Curly Girl: The Handbook
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Curly Girl: The Handbook

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,083 ratings  ·  242 reviews
The Curly Girl manifesto is back, now completely revised, updated, and expanded by more than a third with all-new material. Created by curly hair evangelist Lorraine Massey the go-to curl expert featured in "Allure," "InStyle," "Lucky," "Seventeen," and "The New York Times"; owner of the Devachan salons in New York; and creator of a multimillion-dollar line of all-natural...more
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Published January 13th 2011 by Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (first published December 20th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,655)
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Jen
This book helped me learn that my hair is not naturally unruly, frizzy, and wavy, as I once believed. When I care for my hair according to Lorraine Massey's instructions, I have cascading Botticelli curls! I am so glad I read Massey's book and learned to care for my curls properly.

My only problem with the book is its tone. Massey should remember that anyone reading the book does not need to be converted—the reader likes her curls, otherwise she wouldn't be reading the book! The affirmations at...more
Jennie
Apr 27, 2011 Jennie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with curly hair
If you told me that not to touch my hair with shampoo, brush, or comb for a month, I’d look at you funny. If you told that and that my hair would look fabulous too, I’d ask if you were crazy. But Lorraine Massey proposes “curly girls” do exactly that—and it works. I haven’t brushed, combed, or shampooed my hair in weeks. I’ve worn my hair down more this month than I ever had in my life. Total strangers compliment me on my full-bodied, glossy, frizz-free curls, even on those high-humidity days wh...more
thefourthvine
Jun 04, 2007 thefourthvine rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy unintentional humor.
This is without doubt the most unintentionally humorous book I read in 2006; it's about care for curly hair (the author calls it Curly Girl because apparently guys never have curly hair, or if they do it just magically takes care of itself or something). And it is written, no joke, in the language of every coming out of the closet manual on earth.

Seriously. The back of the book says, "our curls, ourselves." The author talks about her history - how she started out being "in denial" of her curly...more
Gianna
This book got two stars from me because I do use the "curly girl method". I don't use shampoo, blowdry or brush my hair, and it's gorgeous now. However, I'd recommend getting your curly information online and saving your money for a book that isn't so, well...pointless?

Massey has a complex about hair. Let's get that out there. She seems to believe that if you don't straighten your hair, suddenly your life will begin to work out. Men will want to date you. You'll get a promotion at work. People w...more
Natalia

I want to give this book more stars, but I had higher hopes for it, and it just didn't have enough new information to be really useful to me.

I have had wavy-to-curly hair my whole life, and have developed my own ways of dealing with it and showing it off to its best advantage. I picked up this book from the library to give it a look through before I decided whether or not to buy a copy. It's a good thing I did, since i will not be buying this book for reference.

The book is written for women who...more
Deb
**Above and below the scalp**

Being a psychology junkie, I tend to read books that focus on what’s happening just below the scalp. So, when a co-worker handed me this hair-care handbook to borrow, I honesty wasn’t so sure I was going to read it before returning it back to her.

After I tucked the book away in my bag, I did take notice of just how healthy and controlled my co-worker’s curly locks looked. As I ran my fingers through my own set of curly craziness, I thought that maybe—just maybe—this...more
Kelly-Louise
Helpful, but certainly not enough information if you are actually going to follow the Curly Girl method. Lorraine gives the basics but very little details, so for me this guide to curly hair care is a starting point only. (For example, how to recognize silicones -- she gives incomplete info there, even though that is a fundamental point!) Her method is worth a shot, but it doesn't work for everyone (myself included).
Maria
I would recommend this book for anyone who has curly hair, or wavy, frizzy, or unruly hair. I'd also suggest it for those with curly-headed kids.

The author spends a bit too much time trying to get the reader to accept her curly hair. I've long accepted mine, but was looking for some ideas for how to care for it better.

I was already doing some things right, like never brushing or combing my hair, and usually air-drying it.

I've already made some changes based on Massey's recommendations, and have...more
Rita
I'm giving this book 5 stars--not because it's well-written or particularly well-organized or even professional-looking (it's def. not), but because it hits on a truth that few--even hairstylists--are willing to admit: That girls with curly hair are flat-out (!) discriminated against. I could rant about this forever, but I won't. Anyway.

I've finally come to the conclusion (dumb as it may sound) that I'm stuck with my hair. After having to chop the whole thing off in order to get the straight per...more
Ruby
A cute little book that I read through in about an hour.

