The Curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK

Embrace your curls with the curly girl methods my Curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK



Have you ever wanted to have soft healthy hair and maybe even embrace your natural curls or waves?  

Have you ever wanted to have soft healthy hair and maybe even embrace your natural curls or waves? I have just recently started out on my curly girl journey. A method of nuturing and protecting your hair to achieve its best potential which then in turn enhances your hairs natural curl. It can be mind boggling to start with so here is my Curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK

The idea behind the Curly girl method is to get you hair in the best condition possible and then learn how to maintain and manage your curls. 

The Curly girl method started out with Lorraine Masseys book The Curly Girl handbook a guide to Curly hair. Lorraine having had curly hair her whole life wanted to embrace her curls and teach others how to as well. There are also plenty of Facebook groups you can join and lots of advise on the internet for starting your curl journey right now.

I have always looked after my hair and clarified my hair often to remove the silicones but the improvement in condition since I have started the CG method has been amazing. In just a few weeks I have achieved bouncy curls that last days and my hair feels in the best condition it ever has.

Below left before my curl journey

What is the curly girl method ?

You follow the Curly girl method by doing the following,

-cutting out all harsh chemicals such as Sulphates and drying alcohols.

-Stopping the use of products that contain Silicones and waxes. These coat your hair, weigh it down and prevent moisture from entering your hair.

-Washing your hair by means of co-washing which means wash with only conditioner, or use a Lo-poo ( sulphate and silicone free shampoo )

-No heat, or styling that will dry or damage your hair.

Steps and methods to promoting curls and easy UK products to find

Curls need moisture to retain their curl. The better condition your hair is the better your hair will curl. The way to keep your curls bouncy is to get your hair in to the best condition you can and then lock the moisture in to your hair by various methods.

The very first time start with the final Wash!

Do one last wash with a final wash shampoo such as baby shampoo. You need a silicone free shampoo but a shampoo that contains a sulphate to cleanse any silicone left on the hair. Once you have done your final wash you will start with a routine of Co washing ( washing with conditioner) and Lo poo ( sulphate and silicone free shampoo) washing instead. The final wash is not stated in the Curly Girl Handbook but it will ensure hair is completely on a clean slate removing any access build on the surface just like a clarifying shampoo would do.

The curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK final wash shampoo

Final Wash Tresemme Deep cleansing shampoo or Baby Shampoo

Deep Condition and repair

After your final wash you should restore your hair with a silicone free deep conditioner. This should be done once a week on damp hair. Wrap your hair in a plastic bag or cap and then cover by a towel to keep in the warmth. leave for 10 to 30 minutes or even an hour before rinsing. After this you can apply a normal silicone free conditioner as well and comb through to remove to detangle.

The curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK Deep condition with Ultimate blends silicone free or try Shea Moisture deep treatment masque

Ultimate blends silicone free or try Shea Moisture deep treatment masque

You are now ready to start a routine with your hair

Co washing with conditioner, Lo poo and Clarifying.

Your Curly Girl routine will be made up of a mixture of washing with conditioner ( co washing ) using a Lo poo shampoo ( chemical free ) and an occasional clarifying shampoo.

When you are in the shower wash your hair with conditioner as you would a shampoo. Massaging the conditioner in to your hair and scalp to remove residue. Do this a few times to get rid of any dirt particles and cleanse your hair. This is the time to comb through your curls while they are wet and slippery and coated in conditioner.

You may not want to co wash everytime as this does not suit everyone. Too much conditioner can also weigh the hair down and certain ingredients can still build up. Instead use a Lo poo shampoo in-between and be guided by how your hair feels.

-Thick and greasy weighed down? clarify!

-general wash? Lo poo.

-Needs moisture feels dry? Co wash with conditioner.

