So you’ve heard about the curly hair method, spent ages reading blog posts. Watched countless YouTube videos and joined a couple of Facebook groups trying to get started on a curly hair routine.
You’re ready to purchase some hair products and get started on your curly journey. But you’ve got information overload, feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Here’s my updated post on How to Build a Curly Girl Hair Routine, and product recommendations.
Keep it Simple
It’s really easy to over-complicate things, but the trick is to keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be complicated. At the most, you’re going to need five products to build a curly hair routine. This post will help you figure out what type of product will work best for your hair. And teach you when, and in what order, to use each product. Start off simple, so it becomes less daunting, and more achievable. That way you won’t want to give up after the first few washes.
Give it time!
Like with anything new, it’s over whelming at first, and you need to give it time. Damage is often caused over time, so you need to accept that it’s going to take time to heal – especially if you have heat, colour or chemical damage. With a little trial and error, patience and consistency, you’ll get the hang of it, and start seeing results, in time. Let’s get started on how to build a curly hair routine!
You didn’t damage your hair overnight, it’s not going to recover overnight either. Or in a few wash days!
How to Build a Curly Girl Hair Routine
Step 1. Final Wash | Clarify
If you’re just starting the curly hair method, you need to do a final wash to get rid of the silicones out of your hair, and any product build up. For this, you’ll need a shampoo that does contain sulfates, but doesn’t contain silicones. My favourite is the Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo.
Technically it’s a chelating shampoo, which is stronger and harsher than a clarifying shampoo. Containing ingredients that remove hard water, limescale, metal and mineral deposits.
So if you live in a hard water area, or swim in the pool or ocean regularly, use this as your final wash and keep ahold of it to clarify once a month. Read this post for more information on chelating and clarifying your hair.
Final Wash/Chelating Shampoo Product Suggestions:
Also available in my Amazon Shop.
If you don’t live in a hard water area or swim in the pool or ocean. You don’t need to use a chelating shampoo that contains sulfates to clarify your hair. You can use a more gentle, curly girl friendly product to remove dirt, oil and product build up.
So many issues people experience is down to not clarifying the hair properly, or regularly enough.
Clarifying is really important for all hair types! Read my Golden Triangle of Healthy Hair post where I explain why in more detail. The product recommendations listed below are not suitable for a final wash, as they’re not strong enough to remove silicones. But suitable for monthly clarifying if you don’t live in a hard water area or swim in the pool or ocean.
Clarifying Shampoo Product Suggestions:
- MopTop Detox Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Kinky Curly Come Clean
- USA: Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off.
Get 10% off Bounce Curl using code CURLMAVEN at all of the following distributors/online retailers:
- USA: Bounce Curl
- IRELAND: The Clean Beauty Edit – ships worldwide
- UK: Kiyo Beauty – ships worldwide
- Canada: Curl Warehouse
Also available in my Amazon Shop.
Step 2. Cleanse
So you’ve ditched the shampoo in your new curly hair routine, but now what should you use to wash your hair? And how often should you be washing it? I always recommend washing your hair twice a week, with a sulfate-free, silicone-free cleanser. The goal here is a healthy scalp and hair, not to see how long you can go without washing your hair. For most people, once enough isn’t enough. But three times or more a week is too much, and not good for the hair.
If you’ve just discovered the curly hair method, here’s where it can get confusing and overwhelming. Because the emphasis seems to be on going as long as possible without washing your hair. Or avoiding anything that lathers. With confusing terms like co-washing, lo-poo and no-poo. I’m going to try and simplify this curly hair routine, so you can understand what will work best for your hair. Regardless of what any book, method or rules say.
Dry, Damaged, Coily Hair: Co-Wash
If your hair is thick, coarse, dry and/or coily, tightly textured and/or severely damaged, I recommend using a co-wash. At first, anyway. But don’t just use a regular conditioner to “wash” your hair. Otherwise your hair will quickly become greasy, oily, weighed down, over-moisturized and lose curl definition. And your scalp won’t thank you for it either, it may feel itchy, greasy or oily.
The aim here is to cleanse your hair. A conditioner is not a cleanser, it’s a conditioner. So if you’re going to use a co-wash, use one specifically formulated as a co-wash, which will contain both cleansing and moisturising ingredients. And remember, we’re cleansing here, so you still need to follow up with a conditioner afterwards. A co-wash replaces your traditional shampoo, not conditioner.
Co-wash Product Suggestions:
- USA: As I Am Coconut Co-Wash
- UK: As I Am Coconut Co-Wash
- Miribel Naturals Creamy Hair Cleanser – CURLMAVEN for 10% off on the Miribel site in the US, and Kiyo Beauty in the UK
- MopTop Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Bounce Curl Cleansing Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off on the US site, and at The Clean Beauty Edit in Ireland/EU and at Kiyo Beauty in the UK using the same code.
Also available in my Amazon Shop.
Co-Washing isn’t for everyone! It’s a great way of boosting the moisture levels in the hair. But for most people, switching to a low-lathering cleanser after a few months works best.
Fine, Wavy & Curly Hair: Lo-Poo
A low-lathering cleanser, or lo-poo, is what suits most people. If you have fine hair, either in density or thickness of the hair strand. If your hair is normal to oily, wavy or curly, I recommend using a sulfate-free, low-lathering cleanser.
Personally, I think Bounce Curl have the best cleansers on the market. But MopTop and Innersense Organic Beauty are a close second. If you’re in the USA, you can get 10% off Bounce Curl and MopTop using code CURLMAVEN. If you’re outside the USA, you can get 10% off Innersense Organic Beauty and Bounce Curl using code CURLMAVEN at The Clean Beauty Edit in Ireland/EU and at Kiyo Beauty in the UK.
Lo-Poo/Low-Lathering Cleanser Product Suggestions:
- Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Bounce Curl Moisturising Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- MopTop Gentle Bamboo Shampoo – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath
- Innersense Colour Awakening Hairbath
If your hair is really fine, gets easily weighed down and loves protein. Then I recommend Innersense Pure Harmony Hairbath or TréLuxe Curl Renew & Restore – CURLMAVEN for 15% off. These are two of the most lightweight cleansers I’ve tried!
Also available in my Amazon Shop. You can get TréLuxe at Sari Curls or Le Curl Shop in the EU. Naturalistic Products, House of Curls UK. You can get 10% off at Kiyo Beauty in the UK and Curl Warehouse in Canada using code CURLMAVEN – or The Curl Store in Australia.
Step 3. Condition
This is usually where you find silicones in products. So it’s really important to check the ingredients when purchasing your conditioner, deep conditioner and/or leave-in conditioner.
I’ve included product suggestions for all three conditioner categories below. But please note: you do not need all three! So don’t feel you have to rush out and buy all of them to build a good curly hair routine.
Get one conditioner made with good quality ingredients, leave it in for 15+ mins to deep condition, but no longer than an hour. Instead of purchasing a separate leave-in conditioner, simply leave in some of the conditioner you already have in your hair.
Top Tip: Give the roots a quick rinse, then let the residual water run through your hair until a milky colour and consistency comes out the ends as your leave-in conditioner.
When choosing a conditioner, look for high concentrations of plant-based ingredients, and a good balance of protein and moisture. Read this post for more on the protein moisture balance. Avoid anything that contains too many rich emollients and heavy oils and butters. These will weigh down, often over-moisturise the hair and cause excess hair shedding. Not to mention limp, lifeless curls.
Conditioner Product Suggestions:
- Rich Protein-Free: Matrix Biolage Hydra Source Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Lightweight Protein-Free: Jessicurl Aloeba Daily Conditioner
- Lightweight Protein-Rich: Innersense Pure Inspiration Daily Conditioner
- Protein Moisture Balanced: Innersense Colour Radiance Conditioner or MopTop Bamboo Daily Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
Leave-in Conditioner Product Suggestions:
- Giovanni Weightless Moisture Direct Leave In – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Flora & Curl Leave-In Detangler – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- MopTop Leave In Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Miribel Naturals Powerhouse Protein Cream – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
Deep Conditioner Product Suggestions:
- Rich Protein-Free: Matrix Biolage Hydra Source Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Protein-Free: Bounce Curl Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner – CURLMAVEN for 10% off – or 10% off at The Clean Beauty Edit and Kiyo Beauty using code CURLMAVEN.
- Protein-Rich: Hairfinity Strengthening Amino Masque or Curl Junkie Repair Me!
- Protein Moisture Balanced: Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque or Phyto Joba Moisturizing Mask or Act + Acre Restorative Hair Mask.
Top Tip: use a Curl Maven Thermal Heat Cap to help open up the cuticle to get the maximum benefits from your deep conditioner.
Also available in my Amazon Shop. Use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off Innersense Organic Beauty and Bounce Curl at The Clean Beauty Edit, who ship worldwide.
