Expert Advice

Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley

July 10, 2011 | 8:53 PM

Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Senior Editor, Modern Salon Media; beauty reporter for ModernSalon.TV and cosmetology student enrolled at Pivot Point International’s evening program in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

Describe your hair.
The crown of my head holds an arc or loop-patterned curl, similar to beach waves. Remaining hair is mostly well-defined spirals. My natural texture has a lot of body and shine, and is easily styled curly or flat-ironed straight.

How did you feel about your hair growing up and how has that changed since you became involved in the beauty industry?
“I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my textured hair. My mother has baby-fine, blonde Swedish hair and my father has tightly curled, coarse hair. My two sisters and I all took after my father, with varying forms of curls.

“I used to covet my younger sister’s Shirley Temple curls: bouncy, springy, beautiful. My older sister has “S”-shaped, wavy hair that she always blow-dried straight with ease—so, naturally, I followed suit. But my hair texture and density doesn’t respond well to daily shampooing, and it would get so dry and poofy, especially in humidity or rain. When I was in middle school I would wake up hours before class to wash and straighten my hair with an iron (yes, an actual iron meant for clothing) to smooth out the curl from my hair. Once I hit my teens, my naturally curly aunt introduced me to the flatiron—which became my best friend for the next ten years. I never wore my hair curly unless I was on a beach or if the electricity was out.

“It wasn’t until I began working in the beauty industry that I truly embraced my hair’s natural texture, and only after much prodding from my curly co-workers. I started learning about the products that could really define my curls, without making my hair crunchy or weighing it down. And, I finally learned how to use a diffuser. I used to think if I wore my hair curly I would look “undone” or sloppy. Now, I know how to style it so it looks polished and professional.

What do you think are the most interesting developments in hair texture today?
Nothing tells a story more clearly than a before and after image. The most dramatic transformations I’ve seen on curly girls are after thermal reconditioning and texture reduction services—especially when seen on half-heads.

What type of products/tools and what amount of time do you spend on your hair on “curly” days and on “straight” days?
“If I wear my hair straight, I wash, condition and style it in the evening. I use a blow dryer with an air concentrator and round brush, then I flatiron it straight and use a hydrating serum or oil. To go from wet to dry, it takes about an hour. In the morning, I re-flatiron it and can wear it that way without washing it for a few days, occasionally using a dry shampoo to refresh the look.

“On curly days, I wash and style my hair in the morning using a no-lather shampoo and a leave-in conditioner. I let the bulk of the water be absorbed by a towel wrapped around my head—then, section by section, add a cocktail of a serum, body-building gel and hairspray. I then diffuse my hair from underneath, scrunching with my hand to build fullness. Once it’s 80-percent dry, I let it air-dry and then use a serum to define and de-frizz the curls. It takes about an hour, wet to dry, and I can wear it for two or three days without washing it.

More curly profiles:

Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Faatemah Ampey
Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Nick Arrojo
Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Diane de Costa
Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Lorraine Massey
Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Kevin Murphy
Curly hair girls/guys tell all: Alison Shipley
Alison Shipley 

*This article is related to the Texture! Guide. Click here to return to Texture!

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