PICTURED: ME!

When I started the CG method back in 2009, there was little to no information available.

Starting the Curly Girl (CG) Method was the best personal decision I had made for my hair. I used to hate my Type 2 waves because they were frizzy and dry. Now my hair grows at a faster rate and it is much longer, shinier and overall healthier.  I live in Europe, so there were no products available that were compatible with the CG method (over the years that has changed). No matter where you live, starting the CG method can be overwhelming.

I hope this guide will make your introduction to the CG method easier! I included product suggestions and options whether you want to save or splurge, and included  a few European products in case that is helpful to you.

Ingredients

There are two common ingredients that CG Method followers avoid:

1. Sulfates

Sulfates are very harsh detergents that make your curls dry and frizzy. Sulfates are necessary for eliminating product build-up caused by non-water soluble silicones, which are polymers that wrap the hair making it appear shinier and helping in detangling. Some curlies choose to eliminate sulfates completely, while others use them as little as possible for clarifying washes. 

2. Silicones

Silicones can be found in many detangling and styling products because they can provide shine and slip, however applying silicones to your hair frequently can lead to buildup that requires sulfates to be removed. This means that if you are avoiding sulfates, you will also need to ditch silicones.

For a full list of the good, the bad and the worst silicones read here.

Choosing CG-friendly products

Depending on the condition of your hair--thickness, density and curl pattern--you may decide to ditch all detergents and just use conditioner to cleanse your hair. This is also known as the co-wash method. The other cleansing option is to continue to use gentle, sulfate free shampoos The key is experimenting and finding out what your hair likes.
My favorite co-washes

Wash your hair every time you feel the need--whenever it is dry, whenever it is tangled, or whenever you want to refresh your wash-and-go. If you co-wash, remember to massage your scalp at least 2 to 3 minutes to really allow the conditioner to work and lift dirt from your scalp.

My favorite detergents/shampoos
My favorite conditioners

While you condition, this is the best opportunity to detangle your hair. The key is to find a conditioner that is moisturizing, not heavy and has a lot of slip. If you are co-washing, you don’t need to use a conditioner afterward, but if you are using mild detergents, this step is a must.

My favorite deep conditioners

You must deep condition your curly hair every regularly. It will keep your hair shiny, nourished and strong. I usually deep condition in place of normal conditioner every time I wash my hair because I like the added benefits of a mask, but most naturals use them once every 3 washes or so, or once a month. The best thing you can do is to use them with some sort of heat (hooded attachment, hooded dryer, steamer, a bonnet).

  • Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner $7.99 contains everything you need for softer, stronger curls.
  • BONUS European Options: L’Oreal VIVE Nutri Gloss Intensive Shine Mask (in the pink jar), Lavera Rose Hair Mask. 
My favorite stylers

Styling is (in my opinion) the most important step in the whole routine. In my experience every strand should be generously covered with a styling product, or else you will experience a lot of frizz. There are a lot of methods curly girls use to apply their favorite styler--my favorite is the Rake & Shake method or Scrunching technique.

  • L.A. Sport Look Gel ($2.79) an old tried and true classic product, and so affordable!
  • BONUS European Options: Nivea Styling Flexible Curls, Phyto Phyto Professional Strong Sculpting Gel, Schwarzkopf Taft Gel Power Gel
My favorite refreshers

Refreshing your hair after sleeping on it is a vital step for curly hair that has lost its shape. Normally the styling products reactivate themselves once you have slightly dampened your hair. Plop with a T-shirt or diffuse and scrunch for more curl definition.

  • Water

Wash, condition, and repeat. It will probably take your hair a couple of weeks to adjust to the new routine. Realistically, you can expect to see your natural curls looking limp and lifeless before they really start to really blossom. Do not quit the CG Method, your best curls will be here soon enough. Welcome to this new world of beautiful naturally curly hair!

Did I miss any of your favorites?