Veteran Curl Expert Shai Amiel Shares His Latest Endeavors!

Capella Salon

Capella Salon, Studio City, CA

We've known about the curly guru Shai Amiel, owner of Capella Salon in Studio City, California for quite a while. In fact, Capella Salon was one of the first salons to ever promote themselves as a curl-friendly salon in Southern California. Over the past years, Shai has been busy; most recently he started raising money for clean water and hosted the always-fabulous Lorraine Massey for a Curls Night Out event. And he continues to build his business one curly head at a time. We had a few minutes to chat with Shai and get his perspective on things.

NaturallyCurly: You have a huge curly following, and many stylists don't work with curly or textured hair. How did you decide to become an expert with curly hair?

Shai Amiel: Curly hair to me is just like life. It's always changing and you never stop learning. This curly thing just happened over the years. I never planned to have this focus on textured hair, but I believe that my dedication to the curls paid off in the long run.

NC: Yours was one of the first curly salons in Southern California; how have you seen hair change in your region? Are people moving away from the straight and narrow to embrace their curls?

SA: Many of my clients who were die-hard blowfryers are now committed to their curly hair. It is a hard sell to convince these girls that a little frizz is ok and your natural texture will always look better than that forced straight hair. Women have been told that straight hair is prettier. It has taken me many years showing some of my curly girls the benefits of the natural texture. Luckily, Los Angeles has great climate for natural curls. It's much easier to let your natural curls air dry than sitting there with a hot blow dryer and frying your hair straight.

NC: What are the biggest mistakes you see with women (or men) and their curly hair?

SA: Curlies don't trust their instincts. They tend to believe a story someone has sold to them that they must contain and tame their curly locks. They underestimate the value of the conditioner. Hydrating the curls is the key to healthy hair. People still think that they need volume so they use mousse, which is horrible for curls. It expands as it dries and it creates frizz. Curls need moisture and a holding product like a gel that seals the shine in the hair. We want to capture the look of the curls when they are wet and let them dry that way. After the curls are set and dried, we can fluff them and shake out any stiffness created by a holding gel.

NC: What are your go-to methods for treating damaged curly hair?