What is the Curly Girl Method?

What is the Curly Girl Method?

The “Curly Girl” method, most commonly referred to as the ‘CG method’ is probably the most popular and the most effective way of caring for curly hair. This method was first popularised by Lorraine Massey in her curly hair care book ‘Curly Girl’.

The premise is to cut out all harsh sulphate shampoos (most shampoos commonly available on the high street) and wash your hair with a silicone free conditioner or a gentle cleanser. This is known as co-washing. 

To maintain your curls it is recommended to do a deep treatment once a week. This can be for moisture and / or for protein. 

Cut out all hair products or co-wash stylers that contain silicones or polyquatariums. 


Silicones are substances that can be identified in the ingredients list on the back of the hair product by their endings –CONE, -CONOL and –XANE. They are often referred to as ‘cones. The reason silicones should be avoided in your hair care regime is that they build-up in your hair and cannot be removed by conditioner only or by ‘co-washing’. They can only be removed by sulphate shampoos which should be cut out of your routine as they are far too harsh for curly hair. Effects of sulphate shampoos can include dryness, breakage and excessive shedding and the dreaded… FRIZZ!!

The reason why silicones are actually added to curly hair products is that they do seal moisture in but this comes with a down side as they also seal moisture out. So it is best to avoid these all together. Silicones also coat the hair producing a shiny effect, but this can be achieved using the CG method as you will be getting more moisture into your hair and not using harsh shampoos to remove silicone build-up.

Common silicones used in hair care products include:

The effects of polyquatariums are similar to those of silicones, however, it has been reported that polyquatariums, or ‘polyquats as they are often referred to are harder to remove from the hair than silicones and cause more build-up and block moisture out to a larger extent. Polyquatariums are far easier to identify than silicones. On the ingredients list, they are simply listed as ‘polyquatarium’ followed by a number.

Exceptions to the rules
However, there are, of course, exceptions, which can sometimes make things a little difficult. You may use silicones if it has the word PEG- (then a number) next to it. This denotes that it is water soluble and the higher the number, the easier it can be dissolved in water. PEG – modified silicones can be removed with only conditioner and water. Also, polyquats -10 and -4 are known not to cause build-up and also do not need to be removed with shampoo – just conditioner and water.

Sulphates are surfactants found in most conventional shampoos. These are the ingredients used to create the foamy lather produced by sulphate shampoos. Sodium Laurel Sulphate, Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Ammonium Laurel Sulphate are probably the most commonly used sulphates in the personal-care business.

Now, go and check the label of your dish detergent or your washing up liquid! That’s right, they are they same chemicals found in shampoos! If we avoid these sulphates found in shampoos, we will damage our hair less as they are extremely drying.  But in order to avoid these, we MUST not use silicones or polyquariums as they need sulphates in order to be removed. It’s a vicious cycle!

If you are planning to try the Curly Girl Method feel assured that every product in the Trepadora range is CG friendly. These will moisturise and condition your curls the natural way leaving you with beautifully defined curls. Check out the Trepadora Method to get started. 

Cleansing / Co-washing:

Try the Trepadora Hibiscus Pink Cleansing Clay-Wash to purify the scalp without stripping your natural oils. Our the Trepadora Coconut Almond Smoothing Conditioner is also the perfect consistency to use as a conditioning wash. In the Trepadora method we advocate a gentle lathering cleanser so we would recommend the Gojiberry Mint Reviving Hair Rinse as your regular cleanser or bi-weekly cleanse. 

Rinse-out conditioning:
Again try the Trepadora Coconut Almond Smoothing Conditioner or the Trepadora Quinoa Repair Deep Conditioner for a more intense conditioning treatment. Quinoa is a complete protein which penetrates deep into the hair shaft so this is a very good choice for curls that are overly relaxed or brittle. 

For styling you can keep it simple and use just the Papaya Slip Taming Potion or Acai Berry Fix Defining Gel on wet hair to achieve defined curls or apply the Avocado Kokum Curl Defining Smoothie as a leave-in cream first. This will add extra moisture and result in a softer style but still defined and beautiful. 

After you have conditioned and styled your hair you’ll need to dry it in a way which preserves your curls and prevents frizz. After applying all of your styling products blot or scrunch excess moisture out with the Trepadora Luxury Curl Towel. This is different from other towels because the fibres are much finer and will not rough up the hair cuticle like traditional towels, which cause frizz. 

Welcome to the natural hair community! Please tag us @trepadoracurltherapy with your before and after results. 


  • Pippa Dunkley


    Which products of the styling range have protein in please?

    Thank you 😊

  • CAthy HArborne

    My hair has never looked so good since following your advice and purchasing the clay wash, deep conditioner and Acia defining geI. I have recommended it to others who have also purchased it. Worth every penny.

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