Understand the Type of Curl You Are Working with
by Chair to Chair/Shannon McCarthy on Monday, November 22, 2010
Shannon McCarthy is a senior stylist and educator for James Joseph Studio and James Joseph Salon. James Joseph Salon and Studios are the most award-winning salons in Boston with more than 30 local and national awards. James Joseph Salon has been named one of the Top 100 Salons in America by “Elle” magazine, and James Joseph Studio has been named the Best Affordable Salon in Boston. James Joseph has also been one of the Salon Today 200 three times.
Understanding the type of curl you are working with is extremely important for creating a successful style. Once you are able to understand the different types of curls, you can begin the process of creating suitable cuts. After having achieved that, you can begin to experiment with products and styling techniques. It is important to realize that what you, as a stylist, are able to do for someone in one hour is not always realistic on a day-to-day basis. So when thinking of a style, be mindful of what the client is willing to do at home.
If the client is a low-maintenance person, think short-to-medium length and layers. Layers give them shape, remove weight, and make it easy to style in very little time. The medium length will allow clients to blow-dry, if desired, without taking too much time. If a client opts for a shorter style, the product choice is crucial. I say this because if you are working with shorter lengths, you can mostly just finger style the hair.
When working with no hot tools and just your hands, having the right products can make or break your results. Think crèmes, pomades, oils and maybe some hairspray. When working with short styles I tend to layer products. Start with a moisture product as the foundation. Next use pomade or a hold product of your choice for the structure, and possibly a spray for the finish.
If you have a client who is a bit more willing to spend time in the morning, longer lengths work well. Depending on their texture, longer length hair can require a bit more work to have the curl look the way they’d like. This may mean finer hair needs more encouragement and the right products to make it look fuller.
For thicker, coarser curls, the product is very important. These curls tend to need more moisture than finer textures. If there is not enough moisture in the hair, whether you are styling straight or curly, the end result will be frizzy.
With longer hair, understanding the steps to a successful style is very important. Taking the time to work with the most suitable products will make a huge impact on understanding the easiest approach. Use moisture from start to finish. Very curly hair grows away from the scalp and lacks the natural moisture most hair gets from the oil glands in the scalp. Not shampooing every day and just using a strong conditioner is a trick that your clients will love you for filling them in on.
If you’re client is someone who wants to style straight, there are some things that will make the effects better and longer lasting. Find a crème that is strong enough for their curl. Start with that and get the hair as smooth as possible just using the heat of the blow-dryer and your hands. Your hands can be an amazing tool in working with curly hair. There are tons of natural oils in your hands that will work well for smoothing and not creating frizz when styling straight. You can also apply a lot of tension just by using your fingers. When you have the hair 80% dry, start to work with your brush. Apply as much tension as possible from the roots of the hair and gradually pull down to get the ends straight. Try to section the hair into threes. Behind the ear on each side as your first two section and the back as its own. Work in ¼-inch sub sections in each of these 3. Once the hair is dry and to your liking you can then add some oil or a bit more crème to smooth down any fly aways.