Curly Hair Care

What You Need To Know About Following the CG Method for Curly Hair Care

March 27, 2017
Cg Method handbook lorraine massey

‘CG since 5 Years’

‘I only use CG Approved/Safe/Friendly products’

Perhaps you’ve seen lines like this floating around on social media. A lot of girls wear the first line as a badge of honour or as a way to let people know where they are in a special technique called CG Method.

Don’t know what it means and why the hype around it is? Continue reading this post and you’ll find out why girls with wavy and curly hair across the world  follow this to have beautiful, healthy hair!

Also, if you’re lazy like me, head to the end of the article where I’ve mentioned two websites who will calculate if a product is cg friendly within seconds.

CGM or CG or Curly Girl Method

Invented by Lorraine Massey (pictured above) & explained in her book ‘Curly Girl: The Handbook’ (get it if you haven’t already), in the CG method or CGM, you do not use any hair products with sulphates, silicones, mineral oil, waxes, drying alcohols (also called ‘Baddies’) in your curly hair routine.

This means you clean your scalp & hair with either non-sulphate shampoos (Low Poo or Modified CG) or botanical cleansing conditioners (called No Poo, Co Washing & Pure CG).

To comb and detangle, you use conditioners, leave in conditioners and stylers free of silicones.

You also need to avoid any product (especially gels) that have any drying alcohols as ingredients.

Sulphates are Villians!

The Bodyshop Rainforest Moisture Shampoo For Dry Hair Review

The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Shampoo for Dry Hair (no Sulphates)

What happens when you rub your hands with soap or scrub your scalp with a normal shampoo? Lather!

Foamy, creamy, frothy lather. It’s that ‘Ah’ moment in your shower that a lot of people love.

The lather is created by sulphates in soaps and shampoos that also unfortunately STRIP your hair of it’s natural oils and make it dryer, frizzier & prone to breakage.

Despite being psychologically pleasing, it’s not easy to rinse out and some of it remains in your hair if you are not careful enough!

Since curly hair is naturally dry to begin with, regularly using a sulphate shampoo is a bad idea. If all you’ve been doing to your hair is shampooing, you can understand the damage caused by just rubbing your hair in your hands.

So Lorraine wisely recommends to switch to shampoos without sulphates instead! She also strongly suggests you switch to the No Poo method, which is no shampoos at all in your routine. In this you use a cleansing conditioner to scrub out the dirt from your hair without leading to any dryness.

Now, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of co washing (using a cleansing conditioner) in another post but it’s important to know what it is since many people following CGM- they only co wash (bye bye shampoos!).

(I use sulphate free shampoos mostly, sometimes medicated anti dandruff shampoo. I followed a modified CG Routine as do many other girls. Don’t think you HAVE to follow a rule if it’s not working for you).

Should I Never Use Sulphate Shampoos?

I’d personally suggest no, don’t give up on shampoos with sulphates forever. Once or twice a month, do clarify/use a sulphate shampoo.

Whenever you find your curls feeling limp or they are not curling as well, use a clarifying shampoo. Post swimming in chlorinated water, clarify.

‘When in doubt, clarify!’ is popular advice.

One also reads that if you are using shea butter in your hair products, you should clarify often since it is heavy and can build up on fine curls.

Clarifying often will ensure healthy scalp, remove buildup and pollutants & make curly hair bouncy again!

And Silicones are Bad Boys….

Leave in Conditioner With Silicones

Garnier Sleek & Shine Intensely Smooth Leave in Conditioner (Has Silicones)

Silicones are like plastic. When they’re in hair products, they coat your hair, smooth down the cuticle and drastically reduce frizz and make your hair softer and more manageable.

But they also lead to product build-up and over time makes hair frizzier (!), look limp and lifeless. You feel like you’ve lost your curl.

To remove this build-up of plastic, you need to use a shampoo with sulphates. But in CG routines, those are not allowed! So you need to stop using any hair products with silicones.

Are All Silicones Bad?


Like there are some bad boys that only need a certain type of girl to make them good (ah, teenage fantasies), there are some silicones that are partially or fully water soluble! Any silicone with PEG 8 & more is considered water soluble. If you’re confused, just drop the ingredients into this website: IS It CG or do a google search!

Mineral Oils, Waxes & Parabens

Mineral oil or Petrolatum will weigh down your curls and it is strongly recommended you avoid using products with it.

Waxes are some of the most natural ingredients that have been used to style curly and kinky hair since centuries. Unfortunately, they also are non hydrous, which means they won’t get washed out by simply water or co-washing. You will need to shampoo or clarify regularly to remove the build-up and as a result it is not recommended if you are following a pure CG routine.

