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Defining Type 3 Curls with the Curly Girl Method

• Jun 19, 2013


Style Icon Casey
Check out part 2 of this series: Defining Type 3 Curls with the Tightly Curly Method
Note : Although I have titled this as a curl defining method for type 3 hair, it can be used by any hair type which clumps. Hair typing is not a science, so if you consider your hair to be type 4 and it naturally clumps, this method can work for you too. If your hair does not naturally clump, this method is not for you.

The Curly Girl Method to achieve defined curl is based on recommendations by Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl. The book has since been updated with additional recommendations and further technique information. Here is the basic information on how to achieve a very defined curl using this method.

1. In general shampoo is discouraged by the curly girl method although some very mild cleansers are acceptable. Co washing is encouraged and additionally only water soluble silicones can be present in the conditioner.
2. After co washing, more conditioner is added to hair and hair can now be finger detangled. It is then recommended that not all the hair conditioner is rinsed from the hair as some will act as a leave-in.
3. The excess water in the hair is then squeezed out with a towel and a silicone free hair gel is used to define the curls on damp hair. This should be done in sections appropriate to hair density and curl tightness.

Here is a video tutorial.

Curly Girl Techniques

‑Heatless styling is encouraged but you can use a diffuser on a blow dryer at low heat.
‑Shampooing is discouraged unless using a very mild cleanser
‑Combs and brushes are discouraged

Curly Girl Products
‑The biggest demand of the curly girl method is to know the ingredients in your hair products. Notably, you must look either for silicone free or water soluble silicones in all products.
‑Very mild shampoo or none at all
‑No leave ins, your hair conditioner is used as the leave in.
‑Silicone free hair gel for styling

To refresh the curls in the morning, wet hair slightly and use a little gel to reduce frizz. The actual wash is repeated once every 1–2 weeks.

Ladies, have you tried the Curly Girl Method? What were your results?

About The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!

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8 years ago

I wonder does this method mostly work for normal porosity hair? I don’t know if I will try again some day but I could not get this to work and it’s weird because I think my hair looks a lot like waterlily716, except a lot darker in color. The loc method seems to be the only thing that keeps my hair moisturized. I tried tightly curly too, and the brush, and only using conditioner really damaged my hair, it was dry. The Denmam does not do well with my hair. It’s sad that I persisted so long, especially with tightly… Read more »

8 years ago
Reply to  Charlotte

Mine is the same way, Charlotte! I never fully did the CurlyGirl Method because all of the ingredients and variations of ingredients that you are supposed to avoid was confusing and time consuming..but i DID try co- washing exclusively as it suggests and it was a major #FAIL. I NEED shampoo to really cleanse my product build up- i dont even really use that many products and very rarely use oil, but because my hair has low porosity (i think) after a while everything just sits on my strands leaving it brittle and dry and just a mess… i do… Read more »

8 years ago

this looks interesting, but her hair is already naturally curly… with tight ringlets… can this be demonstrated on someone whose hair isn’t already a natural tight curl pattern?

8 years ago
Reply to  Kenya

I think when the author talks about it working best for hair that “naturally clumps” she means for hair that has a natural tendency (when wet, say) to form into curls/ringlets. So, as she says, for hair that doesn’t already have that tendency, then this method probably won’t work/give the curly result.

I may be wrong on this, and if I am, I’m sure someone will set me straight.

8 years ago
Reply to  T.

T you are right this is what I am talking about

Kenya if your hair does not naturally clump and form spirals, you can get the same look from a set (i.e rollers, flexi rods, straw set.

8 years ago

this method will work for 4a hair as well. I do it every week haha…But it worked for me only once I grew out ALL of my damage and stoped overstretching my hair with constant braiding, twisting, and heatset…ladies just enjoy your hair the way it grows…beware of over stretching!!!! It does happen!! Finger detangling is a must


[…] Icon SashaCheck out part 1 of this series: Defining Type 3 Curls with the Curly Girl Method Note : Although I have titled this as a curl defining method for type 3 hair, it can be used by […]

8 years ago

God bless this method! I just tried this and it was just what my hair needed! This method help me to combat major frizz and poofing : )
Thanks so much for the post and video!

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