After years of fighting, over-processing, and straightening your curls, you’ve finally decided to embrace them. Congratulations!
If you are reading this, 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... and that world is EXPENSIVE!
You and me, we’re on a budget and that budget doesn’t include 100s of dollars in haircare products.
But, don’t worry I got your back! Because I am about to share with you how I rock the curly girl method even on a budget and come out with perfect curls.
You have probably seen dozens of curly hair before and after pictures that have inspired you to give it a go.
But there are two things standing in your way of committing completely to the curly girl method…
- You don’t know where to start – There is a plethora of content on the web that it can make a girls head spin
- You don’t know what products to start with that you can actually afford – There are dozens of products on the market and you need the BEST while trying not to break the bank
These were the two big factors that held me back.
Because the curly girl method can be, well, overwhelming…
If you are currently trying to follow the curly girl method and feeling a little overwhelmed, I created a special gift just for you. Because curly girls stick together <3
The curly girl cheat sheet is a must-have for newbies. It’s an easy to follow super-simple breakdown of exactly what you need to get started on your curly girl journey.
How to do the Curly Girl Method and Stick to your Budget too!
After having three kids, going platinum blond, and using heat in excess, my hair was damaged and had lost almost all its curl. *insert sob here*
It was sad. I was sad.
When I stumbled on and decided to try the curly girl method, the first thing I wanted to do was get all the products.
Then, I saw the price tag associated with those products – YICKS! Definitely not conducive for a family of 3 on a small budget.
I sat there, weighing my options – cut out Friday night pizza and load up on haircare products…
Or find a way to implement the curly girl method and find more budget-friendly products.
I opted to keep pizza night of course and so began my hunt!
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I’m so glad I didn’t give up pizza night, because after some research I found out that I would have ended up wasting a ton of money.
I discovered there are only a few things you actually NEED to successfully care for and style your curls.
Don’t get me wrong, trying out fancy products and tools is a lot of fun and can certainly aid in having great curls.
But the best way to get started with the curly girl method is to learn about your curls and master a few simple steps, establishing healthy routines, and keep track of what works and what doesn’t work for your curls.
After spending months researching and testing out products, I developed a simplified process for curly hair care.
How to Rock the Curly Girl Method On A Budget
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.
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 on a budget.
It’s kind of painfully simple. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
These are the most basic items you will need to get started
- A method to keep track of your curl progress. A pen and paper will work fine, but I love the “The daily curl tracker” if you want a customized curly girl journal.
- Clarifying Shampoo – Kinky Curly Come Clean
- Gentle Daily Cleanser – I love this Shae Moisture Bundle to get started.
- Conditioner – Included in the Shea moisture bundle.
- Leave-In Conditioner – Curls blueberry bliss
- Deep Conditioner (optional) Included in the Shea moisture bundle.
- Gel – Aussie Instant Freeze
Start by Documenting your Curl Transformation find a Tracking Method that works for you
One HUGE mistake I see curly girls make is jumping into their curly girl journey with no plan of tracking their progress.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to re-create a bomb wash day but failing miserably because you didn’t follow the same steps.
After many wash day fails, I decided to develop a detailed system that helps me keep track of what works and what doesn’t work for my hair.
My Miracle Curls Daily Tracker is an affordable customized, detailed, daily tracking system. That allows you to look back and see how far you’ve come, and exactly what works and doesn’t work for your curls.
Invest in Two Budget-Friendly Shampoos
Hear me out before you write me off for suggesting that you keep two different shampoos on hand.
Your curls need a clarifying cleanser and a gentle, curl-friendly cleanser because they have two very different purposes.
Curly hair requires a lot of product so you must clarify once per month.
Think of this as deep cleaning.
A clarifying wash helps to get all the dirt, and product build up off your hair strand and helps you start with a clean slate.
However, clarifying is too harsh to do on your curls daily which is why you need a gentle cleanser as well.
You see, curls need natural oils to thrive.
If you cleanse them too often or too harshly, it strips your hair of those oils and leaves them dry and damaged.
Make a habit of doing a clarifying wash once per month (or any time your hair feels gunky or excessively frizzy), then use a gentle curl friendly cleanser when you usually wash.
This helps maintain your curl pattern, and restore moisture to your curls.
I’ve linked my favorite cleansers below :
Gentle Curl Friendly Cleanser:
If you are looking for more product recommendations for specific curl types, check out this post.
The right conditioner doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg
Conditioner is key to soften curls and add moisture.
After you have cleansed your curls, use a conditioner to detangle and add moisture.
Your conditioner should be heavy enough to moisturize your hair but not so heavy that it weighs it down or makes it stringy.
If you are not sure how to choose the right product type you can read this post.
When it comes to finding the right products, there is always a level of experimenting to find what works for your specific curl type.
I recommend always using shampoo and conditioner bundles (meaning the same product line) because they are formulated to complement each other. And it’s usually cheaper when you buy them in pairs.
These are a few of my favorite affordable shampoo and conditioner bundles that pair well with the curly girl method
A Cheap Deep Conditioner doesn’t mean it’s “Cheap”
A deep conditioner is essential for healthy curls.
Which one and how often will completely depend on your hair type, and the current health of your hair.
I deep conditioner once per week but if your hair is less curly than mine, you may only need to deep condition every other week.
That’s why I suggest keeping a detailed log of how your hair reacts to each product so you can plan your week accordingly.
Inexpensive Gel to lock in your curl pattern
Once you’ve cleansed and established moisture, you’ll want to use gel to lock it in.
The key tip to using gel is to always apply on wet hair and let it dry completely before you scrunch out the crunch.
Gel ranges from light, medium, to stronghold and, as always, your curl type will determine what type of gel is best for you. Read here to find tons of tips on how to apply gel to curly hair.
Though product choice matters, the most important part of the curly girl method is testing different application techniques and finding out what works for your specific curls.
Spending an obscene amount of money on products does not equal success and going in with a set budget is more than doable.
Make sure you start a journal, and you’ll be able to make purchases with confidence when you are ready.
It is going to take some trial and error, but if you really buckle down and spend the first 30 days testing products and techniques you will be able to master the curly girl method and your curls.
Don’t forget to download and print your curly girl cheat sheet here.