Q: I'm sixteen years old, and during middle school my hair turned from thick and straight to thick and curly. I wouldn't mind, but underneath, I still have a layer of wavy 2a hair (even that layer is about the thickness of most of my friends' hair), while on top is a mixture of type 3a and 3b. My face (oval-square) is framed by a trapezoid of curls, with darker waves poking out underneath. It's hard to prevent the trapezoid with layers, because then the top layer scrunches up and the bottom layer doesn't. It looks really bad.

My hair regimen: shower every other day, put conditioner in for about 5-10 minutes, wash out conditioner, don't comb or brush. In the morning after a shower, it looks okay for the morning, but it gets steadily harder to handle throughout the day. This regimen is from the "Curly Girl" book my hair stylist recommended.

My hairstylist has straight, thin hair, and has butchered my hair cut a few times, but she's starting to get the hang of it...sort of...so I don't want to switch to someone who has absolutely no idea what my hair's like and tries to cut it wet or something. In short, I'm afraid to get my hair cut, and I'm getting some terrible split ends. Do you have any suggestions for my hairstylist or me about how to cut my hair, how to keep it from trapezoid-ing, how to prevent split ends and frizz, or anything you think would be helpful!

Christo: It is normal for your hair to change texture during your middle school years because that is when you reach puberty. During puberty your body’s hormones change, affecting the texture of your hair. There is nothing you can do to change your hormones and their effects on your hair texture, but you can learn how to work with your new hair; it is a challenge but it is possible. Let me give you the fundamentals of curly hair, which is keeping your hair healthy.

As far as cutting curly hair, there is no one technique that can be used. Every curl has its own personality — no one curl is like another. Therefore, you have to take many things into consideration before cutting curly hair. The stylist must look at and identify the texture of your hair as well as how you like to style your hair so that you can have a cut that fits your needs. For the best cut, the stylist has to work on wet hair. Cutting dry hair never works and I think that it’s the cause of the trapezoid affect that you now have. You are not the first person to have the trapezoid shape. In order to correct your haircut, I first suggest that you make sure your hair is healthy and that you find a hairstylist who already knows how to work with curly hair. In order to find a good stylist, ask them if they know how to treat and manage curly hair. If they explain some of the things I have listed for you, they know a good deal about working with curly hair and will probably be a good stylist for you. If they suggest cutting your hair dry, then run out the door. You should book a free consultation so that you can ask follow up questions and get a good feel of the stylist. You might be scared to try a different stylist but I don’t suggest you keep going through trial and error with your current one. After you go to a few free consultations and see that you have better options you should try someone new who can fix your haircut so that you don’t have the trapezoid affect.

Healthy hair equals great-looking styles. Apparently the hair regimen you mentioned to me is not working for you. Here is a successful formula that you should try to prevent split ends and frizz.

  • You should shampoo your hair 2 times a week to remove build up and keep it from suffocating the hair shaft and damaging your hair.
  • Conditioner should be used every time you wet your hair. After applying the conditioner to your hair in the shower, you should detangle your hair with a wide-toothed comb (you should never use a brush on curly hair) so that it is applied evenly throughout and so that your hair will be easier to style after you rinse it out.
  • Use a deep treatment like the Curlisto Deep Therapy Masque once a week in order to moisturize and repair damaged hair.
  • Use the right styling products. You have to treat the 2a part of your curls with products that can benefit that texture. With your hair, you should use a light lotion, such as Curlisto’s Structura Lotion. The texture on the top part of your hair (3a and 3b) are tighter and the lotion by itself will not be strong enough. Therefore, you should mix the Structura Lotion with Control II Gel in order to get structured curls.

Life is about balance and I believe you should find a way to manage your hair by trying different ways and follow the right advice. Always remember your hair is the #1 thing in your wardrobe. You should feel free to style your hair any way you feel comfortable- either curly or straight. By doing that you will be more confident and happier with your look, and complete the puzzle of your whole image.

Q: I have naturally curly hair and can always remember the salons spending hours on my hair blowing it straight, I have been blessed with hair that can curl but also hold a flip up curl without hair spray.I have thick wavy/curly hair, I do try to let my hair air dry but do have to put products in my hair or it will go frizzy. I have read that mousse is a no no, that spray on gel is better, because mousse dry's out your hair, is this true? I have let my hair grow long it is about in the middle of my shoulder blades. All my aunts and uncles on my father's side have thick wavy hair. Can you please tell me what styling products would benefit me, as I do not want to dry out my hair but want to preserve my wavy/curly hair.

Christo: You are fortunate to have a hair texture that can be easily worn both curly and straight. There are many mousses on the market that are not designed for wavy to curly hair so be careful. If you use the right mousse, I don’t believe that it will dry out your hair. For your thick texture, here are my recommendations:

Use Curlisto Structura Lotion which has panthenol, amino acids and soy protein ingredients that moisturizes, conditions and makes your hair more manageable. Mix a quarter amount of lotion with a dime amount of Control I Gel and apply it to your hair in sections. Here is what you should do:

Separate your hair into five sections. Add the combination of Structura Lotion and Control I Gel to each section by raking it through your hair. When you finish with the last section, scrunch your hair and blow dry it using a diffuser for curl definition. Once your hair is dry, use a fingertip of Finishing Pomade to smooth hair and get rid of fly aways. Finish with by spraying Structura Spray for long lasting style throughout the day.

Q: I was thinking of trying a new haircut, and since my hair is long i decided something crazy. I've never had a short haircut before, so what do u think of such hair cut for a 3b girl like me?

Christo: The answer is YES! I believe that you can have any haircut that you desire as long as it works with your facial structures, body type, lifestyle and curl texture. Please feel free to email [email protected] and attach a picture of yourself so that I can analyze your facial structure and be better equipped to give you advice on a haircut. If you are concerned about the texture, I have done many hairstyles before for women with 3b texture. You can see samples on my portfolio on CHRISTOnyc.com.

Q: I LOVE highlights in my hair, but every time I get them, they damage the holy heck out of my hair. My curls look beautiful initially, but then after some time, my hair starts to look like tumbleweed as a result of the stripping of the highlighted hair. The ends get so damaged that it becomes plain "skanky". Now that I am CG and have learned how to really moisturize and care for my curls is it possible for me to get highlights again without the damaging results?

Christo: When you highlight your hair, you have to take your texture into consideration. Otherwise, you end up with all the problems you mentioned—damage, breakage, etc. The tighter your hair, the easier it is to become damaged. Your 3b texture is very fragile and dries out easily. The Curlisto way to highlight hair like this is to first treat the hair with the Colorective Line which is designed to prepare your hair before applying any chemical color process. Coloring curly hair is a lot more complicated than coloring straight hair. It involves a little more work but it can be done. Chemical processes can dry out your hair so it is very important to hydrate the hair shaft so you must CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION! Use deep treatments like the Curlisto Deep Therapy Masque once a week to counteract the negative effects of coloring.

Q: My problem is that all the hair underneath the top layer gets great curls, even some spirals. But all the stuff on top lays pretty flat. Is that just the result of damage and will improve with time, or will I have to keep helping the top to curl more? I'd be so grateful for any ideas on products and/or actions to bring out the curl on the top layer?

Christo: It seems like the texture on the top has a different texture than the one on the bottom and your haircut probably doesn’t help the style. The hair on the top layer of the head usually gets the worse abuse. Therefore, you have to use the deep therapy masque on a weekly basis to feed that area of the hair. When you are styling, you should pay attention to that part. Use clips and diffuse immediately. This will deliver a better curl.