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Truth in Curl

Mary Atherton | July 10, 2011 | 6:19 PM

Truth in Curl Hair by Christo.

Truth in Curl

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 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 in order 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 curls? 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.

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