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The CG Method to Great Curls!

by Ellageorgina

The “Curly Girl” method, most commonly referred to as the ‘CG method’ is probably the most popular and the most effective way of caring for curly hair. Many of you have probably heard of this method as it was first popularised by Lorraine Massey, owner of the DevaChan hair salon in New York, in her curly hair care book ‘Curly Girl’. She is considered one of the foremost experts in curly hair. I’m sure that a lot of you are familiar with co-washing and the conditioner-only method, but ‘CG’ is by far the most effective method I’ve tried and certainly gives the best results!

Essentially the CG method entails:
- Cutting out all harsh sulphate shampoos (most shampoos commonly available on the high street)
- ‘Washing’ your hair with a silicone free conditioner 2-3 times a week. This is known as ‘Co-washing’
- Doing a deep treatment once a week – be it a moisturising treatment or a protein treatment
- Cutting out ALL hair products or stylers that contain silicones or polyquatariums

If you are not aware of what silicones actually are and the effect they can have on your hair, here is an explanation. Silicones are substances that can be identified in the ingredients list on the back of the hair product by their endings –CONE, -CONOL and –XANE. They are often referred to as ‘cones. The reason silicones should be avoided in your hair care regime is that they build-up in your hair and cannot be removed by conditioner only or by ‘co-washing’. They can only be removed by sulphate shampoos which should be cut out of your routine as they are far too harsh for curly hair. Effects of sulphate shampoos can include dryness, breakage and excessive shedding and the dreaded... FRIZZ!!
The reason why silicones are actually added to curly hair products is that they do seal moisture in. But this comes with a down side as they also seal moisture out. So it is best to avoid these all together. Silicones also coat the hair producing a shiny effect, but this can be achieved using the CG method as you will be getting more moisture into your hair and not using harsh shampoos to remove silicone build-up.
Common silicones used in hair care products include:

The effects of polyquatariums are similar to those of silicones, however, it has been reported that polyquatariums, or ‘polyquats as they are often referred to are harder to remove from the hair than silicones and cause more build-up and block moisture out to a larger extent.
Polyquatariums are far easier to identify than silicones. On the ingredients list, they are simply listed as ‘polyquatarium’ followed by a number.

Exceptions to the rules
However, there are, of course, exceptions, which can sometimes make things a little difficult. You may use silicones if it has the word PEG- (then a number) next to it. This denotes that it is water soluble and the higher the number, the easier it can be dissolved in water. PEG – modified silicones can be removed with only conditioner and water.
Also, polyquats -10 and -4 are known not to cause build-up and also do not need to be removed with shampoo - just conditioner and water.

Sulphates are surfactants found in most conventional shampoos. These are the ingredients used to create the foamy lather produced by sulphate shampoos. Sodium Laurel Sulphate, Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Ammonium Laurel Sulphate are probably the most commonly used sulphates in the personal-care business.
Now, go and check the label of your dish detergent or your washing up liquid! That’s right, they are they same chemicals found in shampoos! If we avoid these sulphates found in shampoos, we will damage our hair less as they are extremely drying.  But in order to avoid these, we MUST not use silicones or polyquariums as they need sulphates in order to be removed. It’s a vicious cycle!
But why do they use the same ingredients in our hair care products as they use in washing-up liquid? Simple! Because sulphates are what are known as surfactants. They are molecules which reduce tension between water and grease. They cut through all the dirt and grime and leave whatever they touch grease free. This is fine for straight hair, but they are simply too drying for our delicate curls.

However, wavy hair types and looser curls find that they may still experience build-up, but there is no need to reach for that harsh sulphate shampoo! There are shampoos in the Curly Emporium which gentle surfactants which aren’t damaging to curly hair, so wavies and loose curlies use these shampoos or as they are known as ‘low-poo’s’ instead of co-washing or alongside co-washing. I would recommend Kinky-Curly Come Clean, Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Shampoo and CURLS Cleansing Cream. I know a lot of wavies and curlies who have used these and they have received fabulous reviews. Of course there are others in the Curly Emporium, you can just browse and see what takes your fancy!

For co-washing, I would suggest using a conditioner that is of a thin consistency so it can be distributed evenly through the hair and provides a lot of detangling. From the Curly Emporium, I recommend Kinky-Curly Knot Today and Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Conditioner. I have used both with great results and I am still using the Kinky-Curly Knot today. There are also some other conditioners available from the high street such as Original Source conditioners and Superdrug Naturals conditioners which are good for co-washing.

Rinse-out conditioning:
Following your co-wash, you should condition with something a bit richer and more moisturising than what you use for your co-wash. I recommend Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana Deep fix. It is extremely rich and moisturising. I have also used Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner which is very thick and moisturising – Aubrey Organics do a great range of natural conditioners, all of which are CG friendly.

