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My Experiment With "Curly Girl" Hair Care Method

Updated on August 23, 2017

I've recently discovered the "Curly Girl" method of caring for and enhancing natural curls, and decided to give it a try. This is my progress diary.

The "Curly Girl" system of embracing your curls is very different from a mainstream hair care routine.

According to CG, you're not supposed to use shampoo, terry-cloth towels or comb your hair ever! Instead, you wash your hair with conditioner-only and take great care to keep it moisturized.

I haven't fully formed my opinion, yet, but it wouldn't hurt to try, yeah?

I'm Conducting This Experiment According To:

Curly Girl: The Handbook
Curly Girl: The Handbook

This is the book I'm using as a blueprint for my new hair care routine! It's full of pretty curly haired girls, helpful advice and accounts of curly experiences by women from all walks of life.


Never Combing Your Hair? How Do You Feel About That?

Never Combing Your Hair? How Do You Feel About That?

See results
Day One CG Routine
Day One CG Routine

Curly Girl Diary, Day One

I've washed my hair with conditioner, then scrunched some more conditioner into it and left it to air dry. Not using any hair gel as I don't have the right kind of gel around... maybe next week.

* Doing that first wash at 8 PM was a colossal mistake! It's now half past midnight and the hair is not even getting close to dry... I don't want to ruin my hair by sleeping on it wet.

* Just after the one co-wash I'm developing these crazy, ropy corkscrew strands, especially on the right side... I knew there were some curls hiding behind my combed waves... but the corkscrews are unexpected.

Curly Girl Day Two vs Before

You can see in the "Before" picture that my hair started out wavy and overcombed, forming this triangle I'm not too fond of. Now I'm really happy with how the hair looks from the back.

One thing I find very difficult is not to mess with the hair or run fingers through it. Doing that will guarantee frizz galore!

I Am Using This Silicone-Free Conditioner

Bumble and Bumble Seaweed Conditioner for Unisex, 8 Ounce
Bumble and Bumble Seaweed Conditioner for Unisex, 8 Ounce

Nice smelling and moderately moisturizing conditioner. Doesn't grease up my hair even when I use a good portion of this as a leave-in.


Basics of the Curly Girl Method

  1. Wash your hair with sulfate-free, silicone free shampoo or conditioner.

  2. Condition your hair well while wet. This is the only time you're allowed to finger comb the hair.

  3. Remove extra moisture by scrunching the hair with an old t-shirt or a paper towel. I used the latter.

  4. Scrunch in some gel. The gel should be silicone free and alcohol free. I didn't follow this step!

  5. Let your hair air-dry

Entering the Second Week of Curly Girl Experiment

Throughout the week I've kept with the routine of wetting the hair and scrunching it, sometimes adding more conditioner. I'm not quite yet at the point where I'm ready to walk out the door with the hair I wake up with!

In the picture you can see my hair after its second co-wash & air dry. Yes, I'm fully washing only once a week, and the hair seems mostly ok with it. Maybe next week I'll post a pic of 6 day hair to compare!

You can see there's even more curl than last week, but a but of frizz too. That's from messing with the hair after it dried.

Curly Girl Routine Week 3

This is week 3, and as promised you can see my 6 day hair from the last wash, compared to freshly washed and dried hair.

As you can see, it looks almost identical, no greasiness or grossness of any sort. You can see a bit of a frizzy halo on top of my 6 day hair, though. Mind, this is conditioner-only. I still don't use any gel!

Greasy Disaster at Week 4 of (Modified) Curly Girl Routine

This week I've decided to do a hot oil treatment before weekly my co-wash, as many curlies rave about them!

I've used Weleda Rosemary hair oil, heated it, scrunched it into my hair and held for tow hours. Then co-washed. Result? Greasy disaster!

Yeah, I guess hot oil treatment is not what my hair needs. It looks nice enough on the bottom with defined and hydrated curls, but the top of my hair is a flat greaseball.

Lesson learned - use oil sparingly and never on top!

Rosemary Hair Oil - Not So Great as Hot Oil Treatment!

Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil, 1.7 Ounce
Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil, 1.7 Ounce

Aside from its failure as a treatment, putting a bit of this oil as a styling product worked rather nicely for me to soften the hair and add curl definition.

Has a strong herby scent that I rather enjoy!


One year later - still doing curly girl

Curly girl - one year into the routine
Curly girl - one year into the routine

It's been a little more than a year since I've first wrote this page, and guess what? I'm still on my modified version of the curly girl routine. It works for me.

Washing: I've settled into the routine of washing my hair once a week with a sulfate-free shampoo, loading the hair with conditioner and combing it out, then I wash out most of the conditioner and plop the hair into a t-shirt.

Drying: I let my hair sit in the plop for about 20 minutes and then either let it down to air dry, or blowdry it on the cold setting. After the hair is dry I scrunch in a bit of coconut oil for the shine. I never go to sleep with wet hair, either loose or in a plop, because it makes my hair crazily stick out in all directions!

Sleeping: With shorter curly hair, sleeping is not a problem - pineapple it and you're good to go! My hair is longer now, so I braid it for the night. In the picture above you can see my hair just after I let it loose from a braid.

Curly Extras

Turbie Twist Microfiber Super Absorbent Hair Towel (2 Pack) Cupcakes / Sprinkles
Turbie Twist Microfiber Super Absorbent Hair Towel (2 Pack) Cupcakes / Sprinkles

Turbie Twist is a huge time saver!

Wrapping my hair in a Turbie Twist after washing, and keeping it up for 30 minutes or so, drastically reduces my hair's the air-drying time. It also allows me to easily remove extra conditioner from my back. Curly hair needs lots of conditioner, the back does not!


© 2012 the-good-stuff

All Comments Are Welcome!

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    • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

      Jennifer Mugrage 12 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I love this. This was exactly my experience, but without the book. My hair looked exactly like your 'before' picture, before I figured out a few things ...

      -Good cut for curly hair

      -Don't brush or comb it

      -Use argan oil, not gel

      -Go 3+days between washings

      However, I do sleep on wet hair, and it comes out with slightly looser curls but other than that OK.

      Tia, I'm sorry you're overwhelmed. I hope that in the last 23 mos you've figured out some answers. If you hair is long, I recommend you braid it before going to bed. Not a perfect braid, just a loose one that works with your curls. This will keep away the worst tangles. Also, if you hair is super long, consider cutting off some length since it tangles so easily and you are tender headed. Good luck!

      Thanks again for this Hub. It sounds like a fabulous book.

    • profile image

      Tia 2 years ago

      I was wondering what you curl type is? I have 3b/Corkicelli curls.

      I've read the curly girl book, but I like your routine better. Its much easier to follow, but Im just a little confused. I've just started doing this (today actually) and Im so lost. I have no idea where to start. I have the products, the tools all of it but I have so many questions, I just don't know how to word/ ask them.

      Im only 16, and my hair gets so tangled and knotted super easily. I don't know how I should wear my hair to bed, or how im supposed to detangle it. I know it says to finger comb but I tried that and it hurts. I am also super tender headed. Im pretty sure this looks like a buch of gibberish. I'm sorry, I just don't know what to do and I'm getting really frustrated and upset and It's only the first day of this.

    • profile image

      Tiana 2 years ago

      So, I really want to try this, because I have major curly hair, but I also dye my hair different colors.. Like a bunch. Not super close together. My dye jobs are usually about 5 - 6 months maybe longer apart, so I was wondering if it would still be okay for my to dye my hair and do the CG method? Also, am I still allowed to deep condition?

    • profile image

      C Pep 3 years ago

      I have to say, I had my doubts when I read this...

      Today was the first time I tried this CG method and I can not believe the difference!

      I followed the steps above: wash, condition, comb, rinse, light condition scrunch, t-shirt wrap, air dry (think I covered all the steps).

      I cannot believe how much more defined my curls are! My hair is about shoulder length and very curly. My curls are less frizzy and more springy!

