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73 Comments

  1. I’ve been reading back through some of your older blogs posts and this one stuck out to me. I’ve started a stopped my curly journey out of frustration and overwhelm in the past. I started again this last January and found a curl specialist in my area. While expensive, it’s been so worth it to get a curl cut and knowledge transfer. I’ve learned so much from you and took the plunge to do the big chop. I could literally see the division of new growth to where I had be straightening my hair and felt it was holding me back, not letting my hair do what it wanted, and excess breakage. I now how tight coils underneath, some ringlets on the center layers, and a looser wave on top. I’m 6 months in and excited for my hair to grow out with hopefully a head full of more ringlets. Based on pictures, I feel mine might be very close to how yours is.

  2. You mentioned that Davines products are full of silicones. I’ve just started on the CG path and bought the Davines love curl shampoo to start with and was planning to build from there. I thought it wasCG approved and that it doesn’t have silicone in it.
    I’m not sure now anymore. Could you help?
    I do like the shampoo, because it’s really soft, leaving my hair fresh, smells lovely and I can postpone my washday by 1 day

    1. Gabriella says:

      hey, I had this question just the other day, and I checked the ingredients – maybe it was the conditioner, but it definitely still has silicones. But there are websites like isitcg.com and curslbot.com where you can copy and paste the ingredients list and they’ll tell you if they’re CG or not x

  3. Hi Gabriella, you are amazing for all of the loving advice and wealth of knowledge you share with us! I have recently started finger coiling, as there are a few sections that have just not been behaving, but I’ve noticed that when I do, the curls only tighten up starting from the middle down to the ends. The roots to the middle are completely curl-less. Ordinarily, I have 2c-3b curls that start about an inch from the roots. I have tried coiling tighter/looser, using more/less product, coiling in multiple directions, but nothing seems to be working. I just did 3 weekly treatments of your modified rice water, so my balance seems to be in check. Any ideas on why this is happening, or what I might be doing wrong? THANK YOU!!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Tish, thank you so much for your kind words. What you’re describing is really common when finger coiling. It takes a while to train the curl all the way up the hair. And is why it’s recommended that if you finger coil you need to do it every single washday for at LEAST a month, if not three months. So stick with it, if you want to train your curls and check out this video I did on finger coiling, as I do it a little differently to other people, as I couldn’t get any other way to work. https://youtu.be/L2RinLH7Dfk – hope that helps!

      1. That makes so much sense! I will continue to stick with it a while longer – good things take time

  4. This is super inspiring, I am just embarking on my CG journey but read conflicting posts about the ‘final wash’ – is this necessary or can you just jump into using the As I am cowash as the original CG handbook doesn’t mention a final wash? My old shampoo had dimethicone and read that nothing but a shampoo with sulphates would remove it from my hair, so I’m worried that if I go into co-washing, it won’t ever remove the strong dimethicone.

    Also would this shampoo work as a clarifying one? I have some bottles I’d occasionally use. It has Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate in it but no silicone.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Australian-Tea-Tree-Cleansing-Shamp/dp/B001FFFIEC/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=australian tea tree shampoo&qid=1599056058&sr=8-7

    Thank you.

    1. You must do a final wash with a sulfate shampoo that’s free from silicones. A co wash is not a final wash

  5. I have a question. I wanna do a haircut. What did you tell you hair dresser what type of haircut you want?

  6. Thank you so much for this blog! I have straightened my curly hair for 26 years n started CG method 7 months ago, I’ve been following lots of curlies on Instagram but you are the first I have found with the same porosity and curl type and I’ve learned so much from you!!! Been having a massive blip lately with lots of frizz but your post on moisture / protein balance has helped me massively x

    1. Gabriella says:

      Aww thank you so much! Remember it’s always the hardest for the first few weeks and months, but it gets better the longer you stick with it x

