Have you heard of the curly girl method? If not, this post may be confusing for you, and I recommend reading my blog post here first.

Talking about your hair can be an emotional topic. So much time and effort go into styling your hair, and it can be very frustrating if you can’t figure out a style that you like.

I’ve worn my hair curly on and off for years, but my journey with the Curly Girl Method (CG) started last May with a monthly challenge. My goal was to test out this method for a month, but to my surprise, I kept up with this challenge for nine months! Why was I surprised by this? Well, straighteners and curling irons were apart of my hair routine, and I didn’t think twice about using either one.

It took me some time, but I found a routine that worked for my curly hair. By following the right steps (for me), I was able to achieve the same results (almost) every time. Even though I liked my results, I decided that I was no longer going to be as strict with my CG hair routine. Why? I’ll explain more below.

What is the Curly Girl Method?

Lorraine Massey started the CG method with her book, The Curly Girl Handbook. The book is known as the “curly girl bible” and lists out detailed instructions and rules to follow. Here are some examples of what you need to avoid when you follow this method:

  • Rule 1: No Sulfates
  • Rule 2: No Shampoo (i.e. – No Poo, Low Poo + Co-Washing)
  • Rule 3: No Silicones
  • Rule 4: No Heat (Diffusing on low heat is sometimes OK)

After 9 Months – Why Did I Decide to Stop the Curly Girl Method?

Too Restrictive

Gasp, I know. There are a lot of curly girls that LOVE this routine, and it works great for them! But, I am one that loves to style my hair in a variety of ways, and I found that this routine was a little too restrictive for me.

Time In-Between Washes

I also try to go a long time in-between washing my hair, and it was more challenging to do when I wore my hair curly. I’d still try to stretch my time in-between washes, but my hair ended up in a high bun and a knotted mess.

What Changed and Started the Same in My Curly Hair Routine

  • Still, Air Drying My Hair / Using Low Heat
  • Still Using CG Approved Products
  • I’m allowing myself to curl my hair with curling irons.

Final Thoughts On the Curly Girl Method

I think the CG method works great for a lot of curly girls!

The method aims to give curly girls great looking (and healthy) curls. And it did just that for me! Over this past year, I’ve learned a lot about my curly hair, and I honestly loved my results.

But, I have decided not to strictly follow the CG method at this time because I love testing out all sorts of styles with my hair. At least for the next few months. (My hair frizzes too much during the winter months here in Ohio …. Plus. it’s not super easy to wear a hat and maintain your curls)

It’s OK to find a routine that works for you!

Do you follow the Curly Girl Method? Tell me about your routine and provide tips in the comment section below!

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30 comments on “Why I Stopped Following the Curly Girl Method”

  1. I share some of your sentiments. I follow CG loosely and I get better results than I ever have before. I have 2b-3a waves/curls.

    It is a lot of work though on a wash day. I’m a mom of 3 boys, youngest is 3mo. I try to plan wash days when we don’t go anywhere in the morning so that I can airdry with some diffusing in between and scrunch out the crunch once totally dry before we need to leave the house. It is limiting. I have a lot of hair, even if I wanted to diffuse to al the way dry it will take 30min of constant drying – impossible with kids running around. By day 3 and 4 it has relaxed so much I have to start some kind of updo/pin away.
    As opposed to this: it takes me 20min to fully dry and straighten my hair when I want it straight and then it looks great for a 6/7 days when my hair is shoulder length or longer.
    I hate how damaging it is and how I’m not embracing the curls I know is there. Maybe I should try it in a few years when my kids are bigger… 😂

    • Hey! Thanks for your comment! I agree it’s a lot of work on wash day … I have a difficult time keeping up with my hair and I only have one kid!
      One way I reduce the damage of my hair is I try to let it air dry all of the way (not always practical) before I style. I’m also thinking about getting this hair dryer – from what the reviews say, you can blow dry your hair and it will be straight without straightening it! If it works, it will help reduce the amount of damage. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LSUQSB0/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

      The only rule I’m not following anymore is the heat/styling and since I go so long in between hair washes … so I don’t feel guilty about using some heating tools. I feel more put together and, like you, can go 6-7 days without washing my hair. (Yes please!) Also, I completely support you waiting until your kids are older until you try again. Do what you need to do to feel put together to get through the younger years. 🙂

      • I use that round brush Revlon dryer and it is a GAME CHANGER for my wavy hair. I haven’t used a straightener since buying it. It has saved my hair.

