The Curly Girl Method. Is it worth doing? Is it not? How much commitment do you need to give it? Did it make a difference?
Five years on, I can now finally look back on my experiences and tell you how I found the Curly Girl Method on my straight-wavy hair. You will find lots of CGM blog posts on here as I documented my hair journey as much as I could in those years.
I started my wavy 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 of some sorts. I started off with 1B/1C straight-ish hair pre-Curly Girl Method then it got really wavy and ended up 2A with some 2B strands then after that it started going less wavy and regressed to 1C/2A straightish-wavy pattern. Since then it’s stuck somewhere between 1B/1C.
I was so upset with how much regression I experienced that I didn’t want to continue with the Curly Girl Method. Just to be clear, I followed a modified version of CGM and didn’t follow it strictly apart from the first couple months. This was because my hair is somewhat fine/medium density and clarifying without a sulfates-based cleanser just wasn’t doing it for me. You can read more about my swavy 2A hair journey and the products I used here. This was when my hair was possibly at its optimum health despite the colour processes it went through.
My hair went from swavy 2A back to straightish 1B within months
The last time I remember still having my waves was back in October/November 2020.
Below is a photo of my November wash day and how my hair looked wet, to 50% dry to fully dry… and this was air dried! Stupid me, I don’t really keep a diary of products I use anymore as it’s generally the same but I wish I had because I have no idea what I used then.
I went from this:
THE WAVES WERE GONE!
My hair pretty much looked like this mess from December 2020 to March 2021. I also re-bleached my ends then a few weeks after dyed it with permanent box dye and I truly believe that’s what killed it. It was never the same after that day and I was ready to give up doing the Curly Girl Method.
I told myself that I was just a “fake-wavy”, that I don’t have any waves hair and never did. It was all just “tricks” with gels and stylers. But then I decided to take one more leap of faith and jumped onto Youtube to watch more wavy girls talk about their hair journey. My all-time favourite Youtuber is Courtney from Swavy Curly Courtney. If you’ve seen her but never clicked to watch her videos… do it! Her videos very informative, helpful and she’d been through similar experiences as me and her waves are AMAZING!
My hair needed to re-balance…
Then a couple months ago Courtney released this video about her beautiful curly waves becoming less wavy and I felt somewhat relieved… I wasn’t the only one going through this! I literally found the video a few weeks ago and decided to try out Courtney’s homemade gelatin hair treatment (video below because it’s that amazing!) and OMG the results really say it all.
March 12 – sad sad hair.. waves were gone and hair was very dry and brittle so I cut out both glycerin- and protein-based products March 29 – hair started recovering and some waves returned. I can see loose waves but they dropped by the end of the day so I thought it’s time to add back in some protein-based styling products April 9 – I took this photo after my wash day with a homemade gelatin hair treatment, my hair was about 70% dry and still in its gel cast
Moisture or Protein deficiency?
Funny thing is I thought I knew… but I still really don’t!
My hair was dry and brittle – to me, that was a sign that it was protein overloaded but the more I think of it, I think it was severe moisture deficiency. It would also explain why my waves dropped so quickly during the day. It had also been a very long time since I last clarified my hair so most probably it was a combination of everything – no hair cut, too much glycerin products used, central heating drying it out and no clarifying wash.
The trio of photos for March 29th shows how my waves somewhat returned. This was from sticking to protein-free hair products after adding glycerin products back in. It looks loosely wavy again but there was just no hold. This is when I realised I needed to add protein-based styling products back into my hair routine. I looked through Courtney’s videos and found her homemade gelatin treatment and it worked SO WELL!
Courtney uses powdered gelatin, Shea Moisture’s power protein treatment and apple cider vinegar. I skipped the ACV because it can be harsh on coloured or bleached hair (well, it’s harsh on mine) but apparently it helps the hair saturate the gelatin better although I would say the treatment still works pretty well without it too.
I cleansed my hair with a sulfates-based shampoo then rinsed, applied the gelatin treatment for 10mins then rinsed out, applied hair conditioner then rinsed, and finished off with adding my styling products, scrunched, plopped and then diffused my hair until it was 70% dry.
