For curly-haired clients, a trip to the salon can often induce serious anxiety for both the client and Hair Stylist at hand.
If you’re one of those Hair Stylists who feel overwhelmed when a big head of voluptuous curls sits in your chair, then take a seat, because we’re taking you to Curltown, where Shai Amiel of Capella salon is the mayor!
“The demand for stylists who specialize in curly hair has been growing at a very fast pace,” says Shai. “There are very few stylists who have dedicated their craft to understanding what curly hair is all about. I’ve been doing hair since 1994, and even though I understand it really well, I am learning new things on a daily basis.”
Woman from all over the world have flown in to have their hair cut by the “Curl Doctor.” It’s not just the fabulous haircuts that keep his clients coming back, it’s the education he gives during the service that helps them embrace and care for their hair at home.
And with an astounding 25,000+ followers on Instagram, you can see why we chose Shai to give us a little tender love and curl!
So, what are the best tips for naturally curly hair? Read on!
Tips for Naturally Curly Hair
1) No Chemical Services to Change Texture
Never say the words straightener or relaxer, again.
Ironically, a chemical relaxer actually leaves the hair feeling more stressed. Curls are fragile, and if you disturb them with chemicals that irreversibly change the pH of hair and break down bonds, the hair is left feeling dry and lifeless.
Shai explains this to his clients with a simple ‘phone cord analogy:
“If you keep stretching the spiral-like cord of a phone, eventually it will lose is natural shape and elasticity.” This is what happens when you continually get relaxing services that lead to dry, damaged, and lifeless hair.
2) Stay Away from Lightening Services
Most bleaching or lightening services are not recommended for curly hair. Highlighting services strips off layers of the hair’s cuticle, leading to a thin, brittle curls that have lost their natural pattern.
In most cases, this type of damage is irreversible and leads to severe breakage. Curls are created by a bundle of hair that clumps together, coiling around each other. Once there is breakage, you are removing the necessary bulk of hair needed to give curls shape, resulting in ringlets that appear stringy.
The same goes for hair color. Healthy hair is pretty hair, and choosing a color line that is gentle and respects the structural integrity of the hair is a MUST. “This is why I use organic hair color,” Shai explains, “the results are simply better and the color lasts longer.”
3) Avoid Excess Heat
Heat will have the same effect on curls that bleach and chemical relaxers do. Avoid “blowfrying,” your curls straight – the look is temporary and the damage is permanent.
The same goes for other heat tools that burn the hair into a very unnatural state, and strip curls of their much needed moisture and natural oils.
4) Just Say No to Silicones
Silicones or “silly-cones” as Shai refers to them, are a curly girl’s worst enemy!
Silicones are plastic-derived, synthetic ingredients that will coat the hair with a barrier and disallow moisture to penetrate the hair.
Hair is shiny when the cuticle layers are closed, and light is able to reflect off the sealed hair strand. Silicones give a false appearance of health because of the synthetic coating is leaves on the hair.
Continuous use of silicones will eventually dry out the hair due to the plastic coating that effectively blocks hair from absorbing nutrients and moisture (needed to keep curls bouncy). Not to mention, the heavy molecular size of silicones will keep the hair looking lackluster and weighed down.
5) Thinning Shears Cause Tears!
Razors, thinning shears, and texturizing shears will remove bulk from the hair that is needed for a healthy looking curl – avoid using these during a curl cut!
Curly hair is worn dry, and should be cut as such. Don’t take them back to the bowl for a rigorous shampoo, and then cut the curls wet, this is setting yourself (and client) up for disappointment. When the hair is dry, we are able to fully see the damage of each individual ringlet, allowing us to cut accordingly.
Split ends are the enemy of curls and should be removed as much as possible with a blunt shear that gives the ends a clean cut appearance. Razors and the other aforementioned tools will only fray the ends of hair, so if you’ve been using the terms, “splice, dice, carve, debulk, grating,” or any word that describes thinning, STOP immediately and keep those scary verbs in the kitchen.
6) Condition, Condition, Condition
Hydration is one of the number one things curls need to have less frizz and more life. Deep conditioners are recommended because of their working pH level and ability to penetrate hair’s many layers.
The best time to condition the hair is in the shower, but feel free to recommend clients an overnight hydration session with a high quality moisturizing treatment, like Aquaboost Reconstructor.
7) Shampoo Less and Stay Sulfate Free
Advise clients to shampoo their hair the least amount possible. Some curlies can even get away with hardly shampooing at all, but if they must, be sure to recommend sulfate-free products.
Sulfates are the enemies of healthy hair and curls alike!
Most sulfates used in shampoos are also used in floor cleaning products, and do heavy damage on the hair and scalp by stripping away necessary oils. And an unbalanced, dry scalp leads to hair that is lacking proper nutrients and moisture.
8) Sleep on a Satin Pillow Case
Your average cotton pillow case absorbs the oils that healthy curls so desperately crave. The roughness of the cotton also creates friction between the hair and the pillow, causing unnecessary frizz and breakage.
A satin pillow case will not deprive hair of its essential oils, and will allow strands to effortlessly slide without the damage and tangles.
9) Do Not Brush Dry Curls
Curly hair can become easily tangled and matted – brushing curls when dry will only cause more friction and frizz.
Actually, just don’t brush curly hair in general. Advise clients to use a wide tooth comb made for curly hair or stick to finger combing to gently detangle and apply product.
One more thing, do not touch curls while they are drying. It just disturbs the hair from curling into its natural pattern.
10) Love Thyself, Love Thy Curl
The most important message to give clients after they’ve been taught to tame their mane, is to remind them to embrace who they naturally are – curls included!
If properly treated, curls can stay beautiful and don’t have to cause distress behind the chair or at home.