The Curly Girl Method: from straight hair to wavy hair


As long as I can remember, I’ve always considered myself as having straight hair. It was only until two years ago when I had my hair cut by my favourite stylist at my previous workplace, she told me that my hair was wavy. I’ve always had bends and kinks in my hair – it’s not dead straight so I should’ve thought about it more before and researched it. However, all of my family members have straight hair (dad’s hair is a little wavy) plus I’m Asian and there’s not many of us who are naturally wavy or curly.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to make straight hair wavy!
Dreamy waves / Credit: Averie Woodard on Unsplash

As I’ve been looking after Baby Girl’s hair better and researching the different types of curl types, hair density and porosity, I think I’ve worked out her hair type and mine. The articles on British Curlies and Natural Barnet have helped me out a lot. They are UK sites and feature more products that we can get our hands on. For the US, I love, and All Things Hair.

I would say that I have ‘swavy’ (straight-wavy) to wavy hair as my curl pattern falls between type 1C and 2A which is great but I really do have to work hard to get my waves to stay defined once dried. My hair density is fine and has low-medium porosity.  🙂

I always a slight wave/bend in my hair which I never really took notice of before. I always thought my hair was just a little thicker than normal and hard to manage because of the frizz. It responds really well to heat but I try to avoid heating tools because of the damage. I colour my hair a lot so I have to try and reduce the damage by cutting certain things out.

So with my new-found waves, I began researching more into the Curly Girl Method. It’s a method of hair maintenance using sulfate-free, silicone-free, alcohol-free products as these ingredients can really damage curly hair types. Silicones can build up in the hair and are known to prevent natural curls from unleashing their full potential. As my hair is fine/medium density, I am choosing to not co-wash but using a low-poo (sulfate-free shampoo) instead.

What is the Curly Girl Method?

If you’ve been looking into the Curly Girl method and not sure where to start, here’s what you should be doing… Do not use conventional hair care products as all hair care products must be free from silicones,sulfates, alcohols and more to be termed “CG-approved or CGM friendly. It all started from Lorraine Massey and her Curly Girl Handbook

Cleansing – choose to either wash your hair with a low-poo (sulfate-free shampoo) or no-poo/co-wash (conditioning cleanser)

Condition – use a conditioner that is right for your hair density and porosity, if your hair is fine-medium use a lightweight conditioner, if your hair is medium-thick/coarse, use a very moisturising and nourishing conditioner

Treatment – use a hair mask once or twice a week to treat the hair to extra moisture. Just like the conditioner, use a product that is ideal for your hair condition (curl type, density, porosity)

Styling – choose your weapon! If you have waves to loose curls, use something lightweight like a gel or mousse to define the waves. If you prefer a softer look, use a lightweight cream, lotion or milk. If you have tight curls or coily hair you will need a more moisturising product to control frizz and manage your curls. A leave-in conditioner or cream would work best on your hair.

Which curl type are you?

Check out the illustrations below to help you identify your curl type. I started off with hair type 1B with odd kinks and now have 1C and 2A hair type with the odd 2B strands.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Curly Girl Method Hair Journey
Types 1 to 2 / Source: Rebloggy
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Curly Girl Method Hair Journey
Types 3 to 4 / Source: Rebloggy

Product ingredients to avoid…

British Curlies which has become my ingredients list bible. It displays all the product nasties you’ll need to avoid: – it also explains the difference between insoluble and soluble silicones and alcohols to avoid.

I really want to purchase some of the US hair care products that are Curly Girl Method approved but (1) I can’t afford it or (2) it’s only available in the US or hard to get a hold of… boo! I managed to track down a few brands available in the UK that specialise in wavy hair to try out and hopefully bring out my new waves/curls. 🙂

Brands that free from sulfates, silicones, parabens and other nasties:
not every product from some of these brands are CG-approved so use CurlsBot to check specific ingredients

  • Cantu
  • Noughty
  • Shea Moisture
  • Boucleme
  • As I Am

My Curly Girl Method routine

Please note, I do not follow CGM strictly so while some products are CG-friendly and approved, some may not be

Right now, this is my Curly Girl Method routine which I do about twice a week. I’m a month into CG and have not looked back! Apparently it’s said to take around 6-8 weeks before my natural curl pattern will start coming through however I can already feel my hair texture is changing. The curls are becoming more visible week by week (I’m now in week 4) and I am loving it!

