Curly Girl Method Products Guide: What Should I get?

What are the best curly girl method products?

With a variety of curly girl products out there, it is normal to get confused, right?

In this article you are gonna learn what to use, and how to use the best curly girl method products, that will change your life.

Curly Girl Method Products

Part 1: Getting Started Choosing Your Curly Girl Method Products

A great starting point while thinking about curly girl method products is to use products that contain certain ingredients and avoid others.

For example, go paraben-free, silicon-free, fragrance-free if it’s possible, alcohol-free, and sulfate-free. 

Note that we are going more specific on part 2, where you can find a complete list of curly girl method products as well as specific product examples and tools for your curly hair.

That being said, here we have a general list of what type of product the curly girl method tells us to use:

  1. First of all, buy shampoos or co-washers with gentle cleansing ingredients (check this Curly Girl Approved Shampoos: A Washing Guide article for a complete guide on how to do that)
  1. Use Humectants: They are great moisturizing agents, taking moisture from the air and placing it onto your hair. 
NOTE: Just be aware, humectants can cause frizz if you have high porosity hair. The solution in this case is to apply the humectant with another anti-humectant product to keep it balanced (emollients are examples of anti-humectants, more details can be found down below).

Here a list of some common humectants: Glycerin, Aloe Vera, Honey, Panthenol vitamin b5, Hydrolyzed wheat protein, Ceramide complex.

  1. Use Moisturizers: they are great for dry hair, which need a lot of water reposition. Products that contain amino acids, shea butter, avocado oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil can be used as moisturizers
  1. Use Emollients : They are going to leave your hair smooth, soft and malleable without leaving it greasy.

They will also make it easier to detangle your hair, so it is a great deal for our curls, furthermore, it will give shine and bring a glossy effect to the hair.

NOTE: It can be used in conjunction with humectants as an anti-humectant, if you have high porosity hair. 

Examples of emollients are fruit and vegetable-derived oils and butters, mineral oil, petrolatum, Shea butter, olive

  1. Use Proteins – your hair needs protein if it has lost elasticity, looks and feels gummy, needs to balance out the moisture. If your hair is breaking or if you have dyed and or applied chemicals on your hair recently, you will also benefit from it.

What the protein does is to strengthen your hair, give it balance and a healthier aspect. You can get protein rich conditioners, and deep conditioners hair masks, as well as take supplements and improve your diet. 

Part 2: The curly girl method products that you can use (by type)

Remember I said we were going to look at the curly girl method products in more details? so here is the list of products and tools, with product examples and reviews.

1. Shampoos: Should I use them? What Type of Shampoos should I use? 

According to the curly girl method, you can use shampoo or not, as you can substitute it with the co-washer.

In my opinion, and that is what I do on my own hair, I use shampoo every now and again and use the co-washing in between.

For example, there are times I wash my hair every 7 days with shampoos and co-wash twice in between. 

So if I wash my hair today, and I know that I am going to wash it again in one week, I use my shampoo today, and next week I use the co-wash. 

Then the next week I co-wash again, then the next week I use the shampoo, and so on. 

Depending on your hair, you can shampoo it once a month and use the co-wash in between. Does that make sense?

The important part is that if you use a shampoo, it should be a sulfate free shampoo.

If you don’t want to use the shampoo at all, you can go ahead with the co-washing (more on that below), but I bet there will be times you will feel like having a real good wash.

NOTE: I’ve written a super complete article talking about curly girls method approved shampoos, with reviews of shampoos and a guide on how to wash your hair. Check it out

2. Curly Girl Method Co-Washing Products: What is that and how to do it? 

Basically, they are special conditioners with the function to cleanse your hair and scalp. They are less abrasive than shampoos, however they will not perform the same type of cleansing a shampoo does. 

That’s why as I have said before, I always prefer to use the shampoo intercalating with the co-washing, because with the co-washing I feel my scalp scratchy too soon, and the scratch will end only after a good shampooing.