Step 4. Style
Clarifying, cleansing, conditioning and deep conditioning is where you fix any issues with dry, brittle or frizzy hair. Or limp, lifeless curls that drop within hours of washing. You won’t fix any of those issues with the styling products, not with long-lasting results anyway.
When choosing styling products for your new curly hair routine, think about what you want your hair to look like. What do you want from your styling products? Some people want texture and volume, others want definition and hold. Most often, people want a combination of a few different things.
Enhance & Define
There are a few one-and-done styling products, but for most people using two styling products gives the best and most consistent results. Essentially you want something to enhance and define the curl. And then something to hold the curl. Try out my LMG Method which gives me great results every time! When layering styling products, always start from the most lightweight to heaviest texture or consistency.
If you have fine, wavy or curly hair that gets easily weighed down, mousses, foams and serums are great for enhancing and defining. As well as giving texture and volume. These will all work if you have thick, dry, coarse or coily hair too. However, you may find better results using a milk, lotion, balm or cream. All of which are more moisturising.
Styling Product Recommendations: Enhance & Define
- Mousse: Pantene Defined Curls No. 5 Mousse or Herbal Essence Totally Twisted Mousse – available in grocery stores and supermarkets
- Foams: Innersense I Create Lift Volumizing Foam
- Giovanni Hair Styling Foam – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Flora & Curl Curl Volumizing Foam – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Serums: Innersense I Create Volume for volume
- TréLuxe Reflex Curl Styling Serum for definition – CURLMAVEN for 15% off
- Jessicurl Rockin Ringlets – 10% off Jessicurl at Kiyo Beauty
- Lotions: Jessicurl Confident Coils
- Flora & Curl Curl Activating Lotion – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Balm: Curlsmith Hold Me Softly Styling Balm – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Creams: TréLuxe Curl Supreme – CURLMAVEN for 15% off
- Bounce Curl Clump & Define Cream – CURLMAVEN for 10% off on the US site, The Clean Beauty Edit and Kiyo Beauty
Also available in my Amazon Shop. Use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off Innersense Organic Beauty and Bounce Curl at The Clean Beauty Edit, who ship worldwide. You can get TréLuxe at Sari Curls or Le Curl Shop in the EU. Naturalistic Products, House of Curls UK. You can get 10% off at Kiyo Beauty in the UK and Curl Warehouse in Canada using code CURLMAVEN – or The Curl Store in Australia.
The final step in the styling routine is something to seal everything in and hold it all together. For this you can use a gel, jelly and/or custard. If you just want hold, go for a gel. If you want definition, clumps and hold, go for a jelly or custard. But I often use both, if I want great clumps, definition and hold.
You can get lightweight to strong hold gels. Gels, jellies and custards work best when applied to wet hair. For extra clumps and definition, you can give your hair a final brush through with a Denman Paddle Brush before you scrunch and diffuse. CURLMAVEN for 20% off the Denman Paddle Brush at LOOKFANTASTIC, who ship worldwide.
To get long-lasting hold, you need to let the gel, jelly or custard dry fully on the hair, creating a cast. This cast will give you hard, crunchy crispy curls at first, which is what you want. You then need to gently break the cast, or “scrunch out the crunch” to reveal the soft, defined curls underneath.
Top Tip: If your hair is covered in white flakes after using a gel, it’s most likely because you used too much.
Gel, Jelly & Custard Product Suggestions:
- Light Hold:
- Aveda Confixor Liquid Gel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Bouclème Curl Defining Gel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Curlsmith Shape Up Aqua Gel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Medium Hold:
- Innersense I Create Hold
- Aussie Instant Freeze Gel
- Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- MopTop Curly Hair Custard – CURLMAVEN for 10% off
- Curlsmith Hydro Style Flexi Jelly: – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Strong Hold:
- Bouclème Super Hold Styler – CURLMAVEN for 20% off
- Jessicurl Spiralicious Gel – CURLMAVEN for 10% off at Kiyo Beauty
- Giovanni Styling Gel – CURLMAVEN for 20% off – the strongest gel I’ve found
- TréLuxe Hi! Definition Gel – CURLMAVEN for 15% off – my favourite gel of all time!
Also available in my Amazon Shop. Use code CURLMAVEN for 10% off Innersense Organic Beauty and Bounce Curl at The Clean Beauty Edit, who ship worldwide. You can get 10% off TréLuxe using code CURLMAVEN at 10% off Curl Warehouse in Canada or Kiyo Beauty in the UK. You can also get TréLuxe at Sari Curls or Le Curl Shop in the EU. Naturalistic Products in the UK or The Curl Store in Australia.
Putting it all together
If you want consistent results, you have to have a consistent routine. You can’t be switching up your wash day line up all the time. Somehow expecting your hair to look good each time. I listed each product category in the order you’d use them.
Apart from your final wash and monthly clarifying, you need something to cleanse, condition, style and hold. Hopefully from my tips, advice and recommendations, you can figure out what products will suit your hair best. So you can build your curly hair routine.
Recommended Reading: How to Build a Curly Hair Routine and The High Low Routine
Trying New Products
When trying out new products, use one new product at a time to determine if it works or makes a difference to your hair. Or keep one half of your wash day routine consistent. For example, if you want to try out different styling products, keep your cleanser and conditioner the same. You also need to try something out consistently for at least 2-3 weeks before you see any signs of improvement. But more like 4-6 weeks to see long-lasting improvement.
But if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, or you just want me to put everything together for you in one routine. Designed to suit your hair type, lifestyle, budget or healthy hair goals. Where I tell you what to use, where to buy it and when and how to use it.
Then I highly recommend you book in for a Curl Clinic, which is a 1:1 consultation where I do just that! You can find out more info here, or read lots of reviews and book here.
Also available as a Gift Voucher if you’d like to give the gift of curls to someone else, or drop a hint to a friend, family member or loved one.
I know this was a really long post, with a lot of information and product recommendations! But hopefully you feel much more confident now on how to build a curly hair routine. As well as figuring out what products, or types of products, will work best for your hair.
Like with anything new, it’s daunting and overwhelming at first. But once you get started, you’ll realise how simple it actually is. And hopefully by then, you’ll start seeing really great results too.
Make sure to subscribe to my Curl Maven Collective Newsletter, for new content and exclusive giveaways for subscribers only. Subscribers are also the first to know about new events and masterclasses.
Check me out on Pinterest and subscribe to my YouTube channel. As I’m going to be doing lots more on there this year, which I’m so excited about!
Gratitude & Support
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I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful to everyone who supports me, my content and my platform. Thank you so much! Gabriella x
*This post may contain some gifted items and affiliate links. Which means I get paid (a very small) commission on any products you purchase through my links. This in no way affects you, the price you pay or the way in which I write about products featured on this site. My content and opinion is not influenced by advertisers, sponsorships, affiliate partnerships, brands or PRs.
Charlotte Cullinan says
This is AMAZING!!!! Only today I was thinking I still feel so clueless about what order to put things on in (I’m six weeks into CG), this honestly is fantastic, thank you so so much!!!
I am 6 weeks into CGM too and was about to call it quits. I have always air dried and very rarely flat ironed so I had no heat damage. But I spent ridiculous amounts of time,money and effort for meh results. I’ve actually had some horrible hair days.
That being said, I’ve learned a lot about my hair! I’m high porosity, need more protein and have high 2 to lower 3 curls patterns on my head. Raking products through my hair made for a frizzy nightmare. Using a microfiber cloth to plop didn’t work either.
Today I tried pulsating and then using a T-shirt and for the first time, I feel like I might just stick with this after all!
Your post is one of the most well laid out, informative ones that I have read! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! I look forward to reading more from you
Maureen Bouey says
Hi Trish, I have hair like yours and wonder if you can tell me what pulsating is?
Hi Maureen, Pulsing, aka pulsating or scrunch and pump, is where you scrunch your hair up, usually when it’s wet and got product in, and then repeatedly pulse your fingers into a closed fist position. This is said to help and enhance curl pattern and clumps to form. I hope that helps and explains it in a way you can understand…..xoxo
Good evening , I’m new to your post and as well the curly girl method . I’m having a ton of confusion here . I prepared my list to as what I think I’m supposed to buy , I’ve read the blogs for weeks now and still can’t figure it out , my list is as follows ,1- final wash with bumble or Johnson shampoo, 2- do a pre poo with matrix Biolage hydro source , 3- cleanse and clarify with as I Am co wash and then add on top the as I am cow ash the bounce curl moisterizing shampoo, 4- then clarify again with bounce curl Clairyfying shampoo, 5- then I condition with matrix Biolage hydro source condition , 6- then I put a leave in conditioner which will be the Giovanni weightless , 7- then I use a deep conditioner it’ll be hairdinity a mini mask , then I enhance with Pantene and then define with Aussie gel ? I’m so lost right now . I have all the products In my basket . Just very confused and want to confirm with you before I purchase , thanks so much I’m advance . Xx
Hi there, goodness no. Not all of that stuff. You need something to final wash and regularly clarify with, something to cleanse with, something to condition, something to create and enhance definition and something to give hold. That’s it. You can get Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo OR Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for final wash and regular clarifying. Bounce Curl shampoo to cleanse (either clarifying or moisturizing). Matrix Biolage to condition, deep conditioner, leave in conditioner. If you want you can use the Giovanni Leave In and the Hairfinity Mask, but if you’re just starting you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with all three. Then yes, Pantene Mousse to define and a gel to hold.
