It’s really not easy finding the right products to get started with the curly girl method. Here in the UK especially, it can be a minefield! So today I’m sharing some of my favourite curly girl method products for beginners, UK style. I’m a big believer in saving the pennies, so these products are all available on the high street or online.
Curly girl method products for beginners
As far as I know, all of the products listed here are curly girl method-approved, but as always, check to see if they’re a good fit for you. There might be a product here that needs double-checking, but to the best of my knowledge (and I’ve looked at a lot of labels in supermarkets), these ones are okay.
You might also want to check out this post on curly girl method ingredients to avoid, so you can check out the CG-friendliness of the products you’ve already got.
Remember, not everyone has the same type of curly hair. So what will work well for me might not necessarily work well for you. Do your research, but these are a few of my recommendations for starter products.
A disclaimer though. Some of the links shared here are affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase on them, I’ll earn a small commission. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t genuinely recommend these products, because I do. It just means I can use those few pennies from the click to help keep my blog up and running.
Anyway, here are some of my favourite shouts to get you started on your journey to amazing curly hair!
Getting started with curly girl method products
When I first started looking for curly girl method products for beginners I was totally overwhelmed. The sheer amount of creams, custards, conditioners and co-washes made my head spin. Thankfully, one of the best things I learned was that the most suitable products for my hair weren’t necessarily the most expensive ones.
Sometimes you’ve got to test things out to see if they work for you or not, so bear in mind that your hair will tell you instantly if a product isn’t right!
When you first start the curly girl method you’ll want to do a final wash with a sulphate shampoo to get rid of all the silicones from your hair once and for all. This will be the last time you use your sulphate-packed shampoo, so after this, kiss it goodbye and start looking for a lo-poo (lathers a bit but still curly-girl friendly) or a detox shampoo.
Hang onto your old one though because you can (and should) use it periodically to clarify your hair. What I mean by this is for wavier curls or people living where the water is hard, you’ll find product build-up becomes an issue more frequently. That’s why once in a blue moon it’s not a bad idea to reset the cycle and do a new ‘final wash’ and start over again.
For the final wash, I’d use Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo.
I also use a detox shampoo from time to time. This is mainly for my hair specifically, you may not need to do this. I live in a hard water area and my curly hair is quite fine, bordering on wavy. So I tend to find product build-up is an issue. For this reason, I use Noughty’s Detox Dynamo shampoo or their Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo once every couple of weeks, just to try and lift some of the stickiness off my hair. They both smell lovely as well, which definitely helps!
There’s also this deep-cleansing scalp scrub I’d suggest giving a go, especially if you’re suffering from product build-up. Check out Noughty’s Detox Dynamo Clarifying Scalp Scrub if you want to give yourself a squeaky clean canvas to start with.
Curly girl method co-washes
Co-washing is a fundamental aspect of the curly girl method. You need to find the right co-wash for your hair, but this is a staple that most curly girls will recommend as a starter product. It’s at the more expensive end of the scale for me, but it’s the one I started out with and I did see amazing results pretty soon after I got used to ditching shampoo.
The Coconut Co-Wash from As I Am is a good first port of call to see how your hair gets on with it. You can pick it up on Amazon and it might be in some larger Boots stores. Some hair types don’t tolerate coconut that well, but for most, it’s a great place to begin the curly girl method. It’s really highly reviewed too and has a light, inoffensive texture and scent that will help you feel like you’ve actually washed your hair.
Another great staple co-wash is this 1 Hit Wonder by Noughty. It’s curly girl method approved and has a lovely fragrance too. I’d give this a go if you don’t get on too well with the coconut co-wash, or if you’re looking to start out with something a bit cheaper. It’s the one I use most frequently now, so I’d definitely recommend it.
Conditioners for the curly girl method
Here’s where it can get a bit more complicated. You’ll use a conditioner after your co-wash, but not all conditioners are equal. These ones, however, are great curly girl method products for beginners and will help you kickstart your curls. Check out the following from the list:
Noughty To The Rescue Conditioner – for dry and damaged hair (which yours probably will be after detoxing from shampoo)
As I Am Leave-In Conditioner – one for the fans of coconut and a good starter conditioner for the curly girl method
Inecto Conditioners – These are available from Home Bargains, Savers and Bodycare. They’re really affordable and great for beginners to stock up on.
