Image courtesy of Paul Mitchell
Image courtesy of Paul Mitchell

Most stylists don’t understand the amount of product curly hair needs to maintain any style,” says Holli Cadman, Paul Mitchell Schools Advanced Academy member. “When curly hair is styled, you need about twice as much product as you need for straight hair. This will allow for a soft, conditioned style whether the hair is worn naturally curly or straight.”

Cole Thompson, Sassoon creative director, and Traci Sakosits, Sassoon North American creative director, agree that when styling, products must be distributed evenly and hair should be dried completely. If it is worn naturally, the hair can be finger-combed or ribboned in sections to close the cuticle and then diffuse-dried. Here, minimal manipulation is key, or you’ll end up with frizz.

Damage from the excessive use of heat styling tools is a concern for everyone, but especially for clients with textured hair, who suffer when breakage results in curls looking dull and lifeless. Fortunately, there are non-thermal options that stylists can offer clients to avoid direct heat.


“Curls can be delicate and at times prone to damage,” says Melanie Fahey, assistant vice president of creative and education for Ouidad. “Excessive manipulation can fragment curls and cause fraying and frizz, so it’s important never to force a curl into submission. The key to styling is to position curls as they transition from wet to dry.”

Ouidad’s “rake and shake” is a simple, effective styling method that encourages and sets curl formation with just product and the touch of fingertips. For this technique, a client’s hair is sectioned off in to a unique pattern that best suits her curl type, and the prescribed product recipe is applied to each curl section individually, allowing the hair to form defined, breathable curls. Each section of the hair requires special attention to ensure there’s an even distribution of product.

For this reason, many stylists recommend applying product when the hair is wet. Hair product usually reacts better to wet hair because the hair is able to absorb product more effectively. Hair will only accept the amount of product it can absorb—layering the hair with too much moisture will produce limp, unresponsive curls.

“When defining curls with water or a styling product, stylists should let the hair crest or dry momentarily before manipulation,” says Mizani educator Toni Garcia-Jackson, who is also a salon owner and textured color artist for Product Club. “Running your fingers or a tool through wet hair separates the cuticle and contributes to the frizz factor.”

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