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The Curly Girl Method for Bouncy, Defined Curls

There’s nothing better than a good hair day — especially if you have naturally curly hair

Sometimes, curly hair is frizzy and hard to manage, but don’t give up on your dream hair. With the right routine, you can achieve healthy, defined curls that look good after every wash. 

Embrace your natural curls and take on the cult-favorite hair care and styling routine called the “Curly Girl Method.” We made a guide to the Curly Girl Method to help you begin the next chapter of your curly hair journey.

September 6, 2022
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Table of Contents

What is the Curly Girl Method?

You might have heard about the Curly Girl Method on social media — it’s been trending on TikTok and Instagram. This method of caring for and styling curly hair works for all curl types and patterns. It emphasizes being conscious of the ingredients in your hair care to best emphasize your curls’ natural shape.

Instead of battling frizz or constantly heat-styling your hair to manage it, try embracing your natural hair. With the right care, you’ll have a beautiful head of curls everyone will envy. 

What’s a curl pattern?

A curl pattern describes what type of curls you have. Identifying your curl pattern will help you find the right products for your hair. There are different categories of curls, from very loose to the tightest coils. Don’t worry — the Curly Girl Method is designed to embrace and nurture every curl pattern. 

There are 10 types of hair classified into four categories: straight (1), wavy (2), curly (3), and coily (4). Wavy, curly, and coily hair have different intensities ranging from A to C. For example, 2A hair is slightly wavy, while 4C hair is the most coily. You can still use the Curly Girl Method on wavy hair if you want to highlight your natural waves — you might just opt for lighter products.

Why do people like the Curly Girl Method?

The Curly Girl Method is popular because it gets results.

This hair care method reduces frizz and flyaways while defining the shape of your curls. There are curly hair tutorials for managing or straightening your locks, but the Curly Girl Method focuses on embracing your natural hair. Rocking your natural curls will help promote hair growth, restore your hair’s moisture, and reduce damage.

It takes time

The Curly Girl Method isn’t complicated, but expect a learning curve. If this is your first foray into a thorough hair-care routine, it’ll take some practice.

First, identify your hair and curl types. To do this, look at the image above and compare the curl patterns to your natural, air-dried curls. 

Once you know what category your hair falls into, it’s a search to find the right products. This step may require some trial and error. On Flip, you can watch real shoppers give their honest opinions on products. Find a reviewer with the same curl types as yours and see what products they recommend.

If you have damaged strands, it will take some time to see a difference in your hair. But patience and consistency will allow you to repair your hair, so keep with the routine in the awkward learning phase.

How to: The Curly Girl Method

Now that you know what this method is, you’re ready to learn how to add it to your routine.  

  1. Determine your hair type

We all know the Curly Girl Method is for curls, but different curl patterns might affect your product choices. You can have fine hair or thick hair, textured or damaged hair. If your hair is color-treated, that will also affect the products you use. Check with your hairstylist to help identify your natural curl pattern if you’re between two types. 

  1. Choose the right products

The hair care products you use can either work magic for your hair or disrupt your curl pattern. Avoid sulfates, silicones, waxes, and minerals in all of your hair care products. Many of these ingredients show up in shampoos and cleansers. Mineral oil can cause buildup in your hair, and silicones stop your hair from absorbing other important ingredients, leading to frizz and breakage.

  1. Be mindful on wash day

To wash your curls, you want a gentle and hydrating shampoo — anything too harsh can dry out your hair. Remember, sulfate-free shampoo is your hair’s best friend. 

We recommend the Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo. Not only is it sulfate-free and color-safe, but it also helps repair bonds, seal split ends, and eliminate signs of damage. 

Although a good shampoo makes all the difference, avoid over-washing your hair. Scrubbing and brushing too often causes dryness and frizz. Some curly girlies swear by “no-poo” approach to hair washing — that is, no shampooing during every other shower. Everyone’s hair is different, so experiment to find the right balance for you and your hair.

  1. Always condition

Conditioning your hair after washing gives it moisture and helps with detangling, leaving you with silky smooth and frizz-free hair after you step out of the shower. 

Apply conditioner with your fingers and gently work it through your strands, avoiding your scalp. We’re fans of the Dallas Thickening Conditioner by R+Co for fine hair. The formula is enhanced with coconut oil and vitamin B5 to give your hair deep hydration.

  1. Style like a pro

Unfortunately, there’s no catch-all guide for styling curly hair. Everyone’s curls are unique and require their own routine. But, after washing and conditioning, you can use various styling products and leave-in treatments to help eliminate dryness, frizziness, and breakage, which are common problems for most curly girls. 

Hair oil helps keep frizz away. We love the Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil for smoothing your locks and acting as a heat-protectant. 

A good leave-in conditioner will keep your hair extra hydrated and smooth, especially if it's prone to tangles. We recommend Not Your Mother’s Defining Curl Cream to give your curls bounce, shine, and moisture after wash day.

More tips and tricks

  • Scrunch. Scrunching is a method for defining curls and speeding up the drying process. After your shower, flip your head upside down, then take your wet hair and gently squeeze excess water out while scrunching your hair towards your scalp. For extra hold, work hair products, like a gel, into your hair as you scrunch.
  • Dry your hair with care. Rubbing wet hair with a regular towel can cause frizz and breakage. Instead, opt for a softer microfiber towel or cotton t-shirt to dry your hair after your shower. Let your hair air dry instead of using a hair dryer to avoid any hot tools in your routine that may cause damage.
  • Stay away from heat. The Curly Girl Method is all about your natural hair, and heat is bad for all hair types. Curly hair is especially susceptible to heat damage, so using hot styling tools like curling irons and hair dryers often does more harm than good. When you do use heat styling, don’t forget the heat-protectant. If you’re in a rush and need to dry your hair quickly, blowdry your strands on a cool temperature setting and use a diffuser.

People also ask

What do sulfates do to your hair?

Sulfates are frequently used as a cleansing ingredient in shampoos. They’re the ingredient that helps shampoo lather, but they can be harsh on your hair by stripping it of essential moisture and oils, causing dryness and frizz

Because most curly hair is naturally dry, we recommend curly girls look for a shampoo that’s free of sulfates. You can shampoo your hair without drying it out — you just need the right products and routine.

What are Curly Girl Method recommended brands?

Curly girl-approved brands are sulfate-free and hydrating for your hair. 

Olaplex is extremely popular for damaged hair because it focuses on repairing bonds. If you’re battling some major split-ends, think of Olaplex products as your go-to. For intense moisture, look no further than the No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask

Aside from Olaplex, superzero also creates hair care products that are sulfate-free, and many are made specifically for curly hair and coily or kinky hair.

What are some budget Curly Girl Method products?

Great hair doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a few of our favorite curly girl-approved hair products that won’t break the bank. 

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