My hair felt really cleansed, lightweight and how it used to feel. I’m going to try this treatment again but without diffusing to see what the result will be like. I’ll also be making a video of this and add it to my Youtube page. I’ll add it to the bottom of this post so you can bookmark this page and return in a few weeks time to see if it’s up. If not, just give me a few weeks as I’m really slow with making vlogs! Otherwise, you can subscribe to my Youtube page and you’ll get a notification whenever I post up a new video.
20/04 WAVY HAIR UPDATE: my waves are coming back!
So I decided to add a little more protein back into my hair routine and boy did it make a difference! I’ve gone back to using my old cream and gel combo (Cantu curl activator cream and ECO olive styler gel) on my second day after wash day (refresh day 1) and pixie diffused (fancy CGM term for diffusing hair in smaller sections) and I am loving the results. The waves are coming back and they look a little more defined. Still a little stringy in some bits but better than it’s been since October/November.
I’m going to try and replicate the results on my next wash day to see what happens and will update this blog post once as soon as I can.
Have you gone through a similar experience with the Curly Girl Method? Tell me about your wavy hair stories in the comments section below. X
PS. This post does contain affiliate links so if you decide to buy any of the goodies listed above, I will receive a bit of commission on qualifying purchases. This is at no cost to you and would help support me with the running this blog.
All ingredients checked via the Curlsbot Ingredients Analyzer. 100% Curly Girl approved*. Yay!
*Approves means it doesn’t contain silicones, oils, waxes, harsh sulfates or alcohols that need to be avoided when following the Curly Girl Method.
Are you finding it hard to look for CGM Approved haircare in the UK? There’s so much more advice online now about where you can go to buy your curly girl products ranging from supermarkets to online stores. Here’s a list of all the products I’ve located which range from cost-effective to costly. I will be going through the list to add on small descriptions of each product soon to make it more helpful for you when searching a product.
Can you believe it’s 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 scrunching?
Well what can I say really? I still see myself as a newbie; still learning every day and still finding it hard to work out my hair. Just when I think I’ve got the hang of it – BAM! Back to square one but then again it’s self-inflicted as I am to blame for that. I constant colour my hair and lighten it; just a last month I processed the hell out of it with bleach to lift it light enough to go pinky/peach.
I thought I’d create this post so you can see the highlights and the struggles of my wavy hair journey. It’s not always been rainbows and sparkles but can if you stick at it (unlike me and avoid chemical damage which is just as bad as heat damage) and really take the time to learn about your hair, you will yield much more. Now enough of the hair lecture, here are my progress/regress photos for you to feast your eyes on:
December 2017 – Pre-CGM
The photo below was taken pre-CGM by a week or two. WOW. As you can see it’s pretty much straight but there’s a few slight waves in the middle section at the back of my head.
A month into my Curly Girl Method hair journey…
May 2018 – 6 months Post-CGM
My waves began looking more wavy but also stringy which was prob due to the colour processing. My hair doesn’t seem to clump as much as when I started but the waves have more of a squiggly pattern than a loose S pattern.
I’ve gone pink! In this photo my hair is a little more undone but those are waves after being out all day. More clumping happened that day and I had a better curl pattern. The more frequently I deep conditioned my hair the better it looked.
Had my first wavy cut at Jones & Payne Shoreditch but a fellow wavy called Lisa. She cut my hair really well and my hair felt much lighter. Unfortunately because she had to comb and brush it so much the waves were almost gone and she styled it by twisting strands to encourage clumping. I actually loved this technique and it helped my wavy hair look more defined, healthy and has a good loose waves/tousled look.
Once the pink colour faded I threw on a teal (semi-permanent) colour followed by intense deep conditioning to save it as much as I could. Here’s a photo of my hair wet and dry so you can see how different it looks. When my hairs wet, my waves always look good but by the time it’s dried (usually air dry) it looks a little more fluffy and wavy with a curly twists.
The two photos below are from one of my best hair days; I had the most curl clumps this day and cannot for the life of me remembered what I used or what I did because I didn’t keep a record! Argh! It looked amazing from the back and there was so many chunky, twisty waves I loved it. I do remember applying the Cantu curl activating cream but that’s about it. :’-(
Colour has faded but waves are curling slightly more. The photo below is actually around day 2 refresh and it looks good. Slightly fluffy but overall, okay. I find that my hair always looks good on refresh days; days 2 and 3 are usually the best.