Clarifying your hair

Clarifying your hair with a non silicone shampoo in-between washes can help make your hair feel light again. If you may find that your hair starts to feel heavy with conditioner or in fact dry you must clarify it. I am using a chelating shampoo which removes hard water build up and build up from natural oils. If you want a curly girl approved Clarifying shampoo you need one with these ingredients;

  • sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate or
  • sodium lauroyl sarcosinate

Products with these ingredients are not a lo-poo shampoo but more of a gentle cleanser. These are not a sulphate and are used to help get rid of impurities and build up. Do this maybe every 3 to 4 weeks or when your feels it needs it. Noughty do a detox shampoo which does just this.

I am using one from the US right now Kinky Curly Come clean chelating shampoo or you could try this one from Only curls

For clarifying if you wish you can use a shampoo with no silicone but one that still has sodium laurel sulphate, this is not strict curly girl and bear in mind it can dry your hair. This can however work for many wavy hair people making it feel light again. Remember to do a deep condition after though!

You could also Try Cantu Cleansing shampoo which is a great shampoo and available in the UK.

As I am Co wash from Amazon, Kind and natured Lo poo (Boots or Super drug)

Ultimate blends organ oil conditioner has no silicone. Soap and glory microfibre towel from Boots for plopping

Ultimate blends organ oil conditioner has no silicone. Soap and glory microfibre towel from Boots for plopping

Conditioner and leave in conditioner

After washing you need to leave some moisture in your hair by using a leave in conditioner. This is a very important step and the best way to make your curls spring in to life.

Gently squeeze out access water but not too much, you want your hair to be wet to lock the moisture in . With your head upside down, apply a generous amount of a suitable leave in conditioner so that you can see it and gently brush through.

The idea of brushing through when really wet is to get all of your hair to stick together and then slowly separate in to larger clumps. This achieves a larger curl rather than lots of separate stringy curls. You need to use a brush with close together bristles such as a Wet brush or a Denman brush.

Once you have done this with your head still up side down gently scrunch the leave-in conditioner in. You will notice your curls start to clump together again. Then plop in a towel for 10 minutes.

See some of my recommended leave in conditioners here.

Shea Moisture strength and restore leave in conditioner.

Shea Moisture Strength and restore leave in conditioner.

What is plopping you hair?

Plopping is a method used to promote a natural curl pattern and remove some dampness.

Using a micro fibre towel or a t-shirt, postition your hair wet upside down and gently wrap. Let your curls sit in the towel gently and wrap the towel around before putting your head upright again. Let this sit on top of your head for about 5 minutes before drying. Do not use a harsh fluffy towel that will disturb your curl or cause frizz.

Do not plop your hair for too long 5 to 10 minutes in generally enough. Alternatively Plopping may not work for you so you can also gently scrunch out access water with an old t-shirt or microfibre towel.

Styling products

Remove your hair from the towel and get ready to add styling product still with you head upside down. You can use Mousse, gel, or curling custard to add definition to your hair. There are even hair sprays on the market now which are curly girl friendly.

You can apply the gel with either your head upside down or upright to arrange where your parting is first. I have found applying my gel upright leaves the top section and parting with a better curl formation, again this is trial and error and everyone will be different.

Remove the towel and gently swipe gel or curling custard over your hair using praying hands. Praying hands means keeping your palms flat and gently going over the surface of the hair to distribute product. Scrunch this in and get ready to diffuse.

You need to apply a generous amount of gel or mousse you want your hair to be sticky and wet.

Cantu define and shine custard, Boots curl essentials is good but has some slightly drying alcohols so should not be used excessively

Cantu define and shine custard, Boots curl essentials is good but has some slightly drying alcohols so should not be used excessively

Umberto Giovanni Curl Jelly or Vo5 wet look are curl friendly as is Pantene defined curls.

Umberto Giovanni Curl Jelly or Vo5 wet look are curl friendly as is Pantene defined curls.

If you are not keen on a cast alternatively you could try a cream such as the Noughty Wave Hello taming cream.

Drying your hair.

