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How To Do The Curly Girl Method On Wavy Hair

Photo of women with curly wavy hair

For years, curly girls have sworn by the curly girl method to keep their ringlets defined, moisturized, shiny, and frizz-free. What you may not know, however, is that the tried-and-true routine can also be effective for adding definition, body, and hydration to wavy hair

If you want to know how to use the curly girl method for wavy hair, we’re here to help! Below, we break down how to develop a CGM-friendly hair care routine specifically for waves. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know. 

Good hair day by @pati.rodrigz.

What is the curly girl method?

The curly girl method is a styling and care guide developed by hairstylist Lorraine Massey. If you’ve ever tried the curly girl method, you already know that it involves eliminating shampooing and heat styling and only opting for conditioning and styling products. Here’s the catch: Those trying the curly girl method only use products formulated without sulfates, silicones and alcohols as overusing these ingredients can sometimes lead to dryness and frizz.

Good hair day by @chelseahaircutters.

Does the curly girl method work on wavy hair?

The curly girl method can work on wavy hair—with a few tweaks to make the routine more specific to the needs of wavy hair types. Below, we’re breaking down how to modify the curly girl method for wavy hair. 

How To Do The Curly Girl Method On Wavy Hair


Hydrate Shampoo

A deeply hydrating, color-preserving shampoo for normal to thick dry, color-treated hair.

Switch to a sulfate-free shampoo.

Pro tip: On day one, you’ll need to wash your hair with a shampoo formulated with sulfates. This is known as a “reset” shampoo that will rid your hair of any build-up before fully committing to the routine.

Then, when you begin your curly hair method journey, the first step is to eliminate any sulfates from your routine—starting with your shampoo. It’s important to note: Sulfates aren’t always bad for your hair. In fact, they’re responsible for removing any excess oil and product build-up from your mane and scalp. The downside, however, is that if your hair is brittle or prone to dryness, overdoing it with sulfate shampoos can make your hair look and feel drier 

While waves don’t tend to get as dry as tighter curl patterns, you’ll still want to opt for the most moisturizing option. Pick up a hydrating, sulfate-free formula like Pureology Hydrate Shampoo

Good hair day by @Ladykhairartistry.

Skip the co-wash.

While your curly-haired friends using this routine might opt for a co-wash (or cleansing conditioner) instead of sulfate-free shampoo, wavy hair types benefit more from the lather. If your hair tends to get oily fast, co-washes may make your hair appear more greasy and flat since they’re more moisturizing. 


One of the most important aspects of the curly girl method is making sure your strands are hydrated, which means a CGM-approved conditioner is a must-have in your routine. We love Pureology’s Hydrate Conditioner. Make sure that the mid-lengths to ends of your hair are saturated in the conditioner for 60 seconds before rinsing. 

If your waves are fine and you’re worried about the conditioner weighing them down, use only a dime-sized amount of conditioner in the shower. You can also opt for a conditioner formulated for fine hair like Pureology Hydrate Sheer Conditioner. Apply conditioner to only the mid-lengths and ends to prevent weighing your hair down. 

Good hair day by @diana.bernal.blondes.

Detangle only in the shower.

To avoid disturbing your wave pattern or causing breakage, be sure only to detangle your mane when you’re still in the shower. While your conditioner is still in your hair, use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to remove any knots and tangles. 


Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse for Color-Treated Hair

Conditioning mousse provides weightless volume, heat protection, and shine.

One size only for Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse for Color-Treated Hair
8.4 fl oz

Apply your styling products the right way.

When you’re ready to apply products, it’s important not to rake them through your strands to avoid stretching your wave pattern. Instead, apply your styling products and gently scrunch them into your hair. This will help your waves form and keep them defined. You can use a CGM-approved hair gel or hair mousse like Pureology Style + Protect Weightless Volume Mousse to give your mane added volume and shine. 

Good hair day by @magnoliacharmsalon.

Plop your hair.

Plopping is a tried-and-true method for defining curls, and it works just as well for waves! After you’ve applied your product (and while your hair is still damp), use a cotton T-shirt or microfiber hair towel to plop your hair. For everything you need to know about how to plop hair, click here for our full guide. 

Let your hair air dry completely before removing the T-shirt. Use a blow dryer on low with a diffuser attachment if there is any leftover moisture. 

Now that you know all about the curly girl method for wavy hair, you can decide if this routine is right for you or not. 

Interested in more expert styling tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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