If you are a follower of the Curly Girl Method, you know that finding the right styling product is key. Whether you like gel, mousse, butter or custards, a styling product is essential for locking in moisture to reveal soft, bouncy curls. In this post, we explain exactly what to look for and reveal our top ten UK Curly Girl Approved styling products.
There are many Curly Girl approved styling products available to buy in the UK. These range from budget-friendly mousses and gels to more luxurious custards and curl creams from high-street brands.
What is the curly girl method
The Curly Girl Method was developed by Lorraine Massey, the author of Curly Girl, The Handbook which is always an essential read if you’re starting out.
The main goal of the method is to care for your hair as naturally as possible by avoiding harsh chemicals and heat styling.
I wrote a Complete Step By Step Guide on how to follow the Curly Girl Method, but the general rules are:
- No sulphates, silicones or drying alcohols
- No brushing (expect wet brushing with a wide-tooth comb)
- No regular towels (you can use an old t-shirt or a microfibre towel)
- No heat styling (keep hairdryer on cold or low heat)
You should also not use regular hair ties as these can easily break your hair. Instead, use these hair bobbles which are much more Curly Girl friendly.
A huge part of the CG method is to avoid harmful chemicals. You, therefore, have to use approved UK Curly Girl products and this goes for styling products too.
The main thing is that you cannot use regular shampoo or even so-called ‘low poo’ shampoo to wash your hair.
Low poo means that the product doesn’t contain sulphates but it may contain other harmful detergents which can be even worse than sulphates.
For more information on why low-poo shampoos are a no-go, read this article I wrote.
To replace shampoo, we use conditioner for washing our hair. This is called co-washing (conditioner washing). You can use the same conditioner to co-wash and condition, or you can mix it up. Completely up to you!
If you are just starting out and are not getting the results you were expecting, I’d recommend you read these tips on how to cope with the transition phase.
Example Curly Girl Routine:
2. Condition. Use a thicker consistency conditioner to moisturise and condition your hair. I really like the Banana Hair Food Mask from Garnier.
3. Style. Use one of the styling products from the list below.
4. Dry. You can air dry or use a diffuser to speed up the process. I use the Hairzone diffuser which I got from Amazon. I have yet to find any diffuser that is better and for the price, it’s a steal!
So let’s take a look at approved styling products to understand why they are an essential step of the Curly Girl Method UK.
What are UK approved curly girl styling products?
After conditioning, it is important to use a styling product to encourage your curls to form. If you have wavy hair, you may want a stronger hold. If you have coily hair, you may want a softer hold to help elongate your curls.
Example styling products could be:
Whichever way you wish to style your curls, moisture and hold are the two essential parts of obtaining frizz-free defined curls.
UK Curly Girl approved styling products are essentially products that do not contain the chemicals mentioned above. So this means sulphates, drying alcohol and silicone (waxes).
In reality, there isn’t really any ‘official’ approved products as the Curly Girl Method simply encourages you to use products that follow the guidelines.
Approved products is therefore just another way of saying Curly Girl friendly.
The best way to determine if UK styling products are Curly Girl approved is to look at the ingredients list.
You’ll want to look out for the following words:
The list of sulphates to avoid is very long but the general rule is, if the ingredient contains ‘sulphate’ is a no go.
Avoid these ingredients:
Some silicones are water soluable and will contain words like peg, pg-, ppg. In general these should be avoided if following the Curly Girl Method but some Curlies don’t mind them as they can be dissolved. Use at your own discretion.
Avoid the following:
- mineral oil
The following are water-soluable waxes. Again, use at your own discretion:
- emulsifying wax
- emulsifying wax nf
- peg 8 beeswax
- peg-75 lanolin
- peg-8 beeswax
Soap is made from oils, fats and waxes. Although they might not contain sulphates, the detergents used could be even harsher than sulphates. Therefore soap is not CG friendly. They are a low PH and this can be drying for your hair.
Witch Hazel is not Curly Girl friendly.