  7. Frederikke says:

    Hi Cailin. I am completely new to CG, and am right now trying to figure out what the my first products should be.. I am considering both the As I Am Coconut Co-wash and Boucleme cleanser and conditioner – but not sure whether I would use either or, or both? Do you switch between the products when you wash?
    Besides these, I think I need a leave-in conditioner, mousse, gel and clarifying shampoo. Anything I have missed that’s a must for a newbie? Thanks for your helpful blog!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi, (it’s Gabriella, not Cailín). Anyhusan, you don’t need the co wash and the Boucleme cleanser, as they are both co-washes. I’ve got a few posts on my favourite products in the What To Buy tab if you want to check those blog posts for what I use most and recommend. I also have this post which will really help, on how to build a curly girl routine: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/how-to-build-a-curly-girl-hair-routine/

  8. Clair Henderson says:

    P.S. I prefer your natural curls 🙂

  9. Clair Henderson says:

    what a great find your blog is, felt I’ve learned loads, thank you.

  10. Cathryn A Malich says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog/site. I love your curls. I wild hair looks like month 7 pic #2. But I am so overwhelmed by the number of products and when to use them. I’m so frozen in choices at the moment.

    Thanks.

  11. Hi,
    I have recently started using Curly Girl method routine, its been 2 weeks.is it ok to shampoo hair once in 2 weeks with ogx moroccon shampoo (blue bottle) followed by deep conditioning with sheaMoisturer Leave in conditioner and then vO5 gel for styling and scrunching.

    Not using any creme in between, but wet my hair everyday with leave in conditioner??

    is it ok?

    Please suggest any other tips needed, because i wont see much good results yet.

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Hemmu, I’m not sure that OGX shampoo is curly girl friendly, and I don’t recommend Shea Moisture (or Cantu). I’ve used that V05 gel before and I’m not a fan of that either. I’ve got a few posts on my favourite product and how to build a curly girl product routine, you should maybe check those out. x

  12. Hi Gabriella! I’ve been CGM for about two months now and your blog has been the Rosetta Stone of embracing my curls! We have very similar hair types so it’s really nice to see examples of where my hair could be in a year or more! I’ve been having some trouble lately with the top layer of my hair going kind of frizzy and ratty whilst lovely curls develop underneath. If I use too heavy a hand on the conditioner, my hair goes greasy (low porosity, 2c/3a on the best of days). I think my hair is over conditioned, so I’m working on adding protein per your protein/moisture balance post, but is there anything i can do to fix this gross top layer of flat/frizzy/stringy hair? I’ve tried washing my hair upside down, not touching the top layer, clipping my hair, air drying, gel, diffusing and more. Thanks so much for your help and for all the effort you put into this website!!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Olivia, Thanks so much for your kind, sweet words, I’m so glad you’ve found my blog helpful! I’ve literally just replied to a very similar comment to someone else on the blog about this very same thing. Have you read this post?: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/get-root-volume-curly-hair/ You need to turn the temperature down, and the pressure down on your shower head, as well as turning your head upside down. All of those things can damage and loosen the natural curl pattern. You need to keep doing that consistently for every wash day for a few weeks before you’ll start to see improvements and results. Combined with regular deep conditioning with protein treatments, which will also help. However, not everyone’s curl pattern is the same and consistent the whole way around their head. I hope that helps xoxo

  13. Hi! I don’t know where to start. Have been straightening my hair for years. Going to be 40 soon and feel like my hair is a dry, frizzy mess with lots of shedding and breakage. My hair has definitely gotten thinner and seems so fragile. What should I start doing?

  14. Sooo nice finding a curly hair blog to relate to, which are definitely lacking! I’ve definitely shared some of those insecurities and damaged my curls a lot through straightening and highlighting. Thanks so much for doing this and sharing your experiences. Are there any main products and tips you’ve taken away from this to sum up for a daily/weekly routine?

