I am a huge fan of the Curly Girl Method and have been loosely following it now for over three years. The Curly Girl Method, which was created by curly diva Lorraine Massey and detailed in her book with Michele Bender, Curly Girl: The Handbook, is a unique approach to caring for natural curly, coily, and wavy hair.This method is unique because it goes against what many of us have traditionally been told to do to our hair. This method shows how to properly identify your curls and how to cleanse, condition, and style your hair according to your curl. It also explains how sulfates, parabens, direct heat, and brushes can all be damaging for our delicate curls.
Many curlies usually start using the method to the letter and then change it up according to their particular needs. I am no different, and while I no longer follow it to the letter, I follow the major principles and have found success with keeping my hair hydrated and protected.
To the letter (Full CGM)
Of course you can use the method to the letter and yield amazing results. The problem with that is the limitations on products that some just does not want to adhere to. Not using shampoos or shampoos with sulfates only are not always going to be enough to remove buildup. With summer in full swing, chlorine and saltwater are also concerns for removal from hair completely. While the method has DIY remedies for chlorine, some feel better using products with sulfates and silicones.
Many usually start using the method to the letter and then change it up according to their particular needs.
Following the conditioning and styling only (Mostly CGM)
I fall into this category more often than not, because while I truly hate shampoos. I understand their purpose in my hair care regimen. I use only botanical conditioners and sulfate-free shampoos or cleansing conditioners most of the time. When I need to remove some gunk from my hair or waited too long to wash my hair, I opt for that shampoo with sulfates or clarifying shampoos to really get the job done. This method is what a lot of curly girls end up being happy with because the method is somewhat stringent but leaves room for tweaking to find that sweet spot of hair care balance.
In theory only (Partial CGM)
This method is for the curly girls who merely like the idea of the method because leaving conditioner in their hair gives them the hydration they need and love. It can simply be that component or the act of co-washing with a botanical conditioner or even just using a sulfate-free shampoo. One aspect has afforded them ideal hair but they still love using heat, silicones, and sulfates and their hair only needs one aspect of the plan. There is nothing wrong with this, as the method is a great one. The method can help in optimal curl definition and/or hydration and some of us just need a small part to keep our hair happy. I no longer have a problem with moisture or dandruff and that can be from either ditching regular use of sulfates or keeping conditioner in my hair.
The best way to see how this method works for you is trial and error, and while I suggest giving it a try to the letter, tweak as you go and see what works for you. Check out The Curly Girl Handbook to see if this works for you and know you can go hard or go soft on giving it a try.