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Curly Girl Method: Which ingredients to avoid and why?

Curly Girl Method: Which ingredients to avoid and why?

Full bunches of curls girls achieve with the Curly Girl Method. But how does this CG method actually work. We got a lot of questions about why exactly you should avoid these ingredients. And how do you recognise them on the packaging of your shampoo or conditioner?

Basically, the Curly Girl method consists of properly nourishing, moisturising and conditioning your hair so that it has a chance to take on the curl shape. Unfortunately, for that nourishment to come into its own in your hair, you also need to avoid different ingredients, otherwise it will work against each other. So keep in mind that moisture and nutrition must be allowed to enter the hair. In addition, you also want to minimise disruption to the natural functioning of your scalp and hair, as this will also give your hair a chance to take its natural shape.

What ingredients should you avoid using the CG Method?

The ingredients you should avoid can be roughly divided into 4 groups; Sulphates, Alcohol, Silicones and Wax/Mineral Oils. We explain below why these are put into hair products, whereas you should avoid them for the CG Method.


Do you also like your shampoo to lather wonderfully? Chances are your shampoo contains sulphates. These often provide the foaming effect of your shampoo or other hair products. This sulphate foam ensures that your scalp and hair are thoroughly washed. Even if you have used hair products, this is not a problem for Sulphates. Do you have an oily scalp? Then sulphates seem like the solution, as they make sure you wash the sebum (grease) from your scalp and hair roots!

Yet Sulphates also have drawbacks. It is indeed an ingredient that gets your scalp and hair clean well. For real dirt and leftover hair products like gel, lacquer or foam, this is of course very nice. However, it is so persistent that it can also dry out your scalp and hair, and it also removes the natural fats from your scalp. This is because your scalp produces sebum to keep the skin and hair healthy and protected.

If you wash the sebum from your scalp every time, your scalp becomes less protected and therefore you may suffer from it. Besides, your scalp thinks it needs more sebum because it is already gone. So the production of sebum becomes more and more. So your scalp and sebum production get out of balance and your hair gets oily faster, because the production is so high. You can get this clean with Sulphates, but then you will only make the problem worse in the long run.

If you stop using sulphates, your hair will be a bit greasier at first. This is because your scalp needs some time to regain balance and normalise sebum production. So it might be wise to phase out slowly and not stop in one go, because your hair will get very greasy at first.

If it says Sulfate, Sulfonate or Sulphate on the ingrdients list, you can assume that it is not suitable for the Curly Girl Method.

** For the Final Wash, you can use a shampoo with sulphates, but it should not contain silcones, alcohol or mineral oil. Some people who use the Curly Girl Method still occasionally use a shampoo with sulphates. This is your own choice and may be necessary if you feel you still have a lot of build-up of hair products in your hair.**


Alcohol is added to hair products to help them evaporate and do their job faster, as a preservative or to make it easier to mix different ingredients. So it is definitely useful to put them in products. The only problem is that some of the alcohol in hair products can have a drying effect on your hair. With the Curly Girl Method, you are actually trying to moisturise your hair, which is why drying alcohol should be avoided. Below you can see which types of alcohol are drying.

  • Alcohol
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Propanol
  • Propyl Alcohol
  • SD Alcohol


Do you also love the way your hair shines, feels smooth and is easy to detangle? Then your grooming products must contain silicones. Silicones are used in your hair product to give shine, make hair smooth, retain moisture and protect against heat styling. The hair then feels healthy and this feeling is often caused by silicones. These do not make hair healthy, but give the appearance that hair is healthy. This is because silicones form a layer around the loose hair and fill in unevenness so it feels smooth and soft. It is also protected from heat as it cannot penetrate the layer and moisture also stays trapped in the hair.

That is also your goal, but unfortunately this feeling is not forever and you have to reapply the product, thickening the layer if it is not water-soluble silicone. This also prevents new nutrition and moisture from entering the hair. As a result, your hair dries out under the layer of silicone and thus actually becomes unhealthier. For non-water-soluble silicones, this requires you to use a harsh shampoo, which often contain sulphates, which is exactly what you wanted to avoid.

Water-Soluble Silicones

Hence, only water-soluble silicones should be used in the Curly Girl method. Because they are easy to wash out of your hair and do not form build-up in your hair. So water-soluble silicones are fine to use, but they are more expensive for the manufacturer. So you often find non-water-soluble silicones in drugstore hair products and water-soluble silicones in professional hair products.

So how can you tell the difference between water-soluble silicones and non-water-soluble silicones? You can tell because water-soluble silicones are marked PEG or PPG (polyethylene glycols (PEG) and polypropylene glycols (PPG).

If an ingredient name or part of the name ends in -cone, -conol, -silicate or -xane, you can assume that these are silicones to be avoided. Unless the ingredient name contains PEG or PPG, in which case they are water-soluble.


  • Cyclomethicone
  • Dimethiconol
  • Silicone Quaternium
  • Trimethylsiloysilicate
  • Trisiloxane

Mineral oils and Wax

Mineral oils and Wax, like Silicones, have the advantage of filling and smoothing your hair. Obviously very nice, but it also causes the hair and scalp to be sealed and is difficult to wash out of the hair. This prevents moisture and nutrition from reaching the hair, and to get mineral oil or wax out of your hair you have to wash with a harsh shampoo, which in turn contains sulphates. You don't want this either, so it's better to avoid Mineral Oil and Wax if you want to start using the Curly Girl Method. Some mineral oils and waxes are water-soluble and can easily be washed out of your hair.

Below you can see which ingredients are a mineral oil or wax and you should avoid. Unless it says PPG or PEG (like water-soluble silicones). Then they are safe to use for the Curly Girl Method.

  • Wax
  • Beeswax
  • Candelilla wax
  • Cera
  • Cire
  • Dodecane
  • Isododecane
  • Isohexad
  • Isohexadecane
  • Lanolil
  • Mineral oil
  • Paraffin
  • Petrolatum
  • Shellac

Which hair products are CG Proof?

To get you started, we have in our range of hair products you can use. And you can recognise them on our site by the CG Proof logo.

CG Proof label

Do you have any questions or additions to this blog? Or are you already working with the Curly Girl method and do you have any tips? Please let us know in the comments!

Have a good one,


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