When I first started following the Curly Girl Method, I did my best to follow every rule I read online.
No sulfates, no silicones, no drying alcohol, no mineral oil, plop, use a t-shirt, etc.
I enjoyed the results I got, but it took a lot of time. It was also a little overwhelming and a lot to keep up with and keep track of.
So much so, that I figured out pretty early on that there was a lot about the Curly Girl Method I would have to work up to. Throughout that process, I came to discover that it was very possible to follow the Curly Girl Method without being incredibly strict about it.
I learned to make the Curly Girl Method fit into my lifestyle, without getting bogged down in the “rules.”
Some people may disagree with me on this post. Some people may say you do have to be strict about the Curly Girl Method.
But I say, if the Curly Girl Method makes taking care of your hair even harder and more complicated, what’s the point?
With that in mind, here are five ways you can be a little less strict about the Curly Girl Method (if you want to) and still have great curls.
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You don’t have to avoid everything the internet tells you to avoid
When I first started the Curly Girl Method, I used the internet as my only guide.
And don’t get me wrong, I love what I learned about the Curly Girl Method from the internet. I wouldn’t want to blog about the Curly Girl Method if I didn’t find value in other people’s approaches and perspectives.
I’ve also gotten a lot of help and direction from other bloggers and YouTubers.
However, when I read the Curly Girl Handbook, I came to see how simple the Curly Girl Method can be.
The only ingredients you need to avoid to be following the Curly Girl Method are sulfates, silicones, and drying alcohols.
Beyond that, you also want to avoid any ingredients that you, personally, can’t get out of your hair without a sulfate shampoo. But these additional ingredients are going to vary from person to person.
If you, personally, want to avoid more ingredients than this, you absolutely can, but those are the only three the Handbook advises you to steer clear of.
You don’t have to sleep in a protective style
Two of the most popular posts on this blog are the How to Sleep with Curly Hair post and the How to Start the Curly Girl Method post, which also touches on how to sleep with your curls.
Some of the most common questions I get on both of these posts are from people whose hair is too short for a protective style, or who find these styles uncomfortable.
This is a recommended aspect of the Curly Girl Method, and if you’re someone who wants to refresh your hair the next day, it’ll make your life easier. But you absolutely don’t have to do this to be following the Curly Girl Method.
If you’re okay wetting your hair every day, or spending extra time refreshing, then you’re good to go. Sleep how you’re comfortable.
And you can always work up to this later if you want to. That’s what I did.
If you really want to use heat/straighten your hair on occasion, you can
Heat is typically seen as a big no on the Curly Girl Method. And for good reason. Heat can seriously dry out and damage your hair.
And while I don’t think you should use heat on your blow dryer daily, or straighten your hair on a regular basis, I also don’t think it’s the end of the world if you want to straighten your hair or style with heat once or twice a year (or something similar).
I personally don’t use heat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.
If you follow the Curly Girl Method, you’ll likely have pretty healthy hair. You’re also likely to have a good understanding of how to take care of your hair.
This means your hair is likely in a better position to bounce back after you straighten, and you’ll know how to condition and rehydrate to help counteract any damage.
So, I don’t think you can say you’re following the Curly Girl Method if you use heat regularly, but I do think you can if you only use it on occasion.
You don’t have to do everything right away
There are a lot of layers to the Curly Girl Method. Refreshing, deep condition, protein treatments, clarifying, etc. The list really does go on and on.
It can be a lot to try to build all of these elements into your life at once.
The good news is, you don’t have to! Your hair will unquestionably be better when you can work all these elements in, but you can still be following the Curly Girl Method if you only start out with the very basics.
That means avoiding sulfates, silicones, drying alcohol, and heat, and following a care routine focused on conditioner, gel, and encouraging the natural curl pattern.
It can really be that simple in the beginning.
The rest you can worry about when you’re ready for it.
(If you like the sound of this approach, check out my No-Stress Guide to the Curly Girl Method. It’s designed to help you ease the Curly Girl Method into your life, one step at a time!)
You don’t have to get caught up in the “rules”
One thing I say early in my No-Stress Guide to the Curly Girl Method is that I actively work to avoid calling any of the guidelines in the Curly Girl Method “rules.”
Because to me, they really are guidelines.
I believe the ultimate goal of the Curly Girl Method is to give you fabulous, frizz-free curls that are relatively easy to care for.
And I think if you get bogged down in following “rules” it gets easy to lose sight of this ultimate goal.
It can take some time to get your hair healthy and hydrated, but once you get past the transition and initial learning curve, the Curly Girl Method should be a guide to help you reach your hair goals in a manageable way.
If there’s a guideline that you feel is standing in the way of your hair goals or making your life more complicated, you should feel free to modify or disregard it.
After all, it’s your hair.
If you’re regularly avoiding sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols, and heat, and conditioning, styling with gel, and working with your curl pattern, you’re following the Curly Girl Method.
Anything else you should feel free to add, subtract or modify to meet the unique needs of your hair and lifestyle.
Looking for more guidance on your curly hair journey?
If you’re new to curly hair care and looking for some help, you should check out the No-Stress Guide to Curly Hair Care!
After spending two years learning and caring for my curly hair, I wanted to create my own, in-depth guide to help fellow curlies create incredible curls in the easiest way possible.
It took me a while, but I eventually found an approach that helped me create a curly hair routine that fits into my life in the simplest way possible. And now I want to help you do the same!
For more intermediate/advanced guidance
If you’ve been on your curly hair journey for a while but still have some struggles, check out Curly Hair Problems!
After spending hours scouring the internet looking for solutions to my own curly hair problems, I found myself wishing for an easier, more comprehensive guide to the most common problems.
So that’s what I created!
Curly Hair Problems offers you 78 total solutions to the five most common curly hair care problems, including frizz, curl clumps, limp curls, product issues, and scalp issues.
Sound off: How have you been less strict about the Curly Girl Method? Tell us about it in the comments!
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