Deep conditioning and repair treatments
There’ll come a point in your curly hair routine where you can visibly notice and feel how straggly your hair is. This usually happens a few weeks in, when all the true damage your hair has taken comes to light. Don’t despair, there are ways you can fix this.
One of the cult products for giving your hair an intensive rescue is the famous Olaplex bond repair treatment. You can use Olaplex 0 and Olaplex 3 to restore your curls to their former glory and improve the condition of your hair. All of the other Olaplex numbered treatments are not curly girl-friendly, as they contain silicones and sulphates. However, the range is quite expensive, so you might want to try a couple of alternatives if you’re just starting out.
I’d also recommend Noughty’s To The Rescue Treatment Mask. It does what it says on the tin, really, and being part of the Noughty range it’s completely curly girl method friendly too.
Another go-to for me is the Ultimate Blends Banana Hair Food masque by Garnier. It smells amazing and works as a 3-in-1 treatment. Sometimes I just use it on its own and then style it with gel, it’s that good. Also, it’s quite nice to use a coconut-free product for a change! It does leave my fine hair feeling a bit heavier at times, but that’s usually when I haven’t clarified for a while. Try it out and see for yourself.
Styling products for the curly girl method
You’re going to need a vast supply of gel to really kickstart your curls. Two of the best curly girl gels for beginners have to be the ones from Wilko and Umberto Giannini.
Wilko Extra Hold Hair Gel – I’ve used this one with varying degrees of success, but it’s a brilliant starter product. I found that I had to really use a lot to get the desired effect, but it does the job well. I suspect that on a different hair type, this stuff would work fantastically, so give it a try. Plus, it’s cheap as chips so you’ve got nothing to lose.
Umberto Giannini Curl Jelly Scrunching Jelly – This is a great starter gel. It’s highly versatile and gets you used to applying gel and then scrunching out the crunch without leaving your hair too sticky. It works well on a range of hair types and is especially good for those with wavier textures.
If you’re keen to branch out on a new gel, try the ECO Styler Olive Oil Gel – I haven’t tried it myself, although I do use their pink one, which works really well for me. Either way, it’s curly-girl friendly and is the next step up from the supermarket gels.
Sleeping and curl maintenance
I’m not going to point you in the direction of everything that’s out there but you’re also going to need a stock of the following:
Scrunchies (soft fabric-covered ones) – you’ll use these for doing the pineapple (I’ll explain that in a styling post) and for general bad hair days. The curly girl method isn’t going to stop those from happening, so you’ll need supplies.
Cotton t-shirts – specifically ones you don’t mind getting a bit wet and messy, as you’ll be using them to dry and plop your hair with. I’ve briefly mentioned this before, but I’ll go over it again in another post later.
A hair buff, hair wrap or satin sleeping cap is fantastic for keeping your curls intact overnight. A buff will stretch over your curls keeping them safe without pulling them too tight, which is what can sometimes happen with a scrunchie overnight. Have a look at these ones to get an idea of what I mean.
Another incredibly useful item for curl maintenance is a microfibre hair towel. I use this one from Noughty and it’s absolutely brilliant for helping maintain the shape of my curls as they dry. They also come with a handy button fastening on the back so you can wrap your hair up and leave it to dry without worrying about any hair falling out.
Curly girl method products for beginners – do your research
I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to research your hair and curl type before splashing out on a load of new curly girl method products. You might end up wasting a load of time and money on things that are entirely unsuitable for your hair! Read up on things as much as you can and trial and error different products at the cheaper end of the scale first.
Once you know what kind of hair you’re actually working with, you’ll know which products will suit you best. It takes time and perseverance, but you’ll find a routine that works for you.
What are your favourite curly girl method products for beginners?
Have you started on a curly hair journey? If you have, let me know in the comments and feel free to ask any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them!
You can also check out my Curly Hair Goals Pinterest board for more ideas and tips. Please do share this post if it’s been useful; it took me AGES to find the right beginner-friendly products as a UK curly girl, so hopefully, it can help others do the same.