Curly Girl Method

So what is CG?

Curly Girl Method

Curly hair are naturally drier than other hair types and so, are more prone to frizz and breakage. So normal hair routine does not work as well with curly hair.

Main idea of curly girl method is to avoid hair care products that contain sulfates, silicones, mineral oil, waxes and drying alcohols. The original Curly Girl Method says not to use a shampoo at all and wash your hair with a silicone free conditioner. But I believe you should also include a sulfate free shampoo having mild surfactants in your routine to remove the cationic conditioning agents which are the base of a conditioner. This way you wont have the build up from styling products and conditioners. I personally like to include a sulfate free shampoo in the routine. Also, include a clarifying shampoo in the routine once in while so that hair absorbs moisture and other goodies from products better and provides a clean slate.

The reason we avoid silicone in the CG method is, they are hard to remove from hair through co-wash and with a sulfate-free shampoo. Silicone builds up on hair and makes hair dry over a period of time and leads to breakage as well.


Most shampoos that are available in market contain sulfates like sodium laureth sulfate (SLS),  Sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) . Sulfates are suds producing harsh ingredients that you can find in every type of cleaner like dish washing liquid soap etc. Sulfates not only remove the dirt from your scalp (which is good) but it also strips off natural oils and moisture from your hair leaving them dry and frizzy (which is definitely bad). As curly hair are naturally dry so using the shampoo containing sulfates make them drier, so people with curly hair should avoid shampoos that contains sulfates.
The original CG method tells you not to use a shampoo and wash your hair using a light silicone free conditioner (co-wash). But I believe in using a mild shampoo in the routine to avoid any product build up after using conditioner and styling product. This way your hair feels lighter and respond better to products. 

In between shampooing when you need to wash your hair use a light silicone free conditioner to wash your hair, it is called co-washing. As per the curly girl handbook, the idea behind cleaning your hair is to get rid off the dirt from your scalp and hair. For that you can use small amount of conditioner and rub it in scalp with gentle movement to loosen the dirt and wash it with water. Use conditioners that are silicone free. As everybody’s hair is different so depending on your liking, you can co-wash your hair instead of shampoo, if you wash your hair very frequently and use a shampoo weekly. When you feel that your hair needs to be clarified or it looks over-conditioned then you should use a mild sulfate free shampoo as mentioned above.


Use a good moisturizing conditioner after shampoo to keep your hair moisturized. Avoid using conditioner that contains silicones. Silicone is an adsorbent (material which sticks on the surface of others forming a thin layer) on hair and provide good slippage but some silicone builds up on hair with time and becomes hard to remove.

Styling Products: Again, use styling products that do not contain any drying alcohol and silicone. Styling products are used to give hold to curly hair and help to maintain its natural shape through out the day.

I would highly recommend that you read The curly girl handbook. It is a must read for everyone who are struggling to maintain their natural hair.

In my next post I will explain how to start with the CG method.

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36 thoughts on “Curly Girl Method

  • Swetha


    Even we ensure SLS, parabans , silicon free in hair products still we have lot of other chemicals and alhocols what about that? Is that safe to use them

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Swetha, we have to watch out for drying alcohol like SD alcohol etc present it styling products. Here is more details on alcohols. Other than these you can make better choices of products after reading their ingredients like avoid products containing mineral oil. Better go for products containing natural oils rather than mineral oil. Everybody’s hair is different, some faces more build up than others so observe your hair with the products you are using. Because some conditioning agents like Polyquaternium-4 and Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride etc can also cause some build up. But it is not true for everyone. So always watch out and see if a particular conditioner is not suiting your hair then switch to other one containing different conditioning agent.

  • dasgupta.shruti

    Hi Asha, i am newly introduced to your blog and am really looking forward to trying out the whole routine. I did this once and obviously it will take time to take effect..but till it does my hair looks really really unruly due to not combing..can you please give some suggestions about how to manage my hair till the CG method takes its course to define my curls nicely..i cant imagine stepping into office with the unruly hair initially..