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Carrie, thank you so so much for those kind, sweet words! It’s why I decided to start this blog! I’ve got a few posts which will answer those questions for you, My Favourite Products: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/favourite-curly-girl-products-2018/ How to build a curly girl product routine: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/how-to-build-a-curly-girl-hair-routine/ and as for tips, I’ve got a post on different curly girl techniques, but the tips that have changed the game for me the most, are my posts on Glycerin 101: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/glycerin-101-for-curly-hair/ and Protein Moisture Balance: https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/protein-moisture-balance/ Hope that helps, lots of info there xoxo

  15. Hi Gabriella, I was wondering how finger coiling is going for you? Did you find that it enhanced your natural curls? Are you still doing it? I’m wondering if I should give it a try as well.

    I’m about 5 months into the curly girl method and I feel like I’ve hit a wall. My curls seem stringy and lackluster & I think they’re in the hygral fatigue stage (I messed up – I’m low porosity, so I cut protein out of my routine 100%. Just recently learned I need a balance). I’m honestly so frustrated I feel like quitting. I love your curls and wish mine were as beautiful and bouncy, but mine are all over the place.

    1. Gabriella says:

      Aww Salma, sorry to hear you’re feeling that way about your hair and giving up right now. We’ve all been there. I almost gave up after 3/4 months, but I’m so glad I didn’t! I only finger coiled for one month, every wash day. And that seemed to work wonders for my curls. That was about 10 months ago, and my hair is a little over moisturised at the back and I think I might start finger coiling again for another little while to help my curl pattern again. I would definitely say to give it a go. I’ve got a YouTube video on how I finger coil my curly hair. As for low porosity hair not liking protein, that’s a complete, misinformed myth and absolutely not true! Hope that helps lovey xoxo

  16. Jeri A Hartzell says:

    Cailin your hair is beautiful. This post is so informative. I do like the finger coiling. Keep up the good styling!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Thank you. My name is Gabriella btw….x

  17. Like you I was born with ringlet hair but after I got older for what ever reason my family never encouraged my curly hair. As a teen I hated my frizzy strands and used a flat iron every day. As a young adult I was told by a hair dresser I had curly hair… mind blown! Why didn’t I connect this before? I wore it curly for a while but I never liked it. It was long and stringy and I hated having gooey sticky hair. I just didn’t know what to do so I gave up my curls for a styling wand and more heat abuse. Now many years later I’m growing tired of the damage. My hair breaks easily and I can feel how dry it is. I’d guess at best I can get a 2b curl; curlier underneath, wavier in top. My hair, when curled, looks like a bad 80’s perm. Stringy and thin. This was such a wonderful read. Thank you so much for sharing. It is a lot of info and a lot of changing products. As someone who wants to breathe life into their lost curls, what would you recommend product wise to get me started?

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Heather, wow, that was like reading my own curl journey as a child and young adult! We’ve had very similar experiences. My hair at the peak of it’s damage before I discovered the CG method was a 2a-2b at BEST! Now it’s a 3a-3b, so this method can and does absolutely work, you just need time, patience, persistence, research, trial and error. And lots of water and conditioner! I’m due to write a post on the key “starter pack” of what you need to get started with this method. Have you checked out my post on my favourite curly girl products? https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/favourite-curly-girl-products-2018/ or How to build a curly girl routine? https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/how-to-build-a-curly-girl-hair-routine/ Both of those posts will help you get started and plenty of product suggestions. But a quick start would be the As I Am Coconut Co Wash, a good conditioner (from brands such as Boucleme, MopTop, Matrix Biolage (Hydrasource Conditioner), DevaCurl, Bounce Curl) and then a gel. I also love Pantene Defined Curls Mousse No. 5. I’ve used it for almost 20 years now and it’s amazing paired with a gel. Hopefully that’s enough to get you started. But stay tuned for more posts which you should find helpful. xoxo

  18. Jan Allen says:

    This has been one of the most helpful posts I’ve read about starting the cgm! Thank you so much for such a detailed documentation of your journey. It is very encouraging to someone in the transition phase. I’ve been following several curlies on Instagram who post very informative posts and reviews but it’s hard to remember that my hair will not look like that after just one month of cg. It takes time, trial and research. Thank God so many places like Ulta, target, etc. have a great return policy. I’m pinning this post and clicking all the links. Can’t wait to try your motified rice treatment! Thank you again for sharing! Your curls are beautiful! Oh one question, do you color your hair or is that all natural? I have mine colored to cover gray so wondering if I need to motified anything bc or that?

