The Curly Girl Method is a unique approach to caring for wavy and curly hair by cutting out shampoo and heat styling, and using conditioners and gels. This wavy hair routine originated from the book Curly Girl: The Handbook written by hairstylist Lorraine Massey. In this post I will help you to understand how to use the method for wavy hair and which Curly Girl Method products are right for you.
Using the Curly Girl Method for Wavy Hair
What is My Hair Type?
Before we look at how the Curly Girl Method can be used for wavy hair, it’s important to know your exact hair type. There are four different hair types which are determined by your hair’s curl pattern. The four main types include straight hair, wavy hair, curly hair and coily hair.
The amount your hair curls is determined by the shape of your hair follicle. If you have a completely round hair follicle your hair will be pencil straight. The more oval your follicle is, the curlier your hair will be.
The table below illustrates which hair type belongs to which curl pattern.
|Hair Type||Curl Pattern|
|Type 1||Straight Hair|
|Type 2||Wavy Hair|
|Type 3||Curly Hair|
|Type 4||Coily Hair|
Types 2-4 are then broken down even further depending on the intensity of the curl. Type 2, wavy hair, is broken down into 2a, 2b and 2c. Curly hair is broken down into 3a, 3b and 3c and coily hair is broken down into 4a, 4b and 4c.
To make it easier to understand you can check the image below to work out your own exact hair type.
The 2a and 2b Hair Routine
With 2a and 2b hair, having the right hair care routine can be the difference between beautiful tousled wavy hair and frizzy hair that’s out of control!
Type 2a and 2b hair curls from the midpoint through to the ends. They are slightly different in that type 2a has undefined waves and type 2b has a defined S shape.
Type 2a hair has a gentle tousled texture and is usually quite easy to straighten. Type 2b on the other hand takes more effort to straighten. It is ideal for the balayage trend and looks wavy and defined with a spritz of salty water. The image below shows an example of 2b type hair.
Why Use the Curly Girl Method?
My own hair is somewhere in between type 2a and 2b. Before I discovered the Curly Girl Method I’d be flat ironing my hair regularly for almost twenty years! I had believed that straight hair was more beautiful and ended up damaging my hair with chemicals and heated styling tools just to try and get rid of my natural wave.
After twenty years of straightening my hair to death it was dry and frizzy. If I didn’t follow my same routine of using a hair iron and straightening products my hair looked flyaway and out of control. It was only after I discovered the CG method and started using it religiously that my natural waves started to come back, and my hair looked healthier than ever.
In this post I am only going to show you the basics of how to get started with the CG method. There is an entire book written on the subject which goes into everything in more depth including looking at your hair porosity and all the ingredients to avoid. I really recommend ordering the book, but in the mean time I’ll show you how you can get started.
What Hair Habits You Should Immediately Stop
1. Stop using heat– Do not use heat styling tools, including flat irons, curling tongs or hairdryers, and stop using very hot water in the shower. After using heat on my hair for so long it was so dry and damaged it didn’t even curl anymore. The heat will also only make your hair frizzier in the long term.
2. Stop using sulphates, alcohol or silicone – Do not use any products which contain ingredients that build up on the hair. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to use because I’ll be recommending some different products in the next steps.
3. Stop pulling your hair back in tight styles – Do not tie your hair back in tight pony tails or tight braids. You want to leave your hair in styles that will encourage it to curl naturally.
4. Stop using a towel to dry your hair – Towels absorb too much moisture which will leave the hair frizzy. The harsh fibre in the towel could also damage the hair’s cuticle
5. Stop brushing your hair – Brushing your hair causes breakage and split ends. Instead, of using a hair brush use a wide-tooth comb and use it only on wet hair.
6. Stop worrying about your hair being frizzy – When you start the CG method your hair will go through a transition stage where your hair doesn’t look great. Before you get to the point where you have beautiful waves your hair will appear frizzy. If you’re used to ironing your hair and seeing it straight, this stage can be hard. In time however your hair will become less frizzy – you just need to trust the process.
The Steps of Your New Hair Routine
Since you haven’t been using the CG method up until now, you will have product built up on your hair. For this reason we need to start by using a clarifying shampoo to remove all the residue left on the hair from silicones or wax in your hair products. You can use step 0 again at any point if you accidentally use a product with silicone or wax.
Step 0 – Your Final Shampoo Wash to Remove Product Build up
Use a clarifying shampoo to remove all the product build-up, dirt and silicones on your hair. This stage is to ‘reset’ your hair and leave it completely clean. If you live in a hard water area (like most of the UK), you will also have calcium and magnesium in your tap water which can build up on the hair. A good hard water shampoo will remove this.
Unfortunately if you live in a hard water area, like I do, you may need to repeat step 0 at least once a month to remove any mineral residue left on your hair from your tap water! I have a post on the best shampoos for hard water but my top selling products are the OGX Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo, AreaH2o Hard Water Shampoo and the Spa Master Molecular Cosmetics Micellar Chelating Detox Shampoo.