There is no ‘yes or no’ for parabens in CG but many people avoid them because they fear it can cause cancer. That is a personal call you need to take after you find it you believe in the studies done or not!

Do I Follow the CG Method

Healthy Curly Hair

My curls in college 5 years ago

When I found out about this a couple of years ago in college, I couldn’t find many CG Friendly products. I just made sure I combed after applying conditioner and leave in conditioner on my hair instead of combing it dry.

It’s only after I started earning that I could afford to shop online & experiment with products. Starting the blog exposed to me to SO many curly hair products in India too!

Now, I had great curls even on a Non CG routine, but they were NOT as curly and soft as they are now. My hair is super bouncy, curly from the crown and feel hydrated.

I am now using mostly CG approved products with an odd product with ‘baddies’ thrown in that I may need to review for the blog.

Because of having a scalp prone to dandruff, I also use a medicated shampoo which is too harsh for pure CG routines but I can’t live without using it once or twice a month, especially in sweaty, humid seasons. Like I said earlier in the article, I follow a modified CG Routine.

If you have dandruff or an itchy scalp, learn how I deal with it in my routine in this post!- How to Get Rid of Dandruff in Natural Hair

Should you follow a CG Routine

I have many readers who prefer sulphates & silicones in their hair products and get good results and I have many who don’t.

The point is to be educated, know the consequences of the ingredients & take a personal call on what suits you better after trying the method out.

Remember, what works for one curly girl might not work for another.

But if you do want to follow the CG Method, you need to watch out for the below ingredients.

Ingredients to Avoid in CG Method

Not all silicones and ingredients with the word alcohol are bad. Watch out for the below ingredients, especially the ones in bold.

Sulphates to Avoid in CG Method

  1. Sodium Laureth, Myreth, or Lauryl Sulfate
  2. Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
  3. Ammonium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate
  4. Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate
  5. Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate
  6. Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate
  7. Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
  8. TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  9. Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
  10. Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
  11. Sodium Xylenesulfonate

Non-Water Soluble Silicones to Avoid in CG Method

  1. Amodimethicone
  2. Dimethicone
  3. Dimethiconol
  4. Cyclomethicone
  5. Cyclopentasiloxane
  6. Behenoxy Dimethicone
  7. Bis-aminopropyl dimethicone
  8. Cetearyl Methicone
  9. Cetyl Dimethicone
  10. Phenyl trimethicone
  11. Stearyl Dimethicone
  12. Trimethylsilylamodimethicone

Drying Alcohols to Avoid in CG Method

  1. Isopropyl alcohol (also called IPA)
  2. Denatured alcohol
  3. Ethanol
  4. Isopropanol
  5. Propanol
  6. Propyl alcohol
  7. SD alcohol 40

More Ingredients to Avoid in CG Method

  1. Waxes: Bees wax, Candelilla wax
  2. Petrolatum
  3. Mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum)

Websites for Finding if a Product is CG Friendly

While these websites should not be fully depended on since they have their own biases, they’re often very handy.

When you’re confused about whether a product is CG Friendly, just copy paste the ingredients onto any of these websites-


Want step by step instructions on how to start CG Method? I’ve explained in detail in the below posts-

Pocket-Friendly Guide to Start CG Method on Wavy Hair

How to Start Cg Method on Curly Hair

Hope you enjoyed the post! If you want more curly hair tips, check out my Youtube channel & follow me on Instagram @thecuriousjalebi!

  • Reply
    August 20, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Hy pallavi
    will u suggest some shampoo conditioner or products for my curly hair to make them frizz free and smooth

  • Reply
    August 17, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Hi, all these steps after clarifying, like cream, gel, scrunch, then break gel, etc.. do we have to do every 3 days we shampoo?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      October 5, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      Clarifying Shampoo, conditioner, leave in or cream (depending on your hair type) + gel
      To start the journey
      Other wash days
      Cg Friendly shampoo, conditioner, leave in or cream (depending on your hair type) + gel

      Common to both- Comb after conditioner, rinse, comb after leave in or curl cream IF you have very curly type 3A and above otherwise just smooth, smooth on gel
      Scrunch, SOTC when dry. If gel isn’t very hard hold, you won’t need to sotc.

