Curly Girl Method For Straight Hair – A Helpful Guide

The Curly Girl Method has been around for a number of years now. The method has helped wavies and curlies around the world achieve beautiful and bouncy curls but what about straight hair? Does the Curly Girl Method work for straight hair?  

In short, yes the Curly Girl Method can work for straight hair. Although you won’t be able to magically get ringlet curls overnight, the method can certainly make your hair healthier and shinier and perhaps even add some waves.

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I Tried The Curly Girl Method On Straight Hair

I always considered myself a straight hair kind of girl. I’m mixed (Scandi and Asian) and that’s kinda the secret formula for straight hair no? Well, as I’ve gotten older, my hair seems to have gotten frizzier and well, just in worse shape. I took care of it (confession, I used to straighten it but who didn’t?), I nurtured it and I just couldn’t understand why it was so frizzy!

Here’s a photo of me from a few years ago

Curly Girl Method For Straight Hair

Straight hair right?

And then one day I read an article where someone described frizz as ‘curls waiting to form’ and a friend of mine coincidentally mentioned that she had started the Curly Girl Method. So I figured I’d give it a shot.  

Here’s me (a few years later) with my natural hair without any products:

Curly Girl Method For Straight Hair

You can tell my hair is frizzy right? Well, it’s certainly not ultra-sleek. It felt static and big and just never that healthy.

Even though I was convinced my hair would be too straight (it certainly wasn’t curly), I started following the Curly Girl Method.

This was the result after a few washes:

Curly Girl Method For Straight Hair

And this was a few months into following the method:

curly girl method from straight hair

So does the Curly Girl Method for straight hair work? Well, it did for me! I used to have straight hair with maybe a select few waves thrown in between.

I just never let the waves flow because I didn’t consider the fact that the natural state of my hair just meant that I had texture. I was always trying to iron out this ‘texture’ that I mistook for frizz.

What’s Your Hair Type?

So before we move on, let’s determine your hair type to see if you’re really a straight-haired girl or if you have some waves too.

When looking at curl patterns, I always use the Andre Walker system:

curly hair types

The system follows a numerical order of 1,2,3,4 and is then prefixed by A-B-C or D.

If you have straight hair, your curl type is either 1A, 1B, 1C and if you have wavy hair your curl type is either 2A, 2B, 2C.

Type 3(ABC) is generally classed as curly and type 4(ABC) is classed as kinky.

I would have put myself as a straight 1C or a 2A at the most so if I can get some pretty epic waves going on with the Curly Girl Method, so can you!

Fun fact, I wrote a post on the rarest hair type there is and the answer may surprise you!

How Does The Curly Girl Method Work

The Curly Girl Method was developed by Lorraine Massey, the author of Curly Girl, The Handbook. It is essentially a guide to caring for natural curls without the use of heat tools and harmful ingredients.

Ingredients To Avoid

  • Sulfates
  • Silicones and Waxes
  • Drying Alcohols
  • Parabens

Essentially, we want to avoid ingredients that can cause irritation, dryness, and ingredients that may harm our wavy/curl pattern.

Sulfate which is found in shampoo is a harsh cleanser. This chemical removes natural oils from your scalp which can cause itchiness.

Silicone and waxes can be found in conditioner and if not washed out (with sulfate), can coat your hair strands with a wax-like layer, creating an impenetrable barrier for moisture.

This means that your hair is not able to soak up the goodness of both water as well as moisturizing hair products.

Hair can also feel heavy and weighed down if silicone is not properly removed from your hair.

Drying alcohols are, of course, drying, and can often be found in gel or hair mousse. This is why you should avoid sleeping with gel in your hair overnight on a regular basis.

Parabens are chemical preservatives and although they do not affect the state of your waves/curls, they have been associated with health concerns over the recent years.

I have included parabens as a no-go as it is Lorraine Massey’s official stance that you should not use products with parabens.

Some Curly Girls do continue to use products containing paraben as this is a personal choice.

However, most products no longer contain parabens so you should easily be able to find some without if you are concerned.

If you’re thinking of switching to brands that promote natural hair care, try looking for Japanese brands.

Japanese shampoos and conditioners often contain fewer harsh chemicals as they’re all about promoting health and natural cleansers.

Will Curly Girl Method Approved Products Work For Straight Hair?

There’s really nothing special about Curly Girl approved products except for the fact that they are free of the chemicals I mentioned above. They don’t contain some magical ingredient that causes your hair to be curly.

If your hair is dead straight then obviously you can’t get big, bouncy curls with the Curly Girl Method. It’s just not going to happen.

However, if you use CG approved products rather than regular shampoo and conditioner, you’re giving your hair a fighting chance to reveal its true texture.

Even if you don’t see any major changes in texture, you’re still banishing harmful ingredients from your haircare routine.

If you have slight waves in your hair, check out my other guide on the Curly Girl Method for fine, wavy hair.

Curly Girl Method Rules

No Heat Styling (Hairdryer On Low Heat Is OK)

We want to avoid heat styling as heat is the worst culprit when it comes to hair damage.