Parabens have only recently been added to the no-go list. Originally it was considered OK to use but in recent years, there have been discussions of whether it is safe to use as it has been linked to cancer.
Many Curly Girls still use these products and you should use at your own discretion.
Top 10 Curly Girl UK approved styling products
Umberto Giannini Curl Scrunching Jelly
The Umberto Giannini Curl Scrunching Jelly is an absolute Curly Girl favourite. It has a medium to strong hold and works well for all hair types.
The scrunching jelly is light in texture and doesn’t flake when layered with other products, for instance a mousse.
The gel is vegan formulated.
Twisted sista Dream Curl Gel
The Twisted Sista Gel is another popular brand and promises to give a strong. perfect for waves to smooth out frizz and for coily hair to elongate curls.
This gel contains avocado for added moisture as well as coconut for a protein boost. The consistency is light and can be used for layering with other UK Curly Girl approved styling products.
Very popular amongst the Curly Girl community and is said to hold up against bad weather!
Mousse Pantene No 5
I have definitely been converted to mousse in the last few months and my absolute favourite mousse is the Pantene Vol 5. If you’re trying to follow the Curly Girl method for fine, wavy hair, this is for you.
It has such a great hold and I get a great cast by only using this product. It is lightweight, has a lovely smell and leaves your curls soft and bouncy!
It won’t hold curls the same way as gel does, but I prefer my curls to be a bit more loose. Try this mousse for the lightest of curls!
The Ecostyler gel was the first gel I ever tried and it’s still one of my go-to’s. It’s affordable and easily available online and in most stores. Great for beginners and the gel offers a really strong cast. A simple but effective gel.
Cantu Curl Activator Cream
The Cantu Moisturising Curl Activator Cream is one of the most popular UK Curly Girl approved styling products. All you need is a pea-sized amount to reveal frizz-free bouncy curls. The curl activator is moisturising and contains ingredients such as fruit oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil.
It has a thicker consistency so a little goes a long way! I purchased mine at the beginning of my journey (over twelve months ago) and I’ve still got plenty left.
The Curl Activator was the winner of the 2018 Curly Treats Excellence Award for Best Moisturiser.
Camille Rose Curl Maker
All of Camille Rose’s products are made with the best of ingredients and the Curl Maker is no different. It contains extracts of marshmallow and agave as well as coconut oil and pomegranate.
The jelly is excellent for dry and coarse hair and gives ultimate friz-free curl definition without a crunchy feel or look.
Infused with Vitamin E and B-12 for optimal nourishment.
Boots Essentials Styling Gel
If you’re looking for a no-frills, budget-friendly gel, definitely go with the Boots Essentials styling gel. The texture is lightweight and has a strong hold. For 99p, what could go wrong?
Boucleme Curl Defining Gel
The Boucleme Super Hold Gel is excellent if you’re looking for extra strong hold. It contains ingredients such as Algae Sugars, Kahai Oil and Linseed. It is moisturising and offers ultimate hold for the busiest of days.
Eliminates frizz and is ideal for curl definition and maintaining loose curls, waves and coils.
Cantu Twist & Lock Gel
Cantu is a very popular Curly Girl brand and the Twist and Lock Gel doesn’t disappoint. It moisturises and de-frizzes hair to make it more manageable, revealing soft and shiny curls. Although the product was developed for twists, it actually works for most curl types. Curly Girls with type 2c say that the gel really helps them control their frizz.
It may not be the right product if you have wavy hair as you don’t get much of a cast. If you’re looking for soft and elongated curls however, this is for you.
Superdrug Extra Firm Mousse
This mousse from Superdrug is affordable and has a very strong hold It is enriched with B5 and offers brilliant volume. Users of the mousse report much less frizz and this product would be excellent for layering with gel for a strong cast.
So there you have it. The 10 best Curly Girl styling products available to buy in the UK. If you’re looking for Curly Girl approved conditioners, check out our full list of CG approved products.
Good luck on your Curly Girl journey!