One of the best ways to dry your curls is to let them dry naturally, this is healthy and non drying. This is however not practical for everyone and for some with hair that is not as curly may not work as well.

You need to try both and see what works for you. For wavy girls diffusing can help create a bigger curl with more volume.

Diffusing works better for me also, I use a diffuser to dry my hair promoting its natural wave and lift it from the root. Thick wavy hair can need some support whilst drying and diffusing on a low speed and low heat can help.

Keep the diffuser close to your head and do not touch the hair. Let your hair sit in the diffuser cup and slowly dry. This can be a long process and my hair and can take up to an hour to dry. In fact I am typing this while I am in the drying process. It is worth taking the time to slowly dry as my hair can stay perfectly curled for days.

For extra root lift you can clip up your roots with small metal hair clips while it dries.

You can dry your curly hair until at least 80% dry then leave it to air dry.

Creating a cast

Crunchy is good! After your hair is 100% dry it should appear crunchy. This means you have held your curl and locked in some moisture. This is called a cast and I have found this is the most important component of creating a frizz free curl.

When your hair is 100% dry you can scrunch out this crunch with your hands by gently squeezing the hair and scrunching out the crunch. You can also use a t-shirt to scrunch with to stop any fries. Gently take your hands through the roots of your hair and shake to soften the look. You will be left with soft curls or waves.

Defuse hair, with Cast and clipped roots, after cast has been scrunched out.

Defuse hair, with Cast and clipped roots, after cast has been scrunched out.

Trial and error with maintaining your routine and transitioning.

Everybody’s hair is different, Wavy hair with get greasier quicker and may find product heavy. Very curly hair will need more moisture to tame it. If you hair has a low porosity (shiny, greasy, smooth ) with closed cuticles it may need less conditioner and therefore high porosity hair ( coloured, damaged or dry) may need more to absorb into the cuticle.

It can take a long time for your hair to adjust and transition. Your hair overtime has become used to silicone and sulphates drying the hair, so your scalp had been producing more sebum to make up for this. Now you are not drying your hair out with harsh products your scalp will need time to adjust. Hence why you may find your hair slightly greasy when you first start. Combat this by using a lo-poo shampoo more than a co-wash conditioner whilst it transitions.

Where to buy products curly girl method products in the UK?

Where can I buy curly girl products in the UK?

As part of my Curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK I have listed in above photos products that can be found in UK supermarket and drugstores like Boots and  Superdrug. There are also some websites and new brands that are cropping up in the UK. I am always excited to try new products as I go along. Take a look at these products and websites for more help.

Here is some of my favourite products that I purchase from Amazon, always check as prices can fluctuate. You can sometimes buy some of these in Superdrug or Boots

Check out my ultimate curly girl product guide for UK drugstores and supermarkets!

Co wash conditioner

My favourite deep treatment.

Favorite styler-

For more Curly girl approved leave in conditioners see here.

Try the Noughty range of curly girl products which are 97% natural.

Take a look at my Cantu Review here these products are all available in the UK.

Take a look at Only Curls a London based company whose mission is to ditch the chemicals and help people have healthy hair and embrace their curls.

Take a look at the UK The Curl company here

Naturalistic products stock a wide range of Curly girl approved methods not available in the UK.

Beauty by Zara are another website in the Uk ( funny enough just down the road to me ) they ship in the Uk.

An easy way to check your curl product ingredients!

Always check your ingredients are chemical free first! you can check by popping your ingredients in to this handy tool on the Curlsbot website.

Take a look at what my friend Sarahs favourite Curly girl products are in the UK here.

Your hair will love you even if you are curly or not!

I hope this curly Girl Method Quick Start Guide in the UK has helped you. Stick with it and take pictures as your hair will change over time and improve.

Please note these may not be all strictly the original curly girl methods (i.e. i use a hairdryer) but they work for my thick wavy hair. 

All reviews and opinions are my own. This page does contain some Amazon affiliate links but these are at no extra cost to yourself unless of course you can find them cheaper elsewhere.