Therefore it is advised that you do not use hair straighteners (not even stream straighteners), curling irons, or hairdryers on high heat.

No Use Of Regular Towels (Use T-Shirt Or Microfibre Towel Instead)

Regular towels cause friction between hair strands and can damage your hair and cause split ends. You should therefore only use an old t-shirt or a microfibre towel.

No Shampoo

The Curly Girl Method is a no-poo method. This means that it discourages the use of lathering shampoos.

Sulfate tends to be the ingredient that causes lather, but even some low-poo (sulfate-free) shampoos can lather.

Sulfate-free shampoos can be a great alternative for those not wanting to use harsh chemicals or worried about hair loss, but these should also be avoided on the CG method.

Instead, it is advised that you conditioner wash only, also called co-washing. If you no longer use silicone products, then you do not need sulfate to cleanse your hair.

Check out my list of Curly Girl Approved Conditioners.

Conditioner should be enough to remove build-up, however, some CG followers choose to clarify every now and then.

Clarifying is essentially a deep cleanse of your hair, often with a sulfate shampoo. Most Curly Girls do this once every month or every 6 weeks. To be clear, this is not part of the original CG method but a modified version.

Whichever you choose to do is completely up to you.

Note: If any of the terms below confuse you, check out my Curly Girl Method Glossary.

The Curly Girl Method For Straight Hair –  A Guide

Now using CG products on their own is only half of the method. The second part is, some would argue, the most important.

It’s changing your wash routine to not only cleanse and moisturize your hair but doing so whilst encouraging curls to form.

Here are the very basics:

  1. Co-wash
  2. Conditioner
  3. Style

Sounds pretty easy right? Well, it is. There are many other things you can do such as plopping (leaving your hair up in a microfibre towel for 10-30 mins) and all sorts of ‘wash techniques’ that people use.

Personally, I don’t do anything that’s too difficult or take too long. I want the method to fit my lifestyle, I don’t want to change my lifestyle to fit the method!

Let’s look at each step in more detail:


As mentioned earlier, co-washing means to conditioner wash. So the method encourages you to only use botanical cleansers or conditioners for wash days as it’s much more gentle on your scalp and hair. Co-washing is just like shampooing really.

You take the product, lather your hair with it and cleanse. You can use a scalp brush to really remove product-build up but finger-massaging your scalp also works.

The aim of a co-wash is simply to cleanse your hair.


Now this will be slightly different from what you’re used to. This is where the magic happens.

When you condition on the Curly Girl Method, you not only moisturize your hair with conditioner but you encourage curls to form.

The way you do this is by mixing the product with as much water as possible and simply drench your hair in conditioner goodness.

You then flip your hair upside down and begin to ‘squish’ your hair up towards your scalp. This squishing effect is what encourages your curls to form.

If there’s any chance that the Curly Girl Method will work for your straight hair, this is where you’ll see it.


The final step is to style your hair with either gel or mousse. You’ll want to lock in those curls you’ve created in the shower, and the way to do this is by using gel.

You simply take a handful of your favorite product and continue the scrunching move again.

As you scrunch your hair upwards with gel, your curls begin to become more defined.

Sure, they’re dripping wet but the gel is working its magic and creating a ‘cast’ around each curl.

Here’s a photo of my hair in a wet cast:

dee cast curly hair

After you’ve styled your hair, you can either let it air dry or diffuse with a hairdryer attachment like this one. Air drying can take a long time but you often get less frizz with this method.

The best part of this hair care routine is ‘breaking the cast’ which is what it’s called when the gel has set.

Your curls will be enclosed inside each gel cast and you simply break the cast by scrunching your curls one final time.

You should then reveal soft, bouncy, and defined curls.

While you’re here, check out my post on the best gels to use on the Curly Girl Method.

Curly Girl Approved Products To Use

When you start the Curly Girl Method I would always advise that you understand two things first:

  • Your hair porosity
  • Your curl pattern

Now seeing as you have straight hair, you could try out products that are great for wavies first.

What Are The Benefits Of Following The Curly Girl Method For Straight Hair?

By following the Curly Girl Method and removing harmful chemicals from your hair care routine, there are many benefits even if you have straight hair.

These include:

  • Moisture penetrates hair more easily
  • Hair becomes healthy and shiny
  • Hair growth
  • Healthier scalp
  • Natural hair texture is revealed
  • Frizz reduction

By removing sulfate and silicone for example, your hair becomes much more moisturized which encourages growth and shine.

It’s important to understand that the Curly Girl Method is really about encouraging you to grow your hair as naturally as possible so that the texture of your hair has the ability to come through.

Furthermore, by using styling products to control your waves and curls, you’re able to see much more defined locks.

The Curly Girl method is therefore a combination of using the right products alongside a proven way of styling your hair.

It can never be a bad thing to follow the Curly Girl Method if you have straight hair, you just have to be patient and realistic about the kinds of waves or curls you’re going to get.

I hope this article has helped you decide if you want to try the Curly Girl Method on straight hair.

Let me know in the comments how you get on!

Also Read: Why Do The Ends Of My Hair Curl Outwards?

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