I think the curly girl method is bad for hair and have listed the reason why I think so. Find out more about this in the article below.
If you have curly hair there is no way you haven’t heard of the curly girl method by now. It has taken the internet by storm.
Every single Tiktok and Instagram Reel relating to curly hair or hair care in general has women following complicated hair routines and end up with luscious curls. So it has been one of the most successful beauty “fads” of the last decade.
It was started by hairdresser and beauty magazine editor Lorraine Massey who designed a method to nourish and define her natural type 4 hair.
But is it worth it? And will it suit every single curly hair type? Well no, of course not.
To discuss what is wrong with the curly girl method I need to first get into the details of this hair care method.
What Is The Curly Girl Method For Hair
The curly girl hair care method is a type of hair care routine made specifically for type 3 and type 4 curls. It focuses on moisturizing curls to define them and involves using products that are low on sulfates and other surfactants.
In the curly girl method you:
a) don’t use a lot of shampoo/surfactant based cleansers, but opting for co-washes instead.
b) use a lot of conditioner and hair creams which are silicone-free.
c) use a diffuser to dry your hair instead of regular blow dryer to reduce hair damage
d) Finish with a hair gel or other curl defining product to make curls last longer
Why The Curly Girl Method Is So Popular
A lot of the hair care products in the market are not curl-friendly. No, not even the ones marketed as being for curly hair.
They contain harsh ingredients like alcohol that can dry your hair or are rich in silicones that can weigh your curls down. Even several shampoos for curly hair contain sulfates that can remove water from hair and make it dry and limp.
So a lot of women end up with really frizzy 80s style curly hair, or they don’t even realize that they have curls and go around wondering why their hair is so frizzy in the first place.
All of this changed with the curly girl method as it showed women how easy it was to reduce frizz and get well-defined, bouncy curls by just changing some hair care products and editing your hair routine a little bit.
Why The Curly Girl Method Is Bad
Now I’ve explained to you what exactly is the curly girl method and why it’s so popular with curly haired folks. But I had a very different experience with the curly girl method.
I have type 3a hair which is very fine and since it was getting frizzy quite often, I decided to try the curly girl method which everyone was talking about.
And the results were… shall we say less than pleasant. So what went wrong?
Well here’s the deal:
I Find It Too Restrictive
Okay the first issue I had with the curly girl method is that it was too restrictive. I spend hours researching products that could fit the curly girl method AND be good for my hair.
Yes, there are several lists online of products that are “curly girl method approved” but I wasn’t quite sure if they would suit my hair as a lot of them seemed to be made for type 4 African American hair.
And the no sulfate-no silicone rule seriously narrowed down the list of products I could use. In fact, I had to throw out some of my old shampoos and hair creams too. So that was a waste.
In hindsight, I should have kept the sulfate-based shampoos as clarifying shampoos, to be used once a week to remove the buildup. But since the curly girl method was strictly “no sulfate” I had to get new sulfate-free clarifying products.
It Makes My Hair Greasier
No two curly hair types are the same. And nothing made this more clearer to me than using the “Curly Girl” method. My curls are not made for the products that the curly girl method suggests.
My hair is, firstly, too fine. My hair strands are too thin and cannot tolerate a lot of heavy products.
Yes, all of the curly girl method products are silicone free. But the rest of the ingredients in these creams and conditioners are very heavy too. Most of the hair conditioners suggested by the curly girl methods contain heavy oils like coconut oil and butters like shea and mango butter.
So despite being silicone-free I have found that they make my hair greasy and weigh the curls down, making them seem more like stringy wavy hair.
Also, if it was just the creams and conditioners, it would have been fine. However, the curly girl method also says no sulfate-based shampoos and prefers you use co-washes instead.
Now co-washes are just conditioners that also help remove dirt and bacteria from hair. They don’t actually “clean” your hair or do anything to remove buildup.
In fact, the co-washes were actually causing more buildup on my hair. I longed for a good old, soapy, foamy hair wash with a sulfate-based shampoo.
It Doesn’t Suit My Scalp
As I’ve mentioned above, the curly girl method involves using a lot of heavy products that can lead to buildup despite being silicone-free simply because they are too rich.
And as you aren’t using a strong, clarifying formula to wash your scalp, this buildup can be formed on your scalp as well.
My scalp was pretty “normal” and I wouldn’t have described it as being particularly oily but it started becoming very greasy after using the curly girl method.
To my horror, I could see a lot of white, flaky formation on my scalp and I’m still not quite sure if it was dandruff flakes or simply the buildup from the creams that didn’t get washed off well.
I had to use a tea tree oil shampoo along with apple cider vinegar rinses to restore my scalp’s pH and remove the buildup/dandruff flakes.
If you have an oily scalp to begin with, then you might see why putting several oil-rich creams and conditioners on your hair and not even using a strong shampoo to wash it off might be a problem.
It’s Too Time Consuming and Impractical
I could make the curly girl method work for me by tweaking a product here and there. By using a clarifying yet sulfate-free shampoo, using creams with lightweight oils instead of heavy butter, etc.
But what really took the life out of me was following the complicated steps. First washing, then deep conditioning and detangling, and then using the LOC (liquid, oil and cream) method to moisturize hair.
And worst of all spending minutes hunched over a diffuser trying to get my hair to dry without using too much heat. It gave me a kink in my neck and I hate it.
The Curly Girl Method Products Aren’t Really “Natural”
There is a lot of misconception that if you use products that are curly girl approved you’re automatically using good products.
This isn’t the case to be honest. As the curly girl method only says you shouldn’t use sulfates as they are harsh and silicones as they cause product buildup.
But a lot of sulfate and silicone-free products still contain ingredients that can be considered “problematic” for hair.
These include sodium chloride that can fade colored hair, added perfumes that can dry hair, colorants that can trigger sensitivities on scalp skin, alcohol that remove hair’s moisture and contribute to frizz and several others.
So the curly girl method’s mark of approval ultimately doesn’t mean anything.
To summarize this whole thing, I don’t think the curly girl method is for all types of curly hair. I think it suits type 4 African American hair which is “coily” and won’t work as well for looser curly types.
This method involves using a lot of heavy products that will work very well for coily hair that gets extremely dry but it will weigh down type 3 curls which are looser in shape.
Also, using the curly girl method for oily scalp types can be tricky. You need to be careful to clarify your scalp often and use products to prevent buildup and bacterial growth.
I have also seen that a lot of type 2 hair folks use the curly girl method. Not to gatekeep curls, but this isn’t for you.
Yes, this might seem harsh. But these types of products especially co-washes and butter-rich hair creams can actually damage your hair by weighing it down, clogging hair follicles and preventing hair from absorbing nutrients and moisture by lowering its porosity.
Unless you have really damaged hair, dry hair and scalp, or color-treated hair, using a sulfate-based shampoo once in a while might actually be beneficial for your tresses.
It’s always best to ask your hairstylist for tips on how to tailor your hair care routine for your particular hair needs instead of blindly following social media trends.