Skip to content

The Curly Girl Method doesn’t Work – What to Do Instead

The Curly Girl Method doesn't Work

The Curly Girl Method doesn’t Work: If you have curly hair, the number of products and routines available to help manage your curls can be overwhelming, with seemingly new products and techniques popping up every day. One of the most popular methods for styling curly hair is called the Curly Girl Method, developed by Lorraine Massey, who owns Devachan Salon in New York City. The Curly Girl Method includes shampoos, conditioners, and styling products made with natural ingredients to help keep curls healthy and well-maintained.

Table of Contents

What is the curly girl method?

The curly girl method, also known as CG, is a popular hair-care philosophy that’s been around for over 10 years. The basic idea behind it is to shampoo your hair no more than twice a week and otherwise use gentle, conditioning products on it at all times. To start with CG, you need to stop using any smoothing or straightening products on your hair, including gels and hairsprays. Using these products can make curly hair drier in addition to damaging it; instead, you’ll want to rely on products designed specifically for wavy or curly hair.


The curly girl method is a common name for what used to be called conditioner washing, where you only use conditioner in your hair instead of shampoo and skip any steps involving heat. The method has been around since at least 2001 when it was first discussed on long-time hair forum boards.

However, it has only recently gained prominence with wider audiences thanks to its portrayal in books like Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl: The Handbook and Mally Roncal’s Curls: Pure and Simple. Both these books use the curly girl as a springboard for discussing more general healthy hair habits rather than outlining a specific way of doing things—and that’s how most people use curly girl today.

How To Use The Curly Girl Method.

The Curly Girl Method doesn't Work

The Curly Girl method is a hair-care system created by Lorraine Massey for curly-haired women. The system advocates using sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. From start to finish, you’ll want to wash your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and condition it with a moisturizing conditioner, based on what type of curls you have.

The curly girl method is just a general guideline for your hair-care routine. Essentially, it’s low-maintenance and will keep your curls beautiful without fussing with styling products or tools. It can be tempting to reach for the shampoo daily if you have oily roots, but this leads to dryness and breakage. Try washing roots every other day or less if possible.

1. Apply a moisturizing product before getting in the shower

If you have thick hair, go ahead and skip it. But if your locks are fine or thinning and prone to dryness, try putting on a leave-in conditioner before you start working up a lather. This will give your strands a head start on softening as soon as they’re exposed to moisture. And, chances are, you’ll use less shampoo because it won’t be grabbing onto quite much of what was already present!

2. Shampoo regularly with sulfate-free products

There are a wide variety of sulfate-free shampoos on the market, but if you’re going to go for it, don’t worry about finding the perfect one. A great sulfate-free shampoo should get your hair clean, and it shouldn’t weigh down your curls.

 3. Conditioners are your friend

The conditioner will be your BFF when it comes to styling your curls. It will make a huge difference in what you see in your hair, how well you can shape them, and how long it’ll last. So don’t skimp on conditioner! Ask a stylist for help finding one that works for you and makes sense with your curl type.

4. Use protective styling when needed

Protective styling such as braids, cornrows, twists, ponytails, and updos are great options for protecting curly hair from heat damage and chemical services. Let’s face it. Protective styling can be quite time-consuming, so make sure you put in some extra effort to ensure that you’re rocking your new styles on time.

5. Avoid excessive washing of roots when needed

In most cases, roots look best when allowed to dry for a few days between shampoos. Regular washing only makes them look oily and greasy faster and can accelerate thinning of your hair by weakening its natural oils. If you tend to wash your hair every day or two, try skipping a day between washes. You might be surprised at how healthy your scalp looks with just a little extra oil!

6. Tame frizz with oils or serum before brushing out tangles

Many curly girls swear by either oiling or applying a serum before brushing out tangles with a wide-tooth comb. This can help eliminate any unwanted frizz and allow your curls to flourish. Make sure you’re using hydrating products combined with these methods, as they work best on dry hair.

7. If your scalp feels dry, use oil or shea butter 

Both are light moisturizers that will bring your strands back to life without weighing down your hair. Massage a bit into your scalp and cover with a shower cap before you go to bed. Wash out in the morning. Coconut oil and shea butter can also be used daily as deep conditioners or styling products.