Haha omg . You really gave me clarity . I now just ordered everything and can’t wait for its arrival , this evening I couldn’t hold onto my patience anymore and went ahead and did an acv and soda rinse and then did a mousse and leave in conditioner. My hair looks so awesome , totally can’t wait for all my products to arrive . Thank you so much for all your posts and inspiration.
What is good product to use for final wash ???
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo, Sally’s Ion Hard Water Shampoo…
Just as an FYI in the US Johnson’s reformulated at some point and no longer contains a sulfate I believe. I picked up an off brand baby shampoo that has a sulfate and chelating agent for my monthly clarify/chelate.
I noticed that myself recently and need to go back and change my clarifying post, but I no longer recommend the Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo
Oh man! I spent an hr. reading this post.. and I’m going to try to get my hair back into shape..my hair, well,
fine, frizzy, dry, wavy and curlier underneath. I have tons of body though. = hot mess.
Bought me a Dyson super sonic…I’m the type of women who has used everything underthe sun.. I actually learned some things from you …will be buying products soon and following you everywhere..thankyou! ❤
Tracey Walton says
Another fabulous article. I started my CG journey 6 1/2 months and struggled to find information about thick caucasian hair, yours was the first one I found and I’ve followed you ever since, occasionally referring back to your articles for articles and tips.
Thank you for this, I’m off to look at Jessicurl on your recommendation now!
Hi Gabriella, I am starting my CG journey but not only for me. Also for my two boys which both have curls. I am so happy that I found your side because your descriptions totally show how I feel at the moment. All this information and all those products. But with your help I finall could choose some products to start. I’m from Germany so I have some struggles to find some products here so your hints about products that are international available are very helpful for me! But I have a question regarding holiday. Since we will be at the beach in about a month I would like to know if there is a product you could recommend that I could leave in while on the beach so my really dry hair does not suffer from sun and salt. Thanks a lot on advance! Greetings from Germany Hanna
This is great post,so good the way you explain,put I still finding it hard to understand about the moisture and protein balance,as I protein sensitive maybe you might explain it in a post some time,on how to get it right ,thank you,
Very helpful, thank you!
I have been changing up my products the last few months as I seem to have developed an allergy to Shea (had been using Saryna Key for about 3 years, think I got a bad batch of conditioner which set off a reaction). Difficult to pinpoint an allergy, but Shea is my guess at this point as I have since tried other brands with Shea and the reaction (itchy, flaky scalp & ears) returned.
Have used travel size of Jessicurl recently with good results (Gentle Cleanser, Aloeba Cond, Rockin’ Ringlets, & Confident Coils). Also like the Oil Blend to SOTC. Use Aussie Instant Freeze sometimes as well. Still need to find a co wash (found the As I Am in a store recently, scent seemed too much, but may give it a try) and deep conditioner (Biolage Hydrasource maybe).
2c/3a low porosity.
You’re welcome! I’m glad you found it helpful. I’m not familiar with Saryna Key, but all the other products you mentioned are great products!
Hi, the matrix conditioner contains methylparabeen is this safe to use on the method?
Thanks so much love your blog x
Salma Meah says
Hi, I am about to start the CG method. I have very fine, low porosity, short (bobbed) 2b waves (for now) which have been straightened and blow-dried to death since I was about 15. I have all my kit, but wanted to know if I need to condition after low-poo? I have decided not to co-wash to start with…. see how I go. TIA x
I would say yes, absolutely! Moisture and hydration is key to having healthy curls, and healthy hair in general. A low poo is just going to cleanse your hair, not condition it. So yes, definitely condition. x
Hello, I am just beginning my CG method journey and I am so excited! I have always struggled with my curly hair as it falls prey to frizz and limp, lifeless curls. I have purchased The Curly Girl Method and I am looking to purchase my collection of products. This post was very helpful as it can be very overwhelming to figure out what will be best for my hair. My question in regards to this post is, how do I decided if I should purchase products that are protein-free or the products that follow the protein/moisture balance routine? Thank you so much for your help
Hi Sarah, welcome to the curly girl family! Most of it is purely down to trial and error, patience and persistence as everyone’s hair is different. As you described your hair as limp and lifeless, to me that sounds like your hair would benefit from some protein in your products and routine. So just make sure you find a balance and have some products in there which contain protein. Alternatively, do my modified rice water treatment every week, or other week. I hope that helps xoxo
I’ve just found your blog and I love it!!! So glad I found it! I’ve just moved to Ireland and I find so hard to take care of my very frizzy and wavy hair with all this humidity (I’m Spanish, btw). I also find difficult to get some curly products here, it seems that Irish don’t have curly hair ???
I’ve read your reviews of some Giovanni products, have you ever tried the shampoos? I have a very complicated scalp, with seborrheic dermatitis, so I think I need to use a shampoo intead of only cowash. I tried to cowash once (using As I Am Coconut Cowash) and on the second day my scalp was really itchy and oily. So was thinking that maybe the shampoos were alright.
I’m really stuck with the CG method, as I’ve been avoiding silicones and sulphates for almost 2 years but my hair doesn’t look good. If I use less styling products it gets very frizzy, but if I use more it gets very oily in just 12 hours or so. Any recommendation? I think that my hair is low porosity because of the glass test, and because it tends to build up.
Sorry for my English, i’m still learning. And thank you for all the information, I think I’ll be really useful for most curlies!!
Hi Esther, welcome to Ireland! I’ve got some Spanish blood in me, and your English is perfect. The Irish do indeed have curly hair, we just don’t have many products readily available. Have you checked out “My Favourite Products” post as that has many places to buy products, as well as my “Where I Shop.” I haven’t tried any of the Giovanni shampoos, but I now the Tea Tree Triple Treat one is meant to be very good, especially for those with a sensitive scalp. I’m surprised the As I Am Co Wash gave you an itchy and oily scalp, I’ve never had that problem. Have you tried Boucleme? They have great products (link in my Where I Shop tab). Rice water rinses would also be great for you as they help alleviate itchy and irritated scalps. Check out my post on that too. As for your styling products, I would be inclined to say it may be due to using cheap products with poor quality ingredients so take a look at them. Hope that helps, if you want to talk more in depth, feel free to email me or use the form on my Contact page. Gabriella xoxo
Thanks for your answer! I thought I was using good products but not so sure now.. I was using Cantu shampoo and eco styler, both of them have good reviews o the CG world… I will ask for some samples of Giovanni products (shampoo, conditioner and gel) to see id they work on my hair.
I was so happy when I read the pantene mousse is CG friendly! I’ve been using it for years but I stop using it because I thought the ingredients were not really good!
Thank you for your answer and your blog, I think is really nice!
No worries at all Esther, you’re very welcome. I would ditch the Cantu and Eco Styler stuff personally. And yes, I’ve been using Pantene Mousse for years and years, like, at least 15 years and was relieved when I found out it was CG friendly – I still use it now! Take care xoxo
Yeah, Pantene Mousse is so convenient! Easy to find everywhere and cheap!
Do you know if there is any place in Ireland where you can exchange or sell products that are already started? My Cantu deep treatment is almost new, but it’s too heavy for me…
And the last question… I’m not deep conditioning at all, is that so important? If so, I’m not sure if I’ll need a deep treatment with protein or not. how can I know that? Is there any DIY mask I can do at home? I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a deep treatment that contains protein and then later find out that my hair doesn’t like protein at all…
Sorry for all the questions… but everything seems so confusing!
claire sweetman says
I’d love to see a video on how to do your cg method and to show how much product you use. Loving your website and you make the cg method so clear and easy to follow. Xx
Hi Claire, thank you so much! I have a video on my YouTube channel of how I finger coil, which also includes how much product I use in my hair. I must do an updated routine video though as I no longer need to finger coil my hair. Make sure you check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel though! The link is in the sidebar if you’re viewing on a desktop, or scroll down if viewing this on a mobile. xx
Yes! PLEASE do a video about how you apply your usual daily products. I’ve been having such a hard time finding the right products and application methods for my hair, and I’m so glad to have found your website because my hair is very similar to yours. Thanks for all the info! I would just love to see how you apply the products without finger coiling!