D x

Curl Help learn how to love your curls. How to curl your hair naturally and keep your hair in good condition. Try the curly girl method to get bouncy curls



  1. August 28, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    Its taken me so long to get my head around it all, this post is fab I could have done with it a month ago. I am not as far as you with the curls but am getting there and so pleased with the results x

    • August 28, 2018 / 3:42 pm

      I know I read up for ages and I’m finally seeing results. The best thing is my is not in that great condition so it can only get better.

  2. August 28, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    This is amazing!! I’ve recently been trying to embrace my curly hair so all be taking on all your tips!!

    • August 29, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      Brilliant! It’s so exciting once you get started, each time I wash it I try something different and can’t wait to see the results. Can’t wait to see how you get on x

  3. September 17, 2018 / 5:01 pm

    LOVE this! I have naturally wavy hair and have been plopping and using body shop ginger shampoo and conditioner, so no silicone. My curls have never looked better. I may need to get some styling products now though 🙂 sodium laurel sulphate

    • September 17, 2018 / 6:55 pm

      I know I get so excited when I wash my hair now!

  4. September 20, 2018 / 9:49 am

    I have always wanted curly hair – both my parents are curly but mine is dead straight 🙁

    • Ann Stoeckl
      February 4, 2019 / 6:18 pm

      I thought the same, but started this method to improve the condition of my hair. Lo and behold! I have curly hair.

      • February 4, 2019 / 9:57 pm

        I know it is amazing isn’t it x

        • Alison Schofield
          February 11, 2019 / 9:15 pm

          I used to have my hair perked in the 80’s and 90’s! It wasn’t until Frizz-ease came out that I realised that I’d been curly all along

        • Alison Schofield
          February 14, 2019 / 3:34 pm

          Hi, thank you so much for all the info that you’ve provided. I’ve lots of questions about UK products. Where do you suggest I visit for info. I’ve tried searching on but I just can’t get any replies from it.Even my more tech savvy husband is at a loss!

  5. September 20, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    I wish I had curly hair, I have kinky afro hair which spends more time in knots that curly otherwise. Love the products you’re using, I love Cantu products.

  6. September 20, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Ohh wow your hair is AMAZING! Mine is polka straight, Im so jealous!

    • September 21, 2018 / 6:24 pm

      Ahh even so no silicone products are much better for the hair x

  7. September 20, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    My hair has a natural curl that tends to fall out within an hour of drying. Will definitely try this technique!

    • September 21, 2018 / 6:24 pm

      Yes def , lots of product to hold then scrunch out the crunchiness

  8. Janey
    October 22, 2018 / 8:05 pm

    Please help, my hair seems very matt, and I can’t get it to look shiny

  9. Janey
    October 22, 2018 / 8:07 pm

    Please help I can’t get my hair to look shiny although it is curly

  10. Janey
    October 23, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    My curl is amazing now but my hair is dull, how can I improve the shine?

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:48 pm

      Hi, the main thing is moisture, regular deep treatments, I love shea moisture for this. If your roots get greasy then just do mid lengths and ends. Also check your ingredients if there is silicone in the products it will coat your hair and stop the ,moisture and shine. Some products that say they are silicone free are not.x

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:52 pm

      Also try a serum oil like righteous roots oil for added shine. Also rice washes are brilliant way to seal the cuticle and promote shine x

  11. Kerrie Aston
    November 5, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    I have naturally very VERY (sometimes out of control hair) curly hair and have spent years straightening my hair. In July I turned 40 and decided I was going to go natural. After reading some reviews online I brought a range of Cantu products and couldn’t believe how amazing it looked and felt after only one wash! It looks so healthy and I get so many compliments. I can’t say I never straighten it now, I do but to have the choice of beautiful curls or straight is amazing.