8. Detangle with fingers rather than a comb 

Combs can be too harsh on tangles, causing even more breakage and frizz. To prevent breakage and promote healthy hair growth, gently finger-comb through your hair after a shower while it’s still wet, detangling one small section at a time. If you must use a comb, use a wide-tooth comb made with smooth plastic rather than metal. This will reduce frizz by allowing more moisture to remain in your hair as you style it.

9. Don’t brush wet hair

Wet hair is vulnerable, so brushing it can cause breakage. To reduce damage and encourage your curls to fall into shape, comb them after you get out of a shower and then again in a few hours when they’re dry. If you must brush before then, choose a wide-toothed comb or pick.

And don’t forget: It’s not just wet hair that’s fragile; dry strands are delicate too. Keep in mind that different products have different needs. That’s why we have the curly girl method, which covers all this, like what should be the best routine for curly hair and things to avoid in the curly girl method.

Good things about The Curly Girl Hair Care Method

The Curly Girl Method doesn't Work
  • This method is 100% natural and safe for your hair. This means you don’t have to worry about using harsh chemicals that can damage your hair. The no-poo method uses ingredients from around your home, including baking soda, castile soap, and apple cider vinegar—all designed to cleanse your scalp while strengthening and nourishing your hair follicles. 
  • Unlike traditional shampoos, there is no lather with this method, so it might take some getting used to at first. To combat greasy hair in between washings, a simple rinse with water will do the trick! If you find that conditioner weighs down your curls or leaves them feeling waxy, then dilute it with equal water before applying. 
  • A little bit goes a long way when conditioning curly hair. When wetting your locks, start by working the product into the roots and then use gentle scrunching motions to work up through your lengths before letting them air dry naturally or giving them a quick blast with the blow dryer on low heat. 

The thing we don’t like about The Curly Girl Hair Care Method

The problem with common curly girl hair care practices is that they do not consider all of your hair’s characteristics. When you have curly hair, it’s important to have a routine that nourishes your scalp and gently and thoroughly cleanses, moisturizes, and strengthens each curl.

However, one size does not fit all when maintaining healthy curls. This is why understanding your hair’s unique needs is so important. After you figure out your hair type, finding products that are right for you becomes much easier. The reality is that all curly girl methods are not created equal. If you were born with curls, your texture would tell you how best to care for them.

Awesome Products For Curly Hairs. 

1. Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Smoothing Serum,

There are many options out there for curly hair, and most work pretty well. One product that has been consistently on top of Amazon’s list of best sellers is Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Smoothing Serum. This lightweight serum adds shine while reducing frizz, making it perfect for curly or coarse hair types. Reviewers note that it helps fight humidity, resulting in soft and silky locks all day long.

A few reviewers found that their curls remained perfectly moisturized without getting greasy throughout the day. If you have extra thick hair, reviewers recommend using more than one pump of serum.

2. Shea Moisture 100% Organic Argan Oil

Many hair types find that Argan Oil is a lifesaver and great for moisture, shine, and conditioning. However, it can be oily for some with oily/acne-prone scalps. If you want to try it, we recommend starting with small amounts and being careful not to use too much! A couple of drops of Argan Oil can work wonders if you’re willing to try it. Here are some tips for using Argan Oil in your curly girl routine.

3. DevaCurl No-Poo Cleanser

This cleanser is a favorite for many curly-haired women, and for a good reason: it cleanses without stripping your hair of natural oils. Think of it as a milder version of traditional shampoos and conditioners. Cleansing with No-Poo helps replenish natural oils so your curls can be at their best!

To keep your hair clean while on No Poo, use a wide-tooth comb instead of brushing. No poo is gentle enough that you can even leave it in overnight before washing it out in the morning. The only downside is that its smell isn’t always as pleasant depending on the ingredients used. You might notice an unpleasant scent when you use it.

4. DevaCurl Light Defining Gel

If you’ve been trying to transition your curls with a product, you know how confusing all those numbers and names can be. Defining gels are great because they provide hold without being too heavy or crunchy, which is important for curly hair. Devacurl’s light-defining gel is one of my favorite products I have ever used in my hair—and at under $20, it’s an affordable option. The defining gel keeps curls looking defined and polished.

5. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

Many curly girls swear by Dr. Bronner’s pure castile soap and its organic and fair trade ingredients, of course, for its ability to cleanse hair and scalp while adding volume and shine. Before starting with Dr. Bronner’s, try a regular shampoo-and-conditioner combo or a cleansing conditioner first to see how your hair responds before potentially stripping it of all-natural oils.

