In Studio: Cristo is the King of Curls

Curly Cues

Take a page from Christo’s book on the art of cutting textured locks.

Dubbed the King of Curls, Christo has crafted a career dedicated to the art of curly hair. The global artistic director of Curlisto—his botanically based line of products—first opened his eponymous salon in 2002 on New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue, tending to the tresses of his celebrity clientele and loyal curly-haired ladies. He has since redefined what it means to embrace natural texture.

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Christo’s trademarked Diametrix Cutting technique has been his guiding principle for the past five years, which he frequently workshops at the International Beauty Show in New York and Las Vegas, the Orlando Premiere Show and at his salon’s educational cutting classes. The fundamentals of this technique lie in the stylist’s understanding of different curl textures and elasticity, and how to approach this accordingly. With the Diametrix Cutting method, hair is separated into 12 evenly twirled sections from the pivot point, which is designated at the crown of the head, with a cutting start point at three-quarters of the length from the roots down and stretched downward as much as possible to see the full density. “Never lift curly hair when cutting; always work in a downward and diagonal direction,” advises Christo. Because curly hair tends to dry out very quickly, the cutting technique must be performed on wet hair using sharp scissors to prevent shredding. He keeps a bottle of water close, and sprays down each section before placing his shears on the hair. The focus is on blending the inner layers without expensing length and staying away from the outer layers to ensure a flattering oval shape as opposed to the dreaded pyramid-like shape that often plagues curly hair.

In order to deliver the perfect cut no matter the curl type, it comes down to the stylist comprehensively familiarizing themselves with their client’s hair. Curly hair presents its own set of specific challenges and “a consultation is crucial,” says Christo. He devotes a 1.5-hour appointment to each new client as standard salon practice to maximize curly-haired customer recruitment. “If you can get the client to understand their curly hair, you will have a client for life,” he says. In turn, Christo also advocates for salons’ elevated rates in curly hair management because of the additional time spent on care and education. After all, specializing in curly hair is an expertise that requires an extra level of commitment.

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