Will do Kristina! Especially as I have my own application technique which I haven’t seen or heard anyone else doing. Coming soon! xoxo
PREETHI NAGARAJAN says
Your blog is super informative!! I have low porosity hair too and cant seem to figure out a routine that works!! Can you please tell me if you apply your styling products to wet hair or damp? And how do you refresh your hair and maintain it through the week? I saw your video on finger coiling but seems like u r not washing off all the conditioner..if I ever tried that I easily get itchy scalp the very next day!! Any tips? TIA!!
Hi Preethi, thank you! I’m glad you’ve found my content helpful. I apply my products to soaking wet hair, often while I’m still in the shower. Depending on the products I use and how successful my wash day was, I often don’t refresh. But when I do, my favourite refresh combo is gel and ky jelly (yes, lube!), I will spray my hair down or use handfuls of water to wet it, if it’s particularly dry I’ll use some leave in conditioner, then apply my gel and ky jelly mix to my hair, using glazing and praying hands, then scrunch and diffuse or air dry. The reason I don’t get an itchy scalp (in the finger coiling video) is because I’m only applying conditioner to my ends of my hair, not my roots or scalp. Hope that helps! xoxo
Jackeline Ramirez says
Hey I was wondering if you’d be willing to try a new brand of hair products. I heard of RizosCurls that was created by a curly girl who says it’s for all types of hair. I have been looking into new products because I just recently decided to try new products. I have a lot of hair but it’s low porosity and gets tangled easily.
Hi Jackeline, I’m always trying new products. I recommend using them consistently for at least 2-3 weeks before deciding if they work for you or not. I personally use a product/line of products exclusively for 1 month before I pass judgement. FYI, Rizos Curls, a few of those products aren’t curly girl friendly because they contain beeswax. I have a lot of hair too, and low porosity, although thankfully I don’t suffer that bad from knots or tangles.
Love your blog! I’m new to the curly girl method and it’s been so helpful! I saw on amazon a few oils to help with strengthening & hair growth. Are there any articles I’m missing with details? Thanks so much. -Erin
I haven’t published any articles on oils yet, but will do soon. x
How often should we be cleansing/conditioning? I’ve read things that say to only do it once a week, but then others that say it doesn’t matter as long as they are CG approved products!
whatever works best for you, however, I would say no more than 3 times a week. Washing your hair every day, no matter what kind of hair you have, I don’t think is best for the health of your hair. I wash my hair twice a week, and have done for as long as I can remember. Hope that helps xoxo
If you shower every day, do you put your hair in a shower cap or do you just rinse your hair with water? I find I need to shower every day but unsure what to do with my hair while I start the curly girl method.
I usually put my buff on over my hair, similar to how I wear it at night to protect my curls. You can always leave it loose and let the steam from the shower rehydrate your hair for the day. Or, like you said, put on a plastic shower cap. Hope that helps xoxo
This is all so helpful! I always knew I had wavy hair but just recently decided to get a curly cut and let my hair actually do it’s thing! I have been an athlete for 21 years and had been washing my hair every day which was destroying my curls…
I’m about 6 weeks in a things are a little funky but my curls are learning!!
Thank you for all your work!
Heyy Can someone pls help out? I’m thinking about starting the curly girl method and was thinking about buying most products from Giovanni after seeing such great reviews about the brand. Has someone tried their products? And which do you suggest that I should buy? I was thinking the Tee Tree Triple Treat Shampoo and Conditioner but for stylers not sure yet. Would appreciate anyone’s help ❤️ Also Cailin loving your posts!
Hi Raisa, thanks so much! Yes, Giovanni would be great products to buy! Triple Treat is great if you have a dry, itchy, sensitive or flaky scalp or greasy roots. Smooth as Silk is great if your hair needs some protein, 50/50 if your hair is pretty normal. I LOOOOVE their styling products. Their Weightless Direct Leave In is my favourite leave in of all time, and their foam/mousse and LA Natural Gel are also firm favourites of mine! Hope that helps, Gabriella, Curly Cailín. x
Thank you so much Gabriella! Very helpful and I appreciate your help! ❤️
Hanna B says
Hello! I have curly hair and have been using CG approved products regularly but there have been times that I have used sulfate/silicone products. So basically, I never did a final wash before going onto strictly only cg products. If I have been using CG for awhile now without doing a final wash do I need to restart and do a final wash? Or continue on with CG products without a final wash? Thanks so much!!!
Personally I would recommend doing a final wash again xoxo
I’m just starting this journey and trying to buy products now (in the US). I’m confused about co-washing and conditioning: do most people do both? Or is a co-wash enough to condition? Or do you co-wash twice with the same product?
Thank you for your help!
Hi Hayley, if you think of a co-wash as taking the place of shampoo, that should make it easier to understand. You need to look for a cleansing co-wash, such as the ones from Bounce Curl (use code CURLYCAILIN10 for $$ off), As I Am or MopTop. And then follow up with a conditioner, if your hair needs it and feels dry or frizzy after you’ve rinsed the co-wash. Does that help?
How can you tell if your hair loves protein or not?
I have a post called Protein Moisture Balance, which explains symptoms of protein overload, moisture overload and how to get the balance right. That should help you determine if your hair needs regular protein treatments/products or not. Here’s the link: https://curlmaven.ie/protein-moisture-balance/ Hope that helps xoxo
thank you thank you THANK YOG for this post! you cleared up a lot of questions and doubts i had.
Aww your very welcome! So glad it helped you xoxo
I CANNOT even handle the awesomeness of these blogs!!! (I came from the protein to moisture balance post) The product recommendations listed in order + a clear overview of glycerin/protein PLUS a reference list of routines based around hair needs!?!?
This is how my brain works. It’s how I digest and process information.
What. The what.
I’m floored. And forever grateful. (Homeschool mama of 3 5& under) I have zero time to sift through the junky blog posts. But this!? I read during kids nap time and took oodles of notes!!! So excited to finally try some of these products I’ve been keeping an eye on!! I didn’t want to buy without better understanding how bouncecurl vs jessiecurl might fit into what I know about my hair.
Gets weighed down easily.
Seems to LOVE protein.
Not a lot of hair there (I need tiny clumps or I
look bald )
THANK YOU FOR FOREVER
(Wildflowerrumpus on insta)
Aww Alyse!!!! That is the best comment/reply I’ve ever had! Thank you so so so so much! I’m so glad you’ve found my blog and found my content, writing style and recommendations helpful! From how you’ve described your hair, I think Jessicurl would suit you better than Bounce Curl. The Bounce Curl cleansers are great, but the conditioners and styling products have a lot of oils in them so wouldn’t suit your hair type, from your description. I hope that helps! I’ve got a 20% discount code for Jessicurl, use CURLYCAILIN20 and a 10% discount code for Bounce Curl, use CURLYCAILIN10. Have a fab day! xoxo
OMW – thank you for explaining it all in simple easy to follow steps – the different steps, product suggestions and then the different options simple step by step! What a lifesaver! My hair is more wavy than curly, but still get take away steps and a few products to look into. Thank you!!!
Aww that’s so lovely to hear Sue! Yes, I felt like this was missing from all the information that was out there, when I started out my journey two years ago. I’m so glad it’s helped you too.
How do you know if you need more protein??
Hi Angela, I’ve got a dedicated post on this, you can see it here> https://curlmaven.ie/protein-moisture-balance/
Amanda Kathlyn says
Hi Gabriella! I have been enamored with your blog ever since discovering it while researching CG influencers–I’m also half-Irish/half-Italian, and your “before” pics are like looking in a mirror for me!
Thank you so much for your helpful and digestible posts–as a stressed and working college student, I don’t have time for the frills of most influencer blogs, and I love that you get right to the heart of the issues and offer solutions the second before I feel like asking a question. I’ll definitely be back on your site for encouragement all the time as I begin and follow through with this crazy journey!
Awwwww Amanda!!!!! What a lovely thing to say, and a great way to start my day as I’ve just sat down with a cup of coffee! Thanks so much for those kind sweet words. And yes, I don’t hit publish until like I’ve been able to answer every possible question that someone might have about whatever it is I’m talking about. So glad you love the blog! And I’m so honoured to be a part of your curly journey. Gabriella x
The product to recommend are any of them cruelty free and vegan ?
You need to do your own research into the brands and products mentioned. There are lots of great cruelty free and vegan brands out there, you’ve just got to do your own research. I believe Noughty, Jessicurl and Boucleme are great brands to start with. Hope that helps!
Does the Bounce Curl Clarifying Shampoo work as a reset shampoo?
