Does the curly girl method make your hair look worse before it looks better?
If your hair was heat or chemically damaged before starting the curly girl method, you may find that your hair looks worse for a while before it looks better. If your hair has minimal damage then you should be able to get good results as soon as you figure out the basics of your curly girl routine.
In this case, I’m referring to how healthy (shiny, bouncy, etc) your hair looks and feels, as well as how well it curls. Sometimes people think that part of the ‘worse before it gets better’ phase involves your hair looking greasy/oily or weighed down. In my opinion, that should be able to be avoided.
What is the transition phase in the curly girl method?
The girly curly girl method transition phase is said to be the first 2-4 weeks of the curly girl method when your hair looks worse before it looks better. I didn’t experience this and feel it can be avoided.
People will refer to the transition phase as being the time period between when you start the curly girl method and when your scalp adjusts to using gentler shampoo and being washed less frequently. If you cut back on how frequently you wash your hair, it is likely that your hair will be oilier than before. However, you can minimize this impact by entering gradually. If you used to wash daily, you don’t have to jump to washing every 4-5 days. You can wash every other day at first, wait until your scalp adjusts to that, then go two days between, etc.
Also, sometimes when people talk about a transition phase in the curly girl method they’re usually talking about the time frame between when they start the curly girl method and when their hair is ‘healthy’. This can take months or even years depending on the amount of damage that your hair has to start with.
How long is the transition phase when doing the curly girl method?
How long your transition phase will be (or if you’ll really have one!) will depend on what your hair is used to when you begin the method, and how often you wash once you start the method.
If you just add one more day between wash days, your transition phase will be milder, but may take longer. Alternatively, if your scalp isn’t naturally oily, you may be able to slowly increase time between washes without experiencing greasy hair, like I did. I didn’t really have a transition period in terms of dealing with greasy hair.
This was roughly 1 month into the curly girl method for me. I had a significant haircut which helped me a lot.
How long does it take to transition if you have damage?
If you’ve damaged your hair a lot with bleaching and using high heat, you may have a really long period between when you start the curly grl method and when all of your hair is ‘healthy’. For some, their hair won’t reach its full potential until all of their damaged hair has grown out and been cut off. Depending on how long the hair is, this may even take years.
Hair grows about 1/2 an inch per month or about six inches per year. So if you had really damaged hair and wanted to grow out 12 inches of it, that could take 2 years. However, that doesn’t mean your hair will look ‘bad’ that whole time. As you treat your hair more gently, you should see improvements even in damaged hair.
If your hair wasn’t heat damaged or chemically damaged before you start the curly girl method, you may still find that your hair improves in how it looks and feels as you learn to create a hair routine that is really optimized for your hair type. However, if your hair isn’t damaged to begin with, the difference will likely be less dramatic and shorter.
Personally, I can see how my hair continued to improve several months after I started the curly girl method even though my hair wasn’t heat or chemically damaged when I started. The improvements were the result of things like getting my split ends cut off, and finding the products and techniques that worked well for my hair type.
How long of doing the CGM before your hair will reach its full potential?
If your hair was damaged before you started the curly girl method, you may see your hair improve for up to a few years as your older, damaged hair grows out and is replaced with newer hair that you read more gently so it stays healthier.
If your hair wasn’t damaged prior to the curly girl method, your full potential will be reached once you’ve gained a thorough understanding of your hair type and have found a routine that is ideal for you. Some may find it quickly, for others it may take a long time. My post on how to determine your wavy hair type may and my post on what products to use based on your wavy hair type may help.
About 6 weeks into the curly girl method on a non-wash day. My hair wasn’t as wavy as it would be on wash day, but it wasn’t greasy. I wasn’t willing to tolerate greasy hair so I just washed when I felt I needed to. My hair was frizzy, but less frizzy than it had been before CGM. Gel was helping to hold down some of the frizz.
Is it normal for your hair to be really greasy when starting CGM?
If you’re washing your hair less often and using gentler shampoos, you may find that your hair will be greasier than it was before. However, if you find that your hair is really greasy, you can wash your hair more often. Don’t feel like you have to walk around with super greasy hair if it bothers you.
Does the Curly girl method make hair feel worse before it feels better?
High porosity hair has raised cuticles that can feel rough to the touch. Silicones in haircare products coat the outside of the hair which can cover the raised cuticles so hair feels smooth even though it is damaged underneath. Following the curly girl method can reveal that raised cuticle which makes their hair feel worse.
This is not to say that the curly girl method makes hair worse, it just reveals the damage that was covered up before. This is also why your hair may tangle more and be more frizzy.