Keyword: Keratin. With texture clients looking to eliminate frizz, keratin services and other smoothing systems can be an appropriate solution. Clients rely on you to keep your eye on that moving target because the smoothing story continues to change. From explaining the chemistry to delivering a flawless result, you should know your smoothing systems.
Look! Closely analyze the client’s hair, because what you see is not necessarily what you’re getting. “If a new client comes in with her hair blown dry but wants to commit to wearing a curly style, I sometimes wet and condition the hair and put the client under a dryer,” says Willhite. “You have to find out how the cut will fall and how the hair will dry.” Cress, too, makes sure he analyzes the hair right after it’s shampooed. “Any hidden little trick she’d done to style her curly hair gets washed away,” he says. “You see the truth in curly hair when it’s wet. You see how strong that curl pattern is; the idea is for the dry look to mimic the way the hair naturally looks when it’s wet.” Della Grazia agrees that curly hair has a mind of its own. “It always falls back into the same curl,” he notes, “so when you try to push it into a shape it doesn’t want to go, it won’t do it.” Touching is as important as looking, Cress adds. “As hairstylists, we ‘see’ with our hands,” he says. Della Grazia recommends observing the client holistically, taking in her demeanor and body language. “You can tell whether the client loves the spirit of curly hair or is frustrated about it,” he explains.
Merchandise. One quick way to communicate your texture specialty is to create attractive displays of curl-targeted products. “Having those products on your shelves helps to reinforce your position as a texture expert,” says Ruiz. “Separate your textured-hair products from your other products,” suggests Christo, whose salon carries his own curly-formula click image to zoom products. “In addition, have the products right there with you during the consultation. The client has to get the connection that you have this speciality.” At Cutler Salon, Della Grazia says all of the curly products “sit in their own little family,” and the stylist’s workspace remains bare of products until the stylist begins using them. “We go get the product we’re using and bring it back to our station so the client can focus on it,” Della Grazia says. “It dilutes the retail experience to have a lot of products at your station that you won’t be using.”
Name it! Curtis named her salon “Planet Curls” so there would be no mistake about her specialty. “Curly girls will find you no matter what your name is,” Curtis says, “but an obvious name will help them find you easier on the internet.” Hill’s business name came to her
in her sleep. “At 1 a.m. four years ago, I woke up and wrote down the name ‘DyeVerCity,’” Hill remembers. “People see that it’s a play on ‘Diversity.’ It’s worked out really well, because our salon caters to all types and cultures.”
Obsess. Notice texture on the street and in magazines, join curly hair forums online and practice constantly on mannequins or willing friends. “I am fortunate that our salon is multicultural, allowing me to work with textured hair on a daily basis,” says Ruiz. “Clients get bored, so you have to come up with new ideas,” adds Hill. “We set ourselves apart by not doing the same things clients see everywhere.” When you live and breathe texture, your familiarity with curl and affection for textured hair become apparent. “When a curly client walks in, through your body language and demeanor she will know immediately whether you’re comfortable with curly hair,” observes Willhite. “It puts clients at ease when you’re saying
all the right things during the consultation," agrees Cress.