I had an amazing experience at the Ouidad Flagship salon in NYC today. I learned so many tips and tricks and got such an amazing haircut by the talented Jason who is a top stylist and also one of Ouidad's Artistic Directors. Before I get into my experience, here is a little back story on why I chose to cut my hair.
My hair was long, down past my chest and I loved it.
I used to bleach it (at a different salon) to get it light blonde and despite doing frequent deep treatments, air drying 95% of the time, using good styling products, etc around December 2014 I started noticing some bad breakage. Throughout this past winter the breakage kept on getting worse and worse, despite my best efforts to repair it until I was left with only a few pathetic looking scraggly long pieces. I purchased clip in curly extensions I was wearing to keep my length on special occasions, but my lack of selfies was not just coincidental. I figured it would look better to cut it shorter and re-grow it healthy then to continue to cling to the unhealthy ends.
I learned from Jason today how badly bleach can damage hair. Even though I was treating my hair the best I could, sometimes that can only help so much. I also learned there is no true repair from such bad chemical damage aside from cutting it and growing it out. I have not used bleach since September 2014 and at this point I am also highly considering growing in my natural hair color. Why couldn't I just be born a healthy light blonde? Sigh. Anyway, okay back to the experience.
Ouidad is the only salon brand that caters to the 4 specific curl types: loose, classic, tight and kinky.
They have 2 Flagship salons to help assist in practice what we preach approach. Aside from the Flagship salons they have many certified salons throughout the country where the stylists are trained in the Ouidad Carve & Slice cutting technique, the Rake & Shake styling method, as well as being well educated on how to use all of the Ouidad products.
I have personally been a fan of Ouidad products for years. They are one of my Holy Grail curly brands and also one of the first curly brands I had ever tried. I usually do their "Rake and Shake" method to style my hair, though I learned today I was doing it incorrectly. More on this method later.
The Carve and Slice Cut
Jason asked me why I never had a Carve & Slice cut before and I admitted, "Carve & Slice" sounds scary. Turns out, it totally isn't! This exclusive method of cutting curly hair was developed by Ouidad in the 1980s-- before that, there never was a specific way to cut curls. I had so many misconceptions about this technique that Jason cleared up for me today.
Here is what I learned about the cut from Jason: The "Carve and Slice" cut is done to mimic the natural curl pattern in order to have curls puzzle in like a puzzle piece. Only small amounts of hair are cut off and this is only done on the inside of the hair, not the outside to avoid the dreaded "pyramid" or "triangle" so many curly girls dread. This cut also helps take out excess bulk if there is any so the hair will lay closer to the head and fall better. Also, by doing so on the inside if you do decide to blow out your hair once in a blue moon, you won't see it. The cut is also tailored to each and every individual. Based on the desired result and hair texture, not everyone gets carving and slicing, this truly is cut specialized to you. The hair is cut at the curvature of the curl.
I asked Jason about cutting hair wet versus cutting hair dry, because I know there are so many people who swear by only cutting curls once they are dry. He said that "Our hair changes day to day and cutting it dry you are only cutting the hair's shape for the one day and when you cut it wet and clean, it's being shaped so it can be styled well every day from then on." That explanation just made so much sense to me. My hair is a mix of loose and classic curls and sometimes they stretch out and don't bounce right back. It's incredibly rare my dry hair looks exactly the same on two days so this approach is wonderful.
I won't lie, I was SUPER nervous about the cut.
After countless bad cuts in my past, haircuts are such a fear. Jason went above and beyond for me with this cut. My biggest concern was I didn't want to lose any more length than I already lost from the breakage. He respected that wish. Also, in the back of my head I have shorter breakage that I know I just want to grow out before anything is done with, I didn't want a ton of layers and he listened to that too and knew just what I was saying. He also checked with me before cutting at all, I honestly could not have asked for more! Honestly I feel like my hair somehow looks a little longer after the cut! Not sure how that is possible, but it is incredible. Before cutting, he took me to the sink with these super comfy chairs and cleansed and conditioned my hair with the appropriate Ouidad shampoo and conditioner for my specific hair concerns.