    • November 6, 2018 / 9:33 am

      That sounds like me! Although I’m not quite as curly. I can not believe it took me this long! I love cantu and I love the fact they do a cleansing shampoo too so my hair never feel weighed down. Thanks for the comment x

  12. Jenny Woods
    November 10, 2018 / 8:11 am

    Hey I am super excited to try this but have a fringe I want to keep striaght! How would I stop this from going greasy? Can i use dry shampoo on it and can I straighten just my fringe?

    • November 10, 2018 / 1:02 pm

      I wash my fringe with shampoo , I like my fringe straight not curly so shouldn’t be a problem x

  13. Tracey
    November 25, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    Hi i have always had wavy curly hair but it looks pretty frizzy. At 50, I have just started looking st the curly girl method, and I will as overwhelmed by the amount if information. Your blog post has really helped me!! I am in the UK too and your post let’s ut all out simply with lots of easy, reasons priced options to start with – thank you!!

    • November 25, 2018 / 10:53 pm

      You are welcome. I am going to keep it updated as I try more products too x

    • November 30, 2018 / 7:06 pm

      No problem thank you . I’ll be posting a few more easy options soon too x

  14. Syma
    November 30, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    This is amazing! I’ve recently come across this method and want to try it out on my wavy hair but I’m confused about the routine.
    So I would start off with the baby shampoo as a deep clean and then deep condition after with the Garnier mask?
    Then I am looking to get the kind natured shampoo as a co wash, what would I need to do after this co wash? Would I condition with the same conditioner? And what will my routine be after this?

    • November 30, 2018 / 7:05 pm

      The kind shampoo is a lo poo. Then condition.
      Over the next few weeks you can either wash with conditioner or lo poo. Be guided by your hair. Some wavies can not use too much conditioner and still need to shampoo every now and then to keep it light and not greasy.
      Il be doing another post very soon withmore info x

  15. Tootz Fraser
    December 10, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    Your blog is amazing, so happy I found you. Currently doing my research to start my curly hair journey. Your products list of use and where to buy is going to be a massive help…. You have pointed me in the right direction. Thank you x

    • December 11, 2018 / 11:47 am

      Ahh thank you so much! I will be updated this post regularly and adding more. Good luck on your curl journey x

  16. Nikki W
    December 30, 2018 / 6:00 pm

    Hi, have you tried the Tropic Hair care products? I’ve only just found the curly girl method; but, out send like I’ve been doing it for months with these products, without realising it!

    • December 30, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      No I haven’t yet , I did wonder if they were cgm. Thanks I look in to them x

  17. adrian veasey
    February 4, 2019 / 9:34 pm

    I co wash & use silicone free conditioners but want curly girl friendly styling products to eliminate frizz & define curls ….. available on the high street preferably……any recommendations

    • February 4, 2019 / 9:59 pm

      Try the noughty range the curl taming cream , the vo5 gel, Pantene mousse. Cantu custard are my go to at the moment. I just hope more manufacturers get the point that we want more natural products x

  18. Sarah
    February 5, 2019 / 8:47 pm

    I am waiting for my cantu bits to be delivered and have been and got the garnier mask and VO5 gel. I have been straightening my hair for 18 years!!! I have VERY curly hair and have never liked it curly it goes out not down and always frizzes but I’ve decided after turning 40 last year I’m going to try embrace the curl! I had a baby last year and do not have time to sit straightening my hair so I’m hoping I can get on with curly hair 🤞🏻.
    What I wanted to ask was how often do you co wash? Thanks! Your post has really helped me get my head round what I need to do I can’t wait to get started!!

