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Mecca Franchise Logo The Mecca Guide

What is the ‘Curly Girl Method’ and how to do it

January 1 | 6 minute read

How To Curly Girl Method Hero 16x9

Words by Romy Erdos and Sherine Youssef

Originally published on | January 1

Ever heard of the Curly Girl Method?

Look to TikTok and this trend is global: a collective reclamation of curly hair with people embracing their curls. The Curly Girl Method has been labelled as life-changing and transformative for those with curly hair, and it has over 100 million views to prove it. Randy Shamma, manager of global omnichannel education at Bumble and bumble, explains the popularity: “I think it’s highly celebrated to wear your natural curls and this method has been key to helping encourage you to do just that.” It’s also a great way to express yourself. “It's exciting to see individuals embracing their curls. Hair comes in all shapes and sizes and is as personalised as your signature, so I am an advocate for indulging in self-expression,” they say.

So what is the curly girl method?

With a comprehensive list of commandments, the Curly Girl Method gives it to you straight, targeting the specific needs of this type of hair. “With all its personality, curly hair can be prone to dehydration and therefore requires less shampooing, or more ‘co-washing’ (washing with conditioner), than straight hair to help avoid frizz and prevent breakage,” explains Carla Rinaldi of Roots Society, an organisation that specialises in hair education.

Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo adds that the Curly Girl Method involves “a unique product layering technique that helps you care for your curls and achieve naturally shiny, defined texture.” You can do so by building and maintaining hydration in the hair by using a conditioner, sulphate-free cleanser or co-wash, deep conditioning treatments and avoiding ingredients like sulphates, waxes and (gasp!) heat styling.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wavy, kinky or coily, by following this guide you’ll get curls that are well-formed and frizz-free… it can even reveal curls you didn’t know you had.

What are the benefits of the curly girl method?

Healthier hair and enhanced definition is the aim of the Curly Girl Method game! While results vary depending on hair type and texture, those with naturally prominent curls can expect to see their fullest, most defined hair yet. For those with straight or slightly wavy hair, the Curly Girl Method won’t make your hair ‘curlier’, so it’s best used on distinct waves to amp up natural texture.

Is there anything to avoid when doing the curly girl method?

Heat styling and ingredients like sulphates, silicones, alcohol and waxes are the number one enemy of the Curly Girl Method, so it’s best to steer clear of these if you can. These particular ingredients may work against your curls, not for them, and have the ability to strip the hair of its moisture and in turn leave your curls looking flat (the opposite of what we’re wanting to achieve). Love to dry your hair off with a towel? Switch to something more gentle, like an absorbent hair turban or – a TikTok favourite – an old t-shirt!

The ultimate curly girl method routine

1. Reset with a clarifying wash

Before embarking on the Curly Girl Method journey, it’s important to start with a clean slate. Take your hair back to ground zero with a clarifying shampoo to remove product residue or build up. As these products tend to contain sulphates, only follow this step when you’re first starting out or after using styling products containing silicones and waxes. Our picks? The Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo and Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo to help remove product residue from the hair. Don’t forget – you’ll want to avoid clarifying shampoos after this initial ‘reset wash’.

2. Get to know the ‘co-wash’

Cleaning your hair now involves a co-wash (conditioning wash) or a targeted hydrating and sulphate-free shampoo. “Curly hair is more susceptible to breakage; when curls become damaged, the hair cuticle lifts and this makes the hair dry and brittle,” explains Twine. “When choosing products to care for curls, it’s important to look for ingredients that seal down those lifted hair cuticles.” As with all non-sudsing shampoos, make sure to really work the product into the scalp and give a good scrubbing for at least a minute before rinsing to avoid any residue.

We love Briogeo’s sulphate-free Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo. It’s powered by tomato fruit ferment, rice extract and amino acids which work to repair existing damage, prevent future breakage and lock in vital moisture for healthy-looking curls.

3. Reach for a hydrating conditioner

After a good co-wash, saturate your hair with a hydrating silicone-free conditioner (such as Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Shea Curl Defining Conditioner) or a treatment (such as Bumble and bumble Curl Butter Mask). These products contain some of our favourite ingredients worth looking out for, including shea butter and nourishing oils like avocado, argan and coconut.

Comb the product through with a wide-tooth comb or Tangle Teezer Wet Detangler. Rinse but don’t wash it out completely as it’s good to leave a little in.

4. Style and define

Now out of the shower, apply a moisturising and defining styling product onto sopping wet hair, raking it through the strands with your fingers and scrunching onto ends. “Typically, the tighter the curl pattern, the less you should brush or comb as this could disrupt your curl pattern and could create unwanted frizz,” explains Shamma. “When working with curly hair, I recommend using your hands or fingers as tools to rake through and apply products while styling,” they advise.

5. Dry to a tee

Step away from the heat tools! Instead, TikTok pros would have you use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair. “Drying hair with traditional towels can sometimes be too abrasive for curls [when there’s too much friction] and can cause more damage,” explains Twine. Not willing to part with your favourite band tee? Microfibre cloths, such as the Aquis Rapid Dry Turbans are just the thing you need. First you want to scrunch and remove the moisture, then do something called ‘the plop’.

“Plopping is a method that helps you press the product into your hair to encourage your natural curl and texture to come through, whilst also protecting and allowing it to set without disruption. That is the key – style and let it dry,” says Shamma. Simply flip your head over, pile the wet hair on top and then secure it by wrapping up the turban (just be sure not to let your ends get caught in the twist). Leave it to dry, or overnight, and wake up to bouncy, defined curls.

6. Keep your bouncy curls fresh

If you find your curls start to flatten and frizz on day two and beyond, there is a solution to refresh your curls without needing to wash your hair again so soon. Give them a little lift with the Bumble and bumble Curl Reactivator to refresh and restyle your curls between washes.

7. Rinse and repeat

If you got caught in the rain, went swimming or simply feel like your hair needs a refresh, it’s time to embark on the Curly Girl Method journey again. Reach for your favourite co-wash and repeat the Curly Girl Method steps above. Or, if you need a complete reset, bring out your clarifying shampoo and start from square one.

Related topics and brand tags

Curly hairHair careBumble and bumbleBriogeoAquis

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