorite products and tools to detangle:
- Classic Denman Brush
- Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner/Detangler
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil (this is especially good for hair growth)
After you’ve properly detangled your curls, the next step in the curly girl process is to cleanse them.
This is an important step to keep your scalp clean and healthy and remove any oils and dirt fro your hair.
How often you cleanse your hair (and with what products) will vary depending on your specific curly type. Some curlies can go 10 days without cleansing while others need to cleanse a few times per week.
It’s important to experiment and find out what your specific needs are.
I recommend starting with cleansing once per week using a gentle curly girl approved shampoo, and doing a full wet refresh once per week (about 3-4 days after you cleanse).
Example: I cleanse with a gentle cleanser on Tuesday and do a full wet refresh on Friday. When I do the wet refresh, I use an oil to message in my scalp. This helps to clean your scalp and restore oils and doesn’t disrupt your curl pattern.
You will need to do some experimenting to see what works for you.
Co-wash: Short for “conditioner-only washing.” It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner.
Many curlies use a co-wash to replace the traditional method of shampooing your hair.
Since shampoos are harsh on your hair and can damage your curl pattern, a co-wash is a gentle way to give your hair that clean feeling without damaging it.
These are two curly girl approved co-wash products:
This is a shampoo designed to cleanse curly hair without interfering with your natural curl pattern. It contains low or no lather.
Low poo shampoos are for curlies who just can’t seem to fully ditch shampoo completely. If you struggle with an oily scalp, a low poo may be a good option for you.
Conditioning is one of the most important steps in the curly girl process (if not the most important step).
Conditioning: Designed to moisturize your hair and keep it hydrated to create beautiful curls.
Apply a good amount of conditioner after completely wetting hair through. Section hair in 1-inch sections and apply throughout the hair strand.
Don’t be afraid to use a lot of product. Your hair should be lathered in velvety conditioner.
Let sit for 5 minutes and rinse well.
Note: Some curlies will recommend leaving a bit of conditioner in your hair. I do not recommend this because if your conditioner contains protein it can damage your hair.
These are two of my favorite conditioners
Style, Define & Hold
This is where the magic happens.
How your style your curls will determine weather your curls last 1 day or 5 days.
Styling can be broken down into three parts. Moisturizer, hold, and application. Each of these is just as important as the last.
The first step in the styling process is to use a leave-in conditioner:
It’s important to choose a leave-in that is right for your hair. If it is too heavy it will either make your hair oily or weigh your curls down causing them to be stringy.
Apply leave-in conditioner using praying hands method (tipping head upside down and smoothing your hair between your hands like you are praying).
As you apply if you notice any rough spots, add a bit more leave-in conditioner and massage it into your hair.
These are two of my favorite leave-in conditioners
The second step in the styling process is applying a gel to hold your curl pattern:
What type of gel you choose completely depends on your curl type.
I recommend starting with a medium to max hold gel to seal in moisture and lock in your curl pattern. If you are worried about your curls becoming crunchy read this post.
Crunchy curls are typically caused by how you apply the gel rather than what gel you are using.
Hands down my two favorite gels to get started with are:
- Kinky Curly Original Curling Custard Natural Styling Gel
- Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Maximum Hold Hair Gel with Jojoba Oil
I use and recommend using both of these. They compliment each other well and offer really great hold.
Drying curly hair is completely different than traditional hair drying methods.
Curly Girl drying techniques are broken down into four types.
After you are done styling, let your wet curls dry naturally.
This can be a great method but reduces the volume in your curls and can take a long time.
A method using a T-shirt or microfiber towel to scrunch your curls up toward your head and tie.
This allows your curls to dry while encouraging curl pattern.
Best plopping towel:
Using a diffuser attachment to distribute airflow evenly without causing frizz.
Hybrid Drying (my personal favorite):
A combination of the above three. I typically plop my hair for 15 minutes, diffuse for 20-30, then finish with air drying.
Note: To create more volume, clip hair at the roots.
My Favorite diffusers are:
- I personally use this one
- If cost is not an issue for you, get this one. It is pretty much amazing and will be my next big purchase
The last step in the curly girl method is preserving your curls overnight.
One of the many benefits of having curly hair is that if you are taking proper care of it, you will only need to style it 1-3 times per week.
Use this two-step process to preserve your curls throughout the week.
is a way to protect your curly hair when you sleep.
Gather all your curls to the very top of your head (almost to your forehead and secure with a nondamaging hair tie.
Always sleep on a silk pillowcase or with a silk bonnet.
Silk helps hold in moisture and cause little friction which can lead to breakage and frizz.
I use all of these products for night protection:
- I love this silk pillowcase
- Spiral Hair Ties, Coil Hair Ties, Phone Cord Hair Ties, Hair Coils
- Soft Silk Hair Bonnet with Wide Band, Comfortable Night Sleep Hat Hair Loss Cap
It can be a little overwhelming starting the curly girl method but once it is broken down into steps it’s fairly simple.
Keep in mind that it does take experimentation and consistency to see significant results so don’t get discouraged.
If you want to get started and are not sure which products to purchase, I highly recommend this starter kit. It is very affordable and is the perfect size to experiment with.
Next check out What I Learned My First 30 Days Following Curly Girl Method