It depends, if you’re doing the final wash, or have been swimming in the pool or sea, or live in a hard water area, then it won’t be enough to clarify that kind of build up from the hair. But for everything else, then yes! I suggest you read my post on Clarifying for more detailed info. https://curlmaven.ie/why-when-you-should-clarify-your-hair/ Hope that helps x
Donna Anderson says
I love your blog and I’ve learned so much. I have a question, since you are from Ireland! I started CGM about 7 months ago. My hair was doing ok, no real problems. I went to Ireland for two weeks and during that time, my hair did so well. Good curls, no frizz, lasted 3-4 days even with all the wind. I came back to the United States and used the very same products but my hair did not do anywhere near as well as it did while visiting your beautiful country. I stayed in hotels during that time. Since the products did not change, but my hair did, in your opinion, what could I do to replicate my Ireland hair?
Hi Donna, so glad you had a wonderful time (and great curl days!) when you were in Ireland. Because Ireland generally has very hard water, most of the hotels have water softening systems – which you may not have back at home. So that could be what’s making the difference. It could also be due to weather and climate, combined with the products you’re using. Dew points, humidity etc. Hope that helps x
Thanks for a very informative post.
I’m realizing from your post that I may need low poo with my hair type rather than using my regular conditioner for co-cleansing. It’s taking me weeks to sort out my hair being over moisturized & that could be part of the problem. Sooo I was trying to order the Bouncecurl Moisturising Shampoo on their website as you mentioned elsewhere it’s good for protein but shipping alone (to Ireland) is coming to $24.33! Yikes! Does that sound right to you & how do you order your bouncecurl products?
Hi Máire, oh goodness yes, if you’ve got over moisturised hair stop co washing with your conditioner asap! You can order Bounce Curl from Naturalistic Products which is based in the UK, quick shipping times and no custom duties etc. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2qF0lw8 Hope that helps, I just ordered some on Saturday so I’m pretty sure it’s still in stock.
Love the info here! Just started this week more or less. Thought I was starting last week but then after reading soooooo much information I was using NOT curly girl friendly products . Went out today and bought what I could find and restarted . But. Got home and found I didn’t get a leave in conditioner ♀️ My hair is thick, wavy and takes forever to dry (haven’t quite figured out what type of hair I have) Do I actually need this? Since I’m just starting I’m sticking to lower priced products if I can then will build my supply as I can in time.
Today’s routine was
Suave Clarifying shampoo
Suave coconut conditioner
Giovanni 50-50 conditioner
Pantene curl mousse
Giovanni LA gel
Also bought but have’t used
As I am co wash
Diffused hair on cool and I did see more “curl” than wave yay!
Sleeping on satin pillowcase tonight and we shall see what happens.
Love love love your site!
Hi Jane, thanks so much! So you’ve got 2 cleansers there and a co wash. I recommend using the Suave Clarifying Shampoo once a month, and the As I Am Co wash on the wash days in between. Then use EITHER the Suave or Giovanni Conditioner – you don’t necessarily NEED a leave in conditioner, you could just use a tiny amount of either of those conditioners at the end, OR simply not completely rinse them out of your hair. Stop rinsing when the water is a milky colour, rather than clear. HOWEVER, I absolutely LOVE the Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner and haven’t been without a bottle in my routine since I started the CG method 2.5 years ago. It’s the best on the market, and affordable! The mousse and gel you have are both winners there, check out this post: https://curlmaven.ie/the-lmg-method/ on my LMG method of how I style my hair and you sound like you’re all set with all the products you need! YAY!
I am just starting this, as in just started researching today. I think I have determined that I have low porosity. As of right now, I wash my hair everyday using just normal Suave shampoo and conditioner (which I am now planning on switching) and a big tooth comb. I also use Diva Curls Light Defining Gel every time my hair is wet. I have a couple questions before I get started:
1. Will my hair get gross when I first make the transition to only washing my hair once a week?
2. On the days that I don’t wash my hair, should I not get it wet in the shower?
3. Any suggestions for things that I could combine with the Diva Curl Light Defining Gel that work super well?
Hi Heidi, Okay first things first, don’t feel that in order to follow the CG method you have to now only wash your hair once a week. I have washed my hair twice a week for as long as I can remember, long before the CG method, and I continue to wash my hair twice a week now, almost 3 years into the CG method. It’s what works best for you, the ultimate goal of following this method is to have healthy, hydrated, defined curls, not to just wash your hair once a week. So if washing twice or even three times a week is what works best for you, then continue to do that. Washing more than three times a week though will cause your hair to dry out, so I would aim to wash for twice a week, but no more than three times a week. On the days that you don’t wash your hair, you can avoid getting it wet in the shower, but you can let the steam hydate your hair, again, whatever works best for you. And finally, I’m not actually a huge fan of the Devacurl gels, I have lots of other gels and styling products that I love and use more and recommend in various posts under my “What to Buy” tab. Hope that helps x
Sarah Milne says
Heya lovely, great post and I will most definitely bring taking all of these tips onboard.
I started the CG method back in July but gave up after just 2 months as I couldn’t find the right help with products etc.
4 weeks later I’m ready to give it another a go and this time want to stick at it!!
Can you let me know what you use to soften the cast after styling?
Thank you xx
Hi Sarah, I don’t use anything to soften the cast after styling. I simply scrunch out the crunch with my hands. Some people use a silk scarf to minimize frizz, other people like to use a little bit of oil on their hands – I don’t do either. It’s about trial and error and finding what works for you. x
Thanks for this post you are so amazing! Can’t wait to start this method. I was wondering about washing. If I use this routine and style my hair after I wash it, do I need to wash the styling products out of my hair each day? I was recommended the Deva curl gel. Should I leave it in my hair until the next time I wash it? And if I want to apply it each day should I just wet my hair and apply it without washing my hair? Thanks!!
Hi Sarah, you don’t need to wash the styling products out of your hair each time after washing. Personally, I would recommend a different gel. There are much better options out there, and more affordable than the Devacurl Gel. Such as Jessicurl Spiralicous Gel, Aussie Instant Freeze, Giovanni LA Natural Gel and Boucleme Curl Defining Gel. Hope that helps x
Magistral job, Gabriella! No one could explain it better. I wish I had this pst before, since I first started cgm journey. But great source to study!! Thank you so much for your dedication. Chiara, Italy
Zoe Marie says
I’m starting my CG method soon an I was wondering after you do your first hair clarify and deep conditioning how should you dry your hair? Should I air dry or like Defuse and style?
Totally up to you, I prefer to diffuse my hair as I live in Ireland where it’s very damp and cold and I would get ill if I went around with wet hair – as my hair takes a long time to dry. I also prefer the volume and definition I get with diffusing. But I only ever use the medium heat or low heat setting. Hope that helps x
Ashley Daffin says
Hi, I’m new to the CG method. I’ve been trying to research as much as I can bf I start. I did the porosity test, and found that I my thick hair is low-medium porosity. Also, after reading your post on protein and moisture,I do feel that I’m over moisturized
I want to make sure that I start the CGM correctly.
1) Do I do the last wash on one day, and then the next time I need to wash use the clarifying/ loo-poo shampoo? Or do I do it in the same day?
2) For low / medium porosity hair that’s over moisturized… Can I use the Pantene mouse and Aussie gel for styling… Do I need the custard?
Sorry this is a novel… I’m abit lost
Thanks for your help,
Hi Ashley, welcome to the CG family! Okay so for the first wash, do a clarifying sulfate wash, and then the NEXT time you wash your hair use a CG friendly co wash or low poo. For hair that’s over moisturised, personally I think a deep conditioner with protein in it is better, as that has a better chance of penetrating the hair shaft, especially if it’s used with heat. Aka, it’s a better, more effective way of getting protein in the hair. I suggest taking some time to browse around my site and read the different articles, especially the ones on the CG Basics tab so you feel more confident and comfortable with getting started and knowing what to do.
Laura S says
I’ve been following CGM since April and am thrilled with how it’s going… And have been since day one. I feel like this is the holy grail – the solution I’ve been searching for for all these years. You were one of my first sources of information and I still like to re-read your blogs from time to time. Thank you for being such a great resource!
OK, so my question… I get my hair coloured (every 5 weeks); and after looking into it, I learned that my salon’s Redkin dye has silicones in it. I bring all my own products to the salon and have been bringing a sulfate shampoo (Live Clean hydration) to my appointments to get those silicones out. Is that what I should do? Is there a less harsh option, like clarifying shampoo you’d suggest? I appreciate any advice you might have.
Hi Laura, Thanks so much for your kind sweet words! So glad you’re having such great results from this method, and that my content has been helpful along your journey. Okay so when it comes to getting your hair coloured, I advicse to clarify your hair before you get it coloured, use Olaplex during the treatment and deep condition afterwards. Bounce Curl do a great clarifying shampoo that is colour safe, its called Clarifying Shampoo and you can get 5% off using my code CURLYCAILIN10. Then you can bring your own, silicone-free products with you to rinse the colour out and condition. If you use the Redken with silicones, you’re going to have to clarify again afterwards – which isn’t advised as it will fade the colour. Hope that helps x
Really enjoyed this post, so many good recommendations! I also have a little bit of a question: I have low porosity hair which gets build up super easily, which would be better for my hair kinky curly or bounce curl? (I’m also loving reading through all your amazing articles and getting some great product refs and information on curly hair that I honestly had no idea about! Between you and Hanzcurls I’m covered on curly girl knowledge!)