It will be totally up to you to decide what works best in your own case. If you feel good only with the co-washing, go for it. But I still believe that you will eventually need the actual shampoo. 

NOTE: Because co-washing is less abrasive, they also cause less frizz and leave hair less dry than when you use the shampoo. 

At the moment I am using the Kerastase cleansing conditioner, which I really like. To be more clear here, I have never tried any other brand yet, but this one is doing a good job so far.

kerastase

I first bought it a couple of years ago, and now that I decided to get back to cowashing I ordered it again. 

I found it works well, with something called ‘capillary schedule’, which is a brazilian method that you can wash your hair 2 or 3 times in a week, with the intention to intensify (boost) your hair treatment with 3 or 4 different types of hair masks depending on your hair needs.

Long story short, you apply a hydrating mask, a nutrition mask, a restorative mask, in order to give a holistic type of treatment to your hair. Meaning that in a week, you provide a combo of nourishment, nutrition and restoration to your hair. 

Inside this treatment, depending on what your hair needs the most, you can create a little variation on what frequency you can apply one specific treatment. For example, if your hair is too dry, you can apply a nourishing mask twice, and then apply a nutrition mask. 

This method is not the curly girl method but is really good as well and you will start seeing immediate results, on hair texture, discipline and hydration.

I’m sharing this because I find that co-washing works really well with this method, because I don’t want to use the proper shampoo 2 or 3 times in a week. 

Heads up: let me know in the comments if you want me to write an article with more details about this brazilian method on my hair diaries series. It’s amazing and I’m sure you’re gonna love it to the moon back! 

Curly Girl Method Products Currently using: Kerastase Co-washer Review

Now, talking about the Kerastase cleansing conditioner again, its texture is of a thick cream and the smell is really nice. It comes in a pump bottle which is very handy and it’s easier to apply.

According to Kerastase, you will need on average 3 to 6 pumps in order to wash your hair, but I normally end up applying more because my hair is long and voluminous. 

QUIK TIP: One great tip is to dilute the cream with a little water and then apply on the hair section by section and wait 3 minutes for best results. I do it once but you might be able to repeat this process twice if you have time.

I do the diluting thing, because I got this habit from using shampoo. I was taught by the hairdresser that I should not apply shampoo directly to the hair because it can be a little aggressive on the hair.

The alternative is to dilute the shampoo on a little bit of water, that way it will be more gentle. I truly believe this is true, because I can remember my entire life I didn’t do it, and had the top area of my hair extremely dry.

Then there was a time that I started washing my hair with the head down and started applying shampoo on the back of my head and after a while that area on the back started to look as if it was a little burnt. So I associate this with the way I was applying shampoo.

When I started diluting with a little water, I could see improvements, so I guess there is a correlation to that.

Having this theory in mind I just do the same with the co-washer, just in case. It does no harm and I don’t want to take the rist.

And ah, just a quick recap, don’t use shampoo and co-washing at the same time, as it’s not necessary.

The results

First results: As I have mentioned, I like it because I feel the hair gets more malleable the moment I rinse it out. Even while wet, it gets soft and easier to detangle. 

Now, the one million question, does it really help you to get rid of the frizz once the hair is dried?

I have noticed a more malleable hair and significant frizz reduction, but I guess it will depend on how frizzy your hair is. In my case, as it has a lot of frizz, it doesn’t fix 100% of my frizz, but I am still pretty happy with the results.

Another thing I have to mention is that I never wash my hair without applying a hair mask or a conditioner, after shampooing or co-washing, which I guess helps even more to smooth the frizz.

I will definitely try other brands to compare results in the future, but so far this is working for me I will stick with it for a while. 

The reason I want to try other brands in the future, is because the hair gets used to a product after a while, and it stops working. 

So it is always good to have something else on hands just in case your hair gets enough of a certain product.

