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Professional with curly hair

Every stylist has had a curly-haired client ask for a smooth blow-out in order to look professional at a work conference or to make a good impression at a job interview.

“I find that clients with curly hair believe that they’re taken more seriously if their hair is straight,” explains Morgan Wilheite, creative director at Ouidad. Having frizzy and unruly hair at a business meeting can be the equivalent of showing up wearing a tank top and shorts, so curlies either straighten their hair or slick it back into a ponytail.

But curls and briefcases need not be mutually exclusive. By getting a curl-specific cut and color and using the skills, tools and care routines you need to maintain it, your curls will be workplace-ready. “Professional curly hair is all about maintenance and how you present it,” says Marie France, owner of Madusalon in San Francisco. “Dry hair tied back in a ponytail is not professional; it just shows lack of attention. What says ‘professional’ is moisture. It’s a cut, it’s style, it’s care.”

Doctor with curly hair

The Foundation: A Good Cut

Whether you plan on wearing your hair loose or pinned up in a style, your hair must be cut in a way that enhances your texture, not works against it. The cutting of textured hair presents a unique opportunity not only to create volume, shape and dimension, but also to control the curl. “The key is to make sure the hair is cut in a way that is conducive to the curl pattern, especially if the client plans on wearing her hair curly,” explains Rafe Hardy, artistic creative director at Sexy Hair Concepts. “If you’re cutting waves, for example, don’t cut the hair in the middle of the S-pattern, because that’s when it will kick out. Make sure to cut at the beginning of the wave so that it naturally curves under.”

Executing a proper curly hair cut using techniques you wouldn’t use on straight hair presents an opportunity for you to develop and demonstrate an expertise in texture. “Stylists who specialize in curly cuts tend to have a cult following,” Hardy notes. “If you can build up a business that includes people with textured hair, you’ll be sure to gain influence in this specific curly niche.”

Read More: Texture! Behind the Cover

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