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Curly Girl Method Before & After – Progress Update

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Curly Girl Method Before

So it's been a few years and I haven't done a progress post since 2017. My first curly girl method post is my most popular on the blog, but I have learned so much since then.

I style my hair differently, I use different products, and I am very careful about my night time routine. At the time of that post, I was washing my hair every 3 days, I had such a hard time getting good clumps, and I spent time refreshing my hair in the mornings.

curly girl method after

The picture above is a recent good hair day. The one below shows what my hair looked like in 2017.

curly girl method before

You can see how much better it's clumping now, I have less frizz, and it looks healthier overall. So I'm going to share what has changed since that post so hopefully, it helps you on your journey.

Curly Girl Method After

Deep Conditioning

I have figured out the right moisture protein balance for my hair. My hair likes a little protein on a regular basis and a little moisture. Too much protein makes my hair stiff, frizzy, and stringy, and too much moisture makes it limp. Not enough of either causes frizzy and stringy hair as well. It's tricky and takes lots of experimenting to figure out what your hair needs.

I now deep condition on dirty hair. I wet my hair when I get in the shower, apply the deep conditioner, then I soap up and do a facial mask to pass some time, before washing my hair as usual. Deep conditioning this way helps my hair not absorb too much moisture so that it doesn't go limp and flat like it does when I deep condition on clean hair.

I also only deep condition once a month now. I used to do it twice a month but it's just too much for my fine, thin hair. Again, experiment and find what works for your hair.

Wash Day Products

I have figured out the perfect combination of wash day products. I use a lathering shampoo that doesn't moisturize too much so that it really cleans my hair and removes buildup. My favorite shampoos are the Evolvh SmartCurl or Ultrashine.

I follow that with a cream conditioner that's not too heavy. I alternate between the less moisturizing Evolvh SmartCurl or Ultrashine and Raw Curls regular conditioner depending on how much moisture I feel my hair needs. Early on I noticed anything with shea or heavy oils caused buildup and frizz so I know to avoid products with those ingredients.

I use the Briogeo Scalp Revival Treatment Serum on my scalp to help with the itching, flaking, and dryness. This was my biggest struggle with the Curly Girl Method. My scalp bothered me so much and I washed more often because of it. This serum helps me go much longer between washes and really reduces the itching and flaking.

curly girl method 2b 3a

A light leave-in conditioner is also something my hair needs that I didn't use before. This really helps get good clumping. Using a light product, like the Evolvh SmartStart spray, helps me control where the product goes and how much I apply. My hair doesn't need as much moisture as most others with wavy and curly hair. I liberally spray keeping it away from my roots and scrunch it up to help distribute. Clumping is so important and this is when I focus on getting good clumps.

Applying products by either using the praying hands method or just scrunching up and squishing to the roots. Which method I use depends on which products I use. I also make sure my hair is dripping and add more water and conditioner if it's not clumping BEFORE I add styling products.

My favorite is the Raw Curls medium hold gel. I use praying hands first, then scrunch and squish all over until I have good clumps and not as much liquid is dripping.

I also like using Evolvh's Total Control Styling Gel and their WonderBalm by scrunching it in. When I use praying hands with these products I get very uneven application and stringy hair.

You can find lots more info and videos on how I style in my posts on Evolvh curly girl method products and my comparison of Evolvh and Raw Curls.

curly girl method before and after

Diffusing

I figured out the best way to diffuse my hair is to place a section of curls into the diffuser attahcment, push it up towards my scalp with my head upside down, and leave it there for 30-60 seconds. Then I repeat this all over my head. This helps the clumps hold better and has resulted in a lot less frizz. My favorite diffuser is the Xtava Black Orchid.

Night Time Care

I resisted using a hair buff for years because I thought putting my hair up would make it flat and ruin the curl pattern just like pineappling does. But I was totally wrong. It's one of those things I wish I would've done earlier. I don't have to style my hair in the mornings anymore.

A silk pillowcase was another small investment I made that helped, since I have hair hanging out of the buff. It helps reduce frizz and keeps my curls intact so I don't have to refresh. I can go up to 6 days between washes now because my hair isn't getting ruined at night.

Doing scalp massages with Briogeo's Scalp Revival Treatment Serum in between washes help refresh my scalp and go a few more days until washing. I use the Tezam scalp massager with the serum.

I have a whole post on my night time routine to protect my curls.

So these are all the things I learned about and changed in the last year that made a difference in my curls.

