Avoiding the Pyramid

2010-10-04 13:26:18

Avoiding the Pyramid

Experts provide tips to solve the biggest curl conundrum!

Pyramid head is not our friend.

It’s the most common complaint among curlies — the dreaded pyramid head.

“Most of the time it’s because the hair is one length with no angles around the face, so the curls stack on top of each other, creating a pyramid,” says Christo, global artistic director of New York’s Christo Fifth Avenue salon.

When Christo presents educational seminars for curlies (he calls them “psycho-hairapy” sessions), he sees those much-feared tress triangles in nearly 80 percent of his curly-haired audience. Curl experts agree it’s a preventable, albeit widespread, problem.

“If you leave your hair one length, it’s inevitable,” adds Ouidad, author of CurlTalk and owner of New York’s Ouidad Salon, the Curl Education Center.

Without strategic layers, experts say the weight of your textured tresses creates a flatness at the crown leaving no place for your curls to move -- except out!

“It’s usually thicker, corkscrew or Botticelli curls that have this issue,” says Shari Harbinger, director of education for New York’s Devachan Salon.

But it doesn’t have to be. Here, experts from three of the leading curly salons in New York share advice on how to avoid the puffy pyramid by focusing on the cut, style and condition of your curly locks.

1. CUT

Don’t run from scissors! If a haphazard haircut from the past still makes you fearful of sitting in a stylist’s chair, experts say think again.


Christo of Christo Fifth Avenue: “You may think layers don’t work so you grow your hair out to one length to be safe. It may be safe but your hair will end up looking like a pyramid with no movement to the hair. Add long, diagonal layers that frame the face so the curls sit into each other. And by cutting the hair wet, you also have the option of texturizing. If you try to do that on dry hair, you’ll be shredding the hair.”

Shari Harbinger of Devachan Salon: “Layering the hair on the surface will release some of the weight of the hair, giving you more volume on the crown area. Cutting the hair dry -- with minimal or no tension -- and a layering and sculpting of the curls will give you the volume you want on the surface of the hair and more length on the bottom, resulting in a more north-south effect instead of east-west.”

Ouidad of Ouidad Salon, the Curl Education Center: “If you cut at the curvature of the curls, they will sit into each other, eliminating the pyramid. Another way is to lightly slice the outer layer of the hair around the face or crown area, to create movement. The slicing and carving, or puzzling of the curls, is strategically designed for specific areas, depending on the thickness and tightness of the curls.”


You wouldn’t skip your daily shower, so why skip your daily styling routine? Even if your pressed for time, experts say investing just a few minutes to properly style your curly locks will make all the difference in your ‘do.

Shari Harbinger

Harbinger: “Clipping at the roots creates lift, keeping the hair from weighing down on itself. At the top of the scalp, take two fingers and lift one family of curls and place the clip as close to -- or on -- the scalp, east to west. Use a minimum of six clips, and for best results use 10. If you see other curls that need lift, trust your eye. And don’t touch the hair during the drying process.”

Ouidad: “Style it from the bottom, with our ‘shake and rake’ method. With gel in your palm, rub your hands together and grab your hair in sections from the root, sliding your fingers through the end to recreate the curl pattern. If you do that in steps all the way to the top, you’re setting your curl pattern. Then, take duck clips, put them on their side, and slide them on your scalp to lift the root up and allow the curls to cascade down.”

Christo: “The bottom layer of your hair will expand, even with a good haircut, if you’re not styling it properly. Invest the five to 10 minutes it takes to section the hair and apply your products correctly, so you won’t have to worry about frizz or pyramids. If you have a bad haircut and don’t have time to fix it, make sure you’re hair is styled well, then you can pin some of your curls back with bobby pins. It will add lift to the root area so you can fake a haircut.”


Just as it takes consistent effort to stay fit, experts say getting your curls in shape is not an option. It’s a must.


Ouidad: “When curls become dehydrated, they’re feather-light so it’s easy for the hair to lift and take off. You can apply all the daily conditioners that you want, but your hair will still expand a little bit. It’s important to do deep treatments every two weeks. It will help rebuild the internal structure of the hair, so it stays down by itself, which eliminates the pyramid.”

Harbinger: “Dehydrated curls tend to stand horizontally. Adding the appropriate amount of moisture actually contracts that triangle at the bottom, bringing it back in. You can also use a spritz (that contains the appropriate hair oil) to add moisture and control the expansion of the curl. You can even use olive oil in a pinch. Rub it in your hands and very gently press it into your curls from the mid-length to the ends of the hair. It will soak in, adding moisture and controlling the curl.”

Christo: “Besides the cut and style, that missing element is healthy hair. Use a deep therapy masque on your hair on a regular basis. Keeping your hair in good condition is very important.”

I'm a hair stylist at Lunatic Fringe on 11 east in Salt Lake City , Bumble and Bumble makes a fabulous defining cream that has a ringlet activator with zero crunch its my favorite curly product !
I desperately want to have a consultation with a Ouidad specialist! There is a salon that has 2 in my area, but just the Ouidad cut is $80! Being a mommy, I can't afford that. I get my hair highlighted too and if I got the cut and my highlights (foil) I imagine it would be close to $200!! I will just be stuck with horrible hair b/c I can't spend $200 on my hair when I have a child to take care of. Sad thing is, I think I would have beautiful hair if someone could help me figure out how to manage it and not make it have the "wet look" and "crunchy". I can't tell you how many times I have people ask me if I am going for the wet look! NO! I'M NOT! I just can't figure out how to control my stupid curls without PILING on the hair gel! UGH! Everything is about money....
It is really hard to find someone who understands how important the cut is and how to cut it to help the curl.