For styling, I suggest a simple method of a curl crème and a gel or just a gel – it’s really a personal preference. I definitely recommend Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Crème and Curl Junkie Aloe Fix Gel. Both of these products have a light hold so I recommend using a gel on-top of them to hold your style. They are also both extremely moisturising and nourishing for your hair. One of my favourite gels is Kinky Curly Curling Custard – it provides a great hold without crunch and it’s all natural and great for your hair. In fact the entire Kinky-Curly line is CG friendly! On the high street  Boots essentials do great gels in a variety of strengths to suit your hair type, as do ShockWaves. Many Curlies are fans of Biosilk Rock Hard Gelee which is a strong hold gel and can be purchased at Sally’s Beauty Supply. It is always better to use a gel which is alcohol-free, as alcohols found in gels can be drying for your curls.

After you have conditioned and styled your hair you’ll need to dry it in a way which preserves your curls and prevents frizz. After applying all of your styling products blot or scrunch excess moisture out with a Curlease towel, which is available in the Curl Emporium. This is different from other towels because the fibres are much finer and will not rough up the hair cuticle like traditional towels, which cause frizz. Another alternative to this would be to use an old t-shirt or a microfiber towel although not as effective. After this hair can be left to air-dry or diffused.
Remember, before starting this method, it is very important to do one last sulphate shampoo to cleanse your hair of all the silicones that may be lurking in there and to have a clean slate!
This method is the best thing I’ve ever done for my hair, as a lot of Curlies who use this method know, it can take some practise and things can worsen before you see the brilliant results, but in the end, it really is worth it. For me and many other curly girls out there, this method has provided frizz-free, healthy curls and the quick, easy styling we thought we could only ever dream of! However going CG is not for every Curlie. It works for most Curly Types but not for every Curlie, each Curlie responds differently and each Curlie has a choice to try this method or not grin

About Ellageorgina


Ellageorgina is a British Curlies member. She has a strong interest in Natural Haircare and has aspirations to be a Curl Stylist someday.

Ellageorgina is a Botticelli Curls »

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Posted By EllaGeorgina on 18 August 2009

I think this article is beautifully written. The person who wrote this is clearly a genuis wink LOL - just kidding!!

I hope this helps a lot of curlies out and I hope it’s useful! smile


Posted By tripleA on 18 August 2009


well done, the article is very informative. Great job!


Posted By MILTUS1 on 18 August 2009

Hi Ellageorgina!  I am new to the website and I found that article very useful.  I have just started CG method after reading Lorraine Masseys book and then I found your website which is absolutely fantastic, a godsend to us curly girlies!!!!  Its great to know I am not the only one with frizz!!!!!!!  thanks again, Miltus1. xx


Posted By Paige2003 on 18 August 2009

Wow Ella!! great article wink really good for people starting CG, gives them all the information they need to know smile


Posted By curlybex on 21 August 2009

This is an excellent article Ellageorgina, thanks. It’ll be my curly hair bible from now on!


Posted By CrystalTips on 10 September 2009

You really are bloomin’ gorgeous EG! And a bit of a nifty writer too - great!


Posted By dmain10 on 18 September 2009

Heeeelp!! I gave up CG method and my curls :( because I cannot find shampoo/conditioner that doesnt affect my hair colour!! I have very light highlights which have never seriously affected the condition of my curls but if I don’t use a ‘silver’ or ‘purple’ shampoo then my colour goes horrible and brassy!! Is there any product out there that that attend to both my colour and my curls??!

Black Dymond

Posted By Black Dymond on 20 November 2009

hiya Ella, ur artical seems really helpfull, i wnt to get some of the products u recomended but i have 4b type, really afro hair… do u kno if they’s work for me??? i’ve just recently bought all the KC products put i also want to start deep conditioning/treat my hiar once a week and im really lost on wot products to buy…. help pls???


Posted By kadogo26 on 26 February 2010

Thank you so much on this article. I did my big chop on 26/3/2009. I am still learning about my natural hair from my other curly sisters on you tube. I come across words like silicones,proteins, sulphates etc and i have never really understtod what they meant. Thank you for explaining in an easy way to understand.


Posted By Bezerina on 18 August 2010

I’m just about to start using the CG method - this article has really helped, and I’m getting excited about my new hair journey already!


Posted By Kez83 on 15 September 2010

Thank you so much, i feel like you have given me so much info with the above CG Method to great curls - learning to look after curls healthily and correctly is going to be a long and challenging process - but one im truely up for grin xxx


Posted By Elena82 on 18 August 2011

I have this book, but have been very doubtful for a long time. I will give it a try. I now use Giovanni poos and conditioners, which is a step in the right direction (I hope)...

My new hair journey is aboout to begin! here goes xxx


Posted By lauraa on 05 October 2011

This is article is so great thanks! Im just starting out on my new hair journey after years of straightening my curls this had helped so much!


Posted By mizzstee on 18 November 2011

I have only started this method officially this month.. I think even sulphate free makes my hair a tangled mess, so i am using botanical conditioners only now.. Thanks for your article.


Posted By Channii on 03 March 2012

hi there, my hair is damaged at the moment as i bleached it last may and have put a few semi permenants on it since then. Should i use a deep intensive mask aswell as the co wash and rinse out? Before i have washed my hair with just conditioner and its just awful really greasy is this because ive used high street stuff not CG stuff? and finally i like volume im really into kinda afros but i am white british and have botticelli curls but thats the kinda look i like short bob length and big x

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