Canadian curl expert Jonathan takes on questions ranging from highlighting curls to getting volume without a diffuser
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my latest product; it's called “Tweek”. Tweek is a hairspray in a cream form that will revive and restore curly hair the next day and the day after. Tweek brings back the bounce to curly hair, so "Plan B” days turn into "Plan A” days.
Tweek is a styling cream with just the correct strength that refreshes and supports curly hair. This non-sticky, non-greasy water-soluble product causes no damage to the hair, as it does not contain drying alcohol or silicone, which can build up on hair.
Q: I have 3B hair that goes just past my shoulders. No one in my small town knows how to cut curly hair well, and I was wondering if you have any tips on how myself or an inexperienced family member can trim it better?
Jonathan: “Not too short — it shrinks” is one of the most misunderstood statements. It can cause even a qualified professional hairstylist to make mistakes when cutting curly hair. My suggestion is that you go to a stylist armed with better information. For starters, learn to style your hair into perfect, frizz-free curls so that you will become the master of your own curls. We have created step-by-step styling videos and the appropriate products, with all sorts of styling tips and tricks, to educate you on how to achieve a great hairstyle by yourself. Then you can go to a stylist with great-looking hair, participate in the consultation and only proceed when you both understand which curls need cutting. Book and pay for a consultation only. Some salons offer free consultations. If you attempt to cut your hair yourself, you could be heading for a hair disaster that might take years to repair.
Q: I had a question about my now wavy-frizzy hair. I used to have beautiful curls, but didn't know to care for them. I spoke with a stylist who convinced me that the best thing for me would be (Japanese) straightening. This was about four years ago. Since then, my hair has grown back very frizzy and wavy. My curls have almost completely vanished. Could this chemical have permanently changed my hair? I appreciate any assistance; I really would love for my curls to be as they were, as I now know how to care for them.
Jonathan: I receive hundreds of emails regarding the problems people have experienced after they have had Japanese or Brazilian treatments done on their hair. You can count yourself lucky that your hair hasn’t been totally damaged! Your natural curl formation has been lost, and until your new hair grows back, I would like to suggest you do the best you can using the following method:
- Drench your wet hair with Curl Keeper from roots to ends so that when you squeeze your hair, your hair drips and makes a “squishy” sound.
- “Squish” vigorously all over — at least thirty squishes. The more you squish, the deeper the “S” formation will be on a curl.
- Then, to avoid frizz, allow your hair to dry as much as possible on its own. The Curl Keeper will duplicate the same frizz control you saw when your hair was wet and will allow your “new” curl formation to return.
So remember to use lots of Curl Keeper and lots of “squishing." To speed up the drying time, learn how to use a diffuser properly.
Q: It's so frustrating! Most of my hair curls perfectly, but I have a few curls that turn out weird. There will be a few loops, and suddenly, instead of looping over, it's like it has grown straight for an inch, which makes a weird "U" between the curls, and then it starts curling again. I notice this happens especially with the curls around my forehead. What gives? Am I not styling my hair properly, or do the curls there just grow in an odd pattern?
Jonathan: If unmanageable curls have not been caused by the overuse of flat ironing, the problem of thin, weird, unruly curl patterns can be easily solved. When a curl forms into a ringlet, it’s called a grouping. The more hair that is grouped together, the thicker and looser the ringlet will form. So while your hair is wet, distribute Curl Keeper everywhere from roots to ends. Then you can group your unmanageable, unpredictable, weird curls together with your really normal curls and Curl Keeper will set your hair in exactly the way you would like your curls to look. You should never have this problem again.
Q: I believe my hair to be 3a. I have nice, loose-ish, soft curls pretty much everywhere EXCEPT my crown area, which I understand is typically the curliest spot. If you took your hand and placed it in the middle of the back of my head with the top of your fingers, that is the flat area. I've tried all different products, scrunching, etc. The only thing I haven't tried is blow drying, which I'd really like not to get into. I used to be the cut-the-curls-out kind of guy, but the last time I had long hair, I did not have this problem. I have a great salon professional, who will brick the area a bit to try to add some texture and it definitely makes it less flat. But it's still not curly like the rest of my head. Drives me nuts! The curly part of my hair is very responsive to any good curl product. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Q: One of the challenges of having curly hair is to learn to deal with a variety of different curl textures on one head. Many conditions can cause curls to change, including the weather, hormones or other medical reasons. Controlling the frizz is easy with the help of Curl Keeper. However, learning how to manipulate independent curls may take a lesson or two. I suggest using either a bone comb with small teeth or a root brush, as they both lift and support volume at the root area. Together with a generous amount of Curl Keeper, continuously comb through over and over again. This will soon regroup the fluffier, tighter curls where you want them. The curls will stay flatter as long as you remain quite still as your hair starts to dry on its own. I recommend that you grow some longer pieces and perhaps the extra length will weigh down the tighter curls.
As the weather is warming up, I really don't feel like diffusing. The problem is that when I air dry, my curls are kinda limp and lack volume so they look "bleh" and I don't like it! Got any suggestions?
The best way to control and style your hair properly is always to allow your hair to dry on its own. The less movement, the better it is for controlling frizz. Our clients who use diffusers to enhance the volume of looser curls have learned how to use our roller clamps. The roller clamps will prevent the heaviness of wet hair from weighing down and loosening the curls on top of your head. So, after you have applied the correct amount of Curl Keeper and done the best “squishing” and preparation, you can clamp the curls on top of your head and allow your hair to dry on its own. Periodically, as your hair begins to dry, rearrange the roller clamps for a more natural set. You will have bouncy, frizz-free, designer curls in all the right places.
Q: My hair is a medium brown. At the very front of my head, my roots were a little bit dirty blond. Now it looks like its spreading down a little ways and I like how it looks. So I'm thinking about getting dirty blond highlights. What do you think? Should I get permanent, demi or semipermanent?
Jonathan: Lightening your hair can be easily accomplished as long as your hairstylist understands how to control the gold color tones. When your stylist understands how to control unwanted brassiness, your color will look bright, shiny and healthy. It is up to you to maintain your colored curls with the proper pH balance of products. To achieve lighter colors, you have to use permanent color. The stronger the formula, the lighter the color will be. However, the more damaging, stronger color can affect the condition of curly hair. Some super-strong, lighter colors can actually straighten and break curly hair, which will look awful and take a long time to fix. I strongly recommend going to a qualified, licensed professional for your chemical processing.