Check out my post on how to clarify curly hair
Step 1 – Co-wash / Cleanse Your Hair with a Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Use should use step 1 whenever you want to wash your hair. Wash your hair in warm water rather than hot and use either a sulfate-free shampoo or a CG method approved cleansing conditioner. When you wash your hair ensure you massage your scalp for at least one minute.
If you prefer to use a sulfate-free shampoo, I’ve written a post which lists five inexpensive shampoos without sulfate, however some Curly Girl Method approved products for cleansing include the Curls Creamy Curl Cleanser, the Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing Cowash and the As I Am Coconut CoWash Cleansing Conditioner.
Step 2 – Apply Conditioner to Your Hair
For the Curly Girl Method to work well on wavy hair you need to invest in a good deep conditioner. Three excellent deep conditioners that have been approved for the Curly Girl Method include the Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Banana Mask, the Shea Moisture Argan Oil & Almond Milk Conditioner and the Imbue Curl Respecting Conditioner.
These conditioners are all free from oil based silicones, parabens, SLS or SLES, drying alcohols, mineral oils, or mineral waxes. They will deeply condition your hair without leaving product build up. This is an important stage in the Curly Girl Method for wavy hair as it ensures the hair strands are well moisturised and hydrated.
Step 3 – Apply a Styling Product to Your Hair
Once you have conditioned your hair the next stage is to apply a styling product. The styling product encourages your curls to form and the product you choose will depend on your curl type.
To be able to achieve frizz-free, defined curls or waves it is essential to have both moisture and hold. This is why a styling product is so important. Someone with wavy hair may opt for a product with stronger hold, but a person with coily hair may want something softer to help elongate the curls. It depends how you want your curls to look.
Styling products can come in the form of cream, gel, custard, or mousse. Since this post is about using the Curly Girl Method for wavy hair, the styling products I am recommending work well on 2a and 2b hair types.
The Cantu Shea Butter Curl Activator Cream is one of the most popular Curly Girl Method approved products in the UK. It works well on all curly hair types including fine wavy hair, and helps to revive your natural curl. This one is my top recommended hair stying product for the CG method.
Another good hair styling product is the Imbue Curl Empowering Crème Gel. This is better for kinks, strong curls and coils however it can work well on wavy hair as it helps to define your every curl.
My third recommendation is the CANTU Shea Butter for Natural Hair, Define & Shine Custard. It provides long-lasting hold and elongates curls.
To apply your hair styling product put a palmful (more than feels normal) onto sopping wet hair and scrunch it or smooth it in from root to tip.
Step 4 – Dry Your Hair
Gently remove the excess water from your hair using a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel. Leave your hair to air dry. Once it’s completely dry you can gently scrunch your hair with your hands to plump up your curls.
Since you are no longer towel drying, using a hair brush or heat styling your hair you may wish to invest in some new Curly Girl Method products such as a microfiber towel, a wide-tooth comb and some spiral hair ties that won’t pull on your roots.
I have written a whole article on choosing the perfect wide tooth comb however my best selling product is the Anself Wooden Comb made from natural sandalwood.
These five steps and the recommended products are all you need to get you started with the Curly Girl Method for wavy hair!
When Will I See Results with the Curly Girl Method?
Use the five steps and recommended products for at least three months before you start seeing a noticeable different in your hair. At first it will be hard because your hair will be frizzy, but once you’re through the transition stage it will become easier.
If your hair is so badly damaged from heat styling, it can take up to three years for your hair to regrow to its current length. If you persevere with the process however you will eventually have beautiful defined curls with no frizz.
Since the Curly Girl Method can take such a long time there are a number of Facebook groups set up to help on your curly hair journey.
Facebook Groups for the Curly Girl Method
If you’re on Facebook you may wish to join one of the following groups:
- Curly Girl (Method) Support Group International
- The Curly Girl Method-Wavy Club
- Wavy Girl Method (Official)- Wavy Hair Don’t Care
- Sensible Curly People UK
- United Curls (Formerly Curls Girls Uk- The Original, Following The CGM)
- Naturally Curly and Wavy Hair-tips and advice
Final Advice for Caring for 2a and 2b Curls
This post is meant to be a beginners guide to the Curly Girl Method for wavy hair so I have just given you the basic steps and products to get started. The Curly Girl Handbook however goes into a lot more detail about other subjects such as hair porosity, hair density and how often you should be washing your hair.
What is Hair Porosity?
Your hair porosity is your hair’s ability to absorb moisture and this could depend on a number of things including your genetics and the condition of your hair. If your hair is high porosity it is very porous and allows a lot of moisture in. Low porosity hair on the other hand has tight cuticle layers and is resistant to moisture.
The easiest way to determine whether or not your hair is porous is to see what happens when you put a strand in a glass of water. The image below will help you work out your porosity level.
My own hair is highly porous, which is common among people who have Asian genetics like I do. Since Asian hair has higher porosity levels, it absorbs and retains moisture more quickly than Caucasian and Afro hair types. This means it is also more prone to frizz. Porous hair types need protein to fill in the pores in the hair.
