Curly girl method approved products—and the ones to avoid

These curly girl method products will keep your locks protected and well cared for

a composite image of a selection of curly girl method hair products on a shelf, against a purple/pink background
(Image credit: Getty Images/Future)

For curly-hair folk looking to maintain a defined curl pattern, moisturised strands and rid their mane of frizz, following the curly girl method is a great option to keep your style in check.

Coined by hairstylist Lorraine Massey, the method is a helpful guide on the dos and don’ts that anyone with curly hair can follow to maintain juicy and hydrated hair. The method is beneficial to hair types that have any texture to it, from waves to coils, as the ultimate goal is to avoid drying ingredients and styling methods.

Curly to coily are the hair types most affected by dryness, due to the fact that the natural oils from the scalp don’t as easily make their way down the hair shaft because of the texture. So with these hair types, you need to focus on moisture and healthy hair habits—such as using the best brushes for curly hair—more than any other. 

What are the best curly girl method products?

There are now many amazing brands that have curly girl compliant product ranges— so we have rounded up the top picks you can add to your haircare haul to create some great curly hairstyles, right now… 

1. Cleansers


AS I AM Naturally Coconut Cowash

RRP: $13.80/£9.95 

This is a huge favorite in the curly hair community for good reason.

It gently lifts dirt and makes detangling a breeze.


Bread Beauty Supply Hair Wash

RRP: $24.84/£18

Think of this like a milk cleanser but for your hair.

It has a cloud-like lightness, but leaves curls quenched and silky soft. 

2. Hair masks


Imbue Curl Restoring Intensive Mask 

RRP: $19.99/£12.99

Using a hair mask is one of the best curly hair tips—and this protein-rich conditioner is the perfect way to strengthen curls thanks to the hydrolysed soy protein.

It also helps to seal in moisture thanks to the shea butter. 


Dizziak Deep Conditioner 

RRP: $30.36/£22

Looking for a quick hit of strength and hydration?

This crowd-pleasing deep conditioner contains quinoa protein and babassu oil to restore elasticity.

3. Leave-in conditioners


Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula™ Leave- In Conditioner 

RRP: $5.68/£4.99

Leave in conditioner can really help if you're wondering how to brush curly hair without losing curls.

If you have finer curls and are looking for a super light curl refresher, this a good choice to inject moisture and redefine and curls that have frizzed throughout the week. 


Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Leave-In Defining Cream 

RRP: $22/£13.30

For thick hair, a cream leave-in will help with smoothing and definition as well as nourishing.

This pick from Briogeo’s star ingredient is the rice amino which works to seal the hair cuticle. 

4. Curl creams


Boucleme Curl Cream

RRP: $32/£14.25

96% of the ingredients in this curl cream are naturally derived.

While it doesn’t offer the intense hold of a gel, it will block out humidity and give all curls a light definition. 


Cantu Avocado Hydrating Curling Cream

RRP: $5.89/£7.99

With shea butter, avocado oil, mango butter and coconut oil, this curl cream has a concoction of super sealants to stop humidity taking hold of your locks.

The texture is light and layerable.

What to avoid with the curly girl method?

If you have previously been free and easy with the style and product choices for your curls, then it might take a bit of getting used to the rules and understand exactly the best curly girl method products. But if you’re going all in with this new way of life for your curls and coils, you need to get rid of the following from your hair routine—stat. 

  • Sulfates—the curly girl method is one of the guides that really brought co-washing to the map for many consumers. While there are now many foaming shampoos that are less harsh than old school SLS-laden cleansers, the curly girl method really advocates for using conditioners or foam-free cleansers to gently rid the hair of dirt and product build-up without leaving it feeling dry. (Read more on what sulfates do to hair in our in-depth guide.)
  • Silicones—along with other non-water-soluble ingredients, silicones are a no-go for following the curly girl method. Because you are avoiding detergents in your cleanser, you need to avoid silicones in your care and styling products as they’ll build up and leave your curls looking lank. 
  • Combs and brushes—the less you touch your curls the less frizz and broken curl patterns you’ll be faced with. If you’re going to use the best brushes for curly hair or combs (but fingers are preferred) only do so when your hair is wet and detangle from the tips up. 
  • Hot tools—a high enough heat is what breaks down the hydrogen bonds in your hair, allowing you to reshape it by straightening or waving it. As soon as you do this enough your hair will not be able to reform its original curl pattern, which is why the method suggests cutting out hot tools altogether.

Keeks is an award-winning digital & social content specialist a hair & beauty writer and a brand consultant. You can find her work in Cosmopolitan (in print and online), Refinery29, Harper’s Bazaar, Woman and Home, Women’s Health, My Imperfect Life, OK! Online and Hairdressers Journal