I Tried The Curly Girl Method To Revive My Kulot Hair And Here's What Happened

'The last time I saw my hair this curly was in my baby photos!'
PHOTO: Courtesy of Alex Lapa

These days, we've been noticing that more curly-haired Pinays are embracing their natural tresses—and we love it! We also love that there are spaces online for kulot girls to unite, like the Curly Girls Philippines Facebook group: a supportive community of Pinays who help each other get their best hair ever by sharing tips and product recos. One of their most popular hacks? The Curly Girl Method.

In case you aren't familiar with the term, it's a hair care routine introduced by co-founder of DevaCurl and “curly hair evangelist” Lorraine Massey in her book Curly Girl: The Handbook published in 2011.

Intrigued, we decided to do our own ~investigation~ on the Curly Girl Method. Scroll down to find out more about CGM and its benefits.

What is the Curly Girl Method?

According to Naturally Curly, CGM is all about knowing what not to use. Once you know what to avoid, the road to bouncy curls will be easier. The following shouldn't go near curls because they dry out strands and trigger frizz.

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Ingredients to avoid:

  • Sulfates
  • Alcohol
  • Fragrance
  • Non-water soluble silicones

Other items to avoid:

  • Shampoo with sulfates or silicone
  • Heat-styling tools
  • Combs and brushes

Now for the stuff you want to look for in your hair care products, as recommended by DevaCurl:

  • Fatty alcohol - If you see the words "cetyl," "isocetyl," and "cetearyl alcohols," you've hit the jackpot. These won't dry out your hair.
  • Glycerin - A humectant that draws in moisture. ICYDK, curls and waves tend to get brittle and wiry.
  • Protein - An essential hair care ingredient that repairs damaged lcoks.
  • Coconut oil - We're so lucky that this ingredient is abundant in our country. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturizing ingredient and shine-booster for the hair.
  • Butters - Spot rich ingredients Murumuru butter or matcha butter for super soft bouncy curls.

The actual Curly Girl Method hair care routine:

  1. Cleanse

    The frequency of cleansing your curls depends on the type of hair texture you have. FYI, you can use a sulfate-free, silcone-free, and low-lather shampoo if skipping the bubbles isn't on your agenda.

    Wavy - You must use conditioner before and after shampooing. You may only wash with shampoo once a week.

    Curly - Co-wash (washing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo) once a week.

    Coily - Only wash when needed. Every two weeks is the ideal frequency. Turn to deep conditioners for extra moisture.

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  2. Condition

    Conditioning the locks is a major component of the CGM. Apply conditioner all over your tresses and let it sit for a few minutes to allow your hair follicles to absorb the nutrients.

    Wavy - Naturally Curly advises to rinse the hair for a few seconds and to not mind the leftover conditioner on the hair.

    Curly - Rinse out the product to prevent the conditioner from weighing your locks down.

    Coily - Allow the conditioner to dry on your hair. Rinse out the product after.

  3. Dry and Style

    Wrap your hair with a microfiber towel, hair wrap, or old T-shirt. Do not squeeze out the excess water. Scrunch the curls to enhance their shape and texture.

    Wavy - Scrunch the waves or blast with a diffuser.

    Curly - Rub oil and twist the ends to bring out the curls.

    Coily - Flip head and fluff the coils.

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One Pinay decided to try the CGM to see if it could bring out her kulot hair. We asked Alex Lapa how her experience has changed her locks so far. Read more about her curly hair journey below:

What was your hair care routine before trying the Curly Girl Method? What products did you use?

Alex: I would shampoo my hair every day, but I hardly ever used conditioner (I could count on one hand the number of times I used conditioner in a year). My scalp is also very moody, so I had a medicated shampoo called Clobex that I used if I my scalp was flaking, and a regular sulfate-free shampoo as an alternative.

There were a few shampoos that didn't make my scalp flake: the L'Oreal Pureology line that got phased out in the Philippines and Kérastase Specifique Bain Anti-Pelliculaire which I bought from salons. They weren't cheap at all! I spend more money on my hair than skincare, to be honest. I would also try different sulfate-free shampoos every now and then, especially those with natural and organic ingredients because I'm always on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. 