Here are the products I’m using:

Cleansing/Low-poo – Noughty Wave Hello shampoo
Conditioner – Noughty Wave Hello conditioner (CG approved)
Treatment – I’m not using a deep weekly treatment but I recommend Shea Moisture Fruit Fusion Weightless Masque (once weekly) for wavy hair
Styling – Umberto Giannini Scrunching Jelly (CG approved) which I am totally in love with! I also use Giovanni GNV styling mousse which is so lightweight. Both products are fantastic and do not leave a sticky feel.

I took a photo once every week to see how my hair has progressed so far and it’s really come a long way! When my hair is wet it curls much more but the hair underneath the head feels more thicker and heavier so it still doesn’t curl much but there’s a few kinks coming along so hopefully in a few month’s time, that will improve.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: My wavy hair journey
Week 1
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: My wavy hair journey
Week 2 (slept with hair in a bun)
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Curly Girl Method: My wavy hair journey
Week 3

UPDATE: 1 year post-CGM

One year on… here’s a before and after photo for you. Now, I have to mention that the after photo was taken post-wash and styled so well as I can NEVER get my hair to look like that daily. It was a combo of using mousse to scrunch and then gentle prayer hands over the top mid-lengths with leave-in conditioner to tame the strays.

Left: before CGM, type: 1B / Right: 1 year post-CGM, type: 2A

Products used in the right photo:
Cleansing/Low-poo – Shea Moisture weightless shampoo
Conditioner – Noughty Wave Hello conditioner (CG approved)
Leave-in conditioner – Shea Moisture JBCO
Styling – Boucleme Curl Defining Gel (CG approved) post-wash and Giovanni GNV styling mousse the next day

You can also see more of my hair journey and related posts below:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Hair & Beauty

NB. this post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy through the link I will receive a small fee on qualifying purchases.


12 responses to “The Curly Girl Method: from straight hair to wavy hair”

  1. […] Vivi styled it for me using hair tongs and curled it beautifully. The curls lasted for 3-4 days and it was the first time in about a month since I had used any heat products or styling on my hair since going CGM. […]


  2. Hi Manny,

    thank you so much for sharing our hair journey and your product recommendations!
    I’ve searched the internet far and wide for some UK based insider tips on the curly girl method, because (as you’ve probably found out yourself already) many of the products mentioned online by Americans aren’t available over here.

    I’m a type 2A, too and just ordered the Wave Hello set by Noughty and the Love Curls set with Bamboo & Sea Kelp by Kind Natured. Both brands are offering a 30% discount for Easter right now. Cannot wait to try them out! I’m also very tempted to buy some Shea Moisture products from the ranges Frizz Defense with Raw Shea & Cupuacu and Fruit Fusion, because Boots is ALSO having a 3 for 2 on selected haircare products. Why are there so many hair care deals on at once?! haha

    I LOVE the way your hair looks in week 2. Such an amazing transformation!
    In week 3 your hair looks a bit weighed down which can often happen with build up of product containing so many nourishing oils. My hair tends to do the same. Do you have any tips for taking care of the buildup without stripping the hair? So far I’ve always used shampoo (even on the ends) whenever this happened. There must be a hair-friendlier way of doing this…

    xx Nicole

    PS: Loving your mermaid/rainbow hairdo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nicole! Thank you for your lovely comment and I’m so glad you’ve found it helpful! It is very hard to find CGM products. I am yet to try Kind Natured but might give it a go soon. I’ve still got my Noughty products that I started with – they’ve lasted quite well!

