Photo: Christie (@everythingcurlss)

Enhancing curls with color, or lifting and lightening them, means considering the curl texture and pattern.  Here are three approaches to painting curls, coils, kinks, ringlets, and spirals, with formulas for the looks and tips for success.



Photo: Christie (@everythingcurlss)

Color Poppin’

Christie (@everythingcurlss) is a Mizani Artist and curly hair specialist based in Frisco, TX. Her love of educating in color and curls has created her motto “You can have curls and color!” 



  • Redken Flash Lift Bonder Inside with 20 volume. “Low and slow is important for curly hair to protect the integrity,” Christie says.  “Coloring curls should never be rushed and frequent checks for elasticity will help prevent over processing.”
  • The back was done, curl-by-curl, with meche for incubation.
  • The mohawk panel and sides were a combination of large weaves and slices in foils with 10 volume to protect the curls and add brightness.


  • Redken 6N + 30 volume
  • Redken Shades EQ 9GI + 9N with Gloss to Gel Processing Solution


Mizani True Textures Foam Wrap topped with Mizani Perfect Coil Oil Gel. The top was diffused for volume and then the rest dried under a hooded dryer to the set the curls.


Photo: Analis (@curly.colorist)

Copper Coils

Analis (@curly.colorist) is based in New York. She has dedicated her career to helping her curly clientele identify their hair as an attribute to understand and embrace, not a problem to fix. For these copper curls, she followed these steps. 


  • Highlights done with Schwarzkopf BlondMe Clay Lightener mixed with BlondMe 20 volume developer. Processed for 20 minutes wrapped in cellophane with low heat. 
  • Toned with 8-46 and 7-57 Schwarzkopf Gloss and Tone with 6 volume Gloss and Tone Developer. Toned for 10 minutes, rinsed, conditioned, and styled.  
  • “For this look, I sectioned Heleisy’s hair in horizontal  subsections about one inch thick. Starting at the nape, I painted fine ribbons of lightener with a soft stroke at the roots and a heavy saturation on the mid lengths and ends.
  • “I moved up along the subsection painting curl by curl and kept an eye on placement for maximum curl defining effect.”
Tips for Highlighting Hair from @curly.colorist
“Don’t underestimate the importance of application technique and placement when it comes to driving your results with curly hair,” says Analis.  “Curls reflect light differently than straight hair. Deeper into that, different curl textures and patterns reflect light differently from one another. So it’s important to understand that and be able to visualize how much or how little definition you want to create with your application style and placement choices.”
“Curls lend themselves better to vertical application of fine ribbons as opposed to horizontal panels and slices, which would  give you all the bursts of color at the roots and not on the mid-lengths and ends which is where curls are at their fullest and most open."


Photo: Evie Peterson @eviedzine

Strong Lines

“A defined center part with raised corners gives a whole new modern look to curly hair,” says Evie Peterson (@eviedzine).  “My daughter is a total valley curl girl.  She’s naturally curly, so the right cut and color is essential for enhancing her texture.  She’s always looking for new ways to change up her look and the defined part with elevated sides is so fresh!”


Mizani Aircut Techniques create pockets of openness that lighten and free thick voluminous curls. Swivel shears work well for these techniques. 


  • Baby Lights and Foilyage with Redken Blonde Lift Idol Flash Lift Lightner and 20 volume to quickly lift level 6 hair to a level 8.
  • Redken Shades EQ 06N to create a shadow root.
  • Redken Shades EQ 08VG to tone and shine.


  • Style wet hair saturated with Mizani True Texture Perfect Coil Oil Gel. Use a Sam Villa Light Professional Ionic Blow Dryer and Diffuser to remove 80% moisture, leaving hair slightly damp to preserve silky curls.


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