2. Curly Girl Method Products: Rinse Out Conditioner

If you feel that your hair needs more moisture, you can use a rinse out conditioner. Depending on how much moisture you need, you should apply a generous amount of it.

This means that if you have very dry, frizzy or damaged hair it is better to apply a lot of conditioner. If you are wondering about a good rinse out hair conditioner, I can talk to you about two options.

One is the PURA D’OR Healing Argan Oil Conditioner for Dry, Damaged, Frizzy Hair, w/Aloe Vera, Lavender, Vanilla, Coconut, Retinol & Vitamin E, Sulfate Free, which I am using now and in love with. It’s a little more expensive, but truly worth the money.

The other one is the Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk Conditioner for dry hair, which is a little less expensive, but it still attends to the curly girl method recommendations. 

Let’s talk a little more about each one of these products now.

Currently Using: PURA D’OR Healing Argan Oil Conditioner Review

The PURA D’OR Healing Argan Oil Conditioner is awesome because it contains protein and ingredients such as Argan Oil, Lavender, and Vanilla Extract.

These ingredients are perfect for reconstructing for hair reconstruction, especially if your hair tends to get dry.

If you suffer from frizz you can relax, because it has a frizz control formula that I found to be very effective.

conditioner

I also like how it makes it easy to detangle my hair. This one is very important in my opinion, because if you have curly hair, you know the pain it is to have it detangled, that can take too long and even cause breakage, so I really appreciate when a product helps me with that task.

The smell is really nice. It smells like lavender and vanilla with a hint of patchouli. I’m sure you’re gonna like the smell as much as I like it. 

In the end my hair feels soft and moisturized. I have dry hair, but this one goes really well with it. For the best results, apply it on your hair, section by section. 

If your hair is not so dry, you can apply it on the hair length. In my case, ( dry hair) I apply on the entire head, including the roots and it works fine. Leave it on for 2 minutes and rinse it out.

You can be finished by now, or you can go ahead and apply a hydrating mask. I do it most of the time but it is totally optional. 

Curly Girl Method Products I Have used and still recommend: Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk Conditioner Review

The Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk Conditioner is another good option if you have curly hair too. This one is a little less expensive but it is also great. 

It is silicone free and contains coconut milk, guava oil and mango butter on the composition. 

Also great for detangling, this conditioner untangles the hair so easily and leaves it hydrated and soft. 

In addition, this rinse out condition is paraben free, has no sulfate, is vegan (I love that), gluten free and contains pure coconut water and pure aloe vera juice.

It is not fragrance free, but it works wonders. The smell is really nice though. It smells like strawberry powder or something like that, but it is not bad at all.

One thing I like about this conditioner, is that it leaves the curls looking well defined and bouncy. Have also noticed improvements on the frizz. 

As a dry hair girl, I think it brought up good moisture that I would not find on very cheap conditioners and for the price ( it is approximately 6$ dollars depending on your area / country).

A side note though, is that if you have short and not so voluminous hair, you might end up finding it to leave your hair feeling greasy.

So maybe you should try it with moderation and testing to see what amount of the product is suitable for your hair situation.

A Quick Word On How To Use Rinse Out Conditioners

Normally rinse out conditioners are applied after shampoo, but you should always test out because some hair stylists say that you can use it before shampoo.

Some people suggest you can apply rinse out conditioners after a hair mask. In this case, you wash your hair,  apply a hair mask, rinse it out and then finalise with the rinse out conditioner. 

Last week I read somewhere to apply the conditioner before and after shampoo. I tried this out and I think that did not make that much of a difference.

I guess it is up to you to see what works best in your own situation.

In the past I would normally skip the conditioner because I always use hair masks (and some hairdressers say that you don’t need a conditioner if you’re gonna use the hair mask).

But lately I decided to experiment using the conditioner and I’m experiencing good results, so I’m gonna stick with it.