  • Reply
    Neethu Elizabeth George
    August 6, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    Hello Pallavi, thank you so much for creating this bible for curly hair!! I have two questions – the first is that I’ve also made the terrible mistake of getting keratin treatment (twice; first because I wanted to, and it wasn’t so bad, my hair was fine, but the second time I did it was because of a terrible haircut and that one made my hair brittle and weak and gave me dry, flaky scalp and terrible hairfall that’s still going on). For the year after, I got my hair cut every three months, trying to get rid of damaged hair. The trouble is, unlike your experience, the bottom half of my hair still has its bounce and curls, but the top part of my hair (in the temples, forehead and crown area) is frizzy, poofy and looks like I got electrocuted. What does that mean for my hair? The second part is about the Kaytra line of products formed by Ambika Pillai (who is kind of famous here in Kerala for her curly hair). Are they any good? Sorry for how huge this is!! Love your blog and I subscribed to your channel the minute I found it!! Thank you again 😊

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      August 10, 2020 at 6:38 pm

      I think Kaytra products have silicones – if you use sulphates, feel free to use her products. Just remember the techniques- comb after conditioner and after curl cream and if you want with some oil before shampoo. Not daily. I hope you’re conditioning the top part of your hair as its your natural hair- it needs more moisture. Try DIY Flaxseed gel as well to reduce the frizz.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Hi, does anyone perhaps know if I could use the BioSilk Silk Therapy with Coconut Oil Moisturizing Conditioner? This is the ingredient list: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil , Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Silk Amino Acids, Hydrolyzed Silk, Panthenol, Ethyl Macadamiate, Polysorbate 60, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Polyquaternium-37,
    Fragrance (Parfum), Benzyl Benzoate. Thank you very much 🙂

  • Reply
    May 29, 2020 at 8:09 am

    This post gave me the information I needed to find affordable products for my curly hair journey. Thank You!!

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      May 31, 2020 at 11:44 pm

      I’m so glad!

  • Reply
    Dancing Chef
    March 27, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Hi Pallavi!
    Can i use BodyShop Ginger Shampoo for clarifying?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      May 5, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      nope, it has a non soluble silicone

  • Reply
    January 23, 2020 at 5:22 am

    Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate is not a sulfate

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      February 20, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      It isn’t but is considered equally drying.

  • Reply
    January 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Disodium Cocoamphodi acetate. Sodium chloride. PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate. Parfum. Citric acid. PEG-12 Dimethicone. Polyquaternium-10. Sodium benzoate. Styrene/Acrylates copolymer. Laureth-2. Hydrogenated castor oil. Salicylic acid. Propylene glycol. Panthenol. Hydroxypropyltrimonium hydrolyzed. Wheat protein. PEG-55 Propylene glycol oleate. PEG-14M. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein PG- propyl silanetriol. Benzyl salicylate. Hydrolyzed keratin

    These are the ingredients of my schwarzkopf shampoo.. can I start ch with the same.. as I have checked on your link provided also.. they said it is cg approved.. please Confirm me for the same as I have natural curly hair which was checmically smoothened last year..

  • Reply
    shweta alapuria
    November 10, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Hii pallavi.. Can i use mama earth shampoo which is A mild sls free shampoo and A moderatly soluble silicone conditioner after wash.. Plz suggest me conditioners brand which has watersoluble Or mild silicones.. As I dnt totally use cowashing

  • Reply
    September 14, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Do you ever use or recommend rice water rince? If so boiled or fresh rice?

  • Reply
    August 24, 2019 at 3:58 am

    would anyone know DREAM COATFor Curly Hair is a CG friend product?

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      September 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      It has an ingredient called peg-40ppg-8 methylaminopropylhydroxypropyl dimethicone copolymer which is water soluble silicone. So in theory it should be CG friendly but Lorraine Massey doesn’t recommend products with such ingredients. Looking at the reviews of that product though, I’m not impressed.

  • Reply
    E K
    November 17, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    My curly hair stylist recommended Innersense products. I just looked at the conditioner I purchased from her and it has a lot of ehentrimonium Methosulfate. It’s not on the list above. But, it doesn’t sound right. I looked it up and it is a quaternary ammonium compound. Is this really curly girl approved?

    Do you know of any CG approved conditioners that are completely sulfate free AND that do not include any artificial fragrance or perfume?

  • Reply
    Ruchira Ghosh
    June 2, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    Do we need to necessarily use the CG method to get defined curls? Or can it be done without using the CG method? Since finding CG friendly products becomes a task most of the time and also, more often than not it’s not so pocket friendly.

    • Reply
      Pallavi Juneja
      June 3, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Hey Ruchira, it isn’t necessary but in the long run by using harsh sulphates and heavy silicones, your hair will slowly get damaged. But, you can maintain a modified cg routine like I do. In that , I take care to only shampoo my scalp, not my hair. If I’m using silicones in my leave in and conditioner, I clarify once a month.
      I have a pocket friendly curly hair routine under 500 rupees in my YouTube channel. Do check it out if you’re interested. 🙂

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