        • I also use that revlon blow dryer brush and it is amazing!! I have thick, fine spirals and waves and I can do a blow out in 20 minutes ON THE COOL SETTING!! I live in Florida.. it’s all about the cool setting here unless you want to shower again. My hair stays straight even in the humidity and my curls bounce back w the next wash like nothing ever happened. I. Love. It.

    • It’s the same for me. Mom of 3 young kids. I have been doing plopping with a t-shirt overnight and the next morning, I am ready to go out! It gives good results for wavy hair. It gives great curls and volume . No more waiting in the house for hours to dry before I step out.

  2. I follow the CG method. Have for a bit over a year now and I keep feeling defeated. I had over processed blonde hair and a couple months back just chopped it all off. I do love the method, but I have a strange variety of curls…best way to describe is 2b, 2c, and 3a all in one. Finding the right products is hard and kind of expensive. This method is definitely time consuming, but it has helped me learn to embrace what I was given for hair. Plus, I haven’t rocked my natural hair color in 15+ years.

    • I have the same curl type as you. It’s a blessing and a curse. Trying to find products that work for all three is so hard.
      I followed the CG method but it started to make my hair fall out and yes I was washing it all out. Still trying to find the perfect combo. What are you currently using that you have had success with?

  3. I have 2b/2c highlighted hair a bit past my shoulders. I follow the CG method with conditioner and how I apply product but I not with shampoo. I must use a highly pigmented blue shampoo to combat the discoloration caused by mineral deposits in our hard water. Also, I can’t not wash my hair for more than 2-3 days because of my exercise habits (sweat!). I have bangs that I prefer blowing out straight and sometimes flat iron. If I don’t straighten them, they curl up just fine so I don’t think that either permanently ruins the curl. I scrunch with a microfiber towel after applying product and let everything but my bangs air dry because I dislike my curls when they are diffused (I get fewer loose spirals and look like I’ve used hot rollers–not my favorite look). I wish plopping worked for me, but I dislike the way it turns out on me. I confess that I have great results with Frizz Ease Dream Curls when my curls won’t cooperate, even though the ingredients are not CG approved. On days I am not washing my hair, I must spray it with water and scrunch it to revive the curl because I wake up with it messy and more straight than curly. I have worn my hair curly for many years now (long and short), ever since I discovered that it really could go either way. . Occasionally I straighten it but since I don’t feel like myself without curls I end up redoing it almost immediately! I don’t get bored with my hair since I create many different styles using a variety of accessories. I feel very lucky to have wavy/curly hair.

  4. I use a modified CG method. Meaning, that I follow some rules and disregard others, much like you!
    I have a mix of curl types that change with the weather, literally. But the biggest thing about my curly hair that requires a modified method is that my hair is each individual strand is super fine, while simultaneously having a a head full of it, and I it’s super frizzy. So, I follow all of the product rules, no sulfates, no silicones, no mineral oils, etc…BUT, I do shampoo with a very gentle, natural shampoo every five days because my hair needs it to keep product from weighting it down. I also dampen my hair every night and sleep with it wrapped in a t-shirt (plopping style) to restore structure because my hair looses structure and becomes a frizzy mess by the end of everyday. I have refrained from heat styling for nearly 3 years, but I’m now looking for a good diffuser attachment for my neglected blow dryer because I’ve seen so many of my Curly Girl friends have such good luck with using them for special occasions. I’ve been doing the CG method (albeit modified) for 3 years, but I’m always looking for recommendations and advice! So, thank you for your post!

  5. I follow the CG loosely, in fact never read the book, don’t know the porosity. I don’t use sulfates, silicones, parabens (i.e. wax) or alcohols. I do use a lot of oil, such as Jamaican black castor and Aragon at night and when I crunch my hair out and on my scalp. I air dry, because I cannot hold my hair dryer that long, which put me on this journey. I put my hair up at night. I use the least expensive items without the ingredients above. Sauve, Garnier etc.

