Thinking along the same lines is Wafaya Abdallah, owner of Oasis Salon in Rockville, Maryland. “We call it ‘setting them free,’” says Abdallah. “because they’re embracing who they are. When women see how beautiful their curly hair looks with no frizz and without taking off too much length, I’ve had women cry in my chair.”
In Houston, independent stylist Geri Curtis says that women are so accustomed to straightening their hair that they can’t believe the curly look she fashions for them is their hair.
“I’ve had clients tell me that I’ve changed their life—that it’s a miracle,” says Curtis, who plans an April opening for her new salon, aptly called Planet Curls. “And male clients come in with big frizz! I teach them how to manage it, and they go from being hippies to these dudes with beautiful curls!”
The salon visit is an awakening, agrees Marie Sansom of Curly Cutz by Marie at New Images Salon in Georgetown, Texas. When you give clients the tools and the knowledge that they need for their hair type, you help them like their hair. “They see that they can achieve an even curl,” Sansom says. “By the time we’re finished, they’re amazed—and I’m amazed, too! It’s exciting to see how each head of hair will turn out!”
Like Aaron, Sansom looks at every curly encounter as an opportunity to educate. Booking each new client into a two-hour slot, Sansom tells these clients, “I’m going to break down what you think you know about your hair, and then I’m going to build up new knowledge.”
How They Started
“Although cosmetology school did not teach us effective curly-hair techniques in school, I thought I knew about curly hair because I had curly hair,” says Sansom. “But I didn’t know anything; I had always straightened my hair.” Beginning in 2007, Sansom took three years off to stay at home with her children and spent that time researching the art and science of curly hair and experimenting on her own hair.
For Aaron, who does not have curly hair, the curly cue clicked when 13 years ago a regular client told her, “I really like you. You’re a great person. But I hate the way you do my hair.” She wanted to wear her hair curly, not blown out, so Aaron made a deal: she’d do the client’s cuts for free if she could practice her skills on her.