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Jan, thank you so, so much for your kind, sweet message! That’s exactly why I write these blog posts! I’m so glad you’ve found my content helpful, and I’m honoured to be a part of your curly journey. To answer your question, I don’t colour my hair, that is my natural colour. Colouring hair isn’t ideal, but if you do, to cover up greys, or for whatever reason, then try to use a more natural dye, or visit a well-trained colour specialist hair dresser. And make sure you use colour-safe clarifying shampoos, such as the one from Bounce Curl. Which I have a discount code for, use CURLYCAILIN10 at checkout. Hope that helps xoxo

  19. My daughter has tight corkscrew curls. She 3 years old and her hair sits on her shoulders but when I pull a curl straight they reach her bum. I have wavy hair (it’s my husband who has the curly hair – kept very short) so needless to say we haven’t a clue where to start. I do be afraid in case some of the curly products/conditioners aren’t suitable for a child. Though her hair is so knotty all the time. I use a Loreal Low Shampoo and then Tresume curly hair conditioner that I leave in. Have you any tips on how to look after a child’s curly hair?

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Gina, I have 2 curly children. My son, who keeps his hair really short and tight, and my daughter who has all sorts of curls from corkscrew underneath, to waves on top. Her hair used to be tight corkscrew curls all over her hair, but after I cut it for the first time (aged 5) and as she’s got older, the curls have fallen and dropped out, despite almost 2 years following the CGM. I wouldn’t be afraid of using CG products on your daughter’s hair, I’d be far more concerned about the ingredients in NON-CG products! However, there’s a brand of CG friendly products specifically designed for children called Curly Ellie, check them out online. MopTop and Curls in the US also do kiddie-specific lines. I have some content on my Instagram highlights and feed of how I look after my daughters curls, if you want to check me out there. http://www.instagram.com/curlycailin.ie Hope that helps!

  20. Teresa Rutherford says:

    I was reading your post and my 3.5 year old grand daughter with curly brown hair crawled into my lap and asked me to go back to the “other picture”. She looked at your photo in the red dress and said ” I want to be that when I grow up” I thought you might enjoy that little bit toddler joy.

    1. Gabriella says:

      Oh my goodness, Teresa! That is the cutest, sweetest, loveliest thing! Bless your precious little grand daughter! Please tell her I said thank you and hello! Aww, my heart is melted! xoxo

  21. OH MY GOD.
    HELLO CAILIN!
    I LITERALLY FOUND YOUR BLOG LAST WEEK while searching for low porosity products. I’m so glad I came across it! You saved me from swiping my card on devacurl products. They smell so good!! I finally understand why my hair isn’t curling properly and it’s because I’m in the overly moisturized phase. Definitely will be clarifying for awhile.
    I also have the same problems with butters, they overly moisturize my hair and my causes my hair to weigh down. I’ll be trying some products you mentioned and see where my hair goes! I just bought the Aussie Instant Freeze and it didn’t hold up, but smeelllsss sooo good. How much do you recommend I should be putting?
    Thank you!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Chandi, clarifying will help, but most of all you need to get the protein levels back up in your hair. After trying lots of bought and DIY protein treatments, I found my modified rice water treatment method was the best and gave the most consistent and noticeable results, check out that post here> https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/my-rice-water-rinse-routine-results/ As for the hair products you mentioned, a lot of that can be due to your hair porosity, so finding out what you have and avoiding/embracing certain products will help, check out this post> https://staging3.curlmaven.ie/hair-porosity/ And finally, Aussie Instant Freeze is my all time favourite budget-friendly, glycerin-free gel! If you pair it with a mousse before you apply the gel, that’s my favourite styling combo and should give you the hold you need. I use a couple of dime sized amounts of that gel for my hair, and it’s quite thick! Hope that helps my love, Gabriella xoxo

  22. I have been using Cantu products, have you ever tried any of these? If the conditioner is a cleansing one will it say that somewhere?