Hi Lexi, thanks so much. It’s up to you really and what you personally prefer. I prefer Bounce Curl as it’s not as drying as Kinky Curly, and gentle enough for regular, weekly use. I woulnd’t say the same about the Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo. Hope that helps x
Hi. I’m so glad I have found you. Some great advice. I have persuaded my 16 year old daughter to follow CGM for her curls and she has been (loosely) for a year or so. I say loosely in that she uses all the correct products but her routine, well, I shall say is very haphazard – she is a teenager after all and everything takes too much time. It usually ends up in a loose bun! I want to put together a box of some of the more expensive products for Christmas and wondered what you would suggest. Her curls are 3a-ish, thick, dull, dry, the hair at the scalp doesn’t wet easily, yet the rest does. It looked lovely after the one time I got her to do a rice rinse and flaxseed gel is good too. Any advice on products – to clean and style. Thanks so much
Hi Nicola, that’s so lovely of you! My mum used to crack an egg in my hair, throw some olive oil on it and wrap it in a Tesco plastic bag and that was about it! ha ha. I’ve just posted my A-Z Black Friday Guide for Curly Girls, and there’s lots of my favourite brands and products in there which would make a lovely present, and with lots of savings too. I’ll link the post here for you, hope that helps: https://curlmaven.ie/a-z-black-friday-guide-for-curly-girls/
Thank you so much for such a well laid out, informative article!
I’m currently 1 month in to dealing with the nightmare that is Telogen effluvium. After extensive googling of the damned condition I ended up finding articles about the CG method which I had NO IDEA ABOUT… Turns out I’ve been washing my hair wrong for 27 years ha!
I’ve always had thick, long 2B/2C (even some 3A) waves and curls, and they’ve always been a defining part of who I am amongst friends and strangers alike! I’m hoping that switching to CG friendly products will help with what I’m going through (goodbye to my staple John Frieda Range which is packed with silicones and sulphates). I know it won’t help with the hair shedding I’m experiencing now (I’m told there’s really nothing to do but to ride it out and take some supplements if I want to) but at least I now have something to look forward to and a clear goal of getting my damaged hair back in shape when this is all over!
After a full week of being lost in CG articles wondering what to buy, what is clarifying?, and how should I style?, this has put it all so plainly for me. I can’t thank you enough!
Onto the Black Friday shopping!
Aww Charlotte! I’m so sorry you’re going through that, but so glad you found my site and are finding my content helpful. I would definitely recommend the Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo, it’s a detox, chelating clarifying shampoo that will get rid of all the product build up on your hair. But also great if you live in a hard water area, or swim in the ocean/pool. It may not be the main reason for your hair loss, but it can contribute. As the root is suffocated and weighed down with all the build up, causing it to fall out. So definitely try that. Tropic Isle Living Jamaican Black Castor oil would also be great for you, it’s the best one on the market, hands down. And would really help for scalp health and hair growth and retention. You only need one or two drops and massage it into your scalp, especially the areas where you’ve lost the most hair. Really hope that helps lovey, and enjoy Cyber Weekend shopping! xoxo
Michelle Cravez says
Wondering if you have heard anything about this deva curl damage/hair loss issue that I keep seeing all over the internet and social media. I ignored it for awhile, but now my hair dresser, who has been using deva products on me for years has expressed her concern. Thoughts?
Hi Michelle, Deva Curl are aware of this and have conducted an internal review with the support of an independent, consumer products testing company and report that the independent tests found absolutely no safety issues and that DevaCurl products meet and exceed quality and safety standards. I have never experienced any of the curl damage or hair loss issues that some people are talking about. However, I will point out and advise you to use their products correctly, as advised on their bottle. I know the person at the heart of this “issue” was not using the products correctly. I hope that helps, please feel free to contact Deva Curl directly if you have any other questions or concerns, [email protected]
Your blog is the most comprehensive, one-stop resource I’ve found for curly-care. In particular, I really appreciate your emphasis on what works for you vs. a complete write off of a product that doesn’t meet your needs, and your encouragement to readers of things to keep in mind to find what could work better for them. I’m hitting a plateau trying to restore my curl pattern and you’ve helped me realize that I might be headed to hydral fatigue. Your blog has been so helpful in seeing with new eyes how I can take better care of myself. THANK YOU!
Aww thank you so so much Sarah! That’s made my day! Hope you get your hygral fatigue/over moisturised hair sorted soon. Just a quick FYI, it took me months of weekly modified rice water treatments to get my hair back to full bouncy, defined health after hygral fatigue, so don’t expect one protein treatment to fix it. Have a great day x
Hi – just looking into this for my hair. It all sounds really expensive and wondering two things: anything budget that works (full time job, two kids, big mortgage, lots of commitments) and what do you take and how do you manage on a holiday when you have limited luggage allowance?
Hi Jen, I totally get it, I’m a single mum with 2 young kids, both of whom have curly hair too. Yes, it’s totally do-able on a budget! Some great brands such as As I Am, Giovanni and Pantene are all great. I’ll be doing a dedicated post on how to do the curly girl routine on a budget, coming in the new year, and for holidays too. So stay tuned, or if you’d prefer to subscribe so you’ll get the posts and notifications straight into your inbox, you can do that by clicking here: http://www.curlycailin.ie/subscribe
Do you have a good acv recipe and directions for clarifying?
I don’t like to use ACV to clarify personally, there’s too much risk of that going wrong for me. I have a dedicated post on clarifying, and all the different options available here: https://curlmaven.ie/why-when-you-should-clarify-your-hair/
I am just about to start my journey with my hair so I am very new here. I haven’t used any of the cosmetics and I am planning to start.
My question is: Do you apply them one by one on wet hair, or on dry hair?
Do you blow dry your hair or leave them to dry naturally?
Hi Emilia, no worries, everyone starts somewhere so I hear ya! I apply my products one by one on wet hair and then I use my hair dryer and diffuser to dry my hair. I rarely let my hair air dry naturally – mainly because I live in a cold climate, but also because I prefer the volume that diffusing gives me. Hope that helps x
I won’t go into how appreciative I am of the simplicity of your posts! CG is HARD but you simplify it without dumbing it down too much. THANK YOU 100 for that!
Few questions, but first:-
My hair is VERY dry and VERY frizzy (probably due to the keratin straightening treatments I’ve had done to it as well dying (but no bleach)) so since starting CG (6 weeks should) I’ve done a deep condition with every wash I.e once a week. I alternate between a protein deep conditioner and a moisturizing one each time. I use the Devacurl no poo followed by the Shea moisture Manuka and Mafura hydration masque one week and the following week I use the Aveda be curly co wash followed by the black castor strengthen and repair masque.
FYI my hair is between 3b-3c curls but I do have some stragglers that are limp and almost wavy or straight. I assume those are the leftovers from my keratin straightening days because the root is curly but the ends are straight.
For the life of my I can’t figure out my Hair porosity but I think I would be a medium-high porosity just by virtue of what it’s gone through and also because my hair is VERY dry and stringy and the protein masks have added more bounce and curly.
Oil tends to sit ON my hair leaving a gunky film. I have the same effect when I use the sheet moisture coconut and hibiscus smoothie.
1) I think ideally I need to wash my hair twice a week because my curls get gunky and less bouncy they stick out funny and lump together awkwardly AND the hairs closer to my scalp get matted down and feel very product-y. If I do wash twice a week can I deep condition twice a Week?
2) should I follow my deep conditioner with a leave in or skip the leave in step?
3) when I try to avoid applying products to my roots (like every blog under the sun preaches!) I find that I’m frizzing up more. What products can be applied to the scalp and which should I avoid applying to my scalp?
4) I’m experimenting between air drying and diffusing and found that air drying produces less frizz BUT I’m a working mother and I don’t have 4 hours to wait for my hair to fully dry. Am I not applying enough product or using the wrong products or am I diffusing incorrectly?
5) I use the Devalcurl light defining gel and notice from your comments that you are not a fan, can I ask why?
Hi, wow that is a long comment! First of all, I don’t recommend any of the products you’re using and haven’t found them to be good for the hair, so first up I’d recommend switching those out for better products. You’ll find recommendations and reviews throughout this blog. From what you’ve described throughout your comment, it sounds like you need to do a really good clarifying wash, to get off all the heavy oils, butters, moisturizing agents and gunk and film like residue you mentioned off your hair. It’s stopping your hair from being able to get hydrated and moisturised properly. I suggest starting off by reading this post on clarifying: https://curlmaven.ie/why-when-you-should-clarify-your-hair/
How long do curly girls leave products in before a wash again?