The way I normally tend to apply it. I wash, then I conditioner and then I rinse out. If i use a hair mask, I will follow the same sequence and lastly apply the hair mask. 

3. Deep Conditioning Products: What are they and how to use

I used to think that deep conditioning was the same as a hair masque. Make no mistake (like me), they are not the same thing. So, what is a deep conditioner, then?

A deep conditioner is a product that gives an extra boost of care to your hair and an extra touch of softness.

The difference between deep conditioning and a hair masque, is that, while deep conditioners leave your hair more soft, the hair masque will offer a more comprehensive and even deeper type of restorative treatment.

It will all depend on how your hair is diagnosed. If your hair needs a more intensive treatment, hair masques are gonna be the way to go.

How Often Should I Apply It?

Normally once or twice a week. Once again, you will examine your hair situation and judge what is best for you. If your hair is suffering from frizz and it looks dull, you will probably need to do it twice a week.

How To Deep Condition My Hair?

1. Find a great deep conditioner, wash or co-wash for your hair, then apply the deep conditioner in the sequence. 

You have probably heard a lot that you should not apply it close to the roots but I normally do it without problems.

2. Once you apply the deep conditioner, wait a few minutes and rinse it out. The time you should wait depends on the product, so make sure to read the product instructions to know exactly how long you should wait before rinsing it out.

QUICK TIP: I normally use microwavable thermal hair caps while waiting for the deep conditioners and hair masques to work. You can find more details about that at the end of the article.

It is alway best to rinse with cold water, if you are brave enough to do so. By doing this, you assure that hair scales will be closed as less dried as well.

What product to use?

Try out deep conditioners that are silicone free, Sulfate free and Paraben Free, like the Okay Coconut Deep Moisturizing Conditioner. 

It will help your hair, by providing a good Moisture and Elasticity for your hair, leaving it more strength and elasticity.

Let’s talk a little more about it.

Currently Using: Okay Coconut Deep Moisturizing Conditioner Review

The Okay Coconut Deep Moisturizing Conditioner can be used on all hair types and texture, from any ethiny.

It is even indicated for those with allergy and itchy scalp, dermatitis, dandruff, rashes, hair loss prevention and frizz.

One thing that I like about this deep conditioner is how it treats the hair, rescuing natural moisture, leaving it soft, more malleable, easier to detangle. 

With this deep hair conditioner, you may start seeing results since the first application, but you should also notice even better improvements on the hair texture, after the 4th application. 

The formula contains avocado oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, castor seed oil and shea butter, so you can imagine how powerful it can be on all hair types, especially if you have dry and or curly hair.

After a few applications, in addition to improved hydration, you may also notice hair loss prevention, cure from split ends and breakage. 

This product is very powerful and rich of emollients, nutrients and restorative ingredients that will be really beneficial to your hair.

The way you should use it is after washing or co-washing, apply it section by section and wait for a few minutes (3 to 5 minutes would work).

If you want, use a microwavable cap to add a little bit of warmth and then rinse it out really well.

Bear in mind this is not a leave in conditioner, so it is important to rinse it really well and it will work great as well if your hair is dry and damaged.

4. Hair Masks: What Are They, And How To Use Them?

Even though deep conditioning is not really the same as hair masking, we all can agree here that they are like cousins. Nowadays, there are many deep conditioners that do almost the same as hair masques.

If deep conditioning will help you achieve more shine, softness and malleability, the hair masques will auxilate you if your hair needs reconstruction, deep repair and an extra dose of care.

How to use the hair masques?

Hair masques are a great ally for our curly hair and pretty much like deep conditioners can be used once or twice a week.

Once you wash or co-wash your hair, apply the hair mask and let it sit in for a few minutes, using a microwavable thermal masque.

The time you leave a particular mask on your hair will depend on the brand, so make sure to read the instructions on the pot. 

I use hair masques as well. In fact, I use more hair masques than deep conditioners, because I use too much flat iron. 

For this reason, I need something more powerful, right? 