      In regards to the build-up (I think week 3 my hair was still a little wet at the ends when I took that photo. Week 2 photo hair was fully dried and I slept with it up (hair plopping in a hair wrap). 🙂 I think the low-poo will help with the product/oil build-up. I dont use products with PEG-silicones or PEG-sulfates so I don’t get product buildup, just oil buildup as I wash my hair just once or twice max a week and it does get really greasy. If it’s bad, I’d just do a double rinse of low-poo when I’m washing it.

      I’m drafting up my progress post right now so you can check out how my hair’s going now or see it on my IG posts @mannyngo_yogi 🙂 xx


  3. […] you haven’t had a chance to read my first Curly Girl Method blog post, you can do so here:… – there’s some pretty useful links on there too and good to know hair tips and advice […]


  4. Hi ya’ll (I’m being cheeky because I’m a Londoner – can quite easily slip into a song there),

    I’m Asian too (translated for the American market) or just plain Chinese here in the UK but if we really wanted to be specific I’m a BBC.

    I’m 5 weeks into cgm. It all started with trying to find a leave-in conditioner which I used to use some 14 years ago. How I used to describe my hair was straight with volume. My dad has an afro I’d say a 3a curl pattern and really rocked his style in thr 70s! (both my parents are Chinese – go figure).

    I had been 4 weeks into going fully cgm but in the last week decided to use up my old products. I had about 150ml of Ogx conditioner which I mixed with a CG approved conditioner (Superdrug naturals 95p half price promo for 400ml – which my hair loves!). I mixed with 1/3 of the ogx (which I used to think my hair loved – all it did was stop fizzing and back then that was as good as it got!)and 2/3 Superdrug conditioner. 4 washes in and my hair is weighed down, scalp is itching/getting more itchy and my hair is limp on day 1. I can mess with it by using products like the Shea Moister smoothie etc and the volume will try and make a come back but essentially my hair looks heavy.

    SM isn’t a great hit for me. Cantu leave in (where the journey began) is just OK, but not great. I’m looking for GREAT. I’ve been v happy with products even though they’ve not been great so know the price for SM should be great. I now realise having started this journey my hair is lacking moister, I’ve always air dried my hair and pretty much not brushed my hair using a hair brush for a good decade so I was on the right track. I get amazing s waves but with a big curl at the bottom of my strand.

    Hair products which have been recommended by a fellow cg are:

    – Superdrug naturals conditioner, I use the coconut one, my hair loves coconut oil, argan oil not so much, avocado/olive oil loves, Shea button not so much so the Cantu line is a bit hit and miss, I’ve tried 6 products from their line)
    – Yes from Boots, specifically the carrot
    – Aldi do a tea tree conditoner (I co wash) which I’m going to go get
    – Wilkinson do a natural range also which I’m, going to give a go, can’t really go wrong with the cheapies
    – The Tesco own brand gels, I just bought the strong hold gel today with the view of making up a spritz bottle for day 2/3.

    I’m currently using the curl activator cream from Cantu which is great and I seal that in with oil. It’s funny, dimethicone weighs my hair down somthing silly but put coconut oil, avocado oil etc etc and my hair has no issues with.

    Sorry for the long winded message but I’d love to hear your experience as a cg!


  5. […] you read my first post about starting my Curly Girl Method hair journey, you’ll be able to see how my hair has transformed so much since then. Before I started […]


  6. […] The Curly Girl Method: from straight to wavy hair […]


  7. […] already been 18m (that’s 1 year and 6 months!) since I started my CGM journey and created my original Curly Girl post! So what are my thoughts on CGM after a year and a half of plopping, squish to condish-ing and […]


  8. What comb/brush are you now using for your hair?


    1. Hey Nadz!
      Not using comb or brush, just use my hands in the bath/shower when I’m conditioning my hair. 🙂


  9. […] hair journey using the Curly Girl Method at the end of 2017 (it was Dec 2017 to be exact – you can read it here). If you read some of my later posts you’ll see that my hair went through a transition period […]


  10. […] you read my first post about starting my Curly Girl Method hair journey, you’ll be able to see how my hair has transformed so much since then. Before I started […]


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