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What did your hair look like before doing the CGM?

Alex: During most of my adult years, I had wavy hair that curled at the ends. I loved it. But as I grew older, I noticed that my curls weren't as defined anymore and my hair felt dry. I thought it was an effect of aging—that maybe my hair just didn't have as much protein as it used to.

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Where did you learn the CGM? What made you finally try it?

Alex: I have a cousin who used to have beautiful, tight curls. But as most [curly-haired] girls who grew up in the 2000s, she used to [regularly have it] straightened. I was surprised when I saw an IG photo of her recently with her curls looking better than ever. I asked her how she [revived her curls.] Apparently, she and my sister (who's just a curlier version of me) were already doing the CGM! They both directed me to the Facebook community of Curly Girl Philippines.

I started reading up about the method from all of the information the group provided and got inspired by all the women who were posting photos of their progress. I decided to try it because I wanted to see if I can finally get rd of my scalp problems and bring back the shine and bounce to my hair. 

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How long have you been doing the CGM?

Alex: About two weeks now! I'm still a CGM-noob.

What Curly Girl Method products are you using? 

Alex: I purchased the three basic products first: a low poo (shampoo with no sulfates and silicones, with little to no lather), a conditioner, and a deep conditioner. All of these products contain only CGM-approved ingredients. As a rule, fewer ingredients and natural ones are good, but I always cross-check the list of ingredients to avoid whenever making a new purchase.

  1. Low poo (Sukin Hydrating Shampoo)

    I use this once a week to clarify the buildup in my hair and scalp. If my scalp's condition improves, I'll try to use less and less of this. I love Sukin products because they're affordable, organic, and cruelty-free.

  2. Conditioner (A'kin Macadamia Oil and Wheat Protein Conditioner)

    Cleansing the hair with conditioner is what we call "co-washing." Basically, your conditioner replaces your regular shampoo for cleansing your scalp and nourishing your hair. Because I'm still prone to flaking, I co-wash every other day with some brown sugar to remove dead skin from my scalp. This goes for about three to five minutes. It has to be rinsed off completely before I start S2C or "squish to condish." (I squish the product into my hair, making that wet, squishy sound.) This is also when I detangle hair with my fingers because we [kulots] normally don't use a comb when doing CGM. After five minutes of S2C, I rinse out about 50 percent of the conditioner before I squeeze out excess moisture with a microfiber towel. 

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  3. Deep conditioning (Garnier Fructis Repairing Papaya Hair Food)

    Hair is exposed to the elements every day, so this is done once a week to replenish moisture and keep the locks healthy.

I'm also planning to add a gel or mousse for less frizz, some shine, and better curl hold. Right now I'm just working with conditioner and my natural hair definition.

Alex's CGM-approved hair care products. Courtesy of Alex Lapa
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What changes have you noticed after doing the Curly Girl Method?

Alex: The most noticeable change was the curl pattern. The last time I saw my hair this curly was in my baby photos! It's a lot softer now, too.

What type of curl did you have before and after the CGM?

Alex: I thought my curl type was 2A, which is considered wavy. When I started doing this, I was shocked I had 2B to 3A curls! 

Ed's note: You can go through this guide to discover what  type of curls you have.

Would you recommend the CGM to others?

Alex: It takes a while to get used to, but definitely! I highly recommend it especially to ladies who are frustrated with their in-between hair—like if you never know if it's wavy, straight, or just buhaghag. It'll help bring out the definition to your hair.

I have also seen women who have damaged hair from years of rebonding and straightening benefit from it. Women with straight hair can do this, too, if they're interested in restoring their hair's healthy state. There's just a lot of focus on curly girls because curls and waves are usually more difficult to manage and more prone to drying. 

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The Verdict

After learning about Alex's CGM experience and seeing how her curls have become more defined, we are convinced every kulot should give the Curly Girl Method a chance!

Follow Ira and Alex on Instagram.

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