    • February 6, 2019 / 9:39 am

      Hi Sarah, glad I could help.
      I co wast every other wash at the moment. You will gradually be able to go longer or always co wash. Your hair will adjust. I still find I need to lo poo in between. Some people do a apple cider vinegar rinse instead of lo poo. I tablespoon to a cup of warm
      Water to rinse the hair of any build up. X

  19. Alison Schofield
    February 11, 2019 / 11:33 pm

    I’m just about to start my curly journey. I swim 3 times a week and wash my hair with shampoo after this. I try not to wash it any other time. Do you think that a lo poo would be able to remove the chlorine from my hair? Have you any other suggestions? Thanks

    • February 12, 2019 / 8:12 am

      You should have no problem with chlorine if you rinse it straight away after swimming. Many curlys just do a lo poo or a co wash after swimming. Your problem is not so much getting it out but more the drying effect it will have on the hair. So a lo
      Poo and a deep conditioner or a co wash to add moisture should suffice x

      • Alison Schofield
        February 14, 2019 / 3:35 pm

        Thank you so much

        • Alison Schofield
          February 16, 2019 / 5:56 pm

          I’m thinking that if I saturate my hair in the shower just prior to swimming it won’t take up as much pool water too

    • leslie
      March 26, 2019 / 1:23 pm

      If you are going swimming and know you will be in contact with chlorine. make sure you rinse your hair until it s super soaking and then the cortex will soak up less chlorine. think of it as a sponge. if its wet it cant soak any more liquid up.

      • March 27, 2019 / 10:16 am

        Thanks yes that’s a great point to make. Saturating your hair first x

    • Tracy Lazenby-Paterson
      March 27, 2019 / 10:55 am

      I have a similar issue. What seems to have worked for me is saturating the hair while I shower before getting in the pool, then applying a leave-in conditioner before donning my swim cap. I thought the cap might slip off, but I have a chillswim cap that hugs the head nicely and doesn’t budge. Then, when I leave the pool, I rinse, co-wash or lo-poo, condition and style. The concept of wetting the hair prior to going into the pool, also applies to the skin. If you wet and saturate your skin everyone before going into the pool, you will suffer less skin drying effects from the chlorine 🙂

  20. Saashi
    March 2, 2019 / 9:59 am

    Thanks for this article. It’s very clearly explained using the minimal products.
    I am using cg method from past 2 months but it’s not showing any results. I had my hairs chemically straightned so I am in a transition stage. The problem is some of my new growth is curly and the other is straight. I am not sure whether I should continue with cg method or shall I quit.

    • March 2, 2019 / 2:34 pm

      You are welcome, I would really try and carry on. Your hair will start to feel better soon. Keep trimming the ends and condition regularly. Once it grows out you will probably find it really curly x

      • Claire Riley
        March 12, 2019 / 9:35 pm

        Hi. What lo poo would be suitable for my daughter, shes 6. I was going to use Cantu or kind natured as I thought they were lo poo but reading your review it seems they are clarifying shampoo

        • March 27, 2019 / 10:29 am

          Sorry for the late reply Johnson’s top to toe wash is a lo poo as it has curly girl
          Approved cleansers. try alternating it with a co wash x

  21. Claire White
    March 17, 2019 / 5:49 pm

    Hi, thanks for the article. You mention that there are CGM friendly hair sprays on the market and I wondered if you could say which ones?

    • March 17, 2019 / 5:50 pm

      I believe that bounce curl in the US do one. I think it’s quite expensive. I am yet to find another buy update this page when I do x

  22. Tracy Lazenby-Paterson
    March 24, 2019 / 6:01 pm

    Thank you so much! You have done all of the hard work for us! Am so grateful for your recommendations and I found I could get everything I need in Superdrug!

    • March 27, 2019 / 10:19 am

      Fantastic! I am in the process of doing a drugstore post too so hopefully that will help

  23. rapunzel99
    March 24, 2019 / 10:11 pm

    Thanks so much for this brilliant post- really helpful. I wondered if you had any tips on finding a hairdresser who specialises in cutting curly hair? I’m in London. I did find an amazing hairdresser who trained with devacurl, but she only visits London occasionally and it’s really hard to get an appointment with her. Thanks

    • March 27, 2019 / 10:18 am

      I haven’t actually been but I was thinking of starting a directory I’ll let you know if I can find the one I heard of in London there are a few x

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