  • Sandhya maan

    Hi asha, just got to know about this blog. I have frizzy curly hair. My hairs look gr8 till they are wet but as they dry up and i comb they become unruly, fizzy and all the well defined curls just vanishes. I use matrix shampoo and conditioner and habibs seerum. Want your opinion about theae products. And should i not use seerum? You said that in a comment on a blog of yours. Plz reply.

  • Simran

    Hi, few months back I saw curly hair website but the products they suggest to use are not easily available or if available are at huge cost. It’s really nice to see an Indian website. I love ur site. But as I am new to sulphate free products, I really don’t know where to start from. It seems a huge confusing thing in front of me. Mine is dry, frizzy hair and got huge hair fall problem too. Please guide me.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Simran you can start with Giovanni product, may be their smooth as silk range. For gel use homemade flax gel, it is cost effective and comes at no cost :). For hair fall get your blood test done or see a doctor. Check you TSH etc are at the normal level.

  • Sandhya

    Hey thanx a lot Asha for replying and for this very informative blog. I have read almost every article on this blog now.
    First, i want to know that how would i get notification when u reply back to our comments bcoz i forget dat after which article i left a comment.
    Second, i have a confusion dat should/can i dab my hair with cotton tshirt to remove excess water before applying conditioner so dat they won’t be dripping all the time when i take my bath?? And is dere any problem if tie them up (with hair clip) after applying conditioner??
    Also i have very dry hair so what is the procedure to use live in conditioner (i have to use rinse off conditioner as a live in)??
    One last one, i read alot abt using apple cider vinegr as a natural conditioner, haven’t tried it yet. Want your opinion abt it.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Than you very much Sandhya!! 🙂 I have to check about the notification for comments. have to check how it works out in wordpress.

      Yes, you can remove excess water with t-shirt but do not over do it because we get better result with wet hair than damp. After applying conditioner you can use a gel for lasting curl definition.
      Do you mean use a clip in wet hair? I do not see any problem in using the clip, just see how your hair looks once it is dry. if it looks weird after removing the clip then you might let it dry by keeping it open.
      You can use silicone free rinse off conditioner as a leave-in with water.
      Apple cider vinegar mixed with water (1 tbsp with 1 cup water) is used for different purpose like in hard water to remove build up or it also balance the pH of hair. It smooths down the cuticles and helps in shine. You can use it once in a while but I dont recommend it every time if you make it too concentrated.

      • Sandhya maan

        Ok, i was thinking to use Acv on my co wash day (once in about 10 days) Coz m nt comfortable in using conditioner on my scalp. So what if I massage and rinse with acv and then follow the rest of the routine, conditioner etc. ….?? If this routine is ok, then can u suggest me for how minutes should i keep ACV on my scalp before rinsing it out? As I have dandruf issue, and I read that acv helps, but some people keep it on for 5 min only and some for 30 minutes. Want ur feedback on this.

        • Asha Barrak Post author

          Sandhya, first I would recommend you to use unrefined ACV instead of refined ones like american garden brand. Choose the ACV with mother in it. The reason is, unrefined ACV with mother contains enzymes which have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial property. May be you try to keep it for around 10-15 min initially and use 1-2 tbsp in 1 cup water. The concentration varies on everyone’s hair. if your hair is dry then use less concentrated one. Use it for sometime and see how your reacts to the routine. You can also think of buying a mild shampoo like giovanni smooth as silk if you are not comfortable in using the conditioner. Apply small amount of shampoo on scalp and massage it and let the shampoo run down the rest of your hair. This way shampoo does not make your hair dry.

  • Dr. Darshanaa

    Hi Asha !! Hope ur doing good 🙂 A 3a/b newbie here. I use enliven conditioner for co washing….. Is it sufficient or should I use a regular conditioner after that ?

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Hi Darshana, it depends if enliven conditioner giving you good slip for detangling then no need to use other conditioner. But I would recommend to use a leave-in conditioner for styling.