    1. Gabriella says:

      I haven’t tried any of the Cantu products as they are heavy, build up on the hair and are made with poor quality ingredients so I can’t offer any advice etc, sorry.

  23. Such an encouraging post!! I have been on the CG Method Journey for a year; as I read your post, I kept thinking “Oh my, that’s exactly what I went through!” Thank you for sharing your own journey with us all and giving us all curlies hope that it gets better! 🙂

    1. Gabriella says:

      Aww thank you! xoxo

  24. Do you only use the jessicurl products when you finger coil? I also use as I am, that’s one thing I do know I love! My hair doesn’t seem to like gel as it tends to go frizzy. I like mousse, but I feel I still haven’t found my styling products 🙁

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Sheryl, yes I only use Jessicurl products when I finger coil. If your hair goes frizzy when you use gel, try applying it when your hair is absolutely soaking wet, and make sure your gel doesn’t contain glycerin. The Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel doesn’t contain glycerin, neither does Aussie Instant Freeze, or Giovanni LA Natural Gel. Hope that helps! xoxo

      1. AMY EATON says:

        I’m confused about the Aussie Instant Freeze. It contains BENZYL ALCOHOL. Is that OK?

        1. Gabriella says:

          Pesonally I don’t have a problem with it. Some site say it’s problematic, but only mildly, other say it’s fine. See how the product works for you and make your decision then. x

  25. Hi Gabriella! Super informative blog and super informative posts. I think you are super pretty and I LOVE your hair.
    Your post on how you began and what you went through is exactly what I have been through. It’s been a few months into the whole CG method. Initially the whole process showed promise. Right now I am in the quit it all stage. 😉 not done anything with my hair for the last few days. I too have low porosity hair, shea moisture and devacurl products don’t work with my hair type, however Boucecurl gel works well with my hair. Boucléme sounds very interesting, unfortunately I don’t get them here in Dubai. Still figuring out what suits my hair.
    I believe I came across your insta page and blog at the right time. You have given me hope to continue the process. Wish me luck! 🙂

    1. Gabriella says:

      Aww thank you for your kind words Shilpa! Enormous luck, but patience and persistence is what you need more. Gabriella xoxo

  26. Hi, Gabriella! Can you elaborate on how you use lube in your hair? I’m really interested in using non traditional products (LOVE rice water and aloe vera rinses) but I just can’t imagine how it’d be used. Thanks!

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hey Ella, So after spraying my hair down with a little warm water, I mix lube and either Aussie Instant Freeze Gel or Boucleme Gel with it, and then scrunch it into my hair. Then I either air dry or diffuse it. It tames frizz and gives a great cast. Hope that helps.

  27. Love the finger coil look. Looking forward to the video. Don’t want to miss it.

  28. Can I ask what products by Jessicurl you use. Have you ever used Deva Curl. Comments. TIA.

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Kathy, I have pretty much all the Jessicurl products! Which you can see which ones and how I use them in my YouTube video here> https://youtu.be/L2RinLH7Dfk I have used some DevaCurl before, I had One Condition, Wave Maker and their Styling Cream. I liked them, but haven’t repurchased them since. But want to soon.

  29. What jessicurl products are you using now?

  30. Hi love your posts,wondering if you can help me.doing the curly routine with nearly twelve months, and still I trying to learn how to get it right,I am low porosity and protein sensitive,I am now trying to get protein free products it hard,but when I co wash I get like cradle cap on my scalp so I changed from as I am and tried another co wash and same thing happened and I am saddened by this, I did clarify but same thing,any thing else I can do,I use moisture shampoos,hope you can help me with this, and was wondering how often should I do a protein treatment,should I do once a mounth,asi not sure how often,thanks for takein time to read this,

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Teresa, What co-wash are you using? The only one I like is the As I Am Coconut Co-Wash, which is a cleansing conditioner, rather than just using conditioner to cleanse your hair, does that make sense? But you really have to spend time scrubbing your scalp to get rid of product build up and natural oils on your scalp. Protein: it’s about finding a balance for your hair. My modified rice water treatment will help with both protein and you scalp issues. You can do it once a week, every other week or once a month. Read the post on my modified rice water method for more details. I hope that helps.