December 2018: 1 year post-CGM
So I went back to dark hair and that marked a year since I went CGM. The condition is not bad and a slight change since I started. Not bad but a lot of other CGM wavies have had much better transformations than I but I’m not too sad about it. I put in as much effort, time and money as I could and this was the result. With two children, it’s not always easy to even spend 15mins on my hair let alone longer.
The photos below are from one of my rare best hair day. The waves looked amazing! It was one day post-wash day and I started off my wetting the hair with water, scrunching in mousse but then the waves were too hard but had beautiful definition so I did a light prayer hand over the top of the hair with some leave-in conditioner and lightly scrunched.
I decided to do a DIY chop at home to see if it would help my hair wave a little more and it did a little but not much. My hair did feel much healthier and all the dry ends were gone. I stopped deep conditioning regularly and only did it when I felt like my hair needed it and felt too dry.
If you like, I would say my wavy hair regression started from here – when I started to bleach my hair. Usually I would have my hair lightened in the salon but I was really broke so opted for a box job, which even though it looked nice, it really dried out my hair. I went back to deep conditioning my hair on a bi-monthly basis.
June 2019: 18 months post-CGM
Then went blonde in May and kept the blonde from becoming brassy with a regular treatment of silver semi-colour and silver shampoo which unfortunately contains sulfates. It really dried out my hair so each time I used the silver shampoo I would always follow with a deep conditioner. Last month (June) I added a pink semi-colour to my hair which is fading to a lovely peach over the weeks. I continue to deep condition and used a protein pack for the first time which worked really well for my high porosity, chemically-damaged hair. It left my hair feel UBER soft!
So, to summarise…
I haven’t followed CGM strictly as other people.
Let’s just say my hair journey became even LESS CGM and more about processing the F*** out of it but hey! I get bored of my hair so quickly and couldn’t help it. Because it’s been processed, the condition and texture of the hair is no longer the same as when I started. It’s now more drier and coarse due to the chemical processing and damaged (a lot of deep conditioning helps!) and the curl pattern is less wavy than before but I’m slowly getting it back on track. I recently used a protein pack hair treatment which my hair loved so much, I was surprised how well it worked. As my hair is highly porous due to the damage the protein is necessary to help the hair repair.
To get the best results from doing the Curly Girl Method;
Avoid chemical processes to your hair ie. bleaching, dyeing, colour stripping
Deep condition your hair at least once a month or once a week/two weeks if you have damaged hair with a suitable hair masque
Keep a record of ALL the products you used on your hair each time you wash it or style it and take a photo to make a visual note of how your hair looks and responded to the products
If you need to change a product from your current routine, change one product at a time so you can pinpoint exactly whether that product works/doesn’t work for your hair
Be patient. Getting the best results from CGM takes time… I’m still learning and I’m 18 months post-CGM!
Like living a healthy lifestyle, following CGM is not about getting to the end, it’s about the journey and the processes in between – learning what works, what doesn’t and how you can do it better. I don’t think I will ever stop colouring my hair so I have to learn to adapt CGM to a way that suits my hair best. The only time I had been really strict with CGM was probably when I first started but right now, my modified approach works for me.
So the take-away lesson here is to not be afraid to adapt CGM to make it work for you and your hair. There is so much information out there on the web that you’re sure to find another wavy/curly girl in a similar situation to you so don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Read the articles on NaturallyCurly.com and BritishCurlies.co.uk because they are so helpful and on BC you can even sign up and chat on the forum with other wavies and curlies. Failing that Curlsbot has your back for checking all product’s ingredients list using a traffic lights system. Simply copy and paste the list into their box and it’ll do the work for you.
Last week I let my hair go almost whole week without cleansing. OMG right? You’re probably thinking you’d NEVER go that long without washing but actually, I find it much better for my hair strength, condition and growth to wash less and brush less. When you first start it will feel odd and seriously greasy but over 3+ months you’ll adjust and your scalp will start producing less oil and only what it needs. That’s because switching to no-sulfates or a low use of sulfates avoids stripping your hair and as a result your hair and scalp feels happier and performs better.