This book has some revolutionary ideas regarding caring for curly hair.

1. Never Use a Brush. Apparently, curly girls are to comb through their conditioned hair with their fingers and gently pry apart knots. A brush or comb is not to be used because it destroys the curl formation.

2. Never Use Shampoo. The sulfates in normal shampoos damage and dry out curly hair, so curly girls are instructed to use sulfate-free "cleansers" not "sham-poo" o...more
Ana Mardoll
Curly Girl / 978-0-7611-2300-2

I've had curly hair all my life, and have only just recently learned that there are books written BY curly girls, FOR curly girls. I first read Teri LaFlesh's "Curly Like Me", and while I was deeply impressed with the deeply scientific explanation of hair, coupled with practical daily tips and overlaid with an incredibly positive message, I was cognizant of the fact that "Curly Like Me" was written for a much different type of curly hair than my own. I turned to "Cu...more
HeavyReader
Every person with curly hair should read this book, if not cover to cover, at least hitting the hair washing highlights.

I think I first read of this book in Bitch magazine, in the column they do about things they love. I've been meaning to check it out, then a library patron requested it through interlibrary loan, prompting me to request it through interlibrary loan too.

Today I followed the hairwashing instructions for the first time, and my hair looks GREAT! I haven't had this many beautiful cu...more
Elaine Nelson
I've been letting my hair grow out, and I'm trying to treat it right; snapped this book up when I saw it at the library. Mostly skimmed, might take another read-through before I take it back, to try some of the "recipes" for hair stuff or hairdos. Basically, I should be treating my (wavy) hair like one of my wool sweaters. :) After a couple of days experimenting, I'm liking the way my hair looks/feels so far.

The writing tone is not particularly to my tastes, although at least most of the direct...more
Sophie
Jun 25, 2012 Sophie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with naturally curly hair
I found the updated version much more helpful than the original Curly Girl book, in large part due to the new curly categories. I finally found one that fit me: I'm a Cherub. With that in mind I found the advice in the book extremely helpful. The tone gets a bit silly at points--like when they treat straightening your hair like alcoholism, complete with twelve steps, or when they tell you to become a "Curly Girl Evangelist" and spread the word about the book to others--but in general it's an ind...more
Shani Hilton
I wanted to love this book because I find Lorraine Massey's aggresively pro-curl stance delightfully nutty. But this book didn't have anything I hadn't already learned from NaturallyCurly.com and Napturality.com. Also, the section of Afro-textured hair like mine was woefully short, and even recommended a texturizer (which is basically the harsh chemical relaxer left on the hair for a shorter period of time).

The book was cute, and I admire Massey's devotion to curls, but there was nothing in the...more
Lisa the Librarian
This book literally changed my life.

While I've always loved my curly locks, over the past few years my hair had been less and less attractive and curly and more and more frizzy and unflattering.

Enter Curly Girl. The concept of not shampooing my delicate and luscious curls, but cleaning them instead with a good conditioner has made all the difference in how my hair looks and behaves.

Now I love my curls even more and highly recommend it to anyone (and everyone) with curly hair
Chantel
I have long, naturally curly hair. I got it when I hit puberty. I've regularly gotten compliments on it. I love my hair and do not have a hate relationship with it. I might have hated it and abused it with a straightening iron if I had crazy hair in all of my elementary school pictures as many naturally curly gals do. If I had a complaint it is that it gets really dry and frizzy. When I saw this book in a thrift store and fanned through the pages, it looked useful so I picked it up.

I knew there...more
Christie Hagerman
Jun 03, 2008 Christie Hagerman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: curly girls!!
I got a lot of good tips out of this book. It was a quick, easy read, with good pointers for curly hair care. The author definitely had some sort of spiritual connection with her hair (I'm not there) and that colored the whole book. All that aside, I learned some recipes for homemade conditioners and rinses, and I am trying the homemade "shampoos" to replace the harsh store-bought ones we all use. We'll see if I'm a shiny goddess. :)
Wendy
I'm crazy about this INTENTIONALLY (ahem, previous reviewer) funny book. The practical advice is great. When my hair was below my shoulders, I did the no-shampoo washing method and transformed my hair; it doesn't seem to work when my hair is shorter, for some reason.