I wash my hair twice a week, and don’t add any other products on the days in between.
Lindsey Bertke says
Finally..finally someone actually lays out a routine! I have 2a/b wavy hair and am just starting the curly girl method and am lost! The curls are there but I’m getting some frizz..I wanted to see some sort of routine and you gave me one!!! Thank you! You have a new subscriber from the US!!
Aww thank you so much Lindsey! So glad my content has helped and given you what you’ve been looking for! Best of luck with it x
I have been reading your blog all morning and found it so helpful. I am still really confused about washing/conditioning my hair. I was co washing however it made my scalp so sore, i had to switch to using Johnsons baby shampoo one a week on my scalp. I will be honest i don’t know how i should be conditioning my hair and what with.
You hair is stunning 🙂
Hi Stevie, so glad you’re finding my content helpful. Co washing isn’t for everyone, I don’t cowash anymore. I would go for a low poo instead, and clarify using Johnson’s Baby Shampoo once a month instead. Condition your hair as normal, with a CG friendly conditioner – my blog post if full of recommendations, check out My Favourite Products of 2019 for recommendations. Apply conditioner as normal, leave on for longer if you need a deep condition, use a thermal heat cap (I sell them here: http://bit.ly/2V5oUCS) if you want the best results. Leave a little in your hair when rinsing if your hair is feeling dry, parched or frizzy.
Greetings from Lithuania! I have wavy hair and just started my journey with the curly girl method. My question is about the cleansing procedure. As far as I understand, when you cleanse you hair, you should apply the product only on you scalp and roots, and the rest of the hair will get clean as the product moves downward during the rinsing. What about final wash/periodic clarifying/protein containing shampoos for protein-moisture balance – should I apply these products only on my scalp and roots or to all of my hair?
Personally I don’t agree with that thought. While yes, I apply and concentrate the cleansing products on my scalp and roots, I also bring it down the rest of my hair to wash it too. Hope that helps.
abby donahue says
Hello, I want to start the Curly Girl Method! I have some question first. Could I use the As I am co-wash, The As I am Leave in, The gel and the cream from As I Am? Not the co-wash everyday but all the other products. The reason is because I like to use all the same brands. Can anyone help me?
Hi Abby, The As I Am range is very moisturising, and if you used all those products you mentioned, you’d be on a fast track to over moisturised hair, it’s all moisture moisture moisture. I suggest reading my post on Protein Moisture Balance. I’d ask why you want to use all the same brand, not all brands have the best of each product category within that brand. Instead I’d focus on using the best cleanser, the best conditioner, the best stlyer etc that you can afford. Rather than focusing on everything must be from one brand. If budget is an issue, and you’re absolutely set on using products from one brand, I’d suggest Giovanni as an alternative to As I Am, as their product are more protein moisture balanced, and they have other types of styling products such as leave in conditioner, foam and gel. That’s all you really need for styling anyway. If you shop on Look Fantastic you can get 15% off using code CURLYCAILINLF. Hope that helps and all makes sense.
whenever you reference it in this post, can we interchange “matrix biolage hydra source conditioner” with “matrix biolage hydra source conditioning balm”?
Yes, it’s the same thing.
Fenna Van Engelshoven says
Hello i have low porosity Hair. And with the as i am co wash and the boucleme cleansing shampoo my Hair isnt clean after washing. After washing my Hair looks more dirty than before. What AM I doing wrong.
My routine is
As i am co wash
Sometime conditioner matrix biolage
Cantu lock gel
Before i starter this routine i die the Final wash. The first attemp nu Hair wasnt looking dirty after washing
I came across your blog and I found it so helpful as this is so new to me and super confusing! I have found this layout for the routine so helpful but I am confused about one thing. I have the giovanni papaya styling mousse and I thought it was suppose to hold my waves but then you mention a gel or custard after the mousse so am I supposed to add a gel after I put the giovannni mousse? Thank you
You can do, it’s whatever works best for you. But I prefer to put a gel/custard on top of my mousse
I have been doing the curly girl method for just over a week now but I’ve noticed that my hair looks quite greasy. I’m not sure whether this is just my hair getting used to the new method or I’m doing something wrong or using products my hair doesn’t like. Do you have any advice? For some context, my hair is very thick, long, and dry (though the curly girl method has been helping with the dryness).
Hi Liv, it can depend on what you’re using. If you’re using a conditioner to cleanse your hair, then it will most likely look and feel greasy. However, if you’re used to using sulfate shampoos and cleanse your hair often, and now you’re not using sulfates and cleansing less often, then it can take a while for the hair and scalp to transition and get used to the new ingredients and routine.
Hi Gabriella, I love your blog as I have tried to do the curly girl method a few times and have only recently made it a permanent change, so thank you for all the helpful tools and tricks you share! I’m confused as to whether to use a co-wash, no poo (aren’t these basically the same?) or low-poo to cleanse my hair. I’m currently using As I Am cowash and although I like it, I’m not sure it cleanses my hair well although this could be due to product build up.
In terms of styling, I had good results using Garnier hair food or Giovanni as a leave in Conditioner, followed by boots curl cream (I know this is not CG friendly but it’s the only styler I’ve tried that works well to define my curls) and then twisted Sista amazing dream curl gel. I recently finished my curl cream and in an effort to find a CG friendly styler, I started using the Pantene no.5 mousse; however, I find that my hair comes out frizzy and less defined/less hold and the curls are more stringy as opposed to the clumps I got using boots curl cream. Also I struggle with what to do/how to refresh my curls after wash day. I don’t want to give up on this method again as I’ve had a couple of successful washes but I can’t seem to maintain it. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated
Hi Jo, I suggest maybe having a 1:1 Curl Clinic with me, they’re a 30 minute video consultation where we go through your hair, what products you’re using, issues you’re experiencing, anything you want my advice/guidance on, and then I put together a recommended product and technique routine for you, specific to your hair. If that’s something you’re interested in, click this link, fill out the form and I’ll get back to you via email with all of the details. http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
ERIN TURCHETTI says
I literally just stumbled onto the CGM and am overwhelmed with excitement as I thought there was no helping my hair!
About a year ago my hair became limp and particularly flat at the roots. I thought the changes were hormonal and that there was nothing to be done.
But as of today I have hope!
I will determine my hair porosity tomorrow but in the meantime I have bought the following products:
Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo for final wash
Giovanni leave in weightless conditioner
Giovanni LA hold styling gel
I will pick up a cleansing conditioner tomorrow.
What else do I need to get started? I must admit I find this all quite overwhelming!
So excited to get started
Hi Erin, I have a wealth of information on my blog on how to get started, routines, techniques and products to use. Alternatively, I offer 1:1 Curl Clinics for these occasions. They’re a 30 minute video consultation where we go through your hair, issues your experiencing, products you’ve been using etc, what you want my advice/guidance on and I then put together a recommended product and technique routine for you, specifically for your hair. If that’s something you’re interested in, click this link and fill out the form and I’ll get back to you via email with all the details. http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
Hello Cailin. I stumbled across your website as I began researching curly hair. I turned 40 this year and have a love/hate relationship with my thick curly frizzy hair but I am quickly learning that there is a science to curly hair and I need to stop blow drying and be comfortable and confident with my naturally curly hair. Thank you for breaking it down at the end of the blog about products but I had a question. You mentioned steps for protein free and protein balance. I have been reading a lot and I thought I read that you said our hair needs protein just like our body does. So do you use a protein free routine and then switch to protein balance and if so how often do you do that? I am trying not to get over whelmed by all this knowledge and will try this technique and see how my hair turns out:
Option 1, also great for beginners:
As I Am Coconut Co-Wash
Matrix Biolage Hydra Source Conditioner (don’t fully rinse out)
Pantene Defined Curls Mousse
Aussie Instant Freeze Gel
Thanks for any help you can give. Hoping I can find great results like you have!
Hi Brooke, it’s Gabriella, not Cailín. I offer 1:1 Curl Clinics which is a 30 minute video consultation where we go through your hair, issues your experiencing, products you’ve been using etc, what you want my advice/guidance on and I then put together a recommended product and technique routine for you, specifically for your hair. If that’s something you’re interested in, click this link and fill out the form and I’ll get back to you via email with all the details. http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
Sally Aston says
Hello, Super glad i came across you site, so much interesting information.
I have been using the Only curls products which i have checked is CG approved however, i find my scalp gets so dry but my curls looks really greasy. I use an All Curl Cleanser, all Curl Conditioner, Hydrating Curl Creme and the Enhancing Curl Gel. Would you suggest playing with another brand or skipping one of the steps out. Im very new to all of this and im not really sure which part i should change to help. I just want to get rid of the dry fluff and fluffy halo i have!