So I eventually washed my hair Saturday night and there was some natural oil build up but not too major despite the warmer weather. Most days I wear my hair in a bun with a little bit of leave-in conditioner at the ends to keep it moisturised. I hardly do a refresh unless I have my hair down; in that case I’d go in with a dollop of leave-in, wet hands (water) and finish with gel to revive the waves. I also coloured my hair (semi-permanent) the same night as I wanted to have my pink hair back in time for The Ends Festival on Sunday which was amazing!
Here’s how my hair looked the next morning, post-wash day:
I wanted to bring out the curls more so I used flexi rods with a bit of gel, left them in for a few hours Sunday morning and this was the result. I still have a lot to practice with flexi rods because I can’t always get the technique right which affects the look of the curl. Hence why the right looks much more curly and defined than the left side lol – the right fringe/side fringe looks so pretty!
I also needed more rods. I had 4 for the crown, 9 for mid-section and 3 for the bottom which wasn’t enough – the mid sections were getting stretched out because they needed more rods and also I think because my hair doesn’t have a curl pattern, the chunks of hair being wrapped around the flexi rods need to be quite small/slim.
Stupidly, I had too much fun at the festival and didn’t take any photos of myself or my outfit when I was out but I went for the classic “festival look” of denim shorts, floral top and trainers. Simple yet practical as I had to walk a mile or so to the destination across some hilly roads (it was located at Lloyd Park in Croydon). Plus it was BOILING HOT so I’m glad I opted for the mesh top, it kept me cool.
So, back to all things hair… here’s the products I used for this wash day. My hair is starting to curl more in the shower again after giving up sulfates which is great but my blonde is starting to go brassy again so the pink hair helps! I’m loving the colour too – it’s light but I would want to go lighter. 🙂 I used Schwarzkopf Live Ultra Brights in Raspberry Rebel – it’s a 2 in 1 colourant so you can choose to have it as vibrant as you like or mix with conditioner to make it pastel. I add a large dollop of conditioner with a drop of colour to get my shade but some parts of my hair didn’t take to the colour as much as the others so it’s trial and error but I don’t mind. I don’t think this colourant is CG friendly but couldn’t see any sulfates or silicones but there are parabens so not great on the hair but more gentle than a permanent colourant.
I don’t wash my hair very often, probably 1-2 times a week simply because I can actually go that long now without massive oil build-up on my hair and also I find that washing less helps my hair grow longer faster. I don’t know if that’s a real thing but it seems to be working.
Since going blonde I’ve been using a silver shampoo almost every week and because it’s got sulfates in it, it’s been stripping my hair. So I’ve decided I’m going to cut back on the silver shampoo and go back to low-poo and hopefully introducing in a co-wash conditioner soon.
In the meantime I thought I’d show you what my wavy 2A hair looks like on wash day (next morning as I wash my hair at night). Unfortunately I still have trouble with getting my hair to clump and the curls to define. Straight after washing when my hair’s still wet it looks fab but as it starts to air dry I lose definition and the curls drop. If your hair doesn’t clump, try this advice from Naturally Curly.
For the amount of times I’ve been using the sulfate silver shampoo, my hair doesnt look too and waves are still there (just about!).
I’m going to try and document my hair after each wash day to see if there is any difference when I change products or technique. It will be interesting to see what the results will be like.
I LOVE British brands when it comes to beauty. Especially now that we’ve been able to step up our game in offering high quality, natural products that actually work! I’ve become a convert with my skincare and have left a lot of my beloved Dermalogica products behind, swapping it for more natural brands like Neal’s Yard Remedies and Australian skincare brand, A’Kin because I also really like Aussie skincare and haircare brands.
I recently got my hands on some lovely samples of the Noughty Wave Hello range. I’m no newbie to the products, I’ve used them before and fell in love with them instantly but then moved away to try others, so it was nice to give them a go again. There’s also a vlog review which you can watch at the end of this post.
I love experimenting with products but there are a few ranges that I really can’t be without and these definitely include the Noughty Hair care products. So without further ado, here’s my review on Noughty’s Wave Hello haircare range. If you don’t fancy reading, you can watch the video review instead. 🙂
My Noughty Wave Hello Haircare review
For my loose wavy type 2A hair, I really love it! It’s nice and lightweight, cleanses my hair properly but still remains gentle and smells lovely and fresh. I used the Wave Hello shampoo, conditioner and curl creme in a number of different variations and can say after two weeks, I prefer using just the shampoo and conditioner as I found the curl creme just too heavy for my hair.