      1. Thanks Gabriella,the product I use is, as I am co wash and thought it might be that was causing my build up.then changed to Carol,s daughter cleansing milk and the same thing happened.i thought if you’re protein sensitive you could not do protein treatments often only like every two or three months is that right you see I not sure.or should I use products with protein in them weekly,love your YouTube channel,it so good you doing it as we can see how you do things,I wish you the best of luck with it,and hope too see a lot more you’re fantastic,and I hope that you will give me the knowledge I need to get my hair to look as good as yours,best wishes,

        1. Gabriella says:

          Hi Teresa, if you are protein sensitive, then yes, you need to take it easy on the protein treatments. Either do them less often, or use products with small amounts of protein in them. As for co-washing, you need to get a cleansing co-wash, and really use the pads of your fingertips to work it in and scrub and massage the scalp to loosen all that dirt, oils and build up on your hair. My hair feels incredibly clean without feeling stripped or dry when I use the As I Am Co-wash. Hope that helps!

  31. Great post,all the information there in the one post! I’m growing out an over coloured pixie cut since December. Using boucleme products plus umbertto curling jelly on refresh days. Every single day is different and I don’t have money to buy new products before the old ones are done,however tempted I am! Do you think Johnson’s baby shampoo would work as a clarifying shampoo? Just ordered Denman Brush as my hair looks so much better on refresh days when I rake it completely with my hands! Love your posts and Hoestlizhere too. The best for info

    1. Gabriella says:

      Hi Aideen, yes Johnson Baby Shampoo can be used to clarify. I know what you mean about being determined to finish products before buying new ones, that’s how I got into hygral fatigue mess with the NYM, I should have stopped using them when I knew they weren’t working for my hair.

  32. Angela (Browneydcurlie) says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It was so informative and helpful!

  33. I love this post—it’s so helpful! I highlight my hair blonde (I’m 48) and sometimes wonder how much this is affecting my curls. Any suggestions for me?

    1. Jeri A Hartzell says:

      I’ve over bleached my hair for years. It wasn’t until I stopped that I realized I had curly hair. My hair is now closer to my real hair color but still not natural virgin hair. I’m afraid to see how much gray is really in there. I’ve just started learning how to style my hair and how to stop abusing it so much. After 2 weeks I’m amazed how curly it is. I think bleaching it to death really makes my hair go completely limp.

      1. Gabriella says:

        Yes, that’s because it strips the hair of all it’s protein and elasticity, which curls desperately need.x

      2. My hair is curly in the front and wavy/straight at the back I tried curly hair product but just won’t work I’ve cut my hair shoulder length thinking it would help but hasn’t my hair was heat damaged and bleached I finally have my curls back but only in the front not the back I don’t know what to do !?!!

        1. Gabriella says:

          Hi Angie, hair patterns can be different in different sections and areas of the hair. To me, what is most likely, is you’re washing your hair standing up in the shower, most likely with hot and/or high pressured water, and this is pulling the hair pattern out and damaging the curl pattern every time you wash your hair. Try turning the temperature down, the pressure down and also turning your head upside down too. All this should help the curl pattern and definition at the back of your hair.

    2. I like natural best, coiling looks like little house on the prairie done with a curling iron

      1. Gabriella says:

        Yes, you’re right. But it’s only to train the curls, and certainly not a style or look I’m trying to achieve! ha ha. I did it for a month, and it really helped my curls. I no longer do it now, but would do it again if my curl pattern needs it.

    3. Mariam Hussain says:

      If your skin tone can pull off a being a red head, use henna. Excellent for hair health and a completely natural dye.

    4. Thanks so much for all of the advice. I’m 42, and have only just gained the confidence to cope with my natural curl, thanks “a bheag nó a mhór” to your REALLY GREAT ADVICE. THANK YOU SINCERELY from a wannabe curly cailín, who feels empowered by your work.