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Curl Crazy: Working with Fine Curly Hair

by Jill Leitz on Monday, March 15, 2010

Jill Leitz

As one of the most sought-after stylists in the beauty industry, Jill Leitz possesses an endless passion for creating innovative and conceptual styles that display the perfect balance between texture and movement. After almost four decades in the business, Jill stays on the cutting-edge of the hair industry with her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and training on the latest styles, techniques and theory. From design and color to client building and salon management, Jill has been gifted with overflowing creative talent combined with a strong commitment to educating, empowering, and inspiring fellow salon professionals. As a three-time NAHA award-winner, Jill’s reputation as a innovative and creative force has been recognized in spades by the beauty industry.

I believe that to master something, you must first understand it. I know that hair stylists have an insatiable appetite for knowledge—a commitment to continually educating themselves. Power springs from this knowledge—power to deliver amazing results to your clients. Power to keep them coming back for more. This is especially true for curly-haired clients—once they believe in you and the magic you can work on transforming their curls into something they love, they’re loyal clients for life.

Over the course of my next couple blogs, I’d like to share some tips and tricks for each specific type of curly hair. And, I’d love it if all the stylists reading this would share your comments and make this a forum where we can all learn from each other. So, onto the first, and perhaps the most challenging, type of curly hair: fine-textured curl.

Not only does curly hair have its own body, it has its own rules. I put a lot of focus on how I work with fine-textured curl to bring the delicate structure of the curl to life. I consider every step in the way the hair is handled—from how I touch it after I wash it and how I towel it, to what products I use and how I set it to dry.

Less handling is usually better for curly hair—especially fine-textured curl. After washing, I take great care to softly scrunch hair with a towel to get some of the moisture out. I avoid roughing the hair up, as that immediately encourages frizziness. And, from my experience, frizziness is one of the biggest evils for the fine-textured curly haired client.

Selecting product for fine-textured curly hair is vital for giving strength to fragile, fine-textured curl. For most fine curls, I like Redken Soft Spin—a lightweight gel with avocado oil that defines curl for a soft, shiny finish. I apply Soft Spin to damp hair and divide the hair into rectangular sections, the size of which depends on how large or small I want the curls to end up. From there, I only use my hands to work on defining and setting the curl—usually doing a soft twist around my finger.

At this stage, I sometimes layer a little heavier product on top of the other to enhance and strengthen the curl further, and get it into that perfect place to dry naturally. I don’t use heat to dry the curl, and I don’t touch it again until it’s completely dry. Once the hair is dry, I softly shake the curl out, loosely using my hands—but I never comb or brush it—less is definitely more for curly hair. Once the structure is built into the hair, I go to great lengths not to mess with it or, as I’ve learned the hard way—it doesn’t come back.

As I write this, I’m headed to Amsterdam for Euro RAC, an event where Redken artists and educators come together to share the latest trend-setting techniques, inspire each other, and keep the creative juices flowing. I’m looking forward to sharing what new techniques, products and styles I saw for curly hair at the show. Until then, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking, seeing and hearing about curly hair!

2 Comments for “Curl Crazy: Working with Fine Curly Hair”
  1. by stevev363

    On March 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Jill! I’m a curly stylist with fine curly hair myself. for the last few years I have gradually transitioned most of my curly haired clients into a curl cutting method that I have worked to create by pulling together many different techniques that I have learned, it has proven to be a very successful move on my part which I have been very happy with. besides allowing me to offer a service which is very individual to each client I have been able to build a buissness which sets me apart from my fellow stylists and others in my area. fine curly people are always a challenge, myself included! I cut my own hair as I understand the nuances in my curl type and how I need to cut it. I too agree that with fine hair the less is better motto holds true. I never use a towel on any curly hair so to keep the cuticle smooth and the hair tangle free, fine textured curl always dehydrates when dried with a towel so I shake and scrunch lightly before adding a pea of conditioner to the ends and raking through the midshaft and ends. I mostly cut curl dry and then do any color after, then shampooing with a no-sulfate shampoo or clensing conditioner followed by a deep moisture conditioner and plenty of upsidedown scrunching without heat for full and natural movement. I spend more time but I can charge more for the custom attention that each client recieves, and each curly client needs different attention. all clients need to be educated in caring for their hair which also translates into loyal customers and filled bookings. I dont feel that you need to be brave with curls but use common sense and try different things with your clients to make their experience unique. I’m looking forward to your comments on the types of curl and their handling and hope you also touch on color methods and other techniques. CHEERS!! Steve V.

  2. by zoothair

    On April 4, 2010 at 8:21 am

    The biggest point I took from this is the layering of product… all to often stylists assume that when educators speak of layering product it is all about selling more product… sure that is a big bennie to the stylist… but truly understanding product performance and the impact of using these performance charecteristics to support the end result… NOW we are talking like a professioanl… Good stuff.
    TY ClipperGuy.
    http://www.zoothair.com

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