Curly Girl Method v. Tightly Curly Method

Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl and I were on the same page this morning. There has been a lot of misinformation spread about the Curly Girl Method, aka CG.  One of the main misnomers about the CG method is that you ONLY use conditioner, that is just plain false. You can cleanse with a sulfate-free cleanser and style with silicone-free gels. You may be already dong the CG method and not even know it!

What people are consistently confusing the CG method with is the Tightly Curly Method which is a conditioner-only method. Either way, to get the real deal on these methods check out these two books: Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey and Curly Like Me by Teri LaFlesh. For more curly reading recommendations check out this post >  on Curly Reading.

Question: Hey Elle! Have you ever done a conditioner only wash&go? What are your thoughts on them? I just had major success with using just Tresseme naturals condish for my w&g and I can’t believe it looks so good lol. I’m trying the CG method but slightly worried my hair could dry out.

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2 thoughts on “Curly Girl Method v. Tightly Curly Method

  1. Hi there is site called (can’t remember the lady’s name that own this sites but it’s all about ther Curly Gilr Method for informative. I myself do only wash n go`s and follow this method. Luv It!

  2. Hi, I remebering coming across this info on Mahognanycurls site I found it informative…
    The Tightly Curly Method vs. The Curly Girl Method: Both methods are great for our curls and both methods promote healthy hair. So what’s the difference?
    Lets begin with the Tightly Curly Method (conditioner only). This was the first method I started using during the beginning of my natural hair journey. My hair was dry and I wanted to find a way to define my curls while moisturizing it at the same time.

    Teri LaFlesh, is the person that brought using conditioner, REGULAR conditioner as a leave-in to a lot of curlies attention. Her motto is Cleanse, Condition, Comb, Define, Dry, Protect, and Refresh. That is it!
    Here is my take:

    Basically, this method is substituting regular rinsing conditioners as your leave in. I know sounds crazy right? Well, not really. Our hair is very dry and thirsty. Regular rinsing conditioners provide more moisture than a leave-in and is much heavier than a “watered down” leave in (that is what my grandma calls it). The regular conditioner will define your curls and provide extra moisture to you hair. So all you are doing is leaving conditioner in your hair and defining your curls with a comb or denman brush for extra definition. I didn’t use the comb or brush…but I did SHAMPOO.

    I was so happy when I found Teri’s website, this is what I needed for my dry TWA. And you know what? It WORKED! My curls were defined and shiny from just using conditioner. At the time I used Pantene Relaxed and Natural. It was heavy and gave my curls a nice definition. I felt as if I found a solution to my problem. The best part of this method is you can refresh your hair with just water! How awesome is that!


    Even though my curls were on point my hair was DRY DRY DRY! This was a huge issue for me. I cannot, I repeat, I cannot stand dry hair. I was so upset. I knew something was causing my hair to be very dry but I wasn’t quite sure. I felt like I had to start all over.

    This method consists of co washing also. Think about it, I co washed pretty much every day, I used shampoo every Sunday, and used a conditioner full of silicones. Yeah, you can see why my hair was dry.

    I had to fix this. I remember googling (yes I say that word) “short dry natural hair”…that was it. All of a sudden articles appeared about this issue, even a few YouTube videos. Now remember this is 2009, and YouTube wasn’t the natural hair Mecca… there were videos but not a plethora of them. I clicked on this video uploaded by a YouTuber named Lov3Sponge. She had gorgeous curls and followed this method called the CG Method or Curly Girl Method.

    I watched her video and decided to learn more about this CG Method. I went beck to google and search for the Curly Girl Method and there it was, several links from

    I found so much information on this technique at this website and decided to give it a shot.

    The CG Method:

    The Curly Girl Method, developed my Lorraine Massey.
    Motto: Cleanse, Condition, and Style

    This method is very similar to the Tightly Curly Method except you are not using shampoo SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) or any shampoo that contain sulfates. Shampoos can be very drying to curly hair causing it to lose moisture which will create frizz. So you are basically cleansing with a sulfate free cleanser or a cleansing conditnioner (best).

    Like the tightly curly method, the CG method encourage the use of regular conditioners as a leave in. The only difference is the conditioner must be silicone FREE. Silicones are used in many hair products. They are used to protect the hair from heat styling and other outside factors. The problem with silicones is they repel water and form a barrier around the strand of hair. This prevents moisture and they do not rinse out with water alone. Shampoo must be used to remove them.

    Another thing the CG method consist of is avoiding styling tools such as combs, brushes, etc. Our fingers are our styling tools.

    Gel is also used in this method (it is optional). Massey says gel is a very important product in a CG’s hair. It helps with forming the curl and protect the hair from the elements…i.e. wind…

    You all know my story with this method, my hair was much softer after dropping the shampoo and silicones and I could leave conditioner in my hair too…I have the best of both worlds!

    As you can see both methods are very similar. But they are NOT the same:

    Tightly Curly Method > Shampoo: Yes – Conditioner w/cones: Yes – w/Styling Tools: Yes – Gel: No.
    The Curly Girl Method> Shampoo: No – Conditioner w/cones: No – w/Styling Tools: No – Gel: Yes
    ***You have the option to use conditioner without silicones for the tightly curly method

    This is a basic chart giving you an idea about both methods. Again, if you want to learn more, I suggest you visit if you are interested in this method. If you would like to learn more about the CG method, the Curly Girl Handbook is a great start!

    I do want to say this, you CAN follow the CG method using conditioner only. You do not have to use gel as your styler if you feel your hair great without using gel. It is up to you.

    Remember, always do what works best for you. I hope this post was helpful!
    Again, I hope above info helps,

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