If I was willing to spend as much time on styling as the author, I think I'd have great hair. I'm not and I don't. But still, great book.
Rebekah
Having wavy sometimes curly hair myself, I found this book to be very informative about the how to care for curly hair. Written in a conversational style with many personal anecdotes and contributions from women who have curly hair, it was a pleasant read as well.
Jennifer
Embrace your curls!!!
Lauren
I was hoping this book would be more along the lines of little helpful hints for handling, cutting and styling hair. This is in there, but it's maybe 1/4 of the book. Most of the book reads like a self help book: Cast off the shackles of straight hair and love yourself! I realize that we as women put a lot of time and effort into our hair and how it does or doesn't look can definitely hurt or help the self-esteem but holy crap this book made me feel super mentally stable!

This book may also not...more
Josephine
Now that many sulfate-free shampoos are available, there are more options available for us curly haired people to clean hair. I believe that earlier books may have not discussed boy and men hair, however the updated version 2010 does. When this book first came out, curls went from being merely undesirable to downright shunned! So Massey began the campaign to re-introduce curls as an acceptable hairstyle.

I have had DRY, DRY, DRY wavy hair all my life (think Gilda Radner & Rosanna Anna Danna)....more
Wendy
This book CHANGED MY LIFE. No, literally, it CHANGED MY EVERYDAY, DAY-TO-DAY life and made me not hate my hair as much anymore.

Ever since I was a wee one, I've hated my hair. Absolutely hated it. I have yet to meet a person who had hair as curly and unruly as mine was as a younger child. (For those of you who have known me only the last decade or so, my hair is WAY better due to me flat-ironing it on a regular basis. Even though the book discourages flat-ironing and blow drying your hair, this r...more
stitchnsnitch
After I had two kids, my hair suddenly turned wavy. Having been a straight-haired girl for years and years, this was shocking to say the least, and I wondered why I couldn't blow-dry my hair without looking like Roseanne Rosannadanna. If I blow-dried, I HAD to flat iron, and then my hair had started feeling like straw.

I picked up this book on a whim at my local library, now I see that had no idea that I needed to treat my waves differently than I did my straight hair. I also never knew that the...more
Jess
Review based on skimming.

Massey's written a manifesto. Embrace your curls! That's cool. However, what I'd like is good waves some of the time. Massey repeatedly points out that isn't an option. If you want good hair, you need to stop (or just once a week) shampooing, give up brushes, and never straighten or blow dry (excluding defusers) ever again, and only ever have curls.

Not gonna happen. For me, hair's not an all or nothing kind of thing.

It's a little obsessive. To Massey, if you don't accept...more
Sydney
I read this book so fast it didn't even have a chance to make it onto the "currently reading" list. Granted it's not long but it is life-changing, no exaggeration whatsoever, for any one with curly or wavy hair.

I've only been following the main cardinal rule -- don't use shampoo, wash your hair with conditioner -- for a couple of weeks. Having just read the rest and starting to implement her wisdom, I can safely say that friends might have to do a double take to recognize me I've got such a mop...more
JoLee
Wearing my hair curly is a relatively new thing for me, so I'm still working out how to make it look its best. Curly Girl has some pretty helpful tips. The book helps readers identify their curl type and gives instructions for how to care for each curl type. I have wavy hair, so I have to care for my hair differently than if I had spiral curls. The book has a lot of tips that I had already discovered through trial and error, like using a final coat of gel to keep down the frizz, breaking up the...more
Jessica (Books: A true story)
The Curly Girl Handbook is all about how to properly take care of naturally curly or wavy hair. I found some great insights while reading the first chapter like the preference for straight hair is a subtle form of racism and that 65% of women have curly hair. Yet most hair products are made for women with straight hair and thousands of hair straighteners are sold every year. I felt a big shift in attitude as I was reading about my own curly hair and how I should accept my hair (and ultimately me...more
Debbie D
Had heard about this book for several years but never got around to purchasing it. Then a few weekends ago I saw a friend with curly hair that I had not seen in about a year. Her hair looked wonderful. Big healthy curls, no frizz, no halo! Nothing but healthy curls. Of course I immediately asked her what products she was using and she told me it wasn't the products but she was following this method. Came home and ordered the book. Turns out I was doing a lot of it correctly but just not complete...more
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“I often have the fantasy that curly girls are mermaids who have had to adapt to life on dry land. We come from the sea. The ocean is in our blood. It sings through our heart and lungs, our skin and hair. Our curls require the nourishment only a watery environment can provide. Both ocean waves and curly hair are forces of nature that can't be tamed. We can only accept and admire their power and beauty.” 37 likes
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