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Texture: The Season of Texture!

by Modern Salon on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

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Learn more about Texture!, a collaboration between CurlStylist, NaturallyCurly and Modern Salon

By all appearances, fall 2010 will go down in fashion history as “the season of texture.” Dozens of notable fashion designers have eschewed straight strands, embracing instead all manner of curls, coils, crimps, waves and teased clouds of hair on their catwalks.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus






On the West Coast, style setters are also advancing the texture trend. Nearly every red carpet is adorned with sexy, romantic textures, made popular by stars like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron and Beyonce.

“Clients today are requesting anything but flat hair,” says Lina Shamoun, a 2010 North American Hairstyling Awards Texture Finalist from Kitchener, Ontario.

And regardless of whether clients are starting out with natural curl, wave or pin-straight strands, everyone has texture options this season!

Natural Curl: Embrace and Refine

“Curly hair is coming into its own,” says Titi Branch, co-owner of Miss Jessie’s Products and Salon in New York. “Twenty years ago, we wouldn’t even be talking about curly hair because people straightened their curls.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama

“Now, women want to embrace their natural, healthy curl. Michelle Obama even wore curls to a state dinner recently— for her to do so really validates the beauty of the look.”

But curly can also be high maintenance, admits Branch, which is why the current trend is a smoother, looser curl pattern.

“This allows a woman to keep her curl,” she explains, “but refine it.” At Miss Jessie’s, this elongated curl is achieved with the salon’s proprietary “Silkener” service. The technique involves a sodium hydroxide relaxer and a method of manipulation that stretches, yet doesn’t straighten, the hair.

“The result,” says Branch, “is hair that behaves like natural hair when it’s wet—before it dries and shrinks. It’s wash and go—it cuts styling time in half.” To support natural curls, Branch recommends Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding treatment—a perennial favorite that combines macadamia and almond oil, aloe and shea butter for shine, plumping and moisture.

Curl definition is also imperative for Shawna Parvin’s curly clients, and the most modern approach, says the Aquage educator, NAHA 2009 Texture Winner and 2010 Hairstylist of the Year nominee, is to mix it up—random curl sizes, directions and even amounts of definition. “I’m telling my clients to start with a gel on damp hair,” she says, and comb it through scalp to ends. “Then wind sections of varying sizes, in every direction, so they look like little snakes. Don’t touch the hair until it’s completely dry, then move it around and even pull a few random pieces apart so there’s some fuzz mixed in with the curl. That’s what keeps curl from looking like the ’80s.”

Options are important for women with any texture, and naturally curly clients will always want blowouts for occasions when their hair must look polished, says Dickey, owner of New York’s Hair Rules Salon and hair products company. What makes blowouts look fresh this season, he says, is a voluminous, soft, Mad Men-inspired look, with lots of flattering movement around the face.

“Bone straight doesn’t work for most women,” he comments. “Waves and curls look softer on anyone—it’s ‘instant youth.’”

Making Waves—Keep it Raw

When it comes to creating curls and waves, the perfectly formed curls are evolving into a rougher, more raw-edged texture, says Chad Seale of Salt Lake City, another 2010 NAHA Texture finalist.

“Waves will be more vertical, looser, less constructed than we’ve seen in past seasons,” agrees Darby Shields, Associate Artistic Director of ISO International.

Wavy Hair

When it comes to these vertical waves, there’s also a new silhouette worth noting, adds Seale, namely, a flatter crown with more volume through the midlengths and ends. Seale loves this texture and shape on shorter-length bobs—actress Charlize Theron has been seen sporting the look. To permanently create this casual texture on tightly curly hair, Shields steers clients to the ISO Maintamer.

“This formula gives stylists plenty of control,” she explains. “Leave it on for five minutes, and it eliminates frizz but maintains the curl pattern. Leave it on for 30 minutes and it straightens more completely.”

To produce loose, ropey, “Gisele” texture with a thermal iron, Shields first mists strands with a combination of ISO Color Preserve Thermal Shield Spray and Daily Shape Working Spray, then wraps sections of hair vertically around the outside of a curling iron, simultaneously twisting each section onto itself like a rope. Once the hair cools completely, she gently releases the twists, revealing “a spiral, vertical wave with lots of internal torque.”

The flat iron is another excellent tool for creating this type of natural-looking body and texture. Many of today’s irons feature beveled plates, which give them the versatility to straighten and shape hair. One of Lina Shamoun’s favorite strategies is to divide hair into thin, one-inch sections, place the flatiron at the root, wind the section once around the iron and draw the tool through to the ends.

“When you release it, the hair will fall into a soft, flowing wave,” she explains.

The beach trend—textured, separated, sea-tossed strands—has generated a number of beach spray products that are great for supporting these looks or for use as stand-alone body boosters.

Color for Curl

With celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Aniston leading the way, the hottest hair color trend of the moment is the graduated “I spent last month on the beach and now it’s growing out” effect. Characterized by deeper roots and lighter midshafts and ends, it’s a deliberate technique to approximate “vacation regrowth.” The look is perfect for the twists and turns of textured hair, as long as the technique is done correctly.

Seale believes baliage is the best strategy—this freehand hair-painting method allows the colorist to place the tint exactly where the sun would kiss each strand, namely, on the rounds and fullest parts of each curl and in an unstructured fashion.

“So if your client wears her hair curly,” Seale advises, “don’t blow her hair straight and do a color weave. You’ll get six different colors on one curl and that doesn’t work.”

Additionally, says Seale, opt for high-lift permanent colors when baliaging curls, rather than bleach. “Bleach tends to swell the hair and cause it to become dryer,” he believes.

This hair type is already susceptible to dryness, he adds, so it’s better to use hair color that tends to impart less damage. Shields agrees that baliage is the best way to achieve the dark-to-light look, and advises stylists to work with fairly large sections. “Apply your color to each section randomly,” she suggests. “And for your application pattern, let the trajectory of the waves guide you—dropping off of the crown. Try some ‘peek-a-boo’ foils under the surface, too.

“All of this will create a purposeful, grown-out look, which clients today love since it’s chic and it allows them to stretch their retouching dollars!”

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