Before the Curly Girl Method (CGM) made waves (pun intended) in the Philippines circa 2018, I’ve been advocating for natural curls for years. As a Pinay growing up in a conservative society where straight hair (and not to mention—the straight path—but that’s another TED talk) is the norm, I struggled to embrace my curls. Read my story here.
In 2005, I decided to stop straightening and start growing out my natural curls. I’ve tried and tested several styling methods. Even when I learned about CGM in 2019, I didn’t turn into a purist. I’ve maintained a modified version of CGM that works best with my hair type (I’m a mix of 3A, 3B, and 3C) and lifestyle.
For my fellow type 3 curls, check out the top tools that work well with the jungle that is my hair. Not sure what your curl type is? Click here.
I did this project with Cosmopolitan as part of my #curlpower movement before I heard about CGM.
Here’s a secret: Curly girls don’t brush or comb their hair throughout the day. But on the times that I do brush, I use a detangler. I brush only thrice—a.) before showering, b.) while showering to evenly distribute the conditioner, and c.) after showering to evenly brush in the styling product while the hair is still wet.
2. Paddle Brush
I’ve broken a lot of combs and brushes in this lifetime, and the paddle brush is the only heavy-duty brush that has survived. It’s the heaviest and widest of the bunch. I use the paddle brush before taking a shower (after using the detangler) to massage my scalp and to get rid of excess dirt. Many curlies brush only while the hair is wet, and usually with a scalp massager. I prefer brushing my scalp with the paddle brush while it’s dry, right before I shower. To each their own. Discover what method works best for you.
3. Satin Night Cap
The CGM method is long and tedious, so if we do it before bedtime, we don’t have plans on washing our hair again in the morning. Sleeping on cotton pillowcases will make us wake up to dry, frizzy hair! The solution: silk or satin pillows to prevent frizz. However, I tried and hated it! I couldn’t sleep well because my head kept slipping off the satin. I went for the next best thing: satin caps. It’s like a shower cap but more snug and made of silk or satin. I sleep with my hair tucked in a satin cap and wake up to the beautiful tresses I CGM-ed the night before.
4. Wide-toothed Comb
When I’m lazy or traveling and there’s no time to do an extensive CGM, I use a wide-toothed comb for hasty conditioning. But this should not replace regular detangling. During a two-week backpacking trip, I used only a wide-toothed comb and did not fully care for my curls. I came home to matted hair! Make sure you detangle weekly.
5. Hair Diffuser
The heat is the enemy of natural curls! A normal blowdryer will dry out and frizz even the most conditioned curls. To dry your ringlets without ruining them, use a diffuser, a dome-shaped base that you attach to the nozzle of your hairdryer. Find a universal diffuser that you can attach to your existing blowdryer, or just invest in a full set. Drying with a diffuser takes much longer because you are using low to no heat.
6. Satin Scrunchies and Spiral Hair Ties
To prevent painful ponytails and hair breakage, use a satin scrunchie or spiral hair tie (the one that looks like a telephone cord).
7. Hair Stick
If I want to put my hair up in a bun, I use a hair stick. I was so amazed when my high school classmate put her hair up in a bun using just a pencil, so I asked her to teach me. The great thing about long curly hair is that the hair stick will stay put. You also won’t get any hair breakage compared to using a scrunchie or hair tie. Watch my TikTok tutorial to see how:
8. Microfiber Towel
Drying your curls with a regular towel will cause frizz. Use a microfiber towel or headwrap instead.
9. Hair Pick
I noticed that a lot of curly Filipinas are afraid of volume. Some overdo the CGM to a point that their ringlets are too fixed and flat. Don’t be afraid of volume, ladies! Whether you’re trying the disco look or big sexy hair, stop thinking that there’s only one way to rock your curls. When my hair is flat, I use a hair pick to add instant volume.
10. CGM Shampoos and Conditioners
As I mentioned, I’m not a purist when it comes to CGM. Because I’m a frequent traveler and I work in the modeling industry, I can’t act like a diva and demand the CGM whenever I sit on the hair and makeup table during shoots. I have to adapt. I also don’t immediately freak out at the sight of frizz, because I learned that you can always work it with hair accessories and attitude. Remember when frizzy disco hair was all the rage in the ’70s? You can’t obsess about keeping your ringlets perfect. Some days I rock the CGM look, and some days I just let my naked curls be.
Scroll down to see some of the CGM products I use:
Sadly, there’s a limited selection of CGM products in the Philippines. If only we had the likes of Deva Curl and Bounce Curl on the shelves of groceries and department stores without the exorbitant tariff. For a full list of CGM products in the Philippines, join the Facebook group, Curly Girls Philippines.
Kulot Pinays, what tools work best for your hair type?