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Curly Girl: The Handbook

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,891 ratings  ·  631 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 Devachan p ...more
Kindle Edition, Expanded Second Edition, 181 pages
Published January 13th 2011 by Workman Publishing Company (first published December 20th 2001)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  4,891 ratings  ·  631 reviews


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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
So I have curly hair. I have fought it for years. I used to keep it short and flat iron the stuff every day to make it manageable. But let's be real. I'm a lazy person. I embrace it. So I decide to let my hair grow out, because I think I will be "easier" to just pull it up in a ponytail.
Here is me a few months into my journey.


No makeup, No hair control, some shame.

I was going through some hair pics a few weeks ago hoping for ideas to somewhat shape up the mop on my head and I saw this book l
...more
thefourthvine
Jun 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Sarah
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
18/9 - My very generous hairdresser (Lesya at Hair by Yves in East Ivanhoe, Victoria if you're interested) lent this book to me after only knowing me for two visits. My next appointment is in two days and I think I've learned all I can from this book so I figured that it was time to return it before Lesya started to worry about what had become of it.

I've only just started to find my 'groove' with my new curly hair. The book suggests you'll start to see a difference within about three weeks of st
...more
Gianna
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Silvia Cachia
Seriously. I read this book 3 years ago, but it's time I go back to doing what it recommends, (which is the only advice I've proven to be sound for curly hair women, and handbangers alike).

It may sound frivolous, stupid, crazy, but for some reason, curls won't curl, but will stick out, and hair will be forever frizzy, if we use shampoos with sulfates, or different products that are fine for the opposite group of straight hair people. Also, the heat of hairdryers, and constant styling it straight
...more
Deb
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
**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
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
Anna Adams
I have so much to say about this book but I will try to condense this review. Having curly hair all my life, through years of trial and error, I have found ways to style my hair that works for me. Is it the best method? No. Is it the quickest and cheapest method? For sure!

The “Curly Girl” guide introduces a new approach which promises to bring life to your curls, eliminate frizz and improve the health and appearance of your hair. I decided to give these methods a try and I definitely achieved th
...more
Emer (A Little Haze)
Info: great
Manner of delivery: LOLtastic
Leah
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A true eye-opener. And I can personally say the techniques in this book actually work. A must read for curly people everywhere. Curlies unite!! 🌀😂🌀
jeni brasfield
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As it turns out I am not straight... I am curly. LOL. I am at the beginning of my curly girl journey but already loving the results!
Heidi
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story, favorites
I've been planning to pick this one up ever since I saw author Leila Sales call it her spirit book this summer, and now I totally understand why. I've seen other reviewers mock the tone of this book, but I have to assume that those who do are simply not curly girls and don't really understand it in their soul. Because I totally do. Leila told me this book would change my life, and she was right! I'm officially subscribing to the curly girl method and my hair already looks and feels better (not t ...more
Ruby
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Leah Hanley
May 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resource
Unfortunately this book reads like a teen mag for girls who hate their curly hair. Curly Girl is written by a hair stylist that speaks confidently about the best ways to manage curly hair without actually providing much (if any) science behind the claims. "I estimate that 65 percent of all women have wavy or curly hair..." Based on what? Does it include all women in the whole world? How many men? Baseless claims like these are rampant.

Her homemade hair treatments are mostly rubbish. Having had
...more
Alicia
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you don’t have a Mom/Dad/Aunt/etc. with wavy or curly hair (or lived through part of the 80s, or are confused on how to do a google search) then perhaps you have not heard the very basic techniques in this book. I read this in hopes that it would help me pick out products for my curly hair partner. This did not provide much insight beyond my rudimentary knowledge. You can get all of this information on a natural or long hair community message board without paying for this useless book. Those ...more
Dayna
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Some pretty good advice, although pretty general. At least half of the book is just anecdotes from experiences other curly-haired girls have had (like being told in a mock-interview for college to straighten her hair because curly isn't seen as professional) - these really added nothing and I consider them filler, and lots of it. I do give her points for not using the book as a way for promoting her line of hair products too much.

All in all, about 20% of the book is applicable advice to your ow
...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
Varina Denman
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have fought my curls my entire life, but this book (along with the Curly Girl fan club on IG) have shown me how to like my hair once and for all. Woohoo!
Elizabeth
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I wish it had given more basic knowledge like - can I braid my hair and suggestions for products. That stuff is available online though. Ultimately I’ve been doing curly girl for about 6 weeks and I love my hair. Once I get the right routine I know it will continue to be all that it was meant to be! Finally I don’t have long coarse hair I wish was beautiful. It was always trying to be curly!
JoAnna
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So helpful for someone like me who has had wavy hair for years but never knew what to do with it! This book feels empowering, encouraging, and immensely practical.
Brittany
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finally joined the movement! After years of fighting my natural curls, I’ve decided to embrace them. 😁 This book is AMAZING in helping me figure out how to tame the beast that is mismatched curls and loads of frizz. I’m excited to continue this journey, heal my hair, and find my true “curl potential”!
Jenn
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Game changer in understanding what my hair needs. Following some of the tips, I have unlocked the secret of moving from wavy to curly hair...curls I’ve always wanted and never dreamed that they were there all along, I’d just been mistreating my hair with product and heat!
Sarah
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for all curly or wavy girls! I loved all the pictures and tutorials in the book. A wonderful resource for anyone with curly hair!
Kelly-Louise
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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).
Cari Schaeffer
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a MUST read for any woman out there that has curly hair. Curly hair is NOT just kinky curly - it includes wavy hair, too. There are a lot of classifications of curly hair and the author does a marvelous job of defining each one to help you figure out what kind of Curly Girl you are.

The boiled down "must know" info from the book? Everything you do for straight hair, you do NOT do for curly hair, to include using shampoo and cutting it wet. Read it and find out what and why.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I am definitely going to start trying the hair styling methods in this book! Useful information with lots of pictures, and helpful home recipes for hair products.

The only thing I didn’t care for was all the “Hair Confessions” of women telling about their worst hair days and how traumatized they were by their curly hair. So you had horrid hair in the 80s? So what? We all did!

Other than that, I really loved the great info in this book!
Abbie Miller
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, non-fiction
My hair is pretty healthy... after reading this book I would argue that I’ve been mistaken for a long time. Understanding how curly hair works I know now that I need to take better care of my hair. So here I go... throwing a bunch of hair products in the trash...
Chantell Chew
Dec 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book had nothing to do with how to maintaining African American hair. It promotes all race, but it stereotypes throughout the pages. Didn't enjoy reading this at all.
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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.” 39 likes
“Eventually I knew what hair wanted; it wanted to be itself . . . to be left alone by anyone, including me, who did not love it as it was.” —ALICE WALKER” 0 likes
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