I was sure to let Dianne know that I wanted to keep my hair's length at the bottom, just needed a good 'shape-up' around the top with possibly some face-framing layers. Nothing major, and I made that clear. Although this was my first trim in a while and dry cut EVER, I trusted Dianne near me with scissors as her words were comforting yet still precise in how she was about to maneuver my springy curls.
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Before Dianne flew south, I wanted to feel her out on both a professional and personal level. I typically like to know or have been referred to a stylist personally before I allow them to touch my hair with a pair of shears. So the best way, I thought, was none other than to email Dianne some questions and find out more about this eccentric Bay Area curly hair stylist.
What inspired you to enter the hair industry?
Dianne Nola: I needed a job. I had just graduated college in the arts and didn't want to go to graduate school. I was already cutting hair at $5 a person and loved it. Those were the only jobs that appealed to me in the paper. An office job wasn't going to work with my energetic nature.
When did you know that being a curly stylist is what you wanted to do?
DN: Cutting curly hair is something I've always done. I've always had a certain amount of curly clientele. I kept honing my skills because it drew me in; it was challenging. I was drawn to all of the infinite textures and stories behind each person. I was attracted to the beauty of the hair.
How would you define your own hair?
DN: Fine in diameter. Completely colored. Mainly 2C with 2B on crown.
Explain in your own words what a Devacurl dry cut is.
DN: A method of using only your fingers to lift the hair and cut. No use of the comb. The cut is connected to the washing, drying and styling methods and the "Curly Girl Method" in general.
What are some of the biggest concerns clients have when it comes to their hair?
Thinning and loss of hair with aging. What causes it, what can they do about it and how it affects their identity. In my experience, thinning hair happens because of a gradual or abrupt change in hormones. I'm not a doctor, just an investigative stylist who has seen a lot of patterns over the years. Several times a week, a woman will sit in my chair and confide about her hair loss. I listen. I get it. This is what all women need, especially those who are thinning. We need to be heard.
DN: First, make sure you go to a skilled, trained and passionate curly hair artist. I recommend finding someone in your area that is in Curly Hair Artistry. This is a group where most stylists have been through the Deva training and meet the above qualifications. One must be admitted to the group.
I like to guide my new clients throughout the process. When I first have contact with them, I connect on an emotional level, let them know my intent to help and try to hear their needs and fears. I think that pacifies their anxiety. Then, I explain the breakdown in time and procedures of what will happen. For example, "Next we will go to this shampoo chair and I will use this product."
Depending on where they're at emotionally, I might stop after completing the sides or back and show them with a mirror. I'll point to the ground to show them the amount of hair I've taken off. How can I spend an hour on their hair with hardly anything on the floor and it end up looking so different? It's called Strategic Cutting!
What are some of your favorite products to use on clients right now?
DN: I am always learning; through the Devachan grapevine, my CHA colleagues or my clients usually turn me on to a new product they are using. I read through ingredients, check for silicones, smell it and feel how it moves between my fingers.
I carry DevaCurl and Jessicurl. I love Jessicurl's latest gel, Spiralicious! It works great on my 2B-3B curly clients. I love the viscosity and clumping action. I also love the citrus lavender fragrance in the line. I also use a lot of Deva's Styling Cream and Jess' Confident Coils for my 3-4s who want more elongation of their curl with touchable hair.
In the Bay Area there is much demand for eco-friendly and non-fragrant products. Jessicurl fills that need for my clientele. I am always learning and testing products but it's a small salon, so two lines are plenty.
What do you recommend clients do before they come in to see you?
DN: Please read my F.A.Q. on my website, it clarifies the difference between wet and dry cuts.
My final conclusion...
Dianne kept true to her word; she shaped my curls to fall as layers on top of each other, whereas in my earlier pics you might notice that my hair was absolutely shapeless. She moisturized my thirsty hair with DevaCurl NoPoo. After diffusing, Dianne added metal clips to weigh my curls down so they would stretch (to minimize shrinkage). She showed me how to scrunch individual sections after applying Arc AnGEL to minimize frizz and add definition. Per her advice, I did an ACV rinse to remove excess buildup my hair had from styling products. It was one of the greatest things I did for my curls so far this year...See my results here.
To find out more about the Curly Hair Artistry group, click here for their Facebook page. To book an appointment with Dianne Nola or learn more about this curly hair stylist veteran, visit her website, www.diannenola.com.
More: West Coast Hair Trends