If you do opt for Dr. Bronner’s, avoid other additives like essential oils (which can be irritants) and baking soda. To use, wet hair thoroughly; using about three drops for each section, massage onto scalp; leave on for two minutes; rinse completely with warm water until water runs clear; follow with your regular shampoo and conditioner routine.

You can also check out our other related article How To Fix Stringy Curly Hair:

Tips and Tricks for Curly Hair Care

Like with any hair, caring for curly hair means using products for it. There are lots of great curly hair products on today’s market. They’re suited to even and general day-to-day care or meant for intensive and volumizing use. Here are some ways you can take proper care of your curls to get them looking as lovely as possible 

1. Your hair should be washed at least once weekly because buildup will cause frizziness and oily roots. 

2. Try not to brush through your curls too much when wet because this will make them difficult to dry later on. 

3. If you have curly hair, avoid flat irons because they can cause more damage than just making waves in your locks which is what we want! 

4. Avoid heavy conditioners because these often weigh down your curls which we want loose! Conditioner specifically made for those with wavy or curly hair will do wonders without weighing it down! 55. 

5. The best shampoo and conditioner for curly hair: Find the best shampoo and conditioning routine for your curls. First, determine if you have Type I, II, III, or IV hair. Each type has characteristics like curliness, the width of strands, etc.

DIY At Home Toner Routine for Wavy Hair

Toning is a less prominent part of any beauty routine, but it’s one you need if you have wavy hair. If you don’t tone your hair, your waves will be dull and lackluster. This quick at-home DIY toner routine for wavy hair can help eliminate any yellow tones in your waves and make them look much better. Just follow these easy steps and make sure to do it weekly! 

1. Add 3 cups apple cider vinegar to an empty spray bottle. 

2. Fill the rest with water and shake well before each use 

3. Spray evenly throughout dry hair

4. Massage scalp 

5. Leave it on for 10 minutes 

6. Rinse thoroughly 

7 Drink plenty of water after this routine 

8 Make sure not to brush through wet hair 

9 Apply moisturizer or leave-in conditioner after washing out the rinse water 

10 Follow up with styling products like gel or cream 

Different Types Of Heat Protection Methods 

The Curly Girl Method doesn't Work

To avoid heat damage and any styling problems, many people prefer choosing a heat-protecting hair product that can be used on your hair before you use heat. Heat protection is a must if you want to keep your hair from being damaged by other products or solutions. These include thermal protectors, serums, oils, sprays, and more. These things don’t just protect your hair when it comes to using heat styling tools but also help you get shinier and healthier-looking tresses.

Thermal protectors

Another thing that hair experts recommend when heat styling is using a heat protectant spray, such as Tresemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray or TRESemmé Heat Tamer Protective Spray. Use it before blow-drying your hair or going out in harsh weather, says Paradi. These products are designed to help limit damage from humidity and infrared heat sources, which can break down and weaken your hair over time.

Heat protection oils

Because heat styling can be damaging, protect your hair with a heat protection spray. The lightweight oil-based formula won’t weigh your hair down and will create a barrier between strands, so it doesn’t become brittle or vulnerable when you blow-dry or flat iron. Plus, essential oils in many formulas offer fragrance and sun protection for added benefit.

Heat Protection sprays 

Avoid heat protection sprays, especially if you have straight hair. They contain silicones that coat your hair and repel moisture, so they can weigh your hair down even more than it already is! Try a light leave-in conditioner; it will lock in hydration without ruining your curls.

Things to Avoid in this method

The following products have been linked to negative side effects: 

Harsh sulfates and detergents

They strip your hair of natural oils, which is why they’re so effective at making your clothes whiter than white. But healthy hair isn’t supposed to be white as snow. Sulfates have been implicated in everything from dandruff to temporary hair loss after repeated exposure. Luckily, plenty of gentle cleansers don’t contain sulfates or harsh chemicals; look for shampoos with ingredients like sodium coco sulfate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, decyl glucoside, or disodium laureth sulphosuccinate. 

Heat styling tools

They can do a number on your hair if you use them too often, but it’s also possible to use them too infrequently. Don’t ever let your hair air dry if you want it to be healthy, shiny, and beautiful, says Mark Boulos, owner of Blunt Salon in Los Angeles. If you want a style that requires heat styling, use it once every three weeks. Your curls will thank you. 

