I know as well as any curly girl how difficult it can be to get a good haircut. Many hair places simply don't know how to cater to our ringlets. And sure, curly haircutting mistakes are mostly on the stylist, but there are a few ways you, the customer, can control the situation and improve your chances of leaving the salon with an awesome, healthy, curly girl 'do. After one too many disappointing cuts, I decided to finally visit a curly hair specialist at the Devachan salon in New York City's SoHo neighborhood, and let me tell you, I learned a lot about how to ensure I'm satisfied with all my future styling endeavors.
So, how can you, the haircut receiver, control the experience so you don't leave your next appointment looking like a poodle (unless that's the look you're going for, in which case, carry on)? There are some simple things you can do — or avoid doing — that will significantly increase your chances of loving your curly 'do, whether or not you know anything about what happens on the other end of the scissors.
Believe it or not, you have a lot of control over the outcome of your haircut. Here are seven curly haircut mistakes you're likely making before, during, and after you hit the salon — and how to cut them out immediately.
Before The Salon
1. You're Waiting Too Long Between Cuts
My stylist at Devachan, Helik, recommends that curly girls get their hair cut every three months. If you're more of a six to eight months woman (guilty), you may want to reevaluate how frequently you hit the salon. Getting regular trims will help ensure that your curls are healthy and not getting weighed down by split ends.
2. You're Not Washing Your Hair
If you're anything like me, you tend to roll up to your hair appointments with slightly oily locks crammed into a ponytail or messy bun. After all, it seems counterintuitive to do your hair all nice to go and get your hair done. But it's best for your stylist to see your curls as they really are, not as they are after they haven't been washed in three days and are all knotted from the effects of a claw clip (yes, I'm still living in the '90s, OK). According to Good Housekeeping, you should "[p]lan your salon visit for a day when you like your locks best... to give your stylist more insight into how your hair behaves."
At The Salon
3. You're Not Going To The Right Place
First things first, you've gotta find the right salon. There are Devachan salon locations in New York City, White Plains, and California, but there are also plenty of other places across the country that specialize in curls. In fact, the DevaCurl website now has a feature that helps you locate a curl specialist in your area, whether at a Devachan or Devachan-inspired salon. Check out the Naturally Curly database to find one in your city. If you're not ready to commit to a salon switch, try asking if there are any stylists who specialize in curly hair next time you call to make an appointment at your usual spot.
4. You're Letting Them Cut Your Hair Wet
If you're hitting up a Devachan location or a similarly curly girl-geared institution, this likely won't even be a question, but if you're going to a regular salon do not let them cut your hair wet. Why? Because it really messes with the length of your hair. Ed Fagley, a Devachan colorist, told StyleBlazer, “A big mistake is having curly hair cut wet, because it is near impossible to see the natural curl pattern. As a result you end up with an uneven cut or hair that has been cut too short."
Instead, the stylist should cut your hair dry and send you off to get washed after.
5. You're Not Talking Enough
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from my first Devachan visit was to actually talk to my stylist. I am normally the type to avoid making awkward small talk at all costs, but Helik and I didn't have awkward small talk — we chatted about my hair. A lot. He asked me tons of questions about my hair care routine, what products I use, and what I was looking for in a cut. In turn, I was able to emphasize the fact that I'm super low-maintenance when it comes to my locks and pretty much want to dry and walk out the door. In turn, Helik gave me a cut and styling recommendations that actually reflect my lifestyle.
After The Salon
6. You're Still Using The Wrong Products
The number one piece of advice Helik gave me during our chat had to do with what products you're using once you leave the salon. First and foremost, stop using shampoo (like, yesterday) and opt for something like DevaCurl's No Poo or a cleansing conditioner instead.
Secondly, throw out everything you have that contains silicone. According to my stylist, silicones are damaging to curly hair because they never truly wash out of your hair, causing buildup.
7. You're Not Taking Enough Time
Believe me when I say that I want to do as little as possible when it comes to hair care. I am a wash-and-go type person, but if I put the tiniest bit of effort into my hair post shower I'm so much happier with the results. Every since my visit to the salon I've adopted an approximation of the DevaCurl technique: I cleanse and condition in the shower, scrunch my hair with a microfiber towel, apply a very small amount of styling cream, and use clips to lift the roots while my strands air dry. Viola! Epic curls.