      Tomorrow will be the first time I will only water spritz and possibly condition so I'm excited to see how it works!

      Thank you for this post!!!

    • the-good-stuff profile image

      the-good-stuff 3 years ago

      Hi Frannie! My CG method changed a bit since I wrote the article originally, here's what I currently do:

      Massage the scalp with either a silicone-free conditioner or a sulfate-free shampoo and rinse it off.

      Then I scrunch in plenty of conditioner and detangle my hair using a wide tooth comb.

      Then I rinse the hair again and scrunch in just a little bit of conditioner, take a t-shirt, scrunch a but using the t-shirt then wrap my hair into it and proceed with my shower.

      After the shower, I remove the t-shirt and let my hair air dry. I'm pretty happy with this method!

    • profile image

      Frannie 3 years ago

      Can you please give a more detailed version of your routine? :) I've tried cg for the past few years and my hairs always a mess! Do you plop your hair upside down or use any special methods while washing?

    • profile image

      paradisefound 3 years ago

      @the-good-stuff: Thanks! I am using herbal essence gel right now and I have deva curl ultra waiting to try. I like how it feels on day 2 and 3 after cowashing/gelling and air drying on day 1. Days 2 and 3 I just spay with water and add some conditioner and rescrunch. Seems like my hair is wet or damp a lot of thr time but blow drying even with a diffuser= mega frizz lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I want to start the CG method and have been wanting to for a while but i have to go in for a trim in a month and i know they're going to use silicone products. will a one time use of silicones, sulfates, and heat completely ruin all the effort i put into the CG method? im only asking because i usually get a haircut every 5-6 months or longer and i don't want to have to start the process all over again after a haircut every few months as i've heard that it takes some time for your hair to get use to no shampoo for the first few weeks.

    • the-good-stuff profile image

      the-good-stuff 3 years ago

      @paradisefound: Yep, no gel for me. I've tried gel briefly, but found that it made my hair look very thin. I leave a bit of conditioner in an that's it.

      If the gel cast bothers you, you can try a very light hold gel; I've heard good things about FOTE aloe vera gel for this.

    • profile image

      paradisefound 3 years ago

      My aroma

      Just curious. Are you still not using gel? I am just beginning curly girl and I am not fond of gel. It stays so wet and then you get that gel cast.

      Think I may try just using some conditioner to scrunch......

    • the-good-stuff profile image

      the-good-stuff 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't think it will completely ruin your results, and even if it does, your hair will be back to normal within a wash or two.

      I find that not combing my hair is what brings out curl most, not the products, although you certainly can bring your own products to the salon or at least insist they use the low heat setting on the blow-dryer.

    • goldenquill profile image

      goldenquill 5 years ago

      I find everyone definitely does NOT need oil on this routine. But I really liked using Jojoba oil (of any kind) when I was on the curly girl routine.. Jojoba is really light and it looks like your hair is a similar texture to mine. Have u tried it?

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Nice lens ! Useful and informative. Thanks for sharing.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      This is interesting. I need to let my granddaughter know about this. Her hair is so curly she has trouble getting it brushed. Blessings!

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 5 years ago

      @the-good-stuff: Interesting! I just found the book at the library, so I may give this a try! Thanks for your input! (And great lens, by the way!)

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 5 years ago

      Very interesting! I hadn't heard of the CG method. My hair is about 9 inches longer than yours, so I can't imagine not combing it! I hope you continue to post! Also, what are the "rules" in regards to putting you hair up? I have to wear it up for work. And do you not wash your scalp at all? (I only put conditioner in the hair after it's away from my head, so my head doesn't get greasy.) Do you use a leave-in conditioner? Now you have my interest piqued!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      Not sure if I can try this on one of my daughters really frizzy hair, she likes it in a braid most of the time. Can one braid without a good combing through?

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very nice - thanks for sharing!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Just using your hands are enough for curly hair. Your experiment looks like it was a success.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      If you get the results you want go for it. I think the main thing is keep it clean, and if you don't comb or brush you most like wouldn't notice if it's curly.