Many call Leysa Carillo Queen of Colorful Curls. Her IG feedis filled with a kaleidoscope of curls and coils. The Las Vegas-based stylist is known for creating beautiful blondes, vibrant colors and incredible curly cuts, gaining her worldwide attention and numerous industry awards. Stylists flock to her classes to learn her innovative techniques.
NaturallyCurly was thrilled to chat with Leysa about her unique approach to coloring and cutting curls:
NaturallyCurly: What made you decide to become a stylist?
Leysa: I grew up as a professional dancer. That allowed me to perform in shows all around the world, which led me to Las Vegas. I was in love with dancing, performing, acting and modeling, but wanted to try something else in life. I became a hairstylist by accident. Cosmetology school was cheaper than college so that’s what I did. I never thought it would be what it’s become for me.
NaturallyCurly: What made you decide to specialize in texture?
Leysa:On my birthday ten years ago I walked into three salons looking to get my hair done. Every single one turned me away because the of the texture of my hair. I felt different, less, sad.
So I make a promise that after beauty school, I wouldn’t make my clients feel that way. I saw the lack of knowledge in the beauty industry about textured hair and heard similar stories to mine from so many curly clients. I wanted to help change that.
NaturallyCurly: How did you become a curl color specialist?
Leysa: Again, I wanted to be able to service people with textured hair just the same as straight-haired clients, and that included coloring. When I first starting out, I took a lot of education classes and wondered why the techniques being shown weren't translating the same on my curly-haired clients, I would practice on models and my own hair to better understand how to treat curls until I felt comfortable doing it on paying clients.
I want everybody to be able to enjoy getting fun colors and feel good about their hair and natural texture.
NaturallyCurly: What makes curly hair unique when it comes to color?
Leysa: The unique part of coloring curly hair is that every curl type moves differently. So you have to customize the color placement around that. Some curl types grow straight out of the head and have less movement, while others move more like straight hair.
My technique is based on designing a unique look for everyone individually in a way that you're going to walk out of the salon with your own identity and expression.
NaturallyCurly: What are the Do’s and Don’ts of coloring curly hair?
Leysa: You do need to do a detailed consultation to understand the client’s hair history, lifestyle and what products they’re using. You need to make sure the hair is healthy to start with. I never perform color on unhealthy hair.
I always look at a client’s porosity because that will affect the color service. I always balance a client’s porosity before I color the hair.
When a client wears her hair curly, I never straighten the hair to do color. I also never use heavy oils because it creates a coating on the hair and can affect the color processing.
I never use anything higher than a 20 Volume developer for color process. The hair dye developer lifts the cuticle of your hair just enough for color to get in or out of the hair.
NaturallyCurly: Can you share more about your coloring technique and what makes it unique?
Leysa: I believe hair your can be any color of the rainbow. Youcan be as blonde as you want if your hair meets the requirements.
My color technique is based on a balayage look using foils. inside the foil I use three colors to create a seamless blend that results in extremely beautiful hair for up to six month. The technique gives you this longevity.
NaturallyCurly: What is the secret when it comes to lifting color out of curly hair?
Leysa: I have a lot of secrets, but my biggest secret is that I say "no" a lot. I will never color curls that are not ready for it. Prepping the hair and getting it healthy before color is more important than any technique.
NaturallyCurly:What products do you recommend for caring for colored-treated curls and maintaining healthy hair? Color safe shampoos and conditioners?
Leysa:First of all, stay away from pools and sun exposure. Also, no hot showers.
Alternate between color-safe, sulfate-free shampoos and cleansing conditioners on your wash days. When using conditioners, make sure to apply it evenly in small sections in order to thoroughly saturate the hair. Let it sit on the hair before you rinse.
A hydrating mask is my go-to product to use with every wash, leving it on for a minimum of 10 minutes or overnight.
NaturallyCurly: What are the steps to recovering damaged hair from bleach, heat or permanent hair color?
Leysa: A hair Cut is the only solution for damage from heat, bleach or color. Sometimes a protein/hydration treatment can help with damage. But in my professional opinion, when the hair cuticle and cortex is damaged, hair strength is gone and won’t come back, no matter what treatment you use. A cuticle without elasticity can’t retain anything.
NaturallyCurly: How should clients prepare curly hair before a color appointment?
Leysa: Always do a proper consultation with the hairstylist beforehand to talk about you’re wanting and to determine if that is realistic. (Bring a lot of photos to show what you’re looking for). You may need to do a detox treatment to eliminate buildup.
NaturallyCurly: Who are the stylists that inspire you?
NaturallyCurly: What are your tips for clients who have color-treated hair to keep it from getting damaged and to keep the color looking fresh?
Leysa: First, you need an in-depth consultation that allows your stylist to really understand you and what you’re looking for. This leads to picking the right color for your needs, such as a look with a softer grow out for someone who is lower maintenance or more pastel fashion colors for someone who likes switching up their look often.
Then you must be prescribed the right products for your individual needs. Lastly you need to routinely book trims and treatments between coloring to keep your curls healthy and beautiful.
NaturallyCurly: What is your go-to curl regimen?
Leysa: Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, I like to customize the curl routine I use for myself and my clients depending on their lifestyle. I believe hormonal shifts, climate, color history and age all can affect what regimen is best for a person.
My current routine is a good balance between moisture and protein. Maintaining a clean scalp is very important to have healthy growth. I stay away from any products with heavy oils or that would cause extreme buildup, and alternate between shampoo and cleansing conditioner to make sure I don't strip natural oils. Instead of traditional conditioners, my preference is hydrating masks to give extra moisture, especially because I am blonde and live in a dry climate.
I also believe staying hydrated is necessary to maintain healthy curls and drink a lot of water. This is especially important if you are blonde or have fashion colors.
NaturallyCurly: What questions do you get asked most often by your clients?
Leysa: I think the questions I get most often are "How should I be styling my hair? “How can I achieve this color without damaging my curls?" and "How can I bring back my curls after color/heat damage?"