This month, NaturallyCurly.com is happy to introduce our newest Curl Expert, Dana Kaplan of M Salon in Cambridge, Mass. He has worked as a stylist for 35 years, and has gained a reputation as one of the top curl stylists in the country.
Q: My hair is really driving me mad, and I need some advice! My hair is fine and soft (frizz isn't such a problem). There's quite a lot of it. However, the top layer of my hair is almost completely straight, while the bottom layers are curly to varying degrees (very tight corkscrews at the front, looser more wavy curls at the back). The result is that it looks a complete mess most of the time. I've tried scrunching/diffusing my hair but the curl on the top layers simply won't hold. Do you have any advice about how to even out the curliness? I'm really fed up looking like I've got three different people's hair! Every bit of advice I've seen in magazines assumes curly hair is dry and/or frizzy AND evenly curled. It seems like no one else has the same problem as I have!
Dana: I would try to add more layers at the top. Use products with extra hold, and try adding some pern rods or small rollers (available at beauty supply stores) to the top area where the problem is. Use hair spray, made for curly hair, sit under the dryer or diffuse upside down until it's 100 percent dry. Remove the rods and keep diffusing. Then flip your hair back. Fluff with fingers. Don't comb or brush! Finish with holding spray.
Q: I'm Sophie, and I'm a 14-year-old girl with long, dirty blonde, curly hair. It's about three inches below shoulder length. I'm looking for a new style for my hair because it's getting a little boring. I'm looking for a shorter curly hair style that I could still put up in a ponytail because I play a lot of sports and it needs to be manageable. Maybe bangs or just wisps of hair?
Dana: Try an angled bob with long layers for variety. A few highlights would also be fun. Keep it at least neck length so you can wear it up or down
Q: I have long, naturally curly hair that is one length. I have a long, narrow face, and it is essential that I have height on the top. I've tried a couple of "root lift" products, but they just add weight and make it flat Without getting my hair cut in layers, is there a way to have tight curls and height on the top? Maybe a root perm? Or can you suggest a lifting/curl-enhancing product or technique that really works?
Dana: Try duckbill clips at the crown. Hold the hair at the top up and pin it with duckbill clips at the root area. Try a holding spray and diffuse your hair upside down until it's 100 percent dry. Then flip it back and fluff it with your fingers. You might also want to try longer layers. They do make a big difference.
Q: The hair on my scalp is naturally thick and dry. One memorable, sad experience was when I went to a different hairdresser two years ago. This guy was extremely reckless and unprofessional as he ''plucked out'' my hairs using his scissors along the edge of my fringe (around the left side area above my forehead) from my scalp. To this day, that horrible experience left an island of semi-baldness and short sparse hairs within an otherwise normal area of scalp hair. There is hair growing, but it's really thin (I can see through the hair and notice my scalp). Secondly, the hair is very loose and does not stand up like the rest of my dry, thick hairdo in the front, which makes it look very uneven. I have been looking for a hair care specialist who has expertise in semi-bald hair problems, and certainly one who can suggest to me effective natural remedies to repair the damage quickly. Bottom line: I want to restore it 100 percent. What can you suggest?
Dana: I'm sorry to disappoint you, but you have to be patient and grow out your hair. It will take at least 6-12 months. If your hair is very thick, curly and dry, use products rich in moisture and do deep treatments at least once a month. I also recommend supplements like biotin, which will help speed the growth.
Q: My hair is very strange, It curls naturally in the back. But the front is usually stick straight. Most hairstylists don't know what to do with it. What should I do?
Dana: Try adding some layers at the front . Then curl it with a curling iron or set it in rods using a good holding spray. You can also try a soft perm on the straight area only!
Q: I have big curly/wavy hair and I want something that won't give me volume -- or at least not too much volume. Can you please recommend a hair styling product I could get in a drugstore?
Dana: Are you brushing your hair after you wash it? Try combing it in the shower only to remove tangles, with a wide-tooth comb, then rinse conditioner only half-way out, leaving a little slip feeling. Gently towel dry by squeezing the water off the hair and use conditioning spray. Comb it with your fingers. Then style by sections, starting with the back and moving forward. Use a liquid gel like Ouidad Tress FX or Paul Mitchell Styling Glaze, smoothing the hair with your fingers. Use a lot of product -- enough to soak your hair. Then diffuse until it's 100 percent dry without touching hair. After it's dry, use a hair serum to break up crunch by smoothing it back like you're making a ponytail. Hold it and then spray it with a styling spray, and leave it alone. If that doesn’t work, try a texturizer to soften your curls. Remember: A brush and curls don’t mix!