After the cut I got the signature Ouidad Deep Treatment! I love this deep treatment and use it at home as well. I learned there was a part of it I was doing incorrectly at home. The Ouidad Deep Treatment contains Amino Acids and Proteins to help calm frizz, enhance the natural curl pattern and also assist with dryness, which is natural for most curlies out there.
Though the Deep Treatment can help repair hair to an extent, it can't perform miracles and magically heal hair that is damaged beyond repair like my bleach damage was. It contains Amino Acids and Proteins to help calm frizz, enhance the natural curl pattern and assist with dryness.Jason applied the Deep Treatment in small sections and really pushed and massaged it into my hair strands for maximum absorption. He then put a plastic shower cap over my head and I sat under the dryer for 20 minutes (note: based on your own hair you may not need to be under the heat as long) It is so important to use heat to activate the Deep Treatment. H e then rinsed my hair with cool water and applied the Balancing Rinse Conditioner on my hair, leaving it on for 2 minutes. Prior to this, I always applied conditioner directly on the deep treatment and didn't realize I had to rinse the deep treatment out first.
Because the Deep Treatment is full of protein, you need to use a great conditioner like the Balancing Rinse with proper pH to help close the cuticle and finish treating the hair.He told me to do it at home once a month or every 2 weeks max and not to overdo it. Jason also said it is great to use the Deep Treatment with my Hair Steamer at home.
Rake & Shake Method
I learned so much about how to style my hair after the shower from Jason. You want to apply products directly out of the shower on wet hair, do not towel dry and if you can, do not ring out the excess water either. Jason said that the "Rake & Shake" method is the Ouidad form of a roller set.
Your fingers used to create and set curl pattern and create longevity out of the curls. Just like a roller set, you want to wait until your hair is fully dry to break open cast to create a soft look. By Raking and Shaking, you are smoothing the cuticle down to create frizz free definition.
When I asked Jason what was the main difference between this and just scrunching, he said that scrunching clumps the curls together and doesn't leave the cuticle as smooth and frizz free.
What you do is you apply hair product in small section, rake the products through and shake it at the ends. The shake at the end is what helps encourage your curl pattern. Also, it is important to not tie your hair up in a twist or to do anything to disrupt the curl pattern. I was actually Rake & Shaking at home and then scrunching after- which explains why my hair didn't turn out as well sometimes.
Jason first applied the Moisture Lock Leave In Conditioner which is also a primer that fills in the cuticle with moisture to prevent crunch and help with consistent curl pattern. He then used the VitalCurl Tress FX which gives hair soft but strong, touchable hold. After raking and shaking the products, I sat under the hooded dryer for a while. I also had a Latte which was delicious. I then went back in the chair and Jason used a regular bowl diffuser on me and said when diffusing to make sure it is aimed down, this helps prevent frizz and added "poof" I usually would wind up getting if I diffuse at home.While diffusing he used the Ouidad Styling Mist Setting & Holding Spray and a little of the Shine Glaze Serum to break up the cast the gel created. He then sprayed just a little Frizz & Flyaway Fighter Spray for additional shine. Jason was also super kind and styled my hair as you can see in the pictures- pinning one side back and French braiding the other side.
To conclude, I am so thankful to everyone at Ouidad for my wonderful Ouidad Flagship Salon experience!
From the moment I walked in the door until I left, I felt respected, appreciated and valued as a client. I look forward to seeing Jason again in a few months when I need a trim so he can help me grow out my curls nice and healthy. I wasn't sure how I would feel about my hair being shorter and aside from the fact my neck is cold I actually feel really good about it and will enjoy it as it grows.
My hair feels healthier already even though I still have a little more bleach to grow out. I can see my curls are coming alive again and my hair is so soft and shiny!
My hair pattern actually does get curlier as it grows which Jason said is normal for certain hair types. I will be sure to keep updates here and on my blog about my cut, styling and everything. I still need to figure out how to sleep since I can't pineapple at this length!
By the way, Ouidad.com has so many helpful videos that explains their methods and shows proper techniques of what I mentioned above so be sure to check them out! (This post was not sponsored).