The masque that I am using right now is the SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque For Dry Hair.

I have been using this masque for a few months and have had excellent results.This is a curly girl method friendly product, and we’re gonna see this in more detail down below.

Currently using: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque Review

The Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Treatment Masque can actually be used on all curly hair types, but will also work really well on dry and weak hair.

It has jamaican black castor oil on its composition which will give an extra boost on your hair health.

You can use this mask if your hair is falling, or if you’re adding any type of chemical treatment, coloring, heat styling and need to restore your mask with amazing ingredients.

In my case, as I use the flat iron a lot, I think this really helps my hair to stay strong enough to receive the heat styling.

This is one of the best inexpensive hair masks I have tried. 

And for the part that touches the curly girl method products list, it is natural, Cruelty-Free, silicone free, sulfate free, paraben free and there are no phthalates or petrolatum.

How to use it?

Use it after shampooing, and apply a generous amount of the product on the hair, section by section from the root to the ends. 

For better distribution of the product onto your hair, comb your hair with a wood large teeth comb (start combing from the ends, and gradually going upwards). 

Wait it to work on your hair for 10-15 minutes, under the heat, as I have mentioned a microwavable cap is a life saver, I truly love it.

You can also let it on the hair for 30 minutes without heat. Remember to rinse it thoroughly really well.

I think it’s good to mention that I don’t use only this hair masque. I use a bunch of other masks that are great as well. They are a little more expensive than this one, but they are great. 

It is good to keep on using more than one mask, because over time our hair tends to ‘get used’ to a certain product, for this reason it’s good to keep a few options.

Let me know if you want me to write a review on other masks for curly hair on the comments below.

5. Leave in and Creams: Should I Use Leave In Or A cream?

From my experience, I think that leave ins are less greasy than creams. But in both ways I tend to feel discomfort, because I always end up feeling that creams and leave ins are too sticky. 

A few weeks ago I finally found a great leave-in that didn’t feel sticky at all, from Keune but as I have voluminous hair, it will get too expensive, hence the bottle would last just a week or so.

There is another cream from Brazil that works pretty well, especially for the frizz, and texture, but on the other hand it feels really greasy. 

This cream is the Cotton from Botanica. I haven’t found the link to share with you here, but you might be able to find it on google.

I like the leave-in from Kerastase Nectar. It is the best of all mentioned but It will end up being a bit on the expensive side because my hair absorbs a lot of product. 

As I said, the results were amazing with the kerastase leave in, the only downside is that it leaves your hair a little greasy.  

At the end of the day, I end up using oils instead of creams but this is because I believe they work better for me. 

As you know, it is alway a matter of trying out different products and recommendations and seeing what works best four your hair.

Now you might be asking me should I be using leave ins and creams? My answer is test it and see how your hair adapts. 

But bear in mind that most creams are going to give some sort of greatness. If your hair is not so voluminous and doesn’t absorb too much product, the Keune will be the best option because it won’t leave hair greasy at all.

The downside is that it was a little expensive and even if your hair is not very voluminous, but if it is curly, chances are that it will consume a lot of product anyways.

By the way the leavin and creams I have mentioned here I didn’t buy because they were aligned with the curly girl method, but because they were indicated for curly hair in general.

5. Gels: Should I Use Them?

The curly girl method recommends the use of gels, and many curlies out there like it. To be honest I never really tried any gel, but I’m open to do so, at some point. 

You should use them if you would like, and if you, like me, never tried, I think would be an interesting experiment, because gels are known to lock your curls and give a nice bounce, keeping it under control.

If you are interested to try out with gels, the DevaCurl Light Defining Styling Hair Gel has many great reviews. 

Part 3: Curly Hair Method Recommended Tools That You Can Use  

Let’s talk a little bit about the tools that come in very handy while treating your hair.

Most of these tools are recommended by the curly girl method, but I decided to add a couple of tools that I find that you may like to have in your hands during your hair treatment day.

