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!

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!).

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.

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. The ones mentioned below are the ones you need to watch out for!

You can also simply copy paste the ingredients of a hair product into this website and check. The results are fairly accurate but nothing hurts checking up on google as well.

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. Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate
  5. Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate
  6. Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
  7. TEA-Dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  8. Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate
  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)

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
    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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