Enriched with sea kelp (to help soothe the scalp) and avocado oil (locks in moisture, strengthens hair), this low-poo gently cleanses the scalp to leave it fresh and clean without stripping it of natural oils. Low-poo are sulfate-free cleansing shampoos that produce little/minimal lather and works best on fine, straight to wavy, or oily hair.
As I only wash my hair twice a week maximum, I tend to get oil buildup on my scalp but just one application (sometimes two if it’s VERY OILY) and my scalp is squeaky clean. I feel like the shampoo lathers up much more than when I first tried out the range but that might be due to my hair now being used to non-sulfate/non-silicone cleansers. When I first used this range my hair was still getting used to changing over to the natural products so maybe it was more greasy then making it seem like there was less lather during each wash.
Post-washed hair (left) and 1st day after washing (right)
I cleanse my hair either in the bath if I’m having a soak or over it if it’s just a hair-wash day. I run warm water down the hair and lather up with this low-poo once or twice depending on how much buildup I’ve got. I concentrate the low-poo on my roots and spread the lather to the ends to keep them from being over-cleansed. I then rinse and always follow up with conditioner. When I am doing a clarifying wash, I would follow up with an intensive hair treatment/deep conditioner instead.
Definitely one of my favourite conditioners. The conditioner contains the same active ingredients as the shampoo. The two that I think really comes out in this product is something called ‘Quinoxy’ which somehow reminds me of ‘quinoa’. It’s similar – quinoxy is Noughty’s “blend of wheat extract, camellia oil and linoleic acid to blitz flyaways, decrease volume, boost smoothness and retain shape”. My fine to medium hair always seems less frizzy with the shampoo and when I mix it with water as part of my 2nd day hair refresh mist (1 part water, 1 part conditioner) it really revives my waves and keeps it as frizz-free as possible…
I also really like Shea Moisture’s weightless coconut-fusion range and find it a great alternative to my Noughty Wave Hello collection. I alternate between these two as Shea Moisture products contain protein-based ingredients, Noughty doesn’t.
As much as I wanted to love it, it wasn’t for me. It made my hair feel heavy and just weighed down my sensitive, loose waves. From the video, you can see that my waves will literally straighten out if you brush them with your fingers. I think curlier hair or wavies with a tighter pattern will benefit from this cream, especially curlier hair as it’s a rich cream. It’s just too heavy for my fine and sensitive waves. My daughter’s 3A/3B curls really loves this cream and so I use it for her instead.
So, do I recommend Noughty?
Hell yeah! If you’re based in UK and following CGM, you will love this brand too. It’s curly girl friendly – whether you have fine, loose waves (like me) or super curly hair like my daughter, there’s going to be a product that will suit your hair. With most products priced around £6.99 what’s not to love?!
Get 15% off your first purchase with code: WANDERINGMOTHER15 you’re welcome!
What’s the ONE Noughty product I can’t live without?
O.M.G. I have not had anything like it! Super weightless but super hydrating and moisturising! The closest consistency I could measure it to would be the Shea Moisture JBCO leave-in conditioner; super creamy but super light like a whip.
It’s definitely going to stay on my shelf for many more years. A little goes a long way so I don’t need more than a scoop for my long hair. I love using the deep conditioning mask straight after a clarifying cleanse or whenever my hair seems a little dehydrated.
If you’re planning to give Noughty a try, go for it. They’re an affordable range (all around £6.99 per 250ml bottle), 97% natural which is pretty damn good, cruelty-free (no testing on animals), vegan-based ingredients, and free from all those chemical nasties ie. silicones, sulfates and parabens.
Watch the vlog review here:
NB. I received a sample of Noughty’s Wave Hello haircare range (shampoo, conditioner and curl creme) in exchange for a blog and vlog review. All opinions are unbiased, photos and content are my own and shouldn’t be used without consent. This post also contains affiliate links. If you make any purchases on my fave items above, I may earn a small commission on qualifying transactions.