  6. Good luck girls when it turns gray! I have hair that looks like medusa on crack! I can’t go too long between washings or my head itches something awful. I’m in Florida as well and it’s always in a clip, otherwise it’s like a blanket on my neck. I’m trying everything all of you are suggesting and I hope my hair responds soon or it’s a twiggy haircut soon. I’m sure some of you are asking who Twiggy is but it’s just me showing my age.

    • You’re funny. (Medusa on crack). I too have grey hair. It’s been years since i figured out about my curly hair.
      1-STOPPED BRUSHING
      kept breaking/ finally figured out stop brushing all together. I finger comb in shower to get out tangled curls that should have dropped but didn’t.
      2- WASHED WAY LESS OFTEN
      I found washing my hair too often stripped out the natural oils. Started going longer and longer. I now can go almost a month before the itching get to be too much.
      3- CLAROL MOUSE
      I’ve been sold every sort of product from $25-$100. None work as promised. I did finally do the porosity test. Hair floats…so maybe why none of the expensive products worked.
      I finally found Clairol Mouse! The CHEAPEST product on the market lol. $2.69. It works like a dream for me. I put on liberally out of shower to dripping (see #3) hair. Let air dry and scrunch with fingers once dry for soft DEFINED curls.
      4- STOPPED PUTTING HAIR IN TOWEL
      I didn’t understand why getting some of the moisture out before putting in product was an issue. But the frizz was outta control no matter how much I used. Discovered that my hair always looked the best from beach day!! Why? Cause it got to drip dry. 😆

      As you can see it’s been quite a journey to discover how to maintain amazing curls.

      I knew I was into something when my hairdresser asked what in the world I was doing/using cause my hair was growing super fast between colors.
      I laughed… it wasn’t one thing, but multiple.
      I use Aussie shampoo and conditioner and cheap mouse

      Finally after years of struggling… success.

  7. I’m trying to start CGM but I’ve been struggling with commiting because of how restrictive it is. You mentioned still using CG approved products, what do you use for heat protection?

    • I have been using Shea Moisture Miracle Styler for heat protectant and I love it! I use it when i wear my hair straight, cg curly or heat style curls. I use shea moisture curl smoothie cream for my cg days. Just started diffusing with an ionic dryer (kristen ess) and it’s really helped me tame my frizz. My top layer would always dry kinda straight/wavy/frizzy while i have curls underneath. So this has helped with that. I also like the Shea Moisture coconut oil for curl definition

  8. I have been doing Keratin straightening treatments for about 8 years ( 3-4/ year) and so I have been using sulfate free products from the get go. I would wash my hair every 5-7 days and only use a bit of argon oil( or something similar) and air dry 90% . I have 2b-3a type hair and have been trying the CG method since January. My hair feels so dry and yet over conditioned . It’s been about a year since my last keratin treatment and I may be going back. While I love the curls they don’t love me back and after 7 months it’s not giving me the same results as I see others having. I was hoping that I loved it but my hair in my 50’s is a far cry from my hair in my 30’s.

  9. Hi there! Thank you for a good post! I’ve been following CG for about 5 years, I went short for a while so I had to blow-dry it straight, but I’m getting back into the swing of full time curly hair.

    Some ladies on here have a hard time waiting for their hair to air-dry in the mornings. If leaving with wet hair bothers you or seems unprofessional, I suggest washing your hair at night!

    I come in the door, go right upstairs, shower, do the routine. It leaves plenty of time for air-drying, & a little diffusing before pineappling for bed. I find pineappling the slightly damp roots leads to SERIOUS VOLUME the next morning!

    I feel your pain in the winter. Did you know you can buy silk lined winter hats? Total game changer! Frizzy hair is almost always a call for moisture– maybe introduce jojoba oil, a heavier curl cream, or a stronger gel in the winter?

    Before this year I hadn’t realized that your routine should change with the humidity of the season, and changing my products (high glycerine in winter, low in summer) has helped me with my heavy hair! Good luck with your curls!

    • Hi Mary, thanks for your comment and tips – I’m going to have to look into purchasing a silk-lined winter hat, that sounds amazing!

