Is the Curly Girl Method worth it?

The Curly Girl Method is a system of caring for curls developed by Lorraine Massey that promises low maintenance, frizz-free, manageable curls. The basics are that you avoid silicones and sulfates, wash with care, and skip terrycloth towels.

When I first attempted the curly girl method, I spent upwards of $200 on hair products, drug store and professional alike. I sampled, sniffed, and co-washed my way through countless bottles, spent hours reading ingredient lists. I tried products from the “ethnic” section, dropped $80 on Ouidad, and worked my way through half the DevaCurl line. I felt oppressed by the shampoo isle and all it’s claims, labels, and promises.

For months, I suffered through frizz, crispy curls, oily curls, limp curls, and overall bad hair days. I gave up several times, only to try again with the encouragement of my husband (he loves the curls).

Then one day, it clicked. I found a combination of products that was right for my hair type, developed a system that worked for me, and I haven’t looked back. My hair is truly healthier, well behaved, and less frizzy than it has ever been.

In short, starting the curly girl method can be a total pain in the ass. It’s also totally worth it. For years, I straightened my hair fall through spring, and would relent come summer. Now, I have easy to care for hair, year round- that also means I can finally grow out my hair without fear of spending an hour blow drying and flat ironing.

Of course, every hair type is different, but for me, here’s what worked (and what didn’t):

  • Look for products that are formulated for your hair type (typically dry). Although the ethic hair care section contains a few gems, many products were just too heavy on my hair. Check out a curly hair forum to find gals with hair like yours and see what they use.
  • Co-Washing (washing hair with only conditioner) sucks and is a waste of my time. I go so long in between washings that I really need the cleansing that comes with shampoo.
  • Two Words: Living Proof. This line is totally silicone and sulfate free, and is works awesome for my hair. It’s a no-brainer way to try the method since you don’t have to read ingredients. Heads-up: it’s not cheap, but it does work.
  • Stick to what you know works. If gel has never worked for your hair, don’t bother. It’s not going to suddenly work now that you’ve gone silicone free.
  • Watch out for drug store “curl” products. Many of them are loaded with silicones.

After more than a year on the curly girl method, I’m so glad I switched. It’s difficult to explain, but I feel like honoring my natural hair allows me to be a more authentic version of myself. I no longer pretend to have hair that fits someone else’s standard of beauty. I also feel that my sometimes-wild hair suits my personality much better than smooth, tame hair. In the end, I would recommend the Curly Girl method to anyone who is willing to take the leap.

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