What is the ‘curly girl method’ and here’s how to do it

2020: it’s been a great year for tie dye tracksuits but an interesting one for our crowning glory. Lockdowns and hairdresser closures (particularly in Melbourne where MECCA HQ is based) have brought on a sort of unintentional rehab for hair - a forced break from colour treating and an opportunity to embrace the texture you were born with.

Look to TikTok and this trend is global: a collective reclamation of curly hair with people not only embracing curls but doing everything in their power to reveal and better them. It’s called The Curly Girl Method and it has over 100 million views to prove it. Randy Shamma, avid TikToker and educator at Bumble and bumble explains the popularity. “I think it’s highly celebrated to wear your natural curl, and this method has been key to helping encourage you to do just that.” It’s also a great way to express yourself. “It's exciting to see individuals embracing their curl, hair comes in all shapes and sizes and is as personalised as your signature, so I am an advocate for indulging in self-expression,” he says.

So what is the curly girl method?

With a comprehensive list of commandments, The Curly Girl Method gives it to you straight targeting the specific needs of this type of hair. “With all its personality, curly hair suffers from extreme dehydration and therefore requires less shampooing, or really more co-washing (washing with conditioner), than straight hair to help avoid frizz and prevent breakage,” explains Carla Rinaldi of Roots Society hair education.

Nancy Twine, founder of Briogeo adds that it involves “a unique product layering technique that helps you care for your curls and achieve a healthy, defined texture,” to build and maintain hydration from using a conditioning, sulfate-free cleanser or co-wash, deep conditioning treatments and avoiding sulfates, waxes and (gasp!) heat styling.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wavy, kinky or coily, by following this guide you’ll get curls that are well-formed and can even reveal curls you didn’t know you had.

READ MORE: Hair texture — what is it and how do you know yours?

Here’s how you do it...

1. Restore factory settings

First up, we’re taking your hair back to ground zero with a clarifying shampoo, such as Bumble and bumble Sunday Shampoo, to remove product residue from your strands. As these products contain sulphates, only follow this step when you’re first starting out or after using styling products containing silicones and waxes (it happens).

2. Wash this way

Cleaning your hair now involves a co-wash (conditioning wash) or a hydrating and sulphate-free shampoo. “Curly hair is more susceptible to breakage; when curls become damaged, the hair cuticle lifts and this makes the hair dry and brittle,” explains Twine. “When choosing products to care for curls, it’s important to look for ingredients that seal down those lifted hair cuticles.” Briogeo’s sulphate-free Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo is powered by tomato fruit ferment, rice extract, and amino acids, which work to repair existing damage, prevent future breakage, and lock in vital moisture for healthy curls. As with all non-sudsing shampoos, make sure to really work the product into the scalp and give a good scrubbing for at least a minute before rinsing.

viewing of products

4. Raking it in

Now out of the shower, apply a moisturising and defining styling product onto sopping wet hair raking it through the strands with your fingers and scrunching onto ends. “Typically, the tighter the curl pattern, the less you should brush or comb as this could disrupt your curl pattern and could create unwanted frizz,” explains Shamma. “When working with curly hair, I recommend using your hands/fingers as tools to rake through and apply products while styling.”

viewing of products

5. Dry to a tee

Step away from the heat tools, instead TikTok pros would have you use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair. “Drying hair with traditional towels can be too abrasive for curls and can cause more damage,” explains Twine. Not willing to part with your favourite band tee? Microfibre cloths, such as the Aquis Rapid Dry Turbans are just the thing you need. First you want to scrunch and remove the wetness then do something called the plop. “Plopping is a method that helps you press the product into your hair to encourage your natural curl/texture while also protecting and allowing it to set without disruption. That is indeed the key, style and let it dry,” says Shamma. Simply flip your head over, pile the wet hair on top and then secure it by wrapping up the turban — just be sure not to let your ends get caught in the twist. Leave it to dry, or overnight and wake up to bouncy defined curls.

6. Keep it fresh

If you find your curls start to flatten and frizz on day two and beyond, give them a little lift with Bumble and bumble Bb. Curl Reactivator to refresh and restyle your curls between washes.

viewing of products

Are you game?

So thinking about embracing your curl? Shamma puts it best: “My advice is simple and pure – Be your AUTHENTIC self (from roots to boots) because no one else can be YOU the way you can be YOU.”

More memos

back to top