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.

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.

But first, hop over to Instagram and say hello! I offer daily curly hair care tips and love connecting with other curlies! @curly_colleen

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

For a complete list on the do’s and don’t of the curly girl method read here!

But Now, Two things that are 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.

And because the curly girl method can be a little overwhelming, I created this Getting Started With Curly Girl Cheat Sheet just for you! <3

You can download your FREE copy here!

 After having three kids back to back, 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.

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

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

  1. 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 with what you have on hand, a few simple DIYs, and just a few CG approved products to start experimenting with.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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
  • Deep Conditioner (optional)
  • Gel

Here is the best way to get started.

  1. Stop using shampoo and start a gentle pre-poo routine before you get in the shower. This will help to gently remove tangles while cleansing the scalp.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar (see recipe here) If you have dry hair, I recommend getting started with an ACV rinse. ACV replenishes moisture and cleanses the scalp. Just remember that everyone’s hair is different and reacts differently to ACV.
  3. Rice Water Rinse. If you have oily hair, I recommend giving a rice water rinse a try.
  4. Conditioner (Curly Girl Approved is best but if you currently have something you like, I would say go ahead and use it). Then by the time you’re ready to get a new one, you’ll be more versed in the curly girl method and have an idea of what to get.
  5. Leave-In Conditioner: Again preferably one that is curly girl approved but if you already have something on hand you can use it. Right now the most important part is to learn how and what products to use. You can always ease new CG approved products into your routine when you’re ready.
  6. Gel: This is non-negotiable. You can make your own with flaxseed gel which has tons of benefits (see recipe here). I recommend starting with a medium to strong hold and adjust from there according to your needs.

In Conclusion: Anyone can get started with the curly girl method with the products they currently have on hand.

Spend the first 30 days using up your product and doing a ton of research, experimentation, and DIY’s recipes to find what works best for your curls.

Then make an informed purchase with confidence when you are ready 🙂

Don’t forget to download your getting started cheat sheet here! 

& quick go and say hi to my on Instagram @curly_colleen. I would LOVE to follow your curly girl journey!



Next check out my favorite DIY’s for curly hair:

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:)!!!!

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