  10. I love your honesty and this was a really helpful post. But there’s one thing can you clarify – did you start out with naturally straight hair or are you trying to say you just straightened your hair all the time? My hair is like lukewarm – it’s to wavy to be straight but not curly enough either and I’m trying to decide whether to take the CG jump.

    • Thanks for your comment! That is a great question. I’ve always had wavy hair but straightened it all of the time. (The photo of my straight hair is after I straightened it.)
      There’s no harm in trying the curly girl method. I’d say give it a month and see if you like the results. I saw a pretty large transformation during my 30-day test. You can see the results here: https://www.seamlinedliving.com/2018/08/16/does-the-curly-girl-method-work/

      Let me know if you have any other questions! – Kelsey

  11. I recently started the curly girl method (modified). I think a lot of people tend to enjoy a more modified version when doing it. Everyone is different and so is their hair. I do enjoy reading through all the blogs and watching all the videos of what worked and didn’t work for people. Very helpful! 😊

    • Hi Brooke, thanks for your comment! I”m glad you’ve enjoyed reading through my posts and have found them helpful. 🙂 Yes, I agree – everyone’s hair is different and you need to find what works best for you!

  12. My issue with the Curly Girl Method is that they don’t use “safe” products. I only use safe/non toxic personal products and it’s been quite a challenge to find clean products that work well.

  13. I also follow CG method but still haven’t figured it out yet… My hair is on a spectrum from afro tight curls to wavy frizzy hair (especially when it’s humid) I noticed a lot of people say it takes ages to do their hair and my suggestion? Do it later in the day, when you’re home and all that’s waiting is bed, and the kids have gone. I do agree that sometimes you need straighter hair to do some styles, and a lot of people I know don’t understand that I one, don’t curl my hair and two that I wake up and go without doing anything to my hair. Lax rules work better for my hair I found, because all hair is different and there can’t be one method for everyone (ex I shampoo with a low-po whereas others don’t. Did I just ramble on and did you read it, yes but hair is a relaxed subject and doing hair should be fun!

  14. So you don’t have to think about changing shampoo/conditioner when you decide to heat style your hair? What is your process when you decide you will flat iron/heat curl your hair? I’ve been really wanting to try CGM but at the same time, I really enjoy straightening and curling my hair sometimes.

  15. I have 2c hair with some 3a tossed in. I did CGM when I was much younger, but it came to me at a time that influenced my haircare for the rest of my life. I don’t strictly CGM but I use many things I learned. My current routine, which I love, and doesn’t require a lot of time, is thus:

    I wash in the evening.

    I wash with soap twice a week. Soap. Not shampoo. I wash only my scalp, just let the rinse off over my length. My scalp loves this. I use Zum bar goat milk soap. It really brings out my curl. I use a heavy conditioner on my length and ends, keep it off the scalp.

    If it isn’t a soap wash day, I condition but I don’t strictly CO wash. I can go 4-5 days without washing, but sometimes if I work out or want to refresh my curls I’ll do an extra condition. I use any conditioner I feel like, not necessarily a heavy one. I want my hair to re-clump and smell nice.

    In the shower, I step out of the spray and add my product, hanging upside down. I use gel, I work a ton through all my hair and scrunch as I apply it. I plop into a t-shirt. Then finish showering (wash any conditioner off my body, hate that feeling).

    Wear the plop as long as I like, long enough to get the curls set in shape. Let it down to get it drier though before bed. Try to get it about 60-80% dry before bed. Sleep on it, which breaks out the crunch.

    In the AM, I hang upside down and fluff at the roots. Wet any wayward curls/wurls and stick it where I want it. Done.

    It’s just what works for me. I picked up stretching washes, avoiding sulfates/silicones, etc from CGM. I learned plopping somewhere else. I tried soap on my own. I just throw them all together and I love how my hair comes out. I am trying mousse instead of gel right now because I ran out of gel, but I bought gel too because I know it works. It’s all fun times.

    TBH, I’ve never tried to let it dry fully during the day. It would be too difficult. Honestly I probably never get it 60% dry before bed and half the time I sleep on it soaking, so, YMMV.

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