Invented by Lorraine Massey’s & explained in her book “Curly Girl: The Handbook (get it if you haven’t already!), in the CG method you do not use products with sulphates, silicones & alcohol in your curly hair routine.
This means you clean your scalp & hair with a botanical conditioner, also called Co-Washing ( sounds weird but it works for many curly girls. Not for me sadly!), de-tangle with a moisturising conditioner & style with a leave in conditioner & an alcohol free gel.
Why avoid these two chemical groups?
Sulphates STRIP your hair of natural oils making it dryer, frizzier & prone to breakage. It’s what causes lather. It’s not easy to rinse off and some of it remains in your hair if you are not careful enough!
The most common silicones on the other hand, while increasing shine, slip & combating frizz are NOT water – soluble, which leads to product build up making your hair limp & lifeless. The only way they are removed from the hair is with sulphates. Can you see the bad cycle? That is why curly haired people who do not use a sulphate shampoo but have silicones (popularly called cones) in their conditioner soon find their hair without bounce & life.
Now, there are some milder surfactants/sulphates that are less harsh & do a good job of cleaning your hair. There are also some silicones that are mild & are slightly water-soluble or prevent future build up, making it a better ingredient to have in your product.
When I found out about this a couple of years ago, the only product I could find then was the Bodyshop Rainforest line which does not have sulphates, silicones & parabens (preservatives). It worked great. I don’t know why exactly I switched away from it, perhaps due to its cost & living on a college budget. I switched to cheaper products, Khadi shampoo (didn’t last long, no love for this) & the pink Sunsilk conditioner ( slip is fantastic, but has cones). And I found my hair was more bouncier than before! Plus, my scalp is prone to dryness & dandruff. A non-sulphate shampoo did not cleanse my scalp as much as I’d like.
It’s only after I started earning that I could afford to shop online & experiment with products. The Ouidad curl line which I used to get in Sephora had a special line for curly hair & after that discontinued, I chanced upon John Freida Dream Curls & then Ogx Coconut curls & Ogx Argan Oil of Morocco. None of these mentioned in the previous sentence are CG approved.
I had great curls even on a Non CG routine, but they were NOT as curly and soft as they are now. I am now use mostly CG approved products.
If you do prefer a Non CG routine, that’s okay. I have many readers who prefer sulphates & silicones in their hair products. The point is to be educated, know the consequences of the ingredients & take a personal call on what suits you better.
This is the thing you have to remember, what works for one curly girl might not work for another.
I know so many curly hair bloggers who may not follow the method completely but tweak it to their requirements. They minimise use of sulphates by co-washing often & clarifying (using sulphate) only once in 2 weeks or once in a month in order to remove product build up. Some even use apple cider vinegar to get back shine & life!
You can check out the list of CG friendly leave in conditioners for curly hair in India here. Try them out & let me know if it suits your hair!
As for deciding which product is CG approved, just copy the ingredients into this site & check!
Watch my video tutorial of my curly hair routine here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5sgj8z9pwU&t=2s