1. Blow Dryers And Diffusers 

We should try our best to leave our hair to dry naturally, but we all have those days we cannot wait, or simply, you just to get it dried now.

For this, the best you can do it so use a diffuser, that way you won’t mess your hair up. I notice that I can have more control of my curls with the diffuser, so don’t waste one more minute. 

If you are going to use the dryer, get that diffuser on, but give preference to no heat or at least the least hot option. 

One good dryer that has many great reviews is the Remington D3190 Damage Protection Hair Dryer with Ceramic + Ionic + Tourmaline Technology.

You might be asking what is that?

Firstly ceramic dryers are better because they emit non damaging infrared heat, just in case you want to blow dry your hair or use the minimum heat.

A Tourmaline dryer emits infrared heat and negative ions reducing impacts and damages of heating at any level and leaves your hair shiner less frizzy.  

2. Microfiber Hair Towel Wrap (or a T-shirt)

To avoid breakage and other damages, from now on, I advise you to stop using normal towels to take off the excess of water from your hair. 

I normally use a microfiber hair towel because it is more gentle on the hair, causes less frizz, and is really practical.

If you don’t want to spend any more money at this point, a good and old t-shirt will do the trick.

3.  Wide tooth comb

As you will start to detangle your hair under the shower, a wide tooth comb is going to be a great ally while making the task a lot easier. 

I prefer to use a wood comb, because it will leave your hair less static and ends up giving a little more shine than the plastic ones. 

4. Silk or Satin Pillowcase

Silk or satin pillowcases are a thing to go, because contrary to the normal fabric, it will not retain hair moisture. They will also cause some improvements, such as less frizz, so it is a good idea to have them.

Silk pillowcases are normally more expensive than the satin ones, but both of them will do a good job not only on the hair but also on the skin.

5. Tools added by me 

Now, let me tell you a couple of other tools that are not really part of the curly girl method products list but I think you might find useful.

1. Microwavable thermal hair cap

I just love them. I remember I used to have one thermal cap that I had to plug in electricity. One day I almost had a problem because I started to smell like it was burning. It took it off my head immediately and from this point on, I am always  afraid to use those types of caps.

Then I found out about the Microwavable thermal hair cap and was really happy with this solution, because as you might know, some deep conditioners, especially the DIY ones, work really well with a little heat. 

2. Shampoo scalp massager

This one is so cool, right? You just apply your shampoo or co-washer as you would normally do, but then you use this gadget for an extra relaxation. 

Scalp massage is great to activate the natural oils of the scalp, plus the way you massage your hair while washing it will help boost circulation.

What Is The Curly Girl Method?

You probably already know but let’s be up for a quick recap here.

The  curly girl method was written by Lorraine massey in her book the curly girl: the handbook and consists on a series of instructions on how to take care of your own curly hair, including what are the best types of products for your hair, what to do, and what not to do on curly hair.

In a nutshell, according to the curly method hair, you should use products that are sulfate free, alcohol free, Non-water soluble silicones and (preferable) fragrance free products. 

Also, you are recommended not to use combs (just the ones with the large teeth) nor brushes.

There’s actually a bunch of more instructions in the book and the results will be more disciplined hair, defined curls, less friz and a malleable hair.

I think I cannot give you too much details from the book, but you can go grab it here if you want to learn more, I (super) recommend.

Now, is the curly girl method, the only way / method you should use on curly hair? Certainly not. There are endless ways you can take care of your hair, and if you just take some time to test products you should do that.

However, I really like these kinds of methods because it can give us a solid direction, because many of us curlies, don’t even know how to get started. So try this out, but also be open to use this method as a starting point to define your own hair routine.

Will this work for all curly hair ladies and gentlemen out there? Maybe it’s not for everyone, as I have seen some people sharing all sorts of reviews on that, but I believe that it’s worth giving it a try, at least to say.

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