Hi Sally, I’m not a fan of the Only Curls range, they contain a lot of polyquats, which can cause build up over time. I would recommend switching to something else, I’ve got lots of reviews, recommendations and favourite products posts on my blog if you want to check those out. Alternatively, you can book in for a 1:1 Curl Clinic, which is a 30 minute video consultation where we go through your hair, routine, products you’re using, things you’re struggling with and I’ll put together a recommended product and technique routine for you, to suit your hair. If that’s something you’re interested in, then click this link and fill out the form, and I’ll get back to you with all the details via email: http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
Thank you so much for your blog and the super helpful information. I think my hair type is just like yours but I still struggle with products/methods. I recently ( past year) just stopped using regular shampoo and use no lather shampoo once a week. My curls are frizzy and almost flat by the end of the day so since I take a shower everyday, I make my hair wet and condition everyday in the shower, and use a no leather shampoo once a week. I wonder if this is too much? (Making it wet everyday and conditioning and using products)
Thanks a lot!
Hi Nazanin, your curls are flat and frizzy by the end of the day most likely because you’re using too much moisture. Conditioning your hair every day and only cleansing once a week. That’s not a good balance and I would say yes it is too much.
Hello, if one use the Jessicurl confident coils, instead of the Pantene mousse, do I need to use the custard and gel?
If you want, you need to figure out what works best for you.
Heya! I really want to start with her curly girl journey. However, which option could you reccomend for oily scalp and dryish hair. My hair has always been very weird and pretty frizzy, which I hate.
Also I can’t find any reccomendations on how frequently to wash my hair and should I use both a conditioner and a deep conditioner.
For most people, I recommend washing their hair twice a week with a cleanser and conditioner. Deep condition a minimum of once a month when you clarify, and a maximum of once a week if you’re trying to fix any issues. I offer 1:1 Curl Clinics, they’re a 30 min consultation via video where we go through all the products you’re using and the issues you’re experiencing. I then put together a routine and recommend products to suit your hair’s needs, your budget and any other requirements you have. If that’s something you’re interested in, please fill out this form, and I’ll get back to you via email with all of the details. http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
Hey this is the most perfect easy to read guide to starting. I have one question and it’s my step one *face palm* lol. For the johnson baby shampoo it says look for disodium EDTA and I was wondering if that is the only name to look for because I can’t see it in the ingredient list so does that mean I shouldn’t get it?
I actually need to change that recommendation because I don’t think it’s nearly as good as Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo. Disodium or Tetrasodium EDTA is the main chelating ingredient.
I just want to thank you. I’m a curly guy and was using DevaCurl until very recently when I found out about all the issues with it. I was disappointed about having to go back to the drawing board since I’d gotten into a routine over the last year and a half of using CG method and I stumbled across your site. Your hair is literally identical to my hair and the thing that grabbed me and pulled me in to your site specifically was when you talked about Shea Moisture and how it makes hair like ours feel heavy. I’ve passed your site on to one of my closest friends and his wife whose daughter is a curly like us.
God bless you and thank you again! I’ve learned so so much from this site over the past few weeks and my routine is better than it’s ever been.
Thank you so much for all you advice. I was following the CG method for years in my 20s then somehow fell off the wagon and now in my 40s I am back! The problem I have is that my looks rubbish after wash day and only really starts to curly up into ringlets on day 3 or 4 and will look great for another 3 or 4 days. The problem is it’s dirty and knotty by that time. It looks great but it feels awful. Since Jan I have been using the B&B Sunday shampoo and the coconut co-wash with the pantene mousse and clear hair gel. My hair seems really flat and stiff on wash days and seems to get better after a few days. I do a pineapple at night. Any help you can give would be amazing thank you and hope you have a fab weekend.
I’d recommend using a conditioner for sure, a co wash is not enough on it’s own.
This is a great post on the Curly Girl Method! One thing that isn’t touched on, and in fact I have not found anything that has ever touched on it, is if I have frizzy waves, but I also have flaky, itchy, inflamed scalp, if I neglect a pyrithione zinc shampoo. I tried it once and had to use a T-Gel shampoo just to get my scalp on a healing route. I pretty much have to use a pyrithione zinc shampoo, which is not on any curly girl or any hair care routine when trying to restore and repair hair. Is there a solution that would work for me, to keep my messed up scalp under control while also managing my wavy hair? Thanks in advance!
Hi Donna, the reason those kind of medicated shampoos aren’t included in curly girl routines, is because they’re not curly girl friendly due to the ingredients. However, the health of your scalp trumps everything else. Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. So if you’ve been prescribed one of these medicated shampoos due to scalp issues, then 100% stick with that, and either alternate it with a CG friendly cleanser, or just make sure you’re using a really good conditioner and/or hair mask. Hope that helps, but if you need more specific help building a routine for your hair, I offer 1:1 Curl Clinics, they’re a 30 min consultation via video where we go through all the products you’re using and the issues your experiencing. I then put together a routine and recommend products to suit your hair’s needs, your budget and any other requirements you have. If that’s something you’re interested in, please fill out this form, and I’ll get back to you via email with all of the details. http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
Hello! I have absolutely no idea what to do with my hair. I think it’s low porosity, 2a-2b waves, fine, and low density. I use As I Am Co-Wash, and try to wash my hair every third day, as I live a very active lifestyle, but I haven’t found a shampoo that doesn’t make my hair super frizzy. I’m also having difficulty with a lack of clumping with my hair–some sections have nice wavy clumps while others have thin, straight lines. I’m just not sure what to do! Any advice??
Hi Hannah, I offer 1:1 Curl Clinics, they’re a 30 min consultation via video where we go through all the products you’re using and the issues your experiencing. I then put together a routine and recommend products to suit your hair’s needs, your budget and any other requirements you have. If that’s something you’re interested in, please fill out this form, and I’ll get back to you via email with all of the details. http://www.curlycailin.ie/contact
Kristin Bruington says
I’ve tried everything under the sun and cannot get enough to hold to skip hairspray. For years I’ve been using a Paul Mitchell finishing spray on my curls because even if I use gel and mousse, my hair is still too soft and won’t stay put. Using a hairspray means I can’t refresh or go very long between washes. Ugh. I also swear I NEVER get a cast, no matter how much product I use. I color my hair and diffuse regularly so I’m sure I have high porosity hair. Any suggestions??
Yeah, it 100% sounds like your hair is over moisturized and you need to clarify and do protein treatments. Check out my blog post, YouTube video and IGTV on the Protein Moisture Balance. x
It sounds to me like your hair is over moisturized and your hair needs protein, a lot of it. Everything you’re describing are classic signs of over moisturized hair, lacking in protein. Check out my post, YouTube video and IGTV on the Protein Moisture Balance on how to fix the issue and imbalance. Because a hairspray and styling products is never going to fix the issue, just put a band aid on the problem.
Nisha Sapra says
The best post ever! Thank you so much. I have been following your blog and product recommendations for 6 months now and this clarified all I need to progress on this journey..
One question – what with staying home a fair bit, I am using fewer styling products and sometimes just use leave in post a shampoo. If I put in a lot of leave in (section by section), my curls are weighed down the first day but by the second they perk up and I can go a few days without refreshing.
Do you think I should skip the leave in and try just a curl cream instead?
Good luck on the Curl Maven plan!
Hi Nisha, thanks so much! I think it’s my best post yet too, so glad you liked it. I would say you’re using too much leave in conditioner, especially if it’s weighing your hair down. You could try a curl cream, but I’d ask you what are you wanting the product to do? Why are you adding the leave in/curl cream? If it’s for moisture, then I’d recommend deep conditioning, or doing my rinsing technique to leave in some of your conditioner. That way you get all the hydration, moisture and goodness from the conditioner, without weighing your hair down. If it’s definition and hold that you’re looking for, as opposed to hydration and moisture, then I’d look at a different type of styling product. Maybe a mousse or a gel. If you want a combination of both, check out a lotion or serum. Does all that make sense?
In the US I’m only finding the Matrix Biolage Ultra Hydrasource Conditioning Balm. Is this the same product that you recommend?
HI Jessica, the ultra version contains a drying alcohol and isn’t curly girl friendly. The only product that is, the conditioning balm.
Hi, do you refresh or have any suggestions on what products to use for it? There seems to be endless version suggested online. Thanks
safwaan Moosa says
The best post ever! Thank you so much.
M. Elena says
Thank you so much for your informative posts! I am eager to begin my curly girl journey but I’m confused on how to start. I live in Miami which has extremely hard water and then add to that the pool and beach time. From your post it sounds like I would benefit from a chelating shampoo. On the other hand I have dark hair that I color treat to cover grays and I’ve read that one shouldn’t use chelating shampoos on color treated hair. Even if I time my chelating shampoo rinses right before coloring would I have to color all of my hair every time instead of just doing root touch ups?
This was so helpful! I have always wanted to learn how to take care of my curls but the amount of information on the internet just intimidated me so much. This was clear and concise. Very helpful ☺️