    Hi Asha,
    It’s truly an Indian curly hair resource! Great work! My experiments with CG method n products are going well. My daughters ( age 4yrs n 21 months) have inherited my curls. I am skeptical to, rather, don’t wish to expose them to shampoos and conditioners n chemicals. Kindly guide how to go about it. Thanks.., love.., n keep up the good work 👍

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Thanks a lot for your kind words 🙂
      There are a few homemade cleanser that you can use to clean her hair. For example you can use oats water to clean hair. 1 tablespoon of oats to half cup of hot water. Boil Oats for approximately 2 minutes in water, allowed to cool and strain it with fine mesh. You can use this water to clean her hair. Other than these you can use herbal powder like Vcare herbal wash or make you own shampoo using whole herbs shikkai, amla and reetha. You may search its recipe online.
      You have to use a conditioner to detangle her hair. Because otherwise it will be very painful to take out all the knots. Use small amount of conditioner at the ends if you are not comfortable in using conditioner on her hair.
      Other than these use cold pressed coconut oil before washing her hair. If her hair does not get weighed down easily then you can use little amount of oil even after wash.
      There are kids friendly leave-in conditioner from US brands on amazon which can use on non wash days to detangle her hair but they are a bit expensive.

  • Tej

    Hi Asha,

    Im a newbie to this. What leave-in conditioner is safe to use during pregnancy ?
    Also, I am using biotique shampoo and conditioner but my hair is getting extremely dry.

      • Tej

        Thank you Asha. I will check them out – Shea Moisture products seem good in terms of ingredients, but do not see any reviews on them. Have you used this product ?
        Also, I came across Khadi Shikakai and Honey Hair Shampoo and Conditioner SLS and Paraben Free – Are you aware if this product is good for CG ?

        • Asha Barrak Post author

          Yeah, they are good and not very expensive as compare to other US brands available in India. Their curl and style milk is a little bit heavier if your hair gets weighed down easily but if not then you can try it. I have not used Khadi shampoo as they dont mention full ingredients on their products and also their shampoos do not have very good reviews from other Curlies.

  • Jayanti

    Hi Asha,
    I have waist length thick hair that has been ‘abused ‘ by repeated straightenings. Since the past 2 urs I have stopped that but my hai is till to grow out. Now half my length is wavy and frizzy and the other half is poker straight and limp. I have to colour my hair every month too to cover greys. My salon gives me L’Oréal vitamino to use and tigi serious s factor conditioner to use . I also use over the counter serum ( wella/ livon/ Moroccan oil) in a desperate attempt to cut the frizzz
    Off late , ( since 3 mts ) I stopped using the serums , and now use a home made concoction of aloe Vera gel, coconut oil, olive oil, vitamin e oil and jasmine/ curry leaves water, as a leave in . And also , have started religiously oiling my hair with a mixture of virgin castor oil and coconut oil .
    My prob is that , according to the cg ritual , we have to use non sulphate shampoos , will the oil ( especially castor) be washed off with that ???
    It has helped a lot with the hair loss so am not too keen on stopping use …
    and the monthly colour …. that can’t be avoided .
    Also , do the acv shampoos strip the hair of its colour ?
    Pls clear my doubts and help me regain my mane !
    Thanks !!!!

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      Jayanthi, castor oil you might not be able to remove with co-wash only. if you are liking the benefits of castor oil then you can use a sulfate free shampoo after oiling. Use less amount of oil and don’t drench hair and scalp. ACV rinse you can do once like once in a week. Just wait one or two weeks after the color and then can do ACV. I am not very sure if it fades color or not. It is acidic in nature and close down the cuticles so shud not fade color.

      • Jayanti

        Thank you so much ! Realised that EVERYTHING I use is sulphate / silicone / alcohol based .. have to start from scratch .. also planning to switch over to organic colouring . What’s ur opinion abt organic colour infused henna ? Does that also build up ? Thanks for everything!

        • Asha Barrak Post author

          Jayanti, I have never used henna on hair so I dont have personal experience about it. Also henna works differently on everyone. Some people like and for other it gives brittle dry hair.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      They should not make hair white as they dont have bleaching agent in them. Keep the vitamin B12 in check, sometimes this is one of the reason of premature graying. Check with a doctor.

    • Asha Barrak Post author

      use of Parabens is a personal choice. They are preservative and do not build or cause dryness. CG suggest to avoid ingredients which cause dryness or builds up and that build up needs extra cleansing. So, after that if you want to avoid any particular preservative then it is upto one’s choice.