If you are a follower of the Curly Girl Method, you’ll know that finding the right products is essential. There are so many Curly Girl approved conditioners and gels available to buy in the UK, but what about shampoos?
If you are a strict follower of the Curly Girl Method, there are unfortunately no shampoos in the UK which are Curly Girl approved. Shampoo contains sulphates and other cleansing agents which can be very damaging to your hair.
However, if you are NOT a strict follower of the Curly Girl Method, you can use UK Curly Girl friendly low poo shampoos which contain gentle cleansers. Some Curly Girls prefer to use low-poo shampoos due to a variety of reasons such as disability, skin conditions or scalp irritation. What you choose to use is entirely up to you!
In this article, I will list two kinds of products:
1. 100% UK CG approved cleansers such as co-washes and conditioners
2. UK Curly Girl friendly low-poo shampoos which do not contain sulphates
Using either of those is absolutely fine. Don’t feel guilty about using shampoo. I know many Curly Girls simply can’t live without shampoo and I use shampoo probably once every 6 weeks. This tends to be if I’ve run out of conditioner or feel that my roots need a good clean. Luckily, I get along with co-washing pretty easily and I’ve never had to low-poo.
If you want to follow the Curly Girl Method as per Lorraine Massey’s book, there are tonnes of excellent alternatives to regular shampoo such as cleansers, co-washing products and of course, conditioner!
You don’t actually need shampoo to wash your hair thoroughly which is evidenced by the thousands of Curly Girls who use conditioner to wash their hair with amazing results.
So even though there might not be any UK shampoos which are 100% Curly Girl approved, there’s a long list of products which you CAN use.
To go straight to the list of Curly Girl approved cleansers such as co-washes and conditioners, click here.
To go straight to the list of UK Curly Girl friendly low-poo shampoos, click here.
What Is The Curly Girl Method
If you are reading this article, you probably already know about the Curly Girl Method so I won’t go on in much detail.
However, if you are new to the method, check out my Complete Step By Step Guide which should tell you everything you need to know.
The Curly Girl Method was developed by Lorraine Massey, the author of Curly Girl The Handbook. An essential read for anyone just starting out.
The Curly Girl Method or CGM, is a haircare routine which encourages you to ditch the hair straighteners, avoid harsh chemicals and love your natural curls as they are!
THE BASIC RULES OF CGM:
1. No Sulphates, Silicones, Waxes Or Drying Alcohols
One of the main reasons why you cannot use shampoo on the CG method is because they contain a lot of harsh ingredients which are damaging to your scalp and hair. The main culprit is sulphate. You can read more about why shampoos are damaging down below.
Silicones are often found in conditioner. It is the ingredient which makes your hair soft, shiny and manageable. We want to avoid silicone as it forms a wax layer on hair strands and is very difficult to wash out. You should therefore only use conditioners which are silicone and wax free.
Some alcohols are fine to use on the Curly Girl method, but there are many alcohols which are drying. Check the ingredients list with curlsbot.com if you are unsure.
2. No Heat Styling
You should not use high heat on the Curly Girl Method. You can, of course, use a hairdryer, but the heat setting should be set to cold or medium heat. It is highly recommended to use a diffuser as this helps disperse the flow of air much more evenly. It also helps managing frizz and keeps your curls intact. Any universal diffuser will do, like this one I got from Amazon. It’s very good value for money and fits onto pretty much any hairdryer.
3. No Brushing
The Curly Girl Method does not recommend brushing as this causes breakage and split ends. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb and use it only on wet hair.
4. No Towels
You should also not use regular towels on the Curly Girl Method. This is because the rough texture of towels creates friction when used against hair and in turn cause frizz. You’ll want to keep the integrity of your curls for optimal definition, and it is therefore recommended to use a microfibre towel like this one instead. You can also use an old t-shirt.
The Curly Girl Method and Shampoos
As mentioned above, regular shampoos are a no go if you are intent on following the Curly Girl Method.
The best way to explain why shampoos are damaging, is to think of the process of shampooing/conditioner/styling as a never-ending cycle.
Why? Because the beauty industry has taught us to shampoo, condition, style and repeat. Over and over again. Ka-ching!
Sulphate is a harsh cleansing agent and it is the chemical which makes shampoo lather. Lather essentially means bubbles and it is the foaming effect you get when you use shampoo.
You also get that squeaky clean feeling with shampoo, but have you noticed that your hair also feels a bit dry or even coarse? It’s certainly not smooth.
This is sulphate. Cleansing yes, but also stripping your hair of its natural oils.
After shampooing, we then use conditioner to replenish our hair with moisture, shine and softness. How? With silicones!
Yes, your hair feels amazing after it has been conditioned but think of what you’re doing to it. You’re stripping it of oil, only to replace moisture with silicone amongst other chemicals.
And here’s the kicker: if you use hair straighteners, the heat actually MELTS the silicone into your hair, making it very difficult for moisture to penetrate.
So there you have it. A never-ending cycle which can actually be damaging to your hair and this is why the CG method is so important.