The Curly Girl Method focuses on adding moisture to the hair but it also talks about finding the balance between moisture and protein to achieve healthy curls. If you have porous hair and need extra protein you should look for Curly Girl Method approved products that contain proteins such as aloe and wheat protein.
If your hair is low porosity, which is common among Afro hair types, it is resistant to moisture. This means you should aim to use hair products enriched with humectants to add hydration to the hair.
In my eBook The Ayurvedic Hair Care Guide for beginners I touch on hair porosity and the different natural oils that are recommended for each hair type. There are different techniques for caring for curly and wavy hair, but one thing both Ayurvedic hair care and the Curly Girl method have in common is they both use more natural products and less harsh chemicals.
- Discover your own Ayurvedic hair type
- Learn which herbs and oils work best for your hair
- Find out what hair problems you are more susceptible to
- Discover how your hair is connected to your bones
- Find out the best foods to include or avoid to get beautiful hair
- Create your own hair products
Whether you have 2a or 2b curls you could have either high or low porosity hair. The porosity level only relates to how much moisture your hair absorbs and not the tightness or pattern of the curl. The image below will further help to explain hair porosity.
Curly Girl Method Products for Low Porosity Hair
If you have low porosity hair you need to focus on hydration. Some good ingredients to look for include glycerin, aloe vera, avocado oil, jojoba oil and shea butter. One excellent product which is packed with moisturising ingredients is the Curlsmith Intense Treatment Serum for Curly and Coily Hair.
Although this is recommended for coily hair, it works just as well on wavy 2a or 2b hair types. It’s a Curly Girly Method approved product for wavy hair and free from sulphates, silicones, mineral oil and phthalates.
Another excellent product for low porosity hair is the As I Am Hydration Elation Intensive Conditioner. This conditioner adds extra moisture to dry hair since it contains deeply hydrating ingredients. It is suitable for both coily and wavy girls, as well as fine hair, thick hair or long hair!
Aunt Jackies Quench Moisture Intensive Leave In Conditioner is my third recommended product for low porosity hair. It contains olive oil and shea butter to revive dry hair. It is able to eliminate dryness without the need for heavy oils and works well on thin hair.
Curly Girl Method Products for High Porosity Hair
If you have high porosity hair you should look for hair products with added protein. The Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein-Strong Treatment is CG Method approved and perfect for high porosity hair! It helps to smooth and repair hair fibres with reparative proteins and butters. If you have wavy and high porosity hair this is a great product to add to your curly hair regimen!
My last two recommended products for high porosity hair are both by Shea Moisture, which is a top brand for the Curly Girl Method! The Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Shampoo and Shea Moisture Mongongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Styling Gel are both specifically designed for high porosity hair!
Both products contain botanical proteins and help to seal the cuticles and block humidity and frizz. They treat unmanageable and dry high porosity hair. You will notice an improvement in the health of your hair and hair texture.
I spent most of my life trying to hide my naturally wavy hair and now wish I hadn’t. Your most beautiful hair is the hair you were born with. Never try to change it.
If you are trying the curl girl method please leave me a comment below and let me know how you are getting on! Have you stopped using your heat tools and flat iron? I love to hear from my curly and wavy friends so let me know if the cg method worked for you or if you had better results using my Ayurvedic hair care guide.
Other Posts About Wavy Hair
Which Products Are Curly Girl Approved?
Check out the following posts to find out whether your favourite hair care brand is CG approved.
- Is OGX Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Garnier Fructis Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Olaplex Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Aussie Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Hask Curly Girl Approved?
- Is L’Oreal Curly Girl Approved?
- Are John Frida Products Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Aveda Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Cantu Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Ouidad Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Maui Moisture Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Shea Moisture Curly Girl Approved?
- Are Aunt Jackie’s Products Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Joico Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Verb Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Curlsmith Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Zotos Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Lus Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Tresemme Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Twist Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Pureology Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Paul Mitchell Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Amika Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Monat Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Amodimethicone Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Innersense Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Phenoxyethanol Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Renpure Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Jozi Curls Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Kinky Curly Curly Girl Approved?
- Is Glycerin Curly Girl Approved?
POST FROM OTHER BEAUTY BLOGS
If you found this article helpful, you may enjoy the following posts from other beauty blogs that I follow and trust.
- How to Care for Wavy Hair According to an Expert
- Latest Type 2 Wavy Hair Articles
- 6 Tricks to Try When Your Wavy Hair is Flat
- The Unexpected Reasons Your Wavy Hair is Always Dry & Frizzy
- 40 Haircuts That Were Made for Wavy Hair
- I Put 3 Wavy Hair Tutorials to the Test: See the Results
- Air-Drying Your Hair: An Official Guide to Getting It Right
- Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths Shampoo Makes Hair Soft and Bouncy
- Products To Create Beachy Hair With Minimal Effort
- Tresemme Perfectly Undone Review
- VO5 Give Me Texture Dry Texturising Spray Review
- Elnett Styling Sprays from L’Oreal Paris
Monday 14th of March 2022
I am super impressed at all your info and have ordered a few products you've recommended:)
Olivia Herlihy RN
Tuesday 22nd of March 2022
Aww thanks so much for supporting my blog. :-)