Truth in Curl
Hair by Christo.
Christo, owner of Christo salon on Manhattan's 5th Avenue, holds free monthly seminars for the curl-challenged. Limited for intimacy to 20 curly heads, the sessions are great for business.
Attendees draw names to be a demo models, and everyone gets personalized psycho "hair-apy" plus swag: Curlisto Systems products. Recently, MODERN SALON's Victoria Wurdinger showed up to see what curly girls want most and what Christo has to say about their quest to be perfectly tressed.
Q: What are the biggest myths among consumers about curly hair?
A: Shampooing dries out curls; you can only wear curly hair curled; you can't have short curly hair, and curly hair doesn't look as professional as straight hair.
Q: There was some recent flack over a consumer magazine editor who told a group of lawyers that Afro hairdos are a bad look for corporate America. Why is this attitude still around?
A: Corporate America is very conservative. You don't see much glamorous wave or beautiful curl unless the woman is in a higher position and can get away with it. As hairdressers, we can't do anything about it, even if we think natural curl is fabulous.
Q: Duke University recently invited you to talk to grads about professional grooming. Why and what will you tell them?
A: Duke approached me because they recognize hair is the biggest part of a wardrobe, and that hairdressers impact lives. I'll tell the class, when you are starting out, do what you have to to get the job. Look the part.
Q: What's the best way to teach clients to style their curl?
A: After a hair rehab treatment, I show them how to divide the hair in five sections. Then I fingercomb through a dime-sized amount of leave-in treatment in subsections. Once the curl softens, I shake or scrunch the hair, then repeat, as they watch in the mirror or try it. I also teach them diffuse drying and the use of the proper products. All mine are water soluble.
Q: Do most hairdressers follow the right steps?
A: Often, they misjudge the texture or don't section enough. If some hair is left out, it gets frizzy and dry. It's important that I put all the steps on my website. They're so detailed, an experienced stylist can learn from them.
Q: How can a stylist become a curly hair specialist?
A: We hold professional classes in the salon every month. Each of the three classes-kinky curl, medium-loose curl and wave-are master classes; they aren't for new graduates. The full day is all hands-on.
Q: What are the most common questions you're asked at your seminars?
A: Can you dry cut curl? If you cut curly hair dry, you're afraid because you aren't sure how much it'll contract. There's no bounce in dry hair; cutting it dry minimizes options. I also get asked about texturizing curly hair a lot. Long layers cut on the inside make the hair interlock, so you get less expansion at the bottom and more lift on top, which is what curly haired women want and need.
Q: How many of your seminar attendees become regulars?
A: About 80 percent. Some just come for the free products, but that's okay. It's New York.