Is The Curly Girl Method Worth The Hype? | Maple Holistics

Introduction

The curly girl method itself is not a brand new phenomenon, but it has been making its rounds on social media recently, and louder whispers than before are heard within the world of hair care about this trend. The before and after photos surely look convincing, but is the curly girl method just another internet fad or is it something to seriously consider for your curls? We’re here to share some insider insights and shed the spotlight on the benefits and downsides of the curly girl method. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth the hype, keep your eyes peeled as we uncover everything! 

Decoding The Curly Girl Method

Woman with curly hair blowing dandelion at camera.

What is the curly girl method?

The curly girl method claims to be hair care and curl management at its finest. World renowned hair stylist, Lorrainne Massey first outlined this revolutionary curly hair routine in her book Curly Girl: The Handbook, originally published in 2010. The general idea is that girls with curly or wavy hair should embrace the natural curl and pattern of their locks, and base their entire hair care routine around this. A point that we definitely agree on is that it’s really important to cater your routine to your unique preferences, curly hair or not. It also encourages girls to stay away from certain ingredients in hair care products that can be potentially harmful, and to avoid certain hair care practices like heat-styling and over-brushing.

Breaking Down The Curly Girl Method

This is our guide on how to use the curly girl method. It involves three main principles: using the correct shampoo and conditioner on wash days, air drying your hair and general maintenance. However, keep in mind that this routine is highly customizable. It should actually be tailored to your unique hair type and your needs in order for you to get the best results. Here’s a general guideline to follow so you can try it for yourself! 

1. Clarifying With Shampoo, Soften With Conditioner

The first step is to wash and condition your hair. The curly girl method encourages that you stay clear of products that contain potentially-harmful ingredients such as parabens and silicones. These ingredients are a double-edged sword. When using products with silicones in them, they can leave a thin layer on the hair that requires harsh sulfates to get rid of. These sulfates can potentially strip the hair of all its natural moisture needed for optimal health, and this can cause your hair to become very dry. We also suggest using a wide-toothed comb to detangle your curls, but only do this when your hair is soaking wet and it’s just been conditioned. 

2. Air Drying Your Hair (scrunch and plop)

Women getting out of the shower

Scrunch and plop your hair when drying.

Once you’re out of the shower, blow-drying your hair is a major taboo according to the curly girl method. Rightly so, because applying excess heat to your hair dries it out, and if you have curls the frizzies will become haunting. You should also stay away from towels. Rubbing your hair on a towel causes friction which can actually damage your hair, and again, your curls will be a frizzy nightmare once they dry. You can use an old cotton t-shirt to scrunch and plop your hair in an upwards direction as this encourages curl formation. For extra curly-goodness, you can wrap your curls in the t-shirt to help set them.

3. Maintenance – leave in conditioner, regular trims 

The curly girl method is not just about shampooing, conditioning and air drying your hair. It’s a lifestyle, and maintaining this routine is where the magic really happens. Once a week, you should be giving your locks a deep conditioning treatment. This means applying a leave-in conditioner and keeping your hair wrapped up in a t-shirt and leaving it overnight. It’s also encouraged to get regular trims to avoid split ends and you should avoid heat-styling your curls at all costs. Heat causes your hair to become dry and brittle and far more exposed to damage. 

Unveiling The Benefits

So once you’ve tried the curly girl method, what should you expect? If you follow the routine properly, you should end up with curls that are soft, nourished, beautifully textured and be full of moisture making them bouncy and vibrant. 

1. Ditch The Frizz 

Girl with curly hair

Avoid heat-styling products where possible.

By avoiding heat-styling, blow-dryers and towels, you’re narrowing down the chances of your hair becoming frizzy. By air drying your hair you’re going to end up with curls that look smooth, shiny and controlled. You will also have less frizz, because by avoiding products with potentially-harsh formulas, your hair remains hydrated and healthier. All the curly girls will know how impossible it is to avoid the frizzies when your hair feels dry. The entire routine encourages the natural texture of your hair to come out. 

2. Defining Your Curls

One of the cornerstones of the curly girl method is hydration, and avoidance of stripping hair of its natural oils. Sebum is the natural oil produced by our scalps and it helps to maintain our overall hair health. By steering clear of harsh ingredients, we preserve the natural oils in our hair and this helps to promote definition and give it texture. Finally, by scrunching and plopping our hair we’re allowing the hairs to fall and dry into are natural place which also improves their texture.

3. A Boost of Hydration 

Deep conditioning treatments are integral to the method, providing an extra hydration boost. The application of styling products on soaking wet hair ensures that your curls lock in moisture and remain hydrated for longer. The additional hydration is also encouraged by the presence of sebum, which is often stripped away when we use harsh shampoos and conditioners on our hair. When your curls are full of moisture, they fall beautifully into their natural shape and don’t appear frizzy, oily or weighed down. 

Downsides

Just like most things in life, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The curly girl method definitely has some downsides to it. Keep in mind that any transformative change is going to come with its own unique set of challenges. Here are the biggest challenges you’ll face when adopting this routine!

1. The Curly Girl Method Is Initially Expensive

Shopping bag

The curly girl method can be expensive at first.

Generally products that are free from sulfates and silicones are more expensive than your standard commercial products. You should also be looking for products that are formulated using naturally-derived ingredients. If you’re on a tight budget, you may take hope in the fact that in the long run these products are worth their cost. Once you’ve got the products then you’re past the initial financial hurdle and won’t need to spend anymore money until you need to re-stock. 

2. It Can Be Time-Consuming

Time is our most precious commodity, and unfortunately, the curly girl method is going to demand more of your time than a regular hair care routine would. The transition period can get frustrating and does require some patience and you will probably need to spend a few months experimenting with different hair care products until you find what works for you. Like anything new in life, there’s always going to be a learning curve, but the benefits of the curly girl method are certainly worth the journey. 

3. Limited Product Options

It can be difficult to find a variety of products that are free from silicones and parabens, not to mention finding them at the right price! It’s difficult enough as it is to find products that work for your hair, and now you’re limiting your options even more! You need to tailor your products to your hair type, and sometimes within the spectrum of what’s acceptable according to the curly girl method, this can almost feel impossible.

Is It Really Worth The Hype?

So is it the curly girl method worth the hype?

The success of incorporating the curly girl method into your routine is going to depend on how dedicated and committed you’re going to be. The best way to decide is to look at the benefits and compare them to the downsides. From our point of view, if you want to have curly hair that is bouncy, vibrant and causes folks to do a double-take, then the curly girl method is certainly worth the effort and the hype surrounding it. The most difficult challenge is to stay consistent enough to maintain your routine. If you make this routine a daily habit you are well on your way to reaching your hair goals! 

Conclusion

To make the most of the curly girl method, consistency is the secret sauce. Transforming this routine into a daily habit is the surest way to reach your hair goals, and in the end it is a personal decision. If you’re ready for a lifestyle shift and eager to embrace your natural curls in all their glory, the journey with the curly girl method is an adventure worth taking. So, dive in, stay committed, and let your curls become the talk of the town!



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