Salute to Stylists contest winners revealed!

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa in Pepper Pike, OH!

Regional Winners:

• Region 1: Stylist: Tracy of 7 Salon, Bellevue, WA - 2 reviews - Consumer: Breauna

• Region 2: Stylist: Melanie Brown of Curls Gone Wild, Gilbert, AZ - 96 reviews - Consumer: aubreyinaz

• Region 3: Stylist: Natalie of Natalie Clark Studio, St. Louis, MO - 5 reviews - Consumer: gr8tiff

• Region 4: Stylist: Anna Craig of Trashy Roots Salon & Spa, Round Rock, TX - 102 reviews - Consumer: MissyWatson

• Region 5: Stylist: Stacy Hill of DyeVerCity Salon, Augusta, GA - 127 reviews - Consumer: whitdeen

• Region 6: Stylist: Sandy Marino of Santo Salon & Spa, Pepper Pike, OH - 155 reviews - Consumer: lisa aguina

• Region 7: Stylist: Julie Washington of The Estuary Salon & Day Spa, S. Portland, ME - 25 reviews - Consumer: Nicole910

• Region 8: Stylist: Nadine Bastien of Aphrodite's Sanctuary, Toronto, Ontario - 4 reviews - Consumer: Maureennione

The Contest

Recently, launched its two-month long Salute To Stylists contest, asking for your vote for your favorite stylist. We have our winners! Regional winning stylists will receive 3 months of free advertising on and a 1-year subscription to Modern Salon. Grand Prize winning stylist will receive 3 months of free advertising on and a 1-year subscription to Modern Salon, as well as a trip to New York for 3 days of Deva Curlaboration instruction. Winning consumers will receive $150 worth of merchandise from and $150 in services from their winning stylist.

The number of reviews were calculated from 12/15/10 to 2/15/11

Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi

Business is booming for Vicki Vela-Cambruzzi at Curls On Top in Laguna Beach

If anybody had told veteran stylist Vickie Vela-Cambruzzi five years ago she would be opening a salon dedicated to curlies, she would have told them "Get out of town!"

That was before Vela-Cambruzzi, a curly herself, saw the light. Or in her case, experienced the magic of a Deva cut at the hands of "Curly Girl" author Lorraine Massey at a hair show. The cut was her best ever—changing her whole perception of her curls—and she saved her money to go to a DevaConcepts Curlaboration to learn the dry-cutting technique herself. Less than a year later, she opened Curls On Top Salon in Laguna Beach, a salon focused on the needs of curlies. Business is booming at the 1-year-old salon, where curlies travel from outside California to get a Deva cut. "It's been incredible," says Vela-Cambruzzi.

Many curlies grew up at a time when few stylists knew how to work with curls, and most now have numerous war stories to tell about the bad haircuts and the botched chemical services they received. When launched 13 years ago, a handful of stylists and salons focused on the needs of women with wavy, curly and kinky hair. Most stylists once viewed curls as something to "fix" by straightening it or shearing it short.

Vela-Cambruzzi is part of the growing legion of stylists who have made curls their focus to help girls—and guys—with curls love their natural texture. This trend has been fueled by rising demand from women who want to work with their natural texture as well as the increased availability of curl training, thanks to curl specialists like DevaConcepts and Ouidad.

During the two-month Salute to the Stylists contest, which wrapped up yesterday, more than 315 new salons were added - many focused on curly, kinky hair textures.


You've Got Curls teaches participants to work with texture

Much of this growth has come over the past five years, with salons popping up in cities around the world—salons like Curls & Co. in Chicago, IL and Curl Lounge in Raleigh, NC; Kinky, Curly Straight Salon in South Euclid, OH and Me My Curls and I in San Diego, CA. The trend stretches around the globe, from Purely Natural in London, England to Curl Ambassadors in Toronto, Ontario, which recently opened a second location. And it's not limited to salons with the word "curl" or "kinks" in the name. Most salons now make it a priority to train their stylists in the ways of curls, and stylists are filling texture training classes at hair shows.

It's a curl revolution that could have a profound effect on how curlies feel about their hair—especially younger girls who now can grow up embracing their kinks and curls rather than fighting them.

"This has been my passion," says Melanie Higgins, a curl specialist at Seasons Salon & Spa in Lexington, KY. "I look at hair as a fabric. It's not about race." For many stylists, their passion for curls started close to home. Higgins, who went natural six years ago, struggled with how to work with her own natural texture. Since becoming a stylist in 2005, she trained with different stylists to learn the best techniques for working with curls and kinks, learning the "volumetrix" technique from Philip Pelusi.

Last August, she hosted her first workshop called "You've Got Curls," teaching participants about how to work with their curls and kinks. She recently launched to promote her curl passion. "When you're trying to figure out what you want to do, you try everything," Higgins says. "I realized this is me. I'm so happy. It allowed me to experience different angles and bring it back to the chair," Higgins says.

Curls Gone Wild

Curls Gone Wild owner Melanie Brown wanted to help her 10-year-old biracial daughter

Melanie Brown, owner of Curls Gone Wild, wanted to help her 10-year-old biracial daughter. "I was determined not to straighten it or pull it into tight braids," says Brown. "My ego was too big. I wanted to figure

out her hair if it's the last thing to do." When she originally opened the salon, it wasn't a curl-only salon. But after taking a DevaConcepts Curlaboration course two years ago, she decided to focus on curls, adding the tagline "A curly salon" to the end of the salon's name. She calls it a great business decision, with clients flying in from around the country and plans to expand. "Straight-haired people don't understand the name," she says. "But curly people totally understand."

Cally Raduenzel of Curls & Co. in Chicago, IL, is one of a number of stylists who was inspired by her own curly hair battles. During her 10 years as a stylist, Raduenzel says she developed her own dry-cutting technique on her curly clients. When a client brought her Massey's "Curly Girl," she decided to take a class which "pretty much changed my whole life in hair." Once a color specialist, she switched her specialty to curly hair and opened Curls & Co. in June 2010. Eighty-five percent of her clientele is curly, and she believes she has an ability to positively effect the way they feel about their hair. "When I grew up, I found only two people who did a decent job on my curls and both of them straightened my hair," she says. "I didn't really embrace my curls until college. I want to help people love their curls early on."

This growth in the number of curl-centric salons is likely continue, say stylists around the country. What was once viewed as a trend is now seen is a major shift.

While past generations may have leaned toward relaxers, today's women are seeking more natural styles, says Monica Green, who opened her Kinky, Curly, Straight Salon two years ago in South Euclid, OH. Green says her salon offers services such as lock maintenance, two-strand twists, braiding, kinky twists and other natural styles. "It's the new reality," Green says. "The market is not going away."