Can We Just Move Past The Curly Girl Method Already?

Phoebe Ash
7 min readJan 29, 2021


Do you know when the Curly Girl Method (CGM) was created? Curly Girl: The Handbook was published in 2010 by Lorraine Massey. The founder and previous owner of Devachan salons and the DevaCurl product line, Massey was able to effectively market the movement. While she is a pioneer, she is not the first to promote wearing textured hair in its natural state. There are many that came before her and many that came after her. Currently, Massey has developed her brand and created a new salon that also certifies stylists: the CurlyWorld brand and Spiral (x,y,z) Salon where she offers products, books and training to learn the new Curl by Curl cutting techniques. CGM has a massive following and is the “bible” for many people with textured hair. The basics of the CGM include:

1. Use a sulfate free shampoo.

2. Condition your hair every time and deep condition when needed.

3. Use a leave-in conditioner for styling.

4. Scrunch; do not use a towel.

5. Seal with a styling cream or gel that gives the hair hold.

6. Use no tools (combs, brushes); Massey recommends using only a blow dryer with a diffuser.

We have learned so much in the last 11 years, including knowledge about good vs bad sulfates, good vs bad alcohols, humectants and what oils are best for various types of textured hair. While I do believe Massey is innovative in her approach, as a curly girl myself with curly children, I do not believe one can survive on zero sulfates alone. I believe that it is time to build upon this movement and broaden our expertise. Where do we go when the CGM is not enough?

The Dickey Method

Prior to Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl Method, there was the Dickey Method, established in Hair Rules! which was published in 2003. Like the Curly Girl Method (CGM), the Dickey Method focuses on using your fingers to detangle. However, Anthony Dickey falls right in line with my ministry that your hair should not be a ton of work and a wash and go is achievable for all hair types, including type 4. The hair typing system, created by Andre Walker breaks hair into 4 categories. Type 1 is straight hair, type 2 is wavy hair, type 3 is curly hair and type 4 is coily hair. Where Dickey differs from the CGM is he is focusing on the level of moisture in your hair. The goal here is not to spend countless hours doing your hair. The goal is to find a quick method that helps to make your curls pop no matter your texture; You should not be spending countless hours or a whole day on your hair; you have a life to live! Dickey also does not discourage the use of heat tools, like a bonnet or a blow dryer (we all cannot sit around in the house for 6 hours waiting on our hair to dry). Here is his method broken down:

1. Detangle your hair while cleansing, using your fingers to ensure that your hair becomes fully detangled. Make sure to do this in the shower and that your hair is soaking wet. In the videos that I watched, Dickey says “Water is your friend.”

2. Apply your conditioner LIBERALLY and continue to detangle with your fingers. Allow the conditioner to sit in your hair as needed. Dickey says, “The conditioner should help to reveal your curl pattern.” You should be using a lot of conditioner for a lot of hair and, again, ensure that your hair is drenched and soaking wet.

3. After rinsing out your conditioner, apply your product in the shower. Your hair should be soaking wet! The Dickey Method recommends using a leave-in and a styler (such as a gel or custard or a mouse). The product should be applied LIBERALLY. According to Dickey, “This step locks in your curl pattern.” He calls this “a glorified wet set”. Ensure your hair is saturated as your hair will sop up the product.

4. Once your product is applied, place a towel over your face (and only your face) and vigorously shake, shake and shake your hair so your hair can fall in place. If it is not in the position that you want it to be when you stop shaking your head, slightly maneuver it so that your hair falls into place (without breaking the set curl).

5. Finally, follow your ministry and either sit under a bonnet dryer, diffuse or air dry. If you want to stretch your hair once it is dry, you can use a concentrated nozzle and stretch your hair by holding your hair on the end and applying the concentrated nozzle to your roots.

6. Dickey believes this method should be done every 2–3 days (or more frequently) where you shampoo and condition on day 1 and co-wash on day.

I appreciate all of the various methods that exist for our wavy and curly hair. I believe there are many different ways to achieve the best wash and go and you should alternate styling to find the one that is best and, as Anthony Dickey says, most convenient for you. The goal is to curate a process for you and find the best techniques to ensure that you can live your best wavy or curly life with fabulous hair.


Now, let’s discuss a few more methods that have, quite literally, turned heads. The LOC or LCO method is a commonly used term in the textured hair community. The LOC method was created and coined by Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell. Graham-Campbell is also the CEO and Founder of Alikay Naturals. Her method really helps you to understand the moisture in your hair, which I believe brings you true happiness as a person with textured hair. LOC is an acronym for Liquid, Oil, Cream. In her original video, Graham-Campbell discusses how to properly moisturize your textured hair. Here is the method:

1. You begin by washing your hair with warm water to open the hair cuticle.

2. Next, you apply a LIQUID (i.e., leave-in conditioner) to seal in the water.

3. Next, you apply a light OIL that seals in the water from your wash and the liquid from your leave-in so that your hair is retaining moisture.

4. Finally, you apply a CREAM, which gives you the final level of protection.

5. Hence, now you have LIQUID + OIL + CREAM.

Graham-Campbell’s guidance is to avoid products that take away moisture, such as mineral oils and drying alcohols. This will allow your hair to thrive and grow as it is well moisturized. If your hair is dry, this method will help with hair struggles that include dryness and breakage.

The LCO method just reverses the final steps above and oil is incorporated in the final step to seal in the moisture. The goal of these methods is to help people with textured hair find and retain moisture. Prior to this, many did not understand why their hair did not retain moisture or why a certain product line did not work for them! It is all in how you apply the product.

Maximum Hydration Method

While there are many more methods, this method is one of note as it works well to bring moisture to your hair and to help your hair retain moisture. It helps to repair dry and brittle hair and start fresh with many clarifying properties throughout the process. This is perfect for people with type 4 curls and coils and those with low porosity. When this method was first created, the recommendations were to do this process for 7 days straight, and then repeat it every 3–5 days. This is a bit too work intensive for me, but were I in this situation and if this method would bring moisture to otherwise dry and brittle hair, I would be willing to try it. Here is the method broken down:

1. Clarify your hair with apple cider vinegar or baking soda.

2. Apply a Cherry Lola Treatment (yogurt + aminos + baking soda).

3. Apply a protein free deep conditioner (sit under a dryer or steamer for maximum penetration).

4. Apply bentonite clay mask in small sections, allow it to dry, then rinse out.

5. Style your hair with a sulfate free leave-in conditioner and a natural gel.

While this method is supposed to be done repeatedly, there are many people who have done it every 4 days to once a month. Given that most of the products are natural or devoid of harsh chemicals, this is a great method to add to your process.

Now that it is 2021 and given that 65 -75 percent of women worldwide have textured hair, I would love to see new methods developed. The key in all these methods is a combination of moisture and hydration. How are you adding moisture to textured hair? How are you keeping your textured hair hydrated? How are you removing build-up to allow for moisture and hydration?

We have come a long way since the CGM, but we still have a lot of room for discovery, development and improvement.

Edited by Sterling Russell



Phoebe Ash

Lover of Curly Hair and a Builder of Experiences. Founder and CEO of: Curly Sister Ex - Microsoft ; Tuskegee University & ESMT Berlin Alumni; ExPat