Not being patient enough.

Sometimes we’re not willing to wait until our curly strands get sufficiently moisturized before applying products, choosing instead to slather on a heavy layer of product right out of the shower. While this might feel great at the moment, it won’t give your hair what it needs over time because heavy conditioners make curls limp and greasy when used daily. So start by using just enough conditioner for what’s needed-a dime-sized amount should suffice-then apply more later if necessary. 

Why doesn’t The Curly Girl Method Work?

First, look at the ingredients on your shampoo and conditioner bottles to see if they have sulfates or silicones. Those act as strong detergents that can dry out our already thirsty curls. A gentler option? Use diluted apple cider vinegar as a rinse after washing your hair! Next, replace your regular shampoos with ones designed specifically for curly hair, like Trader Joe’s Nourish Shampoo or Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner. 

Not all curly girl methods are created equal:

Many styles rely on two ingredients: a low-poo and a leave-in conditioner. They usually call for products by DevaCurl or Jane Carter, which can be pretty pricey. The first thing you should do when looking into how to care for your curly hair is talk with your stylist about what will work best in your hair, considering your curl pattern, porosity and density. If you want those cute little ringlets found in Pinterest photos, keep reading! Here’s why you might need a few more than just a leave-in conditioner and an anti-frizz serum.

Too much product can lead to frizz and buildup. 

Your favorite shampoo and conditioner might be some of your curly girl products, but it’s important to note that what works for you may not work for someone else. Be wary of how much product you use and how often you apply it. Apply too much or use too frequently, which could lead to frizz, dryness, and a buildup of product on your hair shaft that weighs down curls flattens them out or makes them appear dull.

Your hair may require different routine steps than mine.

When it comes to hair care, there is no one-size-fits-all rule. Although I’m a huge fan of The Curly Girl Method, developed by Lorraine Massey in her book of the same name, what works for my hair might not work for yours. Let’s start with your haircut: Did you get one specifically for curly hair? This can make a difference when styling your tresses.

There’s no one perfect product that will work for everyone. 

And while I think The Curly Girl Method can work for many people, I also know that it might not work for everyone. So what should you do if you’re trying to use The Curly Girl Method, but it’s not working? Well, first, you need to be patient! This isn’t something that will happen overnight.

 It takes time (and patience!) before you see significant changes in your curls.

If you’re following The Curly Girl Method, and are a few months into it, take a good look at your hair. Maybe it’s not exactly like those Pinterest-perfect shots of women with lustrous locks looking like a moving water fountain. But if you love your hair—its weight, how bouncy it is, how soft, shiny and touchable—then you’ve got results. And that means you should celebrate them!


Common Questions About The Curly Girl Hair Routine And How To Fix Them. 

Can the hair be damaged by blow-drying? 

Yes, blow-drying can damage your hair. Just because you put a warm air dryer on it does not mean that your hair is well taken care of. When blow-drying, always use a heat protectant and apply products beforehand so that you can style without fear of ruining your locks.

Are curling irons bad for your hair? 

This depends on what type of iron you are using. If you use a barrel or rod iron, they will leave your hair frizzy and limp. However, if you use an iron with a clamp-like curling wand, this should be fine since it holds your hair in place instead of relying on pressure and direct contact like other irons.

Will straightening damage my hair? 

Straightening can damage your hair, but only if you leave it on high heat all day long. Set the timer on your appliance so you don’t forget about it and keep checking throughout the day.

Will sleeping with my hair in a ponytail cause damage? 

Sleeping with your hair tied up may seem the best way to avoid knots and tangles, but it causes more harm than good. Tying up your hair will often lead to breakage at the roots, eventually thinning hairs.

Will flat ironing my hair damage it? 

Again, this will depend on the type of tool that you are using. If you have an old metal flat iron from your grandmother’s time, it might do some damage. But if you have a newer ceramic one, this should be fine.


You can do two things if you’re finding that The Curly Girl Method isn’t working for you. The first is simply time. Depending on your hair, it may take a while before it responds fully to moisturizing products or until your hair completely acclimates itself to healthier methods.

This could take anywhere from one month to one year, so don’t panic if you notice no change in your texture within a few weeks. You may just need more time! If you find that after three months of trying the method, you still aren’t noticing any changes in how your hair looks or feels and are unable to get rid of those nasty frizzes, try switching out some ingredients in your routine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *