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Image:@queensconquer by Brio Photography

I have coarse, 3c/4a, medium porosity hair. I big chopped about three years ago because of the damage from relaxing my hair for over twenty years and bleaching it, so it was a must that I cut off the dead ends and start fresh. Although, I loved my pixie cut I decided in the last year that I wanted to let my hair grow out. The more I focused on scalp care and creating a healthy hair regimen, the more my curls began to flourish. The longer my hair got, the more protective styles I was able to experiment with including sew-ins, feed-in braids and goddess faux locs. While my hair was growing out, I tried my best not to cut it and let it even out before I got a haircut.

To kick off 2019, I decided it was time for quick switch up. I was referred to the Curl Whisperer, April Kayganich, a hairstylist based in Austin at the Honeycomb Hair Boutique who is known to give curls life and she did not disappoint. Not only did she reshape my hair, but she gave me the most gorgeous curls, so it was only right that I share the curly love. Keep reading to find out her cutting technique and curly girl tips to get defined voluminous curls.

Curl by Curl Cutting Technique

“I almost always start on dry hair when cutting curls. I started in the back of your head and made slight diagonal sections on the left and right side and followed those lines cutting curl by curl. I continued this moving up the head and moved to each side of your head in the front to connect the shape. Curls tend to shrink when a lot of length is removed, so I am pretty conservative when it comes to removing length before the Cleansing and styling portion of the appointment. I do a lot of dry cutting after the hair is styled as well and that’s when I went in and visually balanced the shape in the front using a freehand technique.”

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Image:@_thehalfrican

Wash & Style 

“Curly hair needs moisture, so I used my go to cleanser which is New Wash Rich. It isn’t shampoo, but you don’t need to condition afterwards which is pretty cool, but it works with your natural oils to cleanse and condition the hair without stripping anything away from your hair. I made sure your hair was really wet and applied a generous amount of New Wash on the ends and then massaged what little bit was left on my hands into your scalp. I then detangled with a wide tooth comb and rinsed the product from your hair thoroughly. After words, I used clips to work in sections adding more water to your hair and then applying Skimdo from root to tip using a raking motion. The curls around your hairline needed some love, so I did a cold rinse to reduce the frizz, applied a small amount of Skimdo and finger coiled those curls. We then put you under the hood dryer for 15 minutes, which is almost like air drying, then diffused your curls so we could achieve more volume.”

How to Prepare for a Curly Cut and What NOT To Do

  1. Come to the appointment with your hair down, dry and detangled with little product in it. I don’t mean having it in a bun or a slick backed pony then taking it down, but down so your stylist can see how many curl patterns you have, how your curls fall and how you normally style it. That helps us know how to style your curls when we get to the end of your appointment. I also like to mention that when I say detangled, I just mean having “fresh” hair. I prefer for my clients to have washed their hair within the last 1-3 days of the haircut so that way it saves on the amount of time the haircut can take. Some stylists charge by the amount of time in the chair or add a detangling fee so make sure to ask beforehand so you can prepare!
  2. Bring photos of shapes and lengths you like that are similar to your curl pattern and hair density. A lot of people come in asking for volume and will bring photos of someone who has a lot more hair than they do or a different curl pattern. Volume is not only determined by layers, but also by your hair density which can vary on different parts of the head.
  3. My only don’t is: Don’t be late!! Make sure to give yourself enough time to get to your appointment and to find the salon. That way you can have a little extra time to consult with your stylist to make sure you feel comfortable.

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Image:@_thehalfrican

Retaining Moisture

“Moisture comes from water-not oils and butters! Water is key and I can’t stress it enough. Make sure your hair is soaking wet when you apply your products.”

Keys to Maximum Volume

“First, make sure you have a haircut that is either layered to give more volume or layers that are graduated to build weight. Second, use products appropriate for your texture and curl type! For example: if you have fine hair that is a looser curl, don’t use a thick cream, look for foaming mousse or things like spray gel. Diffusing is key if you want instant volume and make sure to start off with your head upside down. You can also set your hair at the roots with double prong clips or Deva Clips if you have them! You insert the clips at a 45 degree angle to your scalp and you can air dry this way."