I'm not sharing this for you to copy exactly but just to give you some ideas of things you can try and consider. I made a lot of progress in one year even though I had been CG for several years before. I learned more about what my hair likes from experimenting with different products and trying out ideas from other bloggers. So I hope this post was helpful and please leave a comment if you have any questions.

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If you want help with embracing your naturally wavy or curly hair, you can join my FREE email course and download my FREE pdf guide, THE QUICK START GUIDE TO MASTERING YOUR CURLS, full of everything you need to know to get started and bring out your beautiful waves and curls.

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curly girl method before and after 1 year

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17 Comments

  1. I love your website, thanks for sharing! What is your recommendation for a deep conditioner(I have very similar hair, fine but needs some moisture).

    Thanks!

  2. Thank you for all the information! Having information for fine, thin hair is so amazing. I have looked hi and low and most information just does not work for my hair. It weighs it down. I’m brand new to this so I do not have anything down to a science but I have learned alot from you site. So thank you! I really can not make it past day 3 hair though in this Florida heat, Any tips? I feel like from sweating by day 3 my hair is disgusting!
    Thank you again!!!

    1. Hi Jen. I am having the same problem with this heat lately. Don’t stress it and just do what works. You can try wet refresh but at that point I just prefer to start over and wash.

    2. Thank you for this post! It’s hard to find CG info for fine wavy hair. Your before CG pics look a lot like my hair does now. I just started CG about 1 month ago and I’m struggling to find the right products. It also seems like my hair is thinner now that I stated CG. Did that happen to you? Did you find something to help? I hesitate to buy a new set of products again but I’m interested in the products you mentioned. Can you tell me how you first found them please? Also I have trouble sleeping in a buff. It’s uncomfortable and falls off. Did you experience that?

      1. I understand your hesitation to buy new products. I am the same. Honestly, if brands didn’t gift me products I would not have tried everything I did. My suggestion is to try samples. Evolvh, Raw Curls, Innsersence, and JessiCurl wall offer trial sets or samples. AS far as hair thickness, my hair has always been this thin so I did not notice it get any worse after starting CG. I do find that my roots show more since my curls clump unlike when wearing your hair straight. It also seems like more hair falls out in the shower since I wash every 3-5 days and my hair isn’t shedding in between washes like when I wore my hair straight, so it’s basically 4 days worth of hair shedding coming out at once. What I will say is products that cause buildup on the scalp can lead to more hair loss in some people. So products like Shea Moisture and NYM cause buildup and you will need to clarify often to avoid this. IN reference to the hair buff, it does sometimes come off at night. I try to pull it far enough down over my ears and use ones that aren’t stretched out. As backup, I use the MYK pillowcase that has silk on one side since that one is much cheaper.

  3. Hi Delilah, I am from South Africa and I have to say I love the fact that there are thing we can do with our hair to get our natural curl to return. I was close to asking for a wave perm or something crazy like that.
    I am trying to find all the ‘correct’ products to use, but it’s quite tuff here because the products are actually extremely expensive. So, I end up using stuff that is not entirely 100% correct (for now).
    Any suggestions on what to use her in our South African market?
    Thank you for your guidance.

    1. HI Daleen. I actually am not familiar with the South African market. Perhaps you could find a South African blogger or Instagram influencer to help you. I have seen some from different countries so I’m sure there is someone out there. Good luck!

  4. Hi there,
    I love having this information available, thank you! My hair looks a lot like your before picture right now. I’ve tried to use some curly girl method ideas, bit one thing slows me down each time. I have a dirty job, in a humid environment. My hair has to be washed daily or it is filthy. What would you recommend trying to work around that? Thank you!

    1. There’s probably no way around that. I would try cowashing daily and using a low poo twice a week. This way you aren’t drying out your hair.

  5. Since I stopped using curly girl products, my hair has improved dramatically. I have super fine, soft hair that does not need moisture. My cuticle was in an open state from the moisture I was using and from the wrong pH shampoo and conditioner. I’ve changed all that and my curls have improved dramatically. Really happy to have my curls back. It is nice to find a curly blogger that has super fine soft hair. I appreciated all your comments. I just ordered one those things to sleep in. Can’t wait until it arrives. Pineappling ruins my curls also.

  6. Thank you for your posts. But I am extremely confused on when to clarify shampoo and deep conditioner vs low poo and daily conditioner vs co-wash. Can you please offer some guidance or schedule?

    1. I would say to give it at least 3 tries, using different methods, before giving up. Sometimes it can even be the season. Some products work better in the winter vs summer.

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