Walk into Christo Fifth Avenue Salon on any day of the week and you’re likely to see a cast member from a Broadway show, a fashion model of a Wall Street maven. Dubbed “The King of Curls” by The Wall Street Journal, Christo (he goes by his first name only) and his 17-year-old salon in the heart of New York City have gained a global reputation. Curlisto, the curl products he developed, have become a holy grail for many curly girls.
NaturallyCurly: What made you decide to become a stylist?
Christo: I was 11 years old when I told my dad I want to be like my uncle, who was a hair stylist in Cyprus in the capital Lefkosia. I would go to school sometimes, and most days I would skip just to be at the salon. The salon was my life and by the time I was 14 years old, I was a full-blown stylist. My uncle was taking me everywhere with him. He also was very tough with me, but he wanted to make me one of the best. By the time I was 16 years old, he took me to London to meet “his friend” as he called him. I didn’t know who it was, but it turned out to be Vidal Sassoon himself. Vidal was teaching some workshops, and I was one of the lucky students in this private class as part of a selected few trained to be the best today.
NaturallyCurly: Why did you decide to specialize in texture?
Christo: Being a Greek Cypriot influenced me. I grew up with curly hair myself and styled it like Bon Jovi. I think curly hair is its own specialty, and you must love it and be passionate about it. I grew up with curly hair myself and styled it like Bon Jovi.
NaturallyCurly:Do you cut hair wet rather than dry?
Christo: Christo Fifth Avenue is our curly hair salon, and we only cut the hair wet. I developed a texturizing technique called Diametrix. The hair is divided into 12 equal sections, which allows us to visualize every texture on the clients head of hair. This allows us to deliver the maximum results for their head of curls. The second part of Diametrix is diagonal angles, which is a sliding type of cutting technique.
This technique helps avoid that shelf type look that you see a lot on the streets, and the cut gives you the advantage to wear your hair the way it makes you feel confident and sexy. You wouldn’t want to wear the same suit every day, and the hair is you No. 1 accessory.
NaturallyCurly: What are some ways to protect your hair when you want to straighten your hair?
Christo: We teach all of our clients to keep their curls healthy by doing their own deep treatments at home. Then you need to have the correct thermal protective product that protect hair from heat tools. I also tell clients the straight option is there, but definitely don’t abuse it. Wearing your hair every other week won’t damage it, but if you do it on a daily basis, will. Let’s be clear on that!
NaturallyCurly: You work with a lot of curly women who work in professions such as banking and law. How do you help them choose the style that will fit them best personally and professionally?
Christo: As a curly hair salon in New York, I design styles for those are in a professional corporate field I help them stand out in the right way. that they like to stand but use it the right way.
I always have about a 15 to 20-minute chat with them to go over everything involved in their daily lifestyle. This helps me find them the style that fits them best. My clients look up to me not only for their hair but terms of their overall sense of style. It makes me feel good to help them achieve their goals and seeing them succeed.
NaturallyCurly: Can you share some of the unique considerations you have when working with celebrities?
Christo: We have celebs that come here every week or we go to them. Celebrities like any client expect to be treated with respect and confidentiality. I never ask them to do anything for me like take pics or post on social media unless they offer. More importantly I treat them the same as I treat the rest of my clients and they love that and definitely appreciate the discretion.
NaturallyCurly: You work with a wide variety of textures. What are some of the different considerations when working with looser waves rather than tight coils?
Christo: Every individual curl is different in textured hair and each curl has to be treated one by one. I use my judgment as a professional and expert with curls. The Diametrix Technique does give us the leverage to deal with every texture, but you must know and be trained to use it correctly. No one can cut curls without proper education. It’s like everything else in life and those that Pretend they know can cause a lot of damage. The women with curly hair and I see that all the time because I’m fixing bad haircuts. So please if you would like to specialize get the appropriate training.
NaturallyCurly: What are the biggest mistakes that curly girls make when working with their hair?
Christo: First, stop believing everything you read. A lot of people have opinions out there especially on social media, magazines, etc. Most of the time they have no clue what is good or bad for your curls. Do not put something on your curls because it is trending or heavily marketed. Please stay away from hair oils! It causes one of the biggest problems suffocating the follicle.
Also, stay away from heavy waxes or silicones which creates build up. It’s better to get a free consultation which we provide for anyone visiting the salon to get an idea about what will be best for their curls. Don’t shampoo more than 2 times or once a week but please do shampoo to avoid build up from the dirty environment we live in.
NaturallyCurly: Can you share a few of your favorite curl tips - things curly girl can do at home (clipping a certain way, styling a certain way, scrunching, etc.)
Christo: Curly hair roots are all connected so it’s best to style on wet hair. Section, section, section, and more sections and you will get amazing movement. Then, use duck bill clips to lift root curls while air drying or defusing. Do not touch curls until at least 70% dry and always use a finisher to make your style last. Twist in a french twist while you sleep so the next day will be a simple touch up. You could use some paste or pomade to protect your style this way. Also , use a microfiber towel which is better for curls so it doesn’t deplete all moisture from the curls.
See my videos on christonyc.com on how to do easy styles for your curls!
NaturallyCurly:Do you have a stylist who really inspires you?
Christo: Yes, so many! Vidal sassoon, Alexandre de Paris, Robert Cromean, Paul Mitchell and many more. You never stop learning and watching whether from icons or young stylist. That train of inspiration comes from every talent and you have to make your pick and level of influence.