11 best Curly Girl Method products – from Olaplex to Aveeno

LOCKS looking lifeless and limp? Introducing: the Curly Girl Method -a hair-care regime that brings out the best in your hair’s natural curl pattern.

Even if your hair is poker straight or wavy, the Curly Girl Method is suitable for all hair types.

The method focuses on deep-conditioning, removing all the residual gunk from harmful, toxic-laden shampoos you’ve been using for years.

What is the Curly Girl Method?

The Curly Girl Method is a hair-care regime for healthy, curly hair and focuses on cutting out damaging products that can make your hair unhealthy.

The method includes getting rid of most mainstream shampoos that contain sulphates, non-water soluble silicones, alcohol and fragrances.

How do you do the Curly Girl Method?

The Curly Girl Method is essentially a ‘no-poo diet’ for your hair – which means cutting out all of your toxic shampoos, and instead choosing a ‘co-wash’, which is a conditioner wash.

You can gradually wean yourself off shampoo over the course of a few weeks by choosing a sulphate-free shampoo, as your hair may appear greasy when you first wash your scalp and hair with a conditioner.

When you begin, you gently massage the conditioner into your scalp – this friction lifts out residual gunk from sulphate-laden products, as well as oils and sweat.

Then, using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb, apply conditioner through your hair in sections – leave it for five minutes, and rinse with cool water.

Now, you can use a leave-in conditioner hair mask – but be sure to scrunch your curls with your fingers, and wrap your hair up in a microfiber towel (or a t-shirt!) for as long as possible.

If you really need to dry your hair, use a diffuser on a cool setting – applying an approved gel or mousse as preferred afterwards.

Wash your hair with conditioner as little as often – and be patient with the grease at first! 

Your hair needs to naturally clean itself of toxins, and is essentially weaning itself off years of toxic chemicals from your shampoo.

What products do I use for the Curly Girl Method?

We have done all the hard work for you by reviewing the best, Curly Girl Method-approved products available to purchase.

This article and featured products have been independently chosen by Sun journalists. It contains links which are ads, and if you click a link and buy a product we will earn revenue.

1. Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food, Banana and Shea

  1. (AD) Garnier Ultimate Blends Nourishing Hair Food, Banana & Shea, £3.49 from Amazon – buy here

One of the more affordable, supermarket-friendly products on the list by a leading name in the hair industry – Garnier.

This 3-in-1 nourishing hair mask and conditioner was one of the best-smelling on this list – it smelled exactly like a banana pudding.

It came in a big, user-friendly tub which is more bang for your buck, and had every single ingredient decoded on the back – which is exactly what you want when you have to avoid certain products.

Since we have long, wavy hair, it felt like we had to use a lot, but the tub seemed bottomless. It felt like it worked its magic upon first rinse, with our hair feeling super soft, and nourished straight away.

We used it as both a co-wash product for our scalp, and a leave-in hair mask. Since it is 3-in-1, you can choose to use it as a conditioner, leave-in mask or even a rinse-out scalp conditioner making it extremely versatile.

2. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque

  1. (AD) Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, £11.95 from Amazon – buy here

This gloopy hair masque is perfect for days when you’re not rushing in and out of the shower – and we left it on for 30 minutes post-shampooing.

Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque is made from raw natural ingredients like sea kelp, argan oil and shea butter – which makes for a very thick product.

Since we have long, wavy hair, it felt like we needed a lot of it to cover from root to end – and, being made from sea kelp, it had an unusual fragrance.

Said to be the perfect transition for damaged and previously chemically-treated hair into the use of natural products – this masque is great for giving your hair a deep hydration treatment at the start of your Curly Girl regime, or once a month for a deep cleanse.

3. Umberto Giannini Banana Butter Nourishing Superfood CoWash

  • Umberto Giannini Banana Butter Nourishing Superfood CoWash, £8.25 – buy here

Boasting no sulphates, parabens or silicones – this 97% natural new Banana Butter Nourishing Superfood CoWash from Umberto Giannini is a Curly Girl Method dream.

The product smells great thanks to banana extract and coconut oil – but since we have long, thick wavy hair, it felt like we had to use a lot of it.

We used this as a co-wash on our scalp as a cleanser and it did feel immediately cleaner – the rest of our hair didn’t feel coated in a heavy conditioner either, which was a plus.

To make this product last longer for the price, we’d recommend using once or twice a week as a scalp deep-clean, in between your preferred regime – or as in introduction to your Curly Girl ways if you’re not quite ready to go ‘no-poo’.

4. Umberto Giannini Curl Scrunching Jelly

  • Umberto Giannini Curl Scrunching Jelly from £2.95 – buy here

With one apparently sold every two seconds, this cult-favourite hair product was one we were really looking forward to.

At first, we were apprehensive about the jelly – thinking it would make our hairy crispy, or weigh it down, and weren’t sure how much to use.

Squeezing out a medium-sized dollop, we used Umberto Giannini’s Curl Scrunching Jelly to scrunch up limp curls between washes, and it immediately gave them a new lease of life.

Flyaway frizz and ends were quenched and looked like they’d been freshly blow dried or curled with a wand.

5. HASK Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo

  • HASK Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo, £6.99 at Boots – buy here

Though the Curly Girl Method recommends a ‘no-poo’ diet, it’s okay to want to *feel* clean every now and then.