The Curly Girl Method encourages you to use hair products without all of these harsh chemicals so that your hair has a chance to shine naturally.
UK Curly Girl Approved Products To Use Instead Of Shampoos
So we have established that there, unfortunately, aren’t any 100% Curly Girl approved shampoos which you can buy in the UK.
Well, the good news is that you have PLENTY of options!
Since we don’t shampoo on the CGM method, we do something else which is called co-washing.
Co-washing essentially means ‘conditioner washing’. It is exactly like shampooing, but you replace the shampoo product with a conditioner or a CG approved cleansing product. Simple!
Instead of shampoos, you can use the following UK Curly Girl approved products:
If you want to follow the Curly Girl Method 100%, you should be able to use conditioner only for both co-washing as well as conditioning. The reason for this is that if you are using only water-soluble hair products such as silicone and wax free products, then you do not need shampoo (or sulphates) to cleanse to your hair.
I would always recommend using a lightweight conditioner to replace shampoo. Save the creamier and sometimes more expensive ones for conditioning or weekly hydrating treatments.
Why? Because co-washing is all about cleansing, not conditioning. You want to use a product that is neither oily nor weighs your hair down.
Protein Rich Conditioners For Co-Washing
Co-wash with a protein-rich conditioner if you are suffering from moisture overload. Your hair will feel limp, soft, and your curls are not forming as they should. You may also notice breakage and loss of shine.
Try one of these popular protein rich conditioners:
Moisturising Conditioners For Co-Washing
If your curls feel dry and brittle and your hair seems to easily break, you could be suffering from protein overload. In this case, you’ll want to go for products which are moisturising and which do not contain protein or too much coconut oil. Coconut can function as a protein mimicker and some Curly Girls try to avoid coconut altogether.
Here are my top 4 moisturising conditioners for co-washing:
Now, remember, you can use basically any conditioner to co-wash your hair. My recommendation is to use lightweight products but every Curly Girl is different. Buy one or two different products and experiment. Use them up, don’t waste them, and if you don’t think they work for you, move on to the next two products.
The beauty world has caught on to CGM and you can now buy co-washing products which are specifically designed for people who do not want to use shampoo. Curly Girl friendly co-washing products are light in consistency and texture, they don’t lather and work great as a UK Curly Girl approved alternative to shampoos.
Top 4 Co-Wash Cleansers
Coconut/Protein Co-Wash Cleansers
Other Popular Co-Wash Products
No Sulphate Shampoos
If you prefer to follow a simplified version of the Curly Girl Method, there’s a long list of UK Curly Girl friendly low-poo shampoos which are sulphate free and contain gentle cleansers. These are perfect to use on days when you find that co-washing isn’t hitting the spot. If you suffer from allergies, irritated scalp or simply don’t want to co-wash only, these shampoos are a great alternative and work well on the Curly Girl Method.
TOP 4 CG FRIENDLY SHAMPOOS
These are the most commonly used CG friendly shampoos. The Johnson’s baby shampoo is very popular within the Curly Girl community as it is very gentle and also on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
Finally, the Noughty Haircare Wave hello Shampoo ins enriched with sea kelp extract and avocado oil for added moisture and soft bouncy curls.
JOHNSON’S BABY SHAMPOO
If you’re a fan of the Johnson’s baby shampoo, these three shampoos are CG friendly and can be used as a cleanser:
SHEA MOISTURE CG FRIENDLY SHAMPOOS
Shea Moisture is another very popular UK Curly Girl approved brand and the following shampoos can be used as a cleanser. The most popular is probably the Curl and Shine shampoo, but as per usual, every Curly Girl is different.
DR ORGANIC SHAMPOOS
Dr Organic is another well-known brand who produce Curly Girl friendly shampoos available to buy in the UK.
Noughty Haircare have a great range of UK CG approved conditioners but luckily many of their shampoos are also Curly Girl friendly:
OTHER POPULAR CG FRIENDLY SHAMPOOS
Sometimes, co-washing only doesn’t get all the build-up and dirt out of your hair. I find that the best way to combat oily, greasy or itchy scalp is to do an apple cider vinegar rinse or a Lemonaid rinse as per Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl The Handbook.
Simply add a few spoonful’s of apple cider vinegar to 200ml of water and massage this onto dripping wet hair. Use a scalp massager like this one and work the mixture into your hair for at least a couple of minutes.
Apple cider vinegar helps to balance the PH of your hair and is great for getting rid of excess build-up on your scalp.
You can also squeeze half a lemon into your favourite conditioner and follow the process above.
I personally LOVE a clarifying rinse. I do them once every two weeks and it helps keep my scalp healthy and clean. They can also help if you have too much protein in your hair.
So there you have it. Whether you’re a strict or a simplified follower of the CG Method you literally have dozens of UK Curly Girl friendly shampoos or approved shampoo alternative products to choose from!
Remember, it is your decision whether you want to use conditioner only or CG friendly shampoo. The most important thing is to find a routine that fits into your lifestyle and budget.
I wish you all the best on your Curly Girl Journey! Let me know in the comments if this article was helpful or if there are any other shampoo products you think I should add to the list.