Q&A: Coloring on a Curve

Soft, just-colored curls perfectly styled with Alfaparf Milano’s Semi Di Lino Discipline products.

Curly hair has beautiful bends and curves, but those ringlets, spirals and kinks can be quite tricky to color. The naturally lifted cuticles soak up pigment differently than straight hair, curly hair is more prone to moisture lost, and color placement is more complex because of the hair’s curl pattern. Luckily, Alfaparf Milano Brand Ambassador Jeannetta Walker-Rodgers is here to help us understand the main differences a colorist faces when coloring curly hair vs. straight hair.

Q How is coloring curly hair different from coloring straight hair?
Depending on the thickness and density of the curls, you can easily lose control of proper color saturation. You have to take finer partings to penetrate the curls with color. The tighter the curl, the more color you need to fully saturate it. You can also lose control of your placement if you don’t consider how the hair will shrink and expand after the hair is fully dried. While you do consider placement with straight hair, you have to be especially careful with color placement on curly hair. Tones can get lost within the curl pattern. And, don’t forget, if a client sometimes straightens her hair, the color must look great then too.

Q What specific techniques and products should a colorist use when they’re coloring curly hair?  
I love to paint curly hair. I usually do “foilayage” with Alfaparf Milano Supermeches + No Ammonia bleaching powder. It’s my favorite bleach for curls because it uses guar gum for optimum adherence to the curls, and silk powder for moisture retention. Supermeches + No Ammonia also has a flexible mixing ratio from 1:1 to 1:3, so I can adjust the thickness for different types of curls.


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Alfaparf Milano Supermeches + No Ammonia bleaching power keeps curls hydrated with silk powder.

Q What problems should a colorist look out for when coloring curly hair?
Moisture retention can often be a problem for curls. Where there is no moisture, there will be frizz. The state of moisture and health of the hair should tell you how to proceed with color services, keeping the integrity of the curls in mind. Curl type also plays a huge role in porosity and moisture retention. Usually, the tighter the curl pattern, the drier the curls are. Not accounting for porosity and moisture retention could end in extremely dry, frizzy, damaged curls after your color service.

A few other color products perfect for curls…


Smoothies Conditioning Semi Permanent Hair Color is a delicate, ammonia-free color that leaves curls shiny and rich in pigments. The color provides versatility while also respecting the health of curly hair.  


Liquid CCT is a 100 percent  ammonia-free, demi-permanent hair color. The formula nourishes hair with macadamia and argan oils, while Tasmanian sea kelp adds extra moisture for super soft curls.  

Schwarzkopf Professional

Igora Royal Oil Developer is a great choice for curly hair textures because the oil infused in the formula helps replenish moisture taken out during the lightening process.  

Kadus Professional

Demi-Permanent Hair Color gives curls vibrancy without compromising the hair’s integrity. The secret: an extra rich crème formula fortified with waxes and lipids.