We wanted to wash our scalp with a sulphate-free shampoo post-exercise, and this HASK Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo did the trick. It’s worth noting that this is colour-friendly, too.

It smelled great and felt wonderful to lather up and massage into our scalp, helping to get rid of any build-up of oil and sweat.

Though it immediately felt like our hair was stripped of moisture after first application, it looked really healthy and shiny afterwards.

We recommend following a shampoo session with an approved conditioner, or leave-in hair mask.

6. HASK Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner

  • HASK Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner, £3 from Boots – buy here

After a scalp cleanse with either a sulphate-free shampoo or co-wash product, this affordable HASK Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner hair mask is a perfect follow-up.

It was gorgeously thick and a small amount went a long way – we love a good hair mask, and this ticked all the right boxes.

Instead of rinsing it out after 10 minutes, we left it on overnight for a deep condition and our hair felt so nourished, and healthy. After application, we didn’t need to use mousse or gel since our frizz was banished.

With argan oil sourced from Morocco, our hair looked shiny and in great condition, without annoying flyaways or noticeable split ends.

7. Silk Hair Towel Wrap

  • Silk Hair Towel Wrap, £35.99 from This Is Silk – buy here 

The market for microfiber towels seems endless, and so do the different methods of wrapping your hair up (there’s one called ‘plopping’ which has taken TikTok by storm…) but we will only settle for this Hair Towel Wrap from This Is Silk.

There’s no need for aching arms or tipping your head upside down to twist your hair into some contortion or another – this wrap was long enough to gently gather our hair into, then we twisted the towel into a knot, before securing it with a button.

Our hair felt softer and less tangled after just one use – we are hooked.

8. Olew Original Oil

  • Olew Original Oil, £13.00 – buy here

It feels luxurious to use oils on your hair – wet or dry – but a lot aren’t Curly Girl Method-approved.

Thankfully, Olew has created an aromatic oil blend, which felt lightweight and didn't make our hair appear greasy.

The scent is great, and we loved how it didn’t cling to our hair or make itlook limp. We used two pipettes of it on wet hair, after a co-wash, and then wrapped our locks in a microfiber towel.

Said to promote growth and repair damaged hair, it can also be used as a quick refresh in between washes, too.

Less is more when it comes to this oil though, but our hair was left looking in really great condition, and smelled fantastic.

9. Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector

  • Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector, £19.65 from Amazon – buy here

If your hair is particularly heat damaged, or laden with harmful toxins from years of colour treatment and bad shampoo – look no further.

Olaplex are a leading brand when it comes to repairing hair care, and thankfully some of their products are Curly Girl Method approved, too.

We tried this bond building product, which we used once a week – but if your hair is particularly damaged, you can use it up to three times a week.

We generously applied it from scalp to ends on damp hair, and left it on for 10 minutes before rinsing out.

After using it for a number of weeks, we noticed that our frizz seemed more tame and our hair in better condition.

10. Aveeno ColourProtect+ Blackberry and Quinoa Blend Shampoo

  • Aveeno ColourProtect+ Blackberry & Quinoa Blend Shampoo, £8.99 from Boots – buy here

With blonde highlights, we were really excited to try this brand new product from Aveeno – with the hopes of giving our colour-treated hair a refresh.

Firstly, the smell was fantastic for a scalp wash after exercise – the blackberry scent is so powerful but smelled natural.

Said to prevent breakage and relieve dry, itchy scalps, we were left really impressed with how shiny and healthy our curls looked – and our colour was given a much-needed pick me up!

We followed the scalp cleanse with a co-wash from the same range for maximum results.

11. Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo

  • Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo, £2.79 from Amazon – buy here

Palmer’s are an industry leader when it comes to all things smelling great.

Their Curly Girl Method approved Conditioning Shampoo has their trademark coconut and cocoa butter smell, and after just one use it felt like our hair had been deep cleaned.

The size of the bottle and the natural ingredients make it perfect for more regular use, if you exercise frequently and are in need of a scalp refresh.

The coconut oil makes the product really thick and creamy, and earned points from us as it is claimed to be ethically and sustainably sourced. It's perfect for colour treated hair, too.

Does the Curly Girl Method work for straight or wavy hair?

Yes! The method is designed to enhance your hair’s natural curl pattern – which many don’t realise they have.

How long does it take for the Curly Girl Method to work?

Everybody’s hair is different, but you’re likely to see results after three weeks – your hair will appear greasy at first, but it’s because it is weaning itself off drying, toxic shampoos.

You will begin to see your hair forming ringlets, depending on the porosity of your hair and its need for conditioner – it will take some time and patience to discover what works best for you.

Don’t worry if you don’t see big results immediately, it can take people a few months – but stick with it, take notes and photos to remind yourself of the journey.

What do I need to avoid when practising the Curly Girl Method?

Your hair will be parched from years of using drying products full of toxins and chemicals like waxes, alcohol, sulphates and artificial fragrance.

These products strip the hair of its natural oils and cause a build-up of residue on your scalp  – some of these are even found in washing-up liquid, so imagine what it’s doing to your hair!

Heat damaging tools like hair dryers or straighteners damage your hair and promote frizz and split ends.

It is also recommended to swap your towel with a microfiber towel, and your hair brush for your fingers or a wide-toothed comb.

Enjoyed our review of the best Curly Girl Method products? Check